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Archos 2 8GB review

Alan Lu
11 Nov 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
36
inc VAT

Archos 2 may be very cheap, but the poor screen, annoying controls and muffled sound make it impossible to recommend.

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The Archos 2 is the cheapest 8GB portable audio and video player that we've seen.

Its looks don't betray its price, as it's slender, has a 1.8in colour screen and weighs just 54g. It looks similar to an iPod thanks to its glossy white fascia and reflective metal back. There's even a MicroSDHC slot for expanding its capacity.

Unfortunately, the fiddly controls take some getting used to. The rewind and fast forward buttons are used to navigate through the menus, which feels odd at first. Scrolling through long lists is difficult as the screen takes a second or two to update. Even more annoying, the combined power/lock switch is poorly designed, making it far too easy to turn the Archos 2 off accidentally instead of locking the controls.

Music sounded muddy and harsh, with little bass from the included earphones. Audio quality improved greatly using a high-quality third-party set, but the bass was still too subdued for our tastes. Unfortunately, boosting the bass using the equaliser also made music sound even more muffled.

We were also annoyed to find that the screen displays an animated soundwave while playing music, which can't be turned off, leaving no room for the name of the artist and album of the current track. The 2 lasted just nine hours and 35 minutes while playing music, which is the shortest time of any MP3 player we've seen recently.

The 2 can play DivX video files, but only if they've been re-encoded to fit the low 128x160-pixel resolution of the 1.8in screen with a low, jerky frame rate of 15fps. This makes watching TV or films on it practically pointless. It's a shame video quality isn't better, as the four hours and seven minutes of battery life we got while playing video is enough for even the longest Hollywood epic.

The Archos 2 is very cheap, but it's still not worth the money. The flawed controls, poor screen and disappointing sound mean that Sony's more expensive Walkman NWZ-E443 is a much better choice.

Details

Price£36
Rating**
Headphone Rating**

Hardware

Capacity8.00GB
Formatted capacity7.64GB
InterfaceUSB
Storage mediumflash memory
Battery and charge optionsLi-ion, USB
Size40x8x84mm
Weight54g

Features

Device has screen?Yes
Viewable size1.8 in
Native resolution128x160
Memory card supportMicroSDHC
FM Radioyes
Audio record optionsmicrophone
Video record optionsnone
Supplied withheadphones, USB cable

Test Results

Tested battery life (MP3 playback)9h 35m
Tested battery life (Video playback)4h 7m
500MB transfer time3m 23s
Audio MP3 playbackYes
Audio WMA playbackYes
Audio WMA-DRM playbackYes
Audio AAC playbackNo
Audio Protected AAC playbackNo
Audio OGG playbackNo
Audio WAV playbackNo
Audio Audible playbackNo
Image BMP supportNo
Image JPEG supportYes
Image TIFF supportNo
Video MPEG-4 AVI playbackYes
Video MPEG-4 MP4 playbackNo
Video WMV playbackNo
Video MPEG-1 playbackNo
Video MPEG-2 playbackNo
Video MPEG-2 VOB playbackNo
Video MPEG-4 DivX/XviD supportYes
Video H.264 supportNo
Video MPEG-4 MP3 audio supportNo
Video MPEG-4 AAC audio supportNo
Download compatibilityWMA-DRM subscription and download

Buying Information

Price per MB0.4p
Warrantyone year RTB
Supplierhttp://www.pixmania.co.uk
Detailswww.archos.com

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