Archos 3 Vision 8GB review

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

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


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.


Headphone Rating**


Formatted capacity7.62GB
Storage mediumflash memory
Battery and charge optionsLi-ion, USB


Device has screen?Yes
Viewable size3 in
Native resolution400x240
Memory card supportnone
FM Radioyes
Audio record optionsmicrophone, radio
Video record optionsnone
Supplied withheadphones, USB cable

Test Results

Tested battery life (MP3 playback)10h 53m
Tested battery life (Video playback)3h 38m
500MB transfer time2m 12s
Audio MP3 playbackYes
Audio WMA playbackYes
Audio WMA-DRM playbackNo
Audio AAC playbackNo
Audio Protected AAC playbackNo
Audio OGG playbackYes
Audio WAV playbackYes
Audio Audible playbackNo
Image BMP supportYes
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 supportYes
Video MPEG-4 AAC audio supportNo
Download compatibilitynone

Buying Information

Price per MB1.1p
Warrantyone year RTB

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