Google's Android is making its way into every nook and cranny in the tech industry, so we weren't surprised to find the open-source operating system (OS) in Archos new offering, the Archos 5 Internet Tablet.
Like its earlier iterations, the Archos 5 sports a huge screen, and going by its naming convention, it's a 5-inch screen. As generous as it is, those who rather go for a compact device that's easier on the hands will not take to it. Your fingers will also not go easy on the glossy surface, leaving proof of usage all over the device.
The Archos 5 is relatively thin, but this applies only for the flash drive version, which ranges from 8 to 32GB in capacity. If you need more disk space for your music and videos, the Archos 5 does have a thicker HDD version, varying from 160 to 500GB.
True to its reputation, the Archos 5's audio reproduction is impeccable, which we tested without its equalizer activated. Bass levels were given ample focus, and we did get a clear signal on the lows of our test tracks. An equal performance was also felt on the mids with strong vocals reproduced for our ears. Going towards the highs, we noticed it tended to be weaker, drowned out by the stronger bass and vocals.
Video viewing is especially great on the display's WVGA (800 x 480) resolution with 