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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

"The Archos 32" or "Why Buy an iPod Touch."

I bought this device for my daughter as an alternative to the more expensive ($249) iPod Touch (8Gb).

Never have I seen one product argue that another product is a better choice than this device. The Archos 3.2 is a $160(+tax) Android device that is not only poorly thought out, but doesn't do what's advertised without a constant fight. If you're not a technical user, and want a personal/portable media device, this device is not for you. In fact, if this device is any indication I'd avoid Archos, and potentially other Android devices, based on this experience alone.

First things first. WiFi does not work reliably on this device, when it's fortunate enough to connect, don't expect much because it can barely handle sourcing music from my Media PC, let alone act as anything more than a clock on it's own.

It doesn't have a speaker, yet they felt in necessary to feature an alarm clock. I bought speakers, they sound great. but what does the device really offer?

The video playback was great, on a 3.2 inch screen, but the player supports a limited number of codecs (transcoders so you can watch movies/videos). As it has trouble dealing with wireless the files had better be local and as there's no additional memory (8Gb max.) you're limited.

The features list for this (and other) Archos devices labelled as "Internet Tablets" suggests that you can connect external media (USB drives), but there's no cable included and no easy means by which to obtain one. I do not consider their web site to be an easy or practical means, and last I looked, it wasn't available.

The Video camera, well camera in general is fairly weak. not only is it at the wrong end of the device, it's not terribly capable. I wasn't impressed at all.

I looked for a single salvation of this device, the ability to play Angry Birds, which is free from the AppsLib.com (like and App Store), but no, the tracking on this tiny screen is so poor you're frustrated and quickly contemplate turning this device into a projectile.

In short, the features, forethought, and quality of this device are an excellent recommendation for the iPod Touch. The iPod Touch... works well, in every way. Consistently.

When asked by a co-worker whether I'd sell him my tested Archos 3.2, I said no. I said go buy a device you'll be happy with. He did, a 64Gb iPod Touch. He is happy.

My Archos 3.2, well I was hoping to use it as a developer device for Android, but rather than frustrate myself. I think I'll drop it into one of my boxes of old hardware to be rediscovered in a decade, then thrown out.