Archos 3 Vision 8GB review

The Archos Vision 3's fiddly control system, short battery life and poor screen let it down.

11 Nov 2009
Our Rating 
2/5
Price when reviewed 
89
inc VAT

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.

Details

Price £89
Rating **
Headphone Rating **

Hardware

Capacity 8.00GB
Formatted capacity 7.62GB
Interface USB
Storage medium flash memory
Battery and charge options Li-ion, USB
Size 51x9x96mm
Weight 62g

Features

Device has screen? Yes
Viewable size 3 in
Native resolution 400x240
Memory card support none
FM Radio yes
Audio record options microphone, radio
Video record options none
Supplied with headphones, USB cable

Test Results

Tested battery life (MP3 playback) 10h 53m
Tested battery life (Video playback) 3h 38m
500MB transfer time 2m 12s
Audio MP3 playback Yes
Audio WMA playback Yes
Audio WMA-DRM playback No
Audio AAC playback No
Audio Protected AAC playback No
Audio OGG playback Yes
Audio WAV playback Yes
Audio Audible playback No
Image BMP support Yes
Image JPEG support Yes
Image TIFF support No
Video MPEG-4 AVI playback Yes
Video MPEG-4 MP4 playback No
Video WMV playback No
Video MPEG-1 playback No
Video MPEG-2 playback No
Video MPEG-2 VOB playback No
Video MPEG-4 DivX/XviD support Yes
Video H.264 support No
Video MPEG-4 MP3 audio support Yes
Video MPEG-4 AAC audio support No
Download compatibility none

Buying Information

Price per MB 1.1p
Warranty one year RTB
Supplier http://www.advancedmp3players.co.uk
Details www.archos.com

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