Skip to navigation

Archos 704 WiFi review

Verdict

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)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

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

Subscribe to PC Pro magazine. We'll give you 3 issues for £1 plus a free gift - click here
Be the first to comment this article

You need to Login or Register to comment.

(optional)

Latest Media Players Reviews
Apple iPod touch (5th gen) review

Apple iPod touch (5th gen)

Category: Media Players
Rating: 5 out of 6
Price: £329
Philips Brilliance 234CL2SB review

Philips Brilliance 234CL2SB

Category: Monitors
Rating: 3 out of 6
Price: £176
Energy Sistem 7502 review

Energy Sistem 7502

Category: Media Players
Rating: 2 out of 6
Price: £113
Apple iPod touch (4th gen, 32GB) review

Apple iPod touch (4th gen, 32GB)

Category: Media Players
Rating: 5 out of 6
Price: £249
Apple iPod Shuffle (4th gen) review

Apple iPod Shuffle (4th gen)

Category: Media Players
Rating: 4 out of 6
Price: £39
Compare reviews: Media Players

advertisement

Latest News Stories Subscribe to our RSS Feeds
Latest Blog Posts Subscribe to our RSS Feeds
Latest Features
Latest Real World Computing

advertisement

Sponsored Links
 

 
SEARCH
Loading
WEB ID
SIGN UP

Your email:

Your password:

remember me

advertisement


Hitwise Top 10 Website 2010
 
 

PCPro-Computing in the Real World Printed from www.pcpro.co.uk

Register to receive our regular email newsletter at http://www.pcpro.co.uk/registration.

The newsletter contains links to our latest PC news, product reviews, features and how-to guides, plus special offers and competitions.