Archos 605 WiFi added to my PMP collection


ARCHOS605 Monday and Friday of last week was like Christmas.  On Monday I received a HD video camera.  On Friday I received the Archos 605 WiFi portable media player.  I bought it for a couple of reasons.  First, my wife was feeling like a second class citizen because she doesn’t have one.  And second, because I wanted to. 

The Screen, Size and Feel

The Archos 605 I purchased is the 80GB, 4.3" widescreen model.  It’s slightly thinner than my Zen Vision W.  I took some pictures of it next to some of my other players for comparison.

Comparison to the Sony PSP

Comparison to the Apple iPod Video

Comparison to the Creative Zen Vision W

Pictured using built-in stand

The 4.3" screen is a touch screen.  As a result, the screen does not have a glossy finish like the Zen, PSP or iPod.  The screen itself seems rather rigid.  I hope that means it’s going to last a long time.  So far I haven’t found a big need to touch the screen much.  You can do nearly everything with the menu button and directional keys. Because the screen is big, the unit isn’t small.  The native resolution for the screen is 800×480 pixels with 16 million colors.  That’s about twice the resolution of most of my other players and a bunch of colors although I haven’t counted them all.

The actual size of the unit is 4.8” long x 3.2” wide x 0.75” thick.  It weighs 9 ounces which is twice what my 80GB iPod Video weighs.  If you look at the pictures at http://www.archos.com/products/gen_5/archos_605wifi/download.html?country=us&lang=en, you’ll notice the unit looks gray metallic (beaded in the close ups) with gray keys.  Those pictures must have been an early prototype because my unit is slightly different.  The keys on mine are white and the unit itself doesn’t have the polished stainless steel finish like you see in flash animation on the main page.  That’s fine with me because I like the finish my unit has.  It doesn’t show fingerprints and it is easy to hold. 

Video Playback and Battery Life

Out of the box it plays most if not all of the Windows Media Video and AVI files I have.  I haven’t tried any WMV HD.  There are some optional plugins to add support for H.264 or MPEG-2 with AAC and AC3 respectively.  I doubt I’ll purchase those plugins.  I’m ripping everything I have to DivX AVI or WMV and it plays them great.

I’m getting 5 hours of continuous video playback with default brightness and contrast settings.  That’s also with 2500k bit rate video.  I’m wondering if I produce different video bit rates if I can reduce I/O to the hard drive and thus extend the battery life more.  I don’t think it’s a big deal so I’ll probably just continue doing what I’m doing.  The last time I went to Hawaii, two movies was plenty so this should be sufficient.

Disk Capacity

The Archos 605 I have has the 80GB hard disk.  To give you an idea, I already have 35 movies on it and the hard drive isn’t even half full.  To bring this into perspective, I can load the complete Harry Potter movie set, all of the Star Wars movies, the extended Lord of the Rings set, all of the Matrix movies, all of the Indiana Jones movies, all of the Aliens movies, and about 30 other movies.  I’m in the process of doing that right now.  Impressive eh?  Let’s see the 16GB Apple iPod Touch do that.  No possible way.

In case you were wondering, the typical two hour movie is ripping to about a 1GB disk file.  So I’ll end up having about sixty to seventy movies on the disk when I’m done.  The Creative Zen Vision W I have will hold a little less.  Basically either of the devices will hold a killer collection of pictures, music and video.

Archo605Tilted Other Features

The Archos 605 comes with an assortment of other features.  Some of those features are uninteresting to me, but might come in handy for other people.  For instance, the 605 has a DVR Station option that allows you to record television programming.  I already have HDTV recordings via my TiVo and Media Center PC so I don’t really need yet another source of programming.

My player comes with WiFi and several networking options.  For instance, I could purchase Opera and load it on the 605 and turn it into a cute little coffee shop surfing device.  This is mildly interesting to me, but since I don’t have a nationwide hotspot plan, I don’t have a big need for this. 

It appears the Archos 605 is running Samba or something to allow network browsing of shares on my homelan.  According to the docs and features, it’s also supposed to have streaming capabilities.  Again, all of this stuff is kewl and all, but I’m using my 605 as a standalone portable media player.

