that's what stopped me from buying archos, to get the FULL potential you have to shell out for every little thing. I personally love my cowon a3. it has it's own pitfalls, but I'd definately prefer it over the ipod classic!!
A big flaw I notice is there is no qwerty keyboard. This will be awesome since the Archos has a REAL Web 2.0 browser with Flash 9 & Java Script. Not just some iPhone Mickey Mouse browser with a 320 screen. Getting A/V out & a large drive is another major feature (that I like) that most MIDs don't have. So, I'll wait until the Archos (or better device) has a qwerty keyboard.
I bought an Archos player last year and I will never do so again. These players look great at first - they seem to have all the features that Creative's Zen series or the iPods do, but cost a lot less. But Archos charges a lot more for extra "accessories" that are really required, including software necessary to play some video formats.
Not only that, Archos's operating system is incredibly buggy. My Archos 604 crashes constantly. Archos also misrepresents that their OS supports PlaysForSure, but when I pressed them, they told me that Napster is not supported. It's deceptive advertising to state that your players work with PlaysForSure, but not with one of the leading music providers that uses PlaysForSure.
Stay away from Archos. Their products are way too buggy. A Creative Zen would be a much better buy.
I bought 605Wifi and boy what surprise they gave. Aside from having to purchase plethora of accessories that should have been included, plug-ins are costing an arm and a leg, too. For example, web browser cost $30, which is already installed but needed to be unlocked. No thanks, I'll use my computer instead.
You need to update the firmware, and at optimal video resolution, bitrate, lower screen backlight and brightness settings, lower volume, according to archos.com it has 7 hours of video playback battery life and 22 hours for music.
Archos has about 12 optional add-ons in the form of software licence plugins (Mpeg2, AC3, H264, AAC and HD 1280x720 package $30) and several hardware accessory add-ons, but all those are awesome features that Apple has none of. you don't get the options to add any of those codecs on your Apple ipod. You don't get video recording, HDMI output, headmounted camera, DVB-T tuner, FM radio remote, extended battery dock, USB2-host, HSDPA dongle support, pocketable Tivo-like features, Slingbox like features..
Not to speak the included features are already much better then anything Apple does, such as full DivX and XviD support, WMV, Ogg, Flac, mp3, wav awesome large 800x480 4.8" screen, but I guess all this is in the review..
I keep reading over and over again that if you upgrade to the latest firmware and you set the A5 to "optimal video resolution, bitrate, lower screen backlight and brightness settings, and lower volume" you get 7 hours of video playback life and 22 hours for music "according to Archos.com". These comments come from people that already own an A5....why is it then they always refer to the manufacturer's website and don't bother to mention their own personal experience with the battery life in their device when playing video and/or music?
I have scoured the Archos Fans website and I can't seem to find anyone willing to post the battery life results AFTER the latest firmware update. I find that to be very strange. I would be interested in buying this device if someone can confirm that they are able to get at least 6 hours out of the A5 (out of the 7 hours advertised by Archos). I personally never believe a manufacturers advertising...after all it's in their best interest to fudge the numbers a bit to increase sales..wouldn't you agree? So PLEASE PEOPLE...post some real world battery results on here and stop quoting Archos.com! A thank you goes to anyone "brave" enough to post their personal battery experience with their device. Thank you!
a few of us have posted our results, and they are excellent with the new firmware considering the size of the screen. for video i got just short of 7hrs with divx and mp3 over 22hrs before quitting the test (with the player still running on mp3).
this review also fails to point out that the player supports flac and ogg audio files - i suspect this was done without updating the unit first.