Archos 404 review

Archos gives you multimedia on the move

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Our Verdict

An impressive PMP that's at its best when dealing with video

For

  • Will play WMV and DivX video, as well as WAV and MP3 audio

    3.5in. 320 x 240 LCD display capable of crisp colours

    Great-quality audio (if decent headphones used)

    MPEG-4 recording from external

    Very well built and low (just 190g) weight

Against

  • H.264 and MPEG 1/2 video support require £13 'plug-ins'

    AV input/output cables are (expensive) options

    Screen ratio is 4:3, and not 16:9.

    Camcorder footage can be 'smeary'

    LCD viewing angle is somewhat narrow

Although recent iPods will play video, their screens are tiny and the format support is extremely restricted. The 30GB Archos 404 isn't quite as small, but it's around the same price and plays a heck of a lot more. Oh, and it's got a built-in 'camcorder'...

This multimedia player boasts no less than 30GB of storage (up to 80 hours of video, or 15,000 'average' songs) and, depending on how you've configured it, will support Microsoft's 'PlaysForSure' or an external hard disk mode.

The latter is preferable, not least because it's the only way you can get DiVX files into the unit (and, for that matter, 'camcordings'). The quality of DivX and XviD replay can be superb, depending on the source quality. Interestingly, the player will also display PDF documents and JPEG stills.

The Archos 404 is a great little device that's certainly more convenient than a portable DVD player - and better for video than an iPod.

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