Summary

The Archos 605 WiFi is a solid player and lives up to its billing so far.  I purchased mine through Amazon.com when they went on sale (10% off).  I also had a $35 gift card and got free shipping.  I’ve only been playing with it a few days and so far I only dislike one thing which I plan to fix.  The supplied charge cord sucks.  The cord I’m talking about is the USB cord that allows syncing, charging or both.  It charges extremely slow via USB.  I need to find a quicker charging method.

The screen is fabulous and will work in "torch mode".  In other words, you can really crank up the brightness and contrast.  If you do, you’ll knock some of the battery life off.  For instance, I turned it up and it knocked the video playback time down to four hours fifteen minutes.  If I buy an extra battery or quick charge method, I’ll probably run the brightness somewhere less than torch, but something higher than default.

And in case you were wondering about my honey, she’s getting the Zen Vision W.  So I’m loading it with all of the mushy chick flicks and some of her dance videos.  Shhhhhh, keep that a secret.  It’s a surprise.

You’ll notice no comparison and only this brief mention of Zune.  My Zune is Microsoft owned and I gave it to Bryan Von Axelson.  He promised he was going to put it to good use.  I’m waiting for the next generation Zune to show up.

BatteryDock [UPDATE]  I spoke with Archos Technical Support about the charge times I’m seeing with this unit.  It takes about eight hours to charge (when fully drained) if using the USB cord plugged into my laptop or desktop machines.  That is apparently the norm.  That doesn’t really surprise me because USB doesn’t supply that much power.  So I ordered the battery dock pictured here at right.  This little mini dock serves several functions.  First, it does a quick charge of the battery in the unit.  It also has a built-in battery which extends the video playback by another 4 hours (or so I’m told).  I should know if any of that is true by this time next week.  If so, it looks like I’m ready for a trip to an exotic location.  Tahiti anyone? 

[FINAL UPDATE]  I received my Archos mini dock battery charger.  bhphotovideo.com sells them for $39.  It adds 4 hours to the playback time of the unit.  Nine hours of nonstop video playback is pretty killer.  Charging now takes less than four hours.  I have forty movies on my Archos 605 WiFi player, so far.  I think I am travel ready now.  Grin.

FYI, I had to correct the link just above because apparently my source sold my battery doc for the wrong price then corrected the online catalog.

Comments (43)

  1. Brian Mc says:

    I just received mine yesterday and I couldn’t tell if it was charging through the DVR station so I attempted it through the USB cord.  When I looked at it 8 hours later, it was still charging.  How long did yours take to charge?

  2. Keith Combs says:

    It takes mine 8+ hours to charge.  In other words, it takes too damn long via the USB cord.

    Brian, I would be grateful if you could run some tests over the next couple of days.  I’d like to know if the DVR station cuts the charge time in half or something.

    Please report back.  Thanks.

  3. Chunks says:

    Hi Keith,

    thanks for the review,  I just put an order for a new one down lastnight on ebay and should be receiving it in the next week or two.

    How does the SD card slot work?  Is it similar to an external drive i.e; can you put a film or two on an SD card and then just plug it in the bottom of the archos and watch them from the card?

    Also, are there any applications out there that offer a ‘microsoft office’ type of application plug-in?

    Thanks again, very helpful blog.

    Chunks

  4. Keith Combs says:

    Chunks,

    My 80GB 605 WiFi does not have a SD card slot.  Regarding apps, I guess thats going to depend on the market.  I have not seen any viewers or editors like that yet.

  5. Caleb says:

    on the topic of the battery dock, the link you have is going to the mini dock which is 30 bucks, but doesn’t have a battery in it, the one you have is listed at http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/518328-REG/Archos_500977_Battery_Dock_for_Gen.html

    and sells for 40. everywhere else including archos.com it is out of stock for those potential buyers

  6. Keith Combs says:

    Apparently I got lucky.  Looks like they corrected the online catalog and bumped the price to $39. You are correct, the new link at http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/518328-REG/Archos_500977_Battery_Dock_for_Gen.html is the correct link.

  7. KiwiBri says:

    Hi, I just got my 80 GB 605 tonight.. I bought the travel Dock & the DVR Dock. This last dock is sweet with the remote control.

    its a nice device. I use my Iphone for short clips here and there, and this device is for watching my movie collection on my TV.

