Archos 5 Internet Tablet review
Android makes it more than just a media player, but we recommend waiting for an update to version 1.6 before you buy.
Review Date: 8 Jan 2010
Price when reviewed: £245
Reviewed By: Barry de la Rosa
The Archos 5 Internet Tablet (A5IT) is the first device we've seen to run the Android mobile operating system that isn't a mobile phone. It's slim personal media player with a 4.8in touchscreen and wireless netowk wireless networking. All this means that as well as storing and playing media files, it can access media over a local network and stream content from the internet.
The primary reason for buying a large-screen media player over compact MP3 player is to watch video, and the A5IT doesn't disappoint in this area. The screen's 800x480 resolution results in tiny pixels that make images pin-sharp. Colours seem natural but a bit muted, and contrast is good. A sturdy metal kickstand folds out from the back of the A5IT so you can rest it on a table while watching. There is a built-in speaker, but its not very loud or clear, so an external set or headphones are essential.
Support for standard-definition Windows Media, and up to 720p MPEG4 and H.264 video is included. The player supports the basic AVI and MP4 containers, as well as the MKV container, which is very popular on file sharing sites. DVD VOB files and the associated MPEG2 codec, along with the 720p WMV-HD codec, are only supported with a plug-in that costs £12 from Archos's site, although you could just re-encode such files into MPEG4 on your PC. Strangely, the Windows driver offers to convert any AVI or MP4 files to WMV format when copying via USB, which is unnecessary.
The quality of music playback is good, although we'd prefer to have physical buttons to control it so you don't have to fish the player out of your pocket. It's good to see support for the open source OGG codec, although for most people the WMA, AAC and MP3 support will suffice. Similarly, JPEG support is sufficient for most users, but BMP, PNG and GIF are also supported. It's great to be able to flick through photos with your finger on the screen.
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