Archos has long been king of the PMP castle, and if this recently unveiled beauty is anything to go by, this situation is set to continue for a while yet.
Unlike the AV400 it replaces, this portable player uses a widescreen, making it ideal for watching movies and TV programmes. While an episode of Rome would be squeezed into letterbox format on the old model, here it fills the screen, giving you an even better view of the sex and violence on show. Bravo.
The quality of the screen is also excellent - on a par with the PQI mPack's, in fact - although the lack of external stereo speakers means the Archos lags slightly behind in terms of how well it provides the whole movie experience.
Sound through headphones is fine, though, and the music tracks we played were crisp and clear. It can play back most of the major file types (we had no problems getting our selection of movie clips to run), but again, it's not quite up to the mPack's exhaustive standards.
Coming to a largescreen near you...
The one major advantage the AV500 does have over the mPack is that it can record. You can even output recorded video in higher resolution to a screen or projector. It's also a better-looking piece of kit, although the excellence in design hasn't spread to the rather confusing control system. Overall, though, an excellent player, and very cheap if you're willing to shop around.