    B

  8. Karl Carter says:

    I’ve just purchased the 605. The manual states that the green light wil blink when the unit is fully charged. Well, it’s been 23 hours since I’ve plugged it in my PC’s usb port. The light is still solid green. Why does it take so long to charge via USB the first time?…I’m ordering the DVR dock this weekend.

  9. Keith Combs says:

    Karl, I had a similar wierd instance.  The first time I used the battery doc, the light never flashed.  I would not worry about it right away.  Use it for a few days and see what happens.

  10. J says:

    I have this USB Power Adapter that u can plug USB into one end and charge to the outlet. So that one you can eliminate by using your computer to charge. The thing is.. will it miss up the Archos? Here’s the spec for the USB Power Adapter.

    Input: AC110-220V50/60Hz AC 10mA   Output: DC6.00+-0.20V DC180mA +- 30mA

  11. Keith Combs says:

    J, regarding using the charger, I’m not sure I would do this.  I would hate to see you turn the 605 into a brick.  I’m sure Archos would say you voided the warranty.  Seems too risky to me.

  12. J says:

    Actually I found out that the USB on your desktop provides 500mA so more then the USB Power Adapter  (180mA).. i guess we all just have to buy the Power charger from Archos. 😉

    what software you all using to rip to AVI? I am using Apex Video Converter and having trouble playing on the unit. When fast forwarding to anywhere in the movie, it will just stuck there and won’t play.. btw i am ripping to Divx 6.6.1

  13. Carl says:

    I’m wavering between the archos 605 flash and the itouch. Are there 3rd party apps for the archos like there are for the itouch?

  14. Keith Combs says:

    J, I’m using http://www.xilisoft.com/dvd-ripper-platinum.html.  You can see some details at the bottom of http://blogs.technet.com/keithcombs/archive/2006/12/29/dvd-adventures-with-the-psp-ipod-zune-and-zen-vision-w.aspx.  

    For the Archos, I’m converting everything to Divx .AVI, using the above tool.  They work well on both the Archos 605 and the Creative Zen Vision W.

  15. Keith Combs says:

    Carl, I doubt we’ll see many 3rd party apps or plugins.  It would appear Archos is the only company offering extensions right now for things like Opera.  With Apple’s popularity, I would imagine developers will focus on their platform.

    I could not bring myself to buy their iPod Touch.  If it had at least 30GB of space, then I probably would have.

  16. J says:

    I was going to get iPod Touch before I heard of Archos.  Same reason as you, the Touch just too lack of capacity space; as 16GB can’t really store anything.

    Carl, the first night I got my Archos 605, I immediately bought the Opera plugin since I love the way to surf the web wifi. It worth the $30 bucks and their built in Flash.

    Thanks Keith for your Ripper recommendation, I’ll check it out.  I was just using WinAVI Converter, it works okay but I having trouble ripping some .rmvb to .avi

  17. Keith Combs says:

    Regarding the xilisoft product, download the trial first.  There are probably plenty of other products on the internet that will do what you want for less than the $45 xilisoft now wants.  I tried it first and decided it was for me because it will let you create the formats used by the PSP, Zune, Creative Zen, and iPod.  Now that I have the Archos, it also works for it very nicely.

    Now if there was a format they would all accept…

  18. J says:

    Has anyone be able to purchase the Archos mini dock battery charger for 5 series? Sold out everywhere I checked online..

  19. Thanos Pappas says:

    I really need help. I bought this today because I really dmired its superiority from ipod touch which I would buy. After reading the manual  I came to th conclusion that when I charge my archos, it should have a small battery wih a lighting on top of the screen. When I firstly got it, I opened it after 15 mins o charging for a very little time and everythingreacted perfectly(I am talking about 2 mins). After that I got away and whe I returned 5 hours later the screen wouldnt show any signs of life, even thought the charge lght is open when I connect it with my pc. When you charge it for the first time does your screen work; Is it on while you charge;; If yes I have a problem

  20. Keith Combs says:

    My suggestion would be to charge it overnight before you attempt to do anything.

