Archos 704 Mobile DVR review

Does anyone really need one of these things? Really?

The Archos 704's menus are fluid, easy to understand, and pretty nice to use

TechRadar Verdict

I really, really wanted to like this, but the 704 will have you pining for an iPod Video in minutes


  • +

    Widescreen movies, anywhere-ish

  • +

    Plenty of GB for your pounds


  • -

    Wants to be all things to all men. Isn't.

  • -

    Touchscreen could be the work of Satan

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Good old Archos. The world had pretty much forgotten its not-bad-actually personal media player, the AV500.

Then Archos comes bounding back onto the market like some sort of hyperactive technology-providing spaniel, tail wagging furiously, with a new, widescreen, internetted-up media player clamped in its slavering jaws. Archos sincerely hopes you'll like playing with its shiny new toy. And for the most part, you probably will.

What we have here, then, is a very 'in', very 'now' device. Samsung, with its Q1, and Sony's equivalent, the weird-small VIAO pocket PC, seem to be aimed at the kind of person who does absolutely everything at the same time.

Be it cooking on a train journey, or ironing in the car, these companies seem to have a vision of Modern Man apparently getting things done on the fly, in any order he damn well chooses, thanks to his brilliant range of startlingly clever all-in-one devices.

But this is all too much for Archos. The Korean tech minnow is more interested in letting you have fun all the time. The 704's all about touch, see.

You prod it to make it do your bidding, like a DS for grown-ups. The menus are fluid, easy to understand, and pretty nice to use. It's all very simple and cute and fuss-free. Well, almost all of it.

See, traditionally, touchscreens make me cry hot, salty tears of frustration. I have all the coordination of a foal, and am constantly navigating to the wrong submenu, but a different, altogether more evil problem has arisen here: the touchscreen doesn't like to be touched.

Pushing the Archos' buttons

Give the blighter a damned hard jab, and it'll start your movie, or blast your favourite music at you, but by God's trousers, it takes some persuading.

Also, the screen's pretty average, and failed utterly as I tried to watch a movie on it during one of Britain's rare sunny afternoons. Internet access is very useful when you're out and about, and the fact that you can stream gubbins to the 704 wirelessly is pretty cool, but for every great idea, there's another infuriating oversight.

Before I could watch any of my movies I had to fiddle with drivers and patches and whatnot. That carry-on made me cross, so I thought 'balls to you, 704, with your cack screen and your fiddly drivers, I'd rather not lug your bulky, unresponsive carcass around with me'.

It might claim a few fans here and there, but I'm of the opinion that the 704 is trying too hard. It may be all about fun, but after a while, it'll infuriate. was the former name of Its staff were at the forefront of the digital publishing revolution, and spearheaded the move to bring consumer technology journalism to its natural home – online. Many of the current TechRadar staff started life a staff writer, covering everything from the emerging smartphone market to the evolving market of personal computers. Think of it as the building blocks of the TechRadar you love today.