• Archos 604 30GB Wi-Fi, Ultra-Slim Portable Digital Media Player and Recorder Review

Hey folks, Valkor here. I wanna thank the gang over at Archos for allowing us to play with their media player big boy, the "Archos 604 30GB Wi-Fi, Ultra-Slim Portable Digital Media Player and Recorder Review. PQI’s MPack still rates pretty damn high with me and my PSP does well as a PMP, but the 604... how does it compare to the two? Well read on and find out.

Archos 604 with WIFI PMP

First let’s talk design; the damn things heavy but not too heavy that it becomes an annoyance. For the most part it should be sitting on your lap or propped against something for optimal viewing, so no need to hold it for the duration. It has 4.3” widescreen, plus it has a touch screen (comes with a stylus) also all the controls can be found around the device. It takes some getting used to, but the learning curve on the 604 isn’t steep and in no time you’ll by flying through each menu screen with ease. Packed with 30 gigs, the Archos 604 is ready to play all your media: movies, music, pictures, you’re ready to go. And I’m ready to get into the heart of this review.

For music I have both positive and negatives - positive because it’s easy to load (Just sync it up with windows media player and your off), it breaks it down by genre, album, artist, song, or your self created playlist. Music sounds great, but this is mostly based on the high quality I keep the majority of my MP3’s and damn good Sony headphones. With the syncing you also get album art, which works better for a PMP than an MP3 player because with a PMP you can prop it on a desk and look it from time to time. But with just a standard MP3 player, for the most part, its in your pocket. My biggest drawback on the device: It’s the shuffle. I packed up to 80 songs in the 604 and while on the road, I heard the same song, three times, in 1 hour. What the hell is that??? That’s just poor if you ask me because not only does my PSP NOT do that, also Samsung’s MP3 players, Creative’s Zen players, or even upcoming review MP3 player from Memorex, has not/does not replay the same song when in shuffle mode. This is understandable when your listening to the radio, but with your PMP? EEEESH! The Archos 704 is out now and I hope that issue has been fixed.

Movies are also done decently. Loading is also as simple as syncing it. But picture quality isn’t so hot. It’s fuzzy and blurred. Score one again for the PSP and MPack player as video quality is done much better as their quality is crisp and clear. For stills the quality is the same. I loaded pics done in the Fuji Finepix F20, which look good on any screen, but here they lack pizzazz.

Archos 604 with WIFI PMP

Battery life is decent on a full charge as I was able to squeeze out a good 3 hours. And I am not sure if this was just our review copy or if it’s in the final production but the 604 did not come with a plug adapter nor did it look like it could fit an adapter anywhere in the box. I won’t comment until I know for sure, but if it turns out to be the case that no adapter is included then that sucks extreme. The touch screen I found while its handy and quite good it interferes with a lot of the play mechanics, especially the music. Now when you put it on hold it allows you to play your music uninterrupted and nothing should interfere right? However when I’m on the road, the music skips around or right to the next song. That’s because there is some pressure against the screen which causes it to jump and skip. That’s about as worse as hearing the same song again and again when the damn thing is on shuffle.

The Archos 604 30GB Wi-Fi, Ultra-Slim Portable Digital Media Player and Recorder Review is an older model as the 704 is out in stores now. But if anyone is looking to save some loot on a PMP this may be the way you wanna go. But after having tried so much better than this, I’d be a bit hesitant to plop down any money on this PMP. The Archos 604 retails now for about $299 and out of TOV 5 stars, I give it a 2.5.