Archos 3 Vision 8GB review
Archos's 3 Vision is one of an increasing number of portable audio and video players to have a touchscreen.
Playback controls and menu commands are activated by simply tapping the screen, but a very precise aim is required, especially when adjusting the volume slider.
A virtual scroll wheel in the bottom corner of the screen is used for navigating menus and track lists. Although it's reasonably responsive, it doesn't feel as accurate as a physical wheel when scrolling through a long list to find a particular item.
Music sounded muddy and flat, with very little bass using the included earphones. Audio quality improved greatly using a replacement set of earphones, but music still wasn't as rich and warm as we'd like. Backing vocals in pop tracks sounded a little muffled, too. The 3 Vision lasted just under 11 hours when playing music, which is disappointing, especially for a player at this price.
The lack of physical volume controls means that you'll have to fish the Vision out of your pocket and unlock the controls to use the onscreen volume slider when out and about, which is a little inconvenient. There's an integrated FM radio, but we had some trouble getting static-free reception in our central London offices.
The 3in display has a relatively high resolution of 400x240 pixels. The Vision can play DivX files, while the included conversion software can batch-convert multiple video files to the right format. However, despite the screen's relatively large size, watching video is difficult due to the dark and grainy image quality. The battery lasted for just three hours and 38 minutes when playing video, which is the shortest time we've seen.
The Archos 3 Vision is flawed in numerous ways, from its slightly cumbersome interface to its less-than-perfect audio quality and battery life. These flaws would be easier to accept at a lower price, but at £89 the Vision is just too expensive to recommend. Sony's Walkman NWZ-E443 and iRiver's E200 8GB are both better choices.