Archos 704 WiFi review
UMPC-like features and a spacious hard disk make the Archos appealing, but it's only good for entertainment.
Review Date: 30 Apr 2007
Reviewed By: Dave Stevenson
Price when reviewed: (£436 inc VAT)
Archos has produced some fascinating entertainment products of late, such as the 404 Camcorder (see issue 151, p65), and the Archos 604 WiFi (see issue 149, p64). But with its 7in, 800 x 480 touchscreen, 80GB hard disk and Unix-based operating system, the 704 WiFi appears to be edging into the territory of UMPCs like Samsung's Q1 Ultra (see pXX).
It isn't as versatile though: the operating system, although Unix-based, is locked down. So while there might be an enthusiastic community awaiting such products, it's unlikely that there'll be much in the way of third-party software for the 704, in spite of it being a natural choice for applications like GPS. It's also not a device you'll get much creative work done on - there's a PDF reader but no way to open Microsoft Word documents, for instance.
But it still has plenty of attractions for the traveller, as it's compatible with a huge range of video, audio and image files. The battery might only weigh 144g, but it proved ample in our tests. Playing back a succession of film-length AVI files encoded with DiVX produced a phenomenal 5hr 31m battery life - almost exactly the same as the optimistic-sounding claims from Archos. Playing back audio files was equally impressive, with the Archos lasting for nearly 24 hours straight.
The touchscreen is a mixed success. Prodding your way through the well-designed menu system, you'll see it deforms a little more than we'd like, with the icons becoming discoloured under your finger. We had little joy using the pad of a finger to control the 704 - a stylus is supplied, but there's nowhere on the device to store it when not in use. The screen itself is reasonably sharp, and images appear vibrant and detailed.
We appreciate the USB-in port, which allows you to plug in mass storage devices such as portable hard disks and digital cameras to either directly view or copy content across bi-directionally. It's a great way of backing up from a camera without needing a PC.
The eponymous WiFi is provided by an internal 802.11b/g transceiver, and there's also a mobile version of Opera built into the 704 WiFi. Web browsing is simple, and you can move around websites by dragging your finger around the page, but text entry is sufficiently difficult that to make moving to entirely new URLs a difficult process. It will behave as a PC on your network too, allowing you to stream media to and from other PCs.
The 704 WiFi is undoubtedly niche: it won't replace your laptop, as its restrictive operating system simply doesn't offer the flexibility, but as a way of watching video on the move it offers good battery life, as well as being a nifty way of surfing the net away from your main PC.
Author: Dave Stevenson
- What's on this week's PC Pro podcast?
- Apple patent reveals iPhone car control system
- Windows 10 release date, features and how to get the Technical Preview
- Microsoft updates Windows 10 tech preview
- End of an era: Nokia Lumia to become Microsoft Lumia
- Google boosts secure logins with USB Security Key
- Nominations now open for UK Cloud Awards 2015
- Lenovo rumoured to be acquiring BlackBerry
- Apple releases iOS 8.1 with Apple Pay
- Microsoft offers cloud access to help fight Ebola
- Google Glass: mugger bait, pub problem and other lessons learned from two dangerous weeks
- Twitter, please don't fiddle with my feed
- How Satya Nadella can get some pay-raise karma
- Windows 10: a step back to go forward
- Michael Dell: Cloud infrastructure is the roads, bridges and highways of the 21st century
- How to check your identity hasn’t been sold to the hackers
- Tim Cook: this is how much TV has changed since the 70s
- Westminster wins the .London battle
- 20 years of PC Pro: from deep pan pizza to virtualisation
- Five reasons why the Apple Watch leaves me cold
- iPad Air 2 vs Nexus 9: Apple and Google's latest high-end tablets compared
- Five things that are actually new in the iPad Air 2
- Bendgate, Antennagate, and why Apple doesn’t care about bad news
- iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 release date, specs and UK price rumours
- Office Online vs Google Docs: which free online office suite is best?
- iPhone 6 Plus vs iPhone 6 design comparison
- How to speed up an Android smartphone
- Nexus 6 release date, specs, UK price and leaked images
- iPhone 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus screen comparison
- Mac OS X Yosemite release date, price and new features
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office