  21. Thanos Pappas says:

    Thanks. I did and I will leave it even  more to be sure .During the first 6 hours I had my pc off and even it had the charge light on I suppose it may didnt take so much power. Now it is 9 hours of apropriate charging in te usb and I will leave it for 6 more. The only thing I care about is that I can’t open the screen even though the power light is on. Anyway, really thanks for your review and your quick responding to me. I hope that I will be able to take the best out of my archos today.

  22. pat says:

    can u only buy the plug in for the archos 605 wifi for the internet only once u buy the actual product or can u buy the software before u buy the product how does it work

  23. Keith Combs says:

    Pat,

    U is spelled you.  What are you asking?  If you are asking about the web browser, that is an addon product and costs extra.  I only use my player for video so I will not be using it in that manner.

    Does that answer your question?

  24. stanley says:

    Can the Archos 605 play native Tivo files that I’ve used Tivo ToGo to download?

    Thanks….

  25. Keith Combs says:

    Good question Stanley!!!  I’ll try that this week.  I am only recording in high definition so it’ll be interesting to see what it takes to create and move a recording to a portable device like my Archos 605, Zune or Zen.

    More holiday fun coming…

    FYI, most likely I’ll just create another blog post on the subject.

  26. Stanley says:

    Thanks for the reply, Keith. I’ll look forward to your update on this. I’m pretty sure I’m going to ask my family to give me the 80gb 605 as a Christmas present.

    Merry Christmas……

  27. Keith Combs says:

    No problem.  I’ve been meaning to purchase the TiVo Desktop Plus version (which I did today). I’m transferring Heroes, Grey’s Anatomy, ER, and a couple of movies right now.  I also have it set to create H.264 versions which I’ll drop to my Zune 80 and Archos 605 WIFI.

    I purchased the Archos plugins last weekend to support all of the video formats it possibly can.

    The transfers are going pretty slow.  I’m pretty sure this isn’t just a copy because the TiVo is on the GigE network I have so network performance should be a non issue.  I would imagine it’s also doing a conversion.  It seems the TiVo desktop software writes checkpoints because you can stop the transfer before it’s complete and still play the file.

    It would appear the files will be tranferred and converted by morning.  I’ll play with things then.  I’m off work this week so I need something to do.  Hee.  

  28. Anonymous says:

    One of the people that discovered my blog and the Archos 605 WIFI posting asked me about using TiVoToGo

  29. mike covin says:

    Is an access control or sign-in security application to lock out the device available? Also my pictures do not go in the full screen mode, they stay in the original size. Any ideas?

  30. Rob says:

    Mine has been charging for over 24 hours now.  Still no flashing light.  

  31. Keith Combs says:

    There’s a little reset pin hole on the bottom.  It’s tiny.  On occasion I’ve had to reset my device because it locked up tight.  I also noticed after the reset, a little while later the charged light flashes.

    My charge light doesn’t flash regularly either, but I know it’s charging and charged.  Playback confirms that.

  32. Tazeem says:

    when i got my Archos i put it on charge right away. It was about 3 p.m. when i started charging with the USB cable. I came back at around 7 and it was still charging so i turned it on to check. Will that have any effect on the archos because it wasnt fully charged for a first time run and i turned it on for about a minute.

  33. lallalaa says:

    Product in itself is very good made and from a hardware side is excellent. The bad stuff is actually the company Archos in themselfe. They force you to buy additional accesories. The battery life is barely 3h and not 5,5 as they state everywhere. The normal charging via USB cable takes abouth 24h! What I think is just pure crime. They obviously made the output electricity flow decrease so it takes so long to charge and make you buy ridiciolously overpriced plugins and accesories. Once you buy mini or charging docks, charging time is 3-4h. How come, it i still USB power?! If you think of buying it, always think about additional 40-70 gbp or 100-120$ more to pay, apart from the player. It is a must, blieve me. But once you don’t havea problem, the player is great.

  34. Keith Combs says:

    Yea, I pretty much agree.  The USB cable that comes with it sucks.  They should have included a wall charger.  They also should have included the H.264 and MPEG-4 video capabilities instead of having to pay extra for the "plugins".  

    Like you said, after you get the extras, you are pretty much set.

    For people on a budget, the Zune 80 is a better deal.  Smaller screen but a better price point and easier to carry around.

  35. Ted Hartman says:

    DVD ripping… You may want to take a look at magicdvdripper.com.

    I have used their ripper and copier software for over a year with no problems of ripping DVD movies or copying them to different media. Their most recent version conains the 605 profiles.

    fwiw…

  36. drob christian says:

    hello guys… listen .. i have the same problem with the charging.. but..that not my only problem cause.. i will be fine if it will charge in a day, but a didn’t manage to even start my archos.. i only got this stupid error.. its like the system is damager.. and it gives me the choice to repair/don’t do anything/format disk.. and i try them all..and still my archos is charging and not doing anything else.. i am killing my self here.. o and .. i am from romania..which is far..from the states..(the place were i got it).. pls guys . help mee.. i don’t know what can  i do

  37. Raymond Peck says:

    I’m about to start a job for which I’ll be driving 1 to 1.5 hours per day, and really need something to timeshift my NPR properly.  All the shows are now available via Podcast.  The new Ibiza device will subscribe to Podcasts through WiFi directly (not through sync with a PC), so apparently it’ll just top up all the podcasts as it detects HotSpots, so you’ve always got the latest.  Wake up in the morning and the morning shows are downloaded from the home WLAN.  Drop it on the desk at work and it fills up all day with the new shows, for the ride home.  No manual syncing step required.

    I haven’t been able to figure out yet if the Archos units have this functionality (Podcast subscriptions directly through WiFi to the originating sites).

    Anyone have a clue?  I’d rather get the Archos than the Ibiza, if it *can* wirelessly keep my Podcasts topped up.  🙂

  38. KJ says:

    I Just got my 605 30GB today. And I noticed that when I plugged it into the computer via the usb, the screen momentarily came on to show "archos" then went blank. I assumed it was off. But just one touch of the screen turned it on. I think this is why people are having such LONG charge times.

    I went into the Settings and I choose the "Completely Shut Down device"(not in those exact words) . . .so now it is completely off until I press the ON button. . . I’ll see now if this would Help with the charge time. . .

    Note that just by pressing the off button doesnt turn the device off completely. . . it kinda works like the IPOD. . .its never fully off. U need to go into the settings if u so desire

  39. Sandi says:

    I got a 605 80 GB today and the charging is killing me. Its been 9 hrs and the indicator is solid green. Also the device was automatically on the first time it connected then for some reason it shut down completely. I am pressing the power button .. it is still connected to the pc and is solid green but there is no response at all. Am worried if the piece is faulty or I have damamged it by pressing the power button !!

  40. Sandi says:

    What are the consequences of disconnecting the first charge if it has been on for 9hrs already ?

  41. Keith Combs says:

    Sandi, don’t worry.  It is most likely fully charged.  Yea the USB cord sucks.  I never use mine.  Get the battery charger when you can.

    As for the unit not responding to power button presses, it appears to be a linux suspend bug.  You can do a soft reset on the unit by taking a small safety pin and pushing the reset button on the bottom of the unit.  It’s that tiny little hole.  I’m hoping a firmware release donw the road will improve that. I carry a safety pin with my headphones and other travel stuff.

    In a pinch, borrow your girl friends ear ring.  :?)

  42. J says:

    Hello fellows Archos users! I am having a wonderful time w/mine Archos! Nothing beats this magic unit! Yes the usb-charging is really annoying. I have a feeling that it will charge somewhat faster if you do not "Turn Off Device Complete" to charge.  So just press and hold "Power" to shut down temporary to charge.

    I have the helmet cam which is very nice thing.. but it will use up big chunk of space for just 1/2 hr recording..

    I also bought the DVR player from Walmart (*cheapest you can find in the market!) Which works wonderful! The quality of video play on your tv is just simply awesome!  Anyway, using the DVR charger to charge ur Archos works so much faster then ur USB.. After 1/2-1 hr playing video and charge the sametime, I see the green light flashing which means stop charging..  Anyway, just an nice wonderful experience to share for owning this player for 3 months.. good luck!

    Just make sure you get the latest firmware!

  43. Anonymous says:

    In the initial first day of use with the Verizon Samsung Omnia , I was pretty frustrated. Much of that