When you combine a 7-inch touch screen with a rechargeable battery, hard drive, speakers, and a Wi-Fi antenna--you're going to have a heavy product. The Archos 705 WiFi weighs 1.4 pounds and is not the type of portable gadget you can hold with one hand for an extended period. Its best if you find a table to prop it on.
A feature that Archos' competitors always seem to forget is the built-in kickstand. Its metal-reinforcement makes the Archos 705 WiFi's fold-out stand durable enough to withstand a drop off a table or an accidental snag. After seeing a brilliant feature like this, it's hard not to laugh at the little plastic stand that comes with the Apple iPod Touch.
The bottom edge of the Archos 705 WiFi includes two mini USB ports (marked A and B) used for connecting it to a computer or hosting USB drives. The two longer slots on the left are a proprietary connection for Archos products such as the DVR Station or Battery Extender.
We can understand having a bag for your laptop, but when your portable video player is so huge that it requires its own bag you may as well wear a giant, blinking shirt that reads "Nerd." Maybe you can iron-on some skulls to make the case look less like a make-up bag. In all fairness, the included case is a nice touch, especially for a product with a screen that is such an important asset.
Included with the Archos 705 WiFi are a remote control (with full QWERTY keypad), two styli, a case, a USB cable, a USB hosting cable, a power supply, and earbuds. You also get a cradle adapter (not shown) for the Archos DVR Station (sold separately).
Compared with the monolithic Archos 705 WiFi, the Apple iPod Touch (left) and Archos 605 WiFi, are but peons. However, size isn't everything. The Screen on the Archos 605 WiFi may be significantly smaller than the 705 WiFi, but it packs the same 800x480 resolution as its bigger brother and offers crisper, more colorful video playback.
Like most touch screens, the Archos 705 WiFi is more responsive using a stylus than a finger. That said, with its large icons and intuitive interface, we did just fine poking at the 705's screen with our clumsy fingers, most of the time. We also found that the onscreen keyboard used for typing in URLs was much easier to use with fingers on the luxuriously-large screen of the Archos 705 WiFi, than the 605 WiFi.
With all their products, Archos does an outstanding job integrating matte-finished, glare resistant video screens. Images might not pop in quite the same way as optical glass, or high-gloss plastic, but in bright light the Archos screen can mean the difference between watching your movie or watching your reflection.
During testing, we found ourselves watching a whole lot of Original Series Star Trek on the 705 WiFi (hence the background image we applied). Watching videos in bed was a cinch, with the Archos 705 WiFi's adjustable brightness and volume controls, as well as the built-in stereo speakers (bottom). The video bookmarking feature came in handy when we started nodding off.
For an extra $99 you can buy the Archos DVR Station, which turns the Archos 705 WiFi into a full-fledged digital video recorder. Beyond recording content from your TV, the DVR Station also displays content on your television, letting you to browse your music and movie collection, flip through photo albums, and even surf the Web from the comfort of your couch using the included remote control.
On the left side of the Archos 705 WiFi, you'll find the power button, TV/LCD switch, power adapter input, and headphone jack. The headphone output also doubles as a composite A/V output that can connect to your television using an A/V to minijack cable (not included).