My blog has moved! Redirecting…

You should be automatically redirected. If not, visit and update your bookmarks.

Friday, October 20, 2006

I Lost My Constant Digital Companion Today

  DVR (or digital video recorder) maker Archos has taken back the Archos AV 500 portable digital video recorder that I've had on long term loan for review since May this year.

The Archos Av500 DVR allows you record from cable, video recorders, DVD players and PCs onto a pretty massive 30gb hard disk.  You can play it back on its own screen at any time, anywhere because it's about the size of a small paperback book.

The Archos DVR made me feel rather like Lamborghini owners must feel. Everyone comments on how great it looks and rave about the fantastic quality of the screen.

Archos Digital Video Recorder Design

Archos AV500 Digital Video RecorderThe unit looks and feels solidly built with a brushed aluminium case and with two sets of control buttons. It fits nicely in the hand and yet provides a very good sized screen which displays extremely sharp images.

On first glance the navigation and control buttons seem complicated. In fact they're so intuitive that without even looking at the manual I quickly discovered how the controls worked.

The Archos arrived complete with a neat leather protection case which again looks very smart. The only 2 extremely minor issues I found with the case were that I couldn't fasten it if I had the earplugs in and the inbuilt loudspeaker was slightly muffled by the retaining elastic band.

Getting Stuff In And Out Again

At the back of the machine are ports for USB, USB 2.0, microphone, power connector and multi-connect for headphones,  TV docking pod, FM remote and av in/out connections.

The manual reports that you may not get a TV docking pod with your Archos. To my mind this is an essential piece of kit for allowing you to record from cable, DVD, VCR or TV.

There's even an infrared sensor you can use to control it remotely. I didn't actually try this as I've enough remotes scattered around and don't need to add to their number. Besides recording from the TV was simply a quick press of a couple of buttons.

When the navigation buttons are pressed a context sensitive set of buttons are popped up on the screen so you can easily select whether you want to watch a video, view a photo or listen to music with navigation keys.

It's reported that you can get up 130 hours of video, 15,000 songs or 300,000 photos. I certainly didn't completely fill the Archos, even though it was my constant companion.

How I Tested The Archos

I went about my normal life and incorporated the Archos into it!

I've been on several 3 to 4 hour train trips over the months I've had the player and found that rather than being boring necessities the trips became enjoyable visits to the cinema or the concert hall.

The battery lasted well on the trips but I always took the main charger and at least one of the trains always had mains power I could plug into. 

In fact waiting for delayed trains was no hassle. Just plug into the Archos and I was watching Frasier, Grease, MASH even The Disney High School Musical put on by my kids.

I've taken it shopping and placed in the shopping trolley I watched re-runs of Dad's Army and listened to Bob Dylan and The Black Eyed Peas.

I've walked to and from the Manchester Metro listening as I walked.  The only downside is that the tram itself was so noisy that even with the unit and earpiece volume controls turned to the maximum there were times when it was difficult to hear.

You can even use it as a high capacity voice recorder for making notes and you can plug a microphone in for high quality recording.

The Issues

There were three minor issues that cropped up during my review. And I'd stress these were minor issues.

One rare issue was that sometimes the unit froze and I had to remove and re-insert the battery. It didn't affect anything and was only a slight annoyance.

Another is that the earphones became uncomfortable after long use as there were no foam covers with them.

The final issue was that the TV docking pod wasn't as easy to cart round as just the Archos itself so I couldn't record TV programmes at other places I went to.

Would I Recommend It?

That said I would unhesitatingly recommend the Archos for listening to music and marketing seminars, watching films and recording and watching TV programmes. If I'd kept the Archos it would have replaced my current (newish) video recorder and I might well have transferred some of my DVDs to it too. 

It's so flexible that I would defy any user to find a better portable way of storing their photos, songs and videos.

Wikipedia: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
UrbanDictionary: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
RottenTomatoes: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
MySpace: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Google: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Definitions: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No comments:

* View Other Blogs Reactions
Like the post? Bookmark it Now Using:, Digg, Furl, reddit, Technorati or share on Facebook

Other bookmarks or things you can do with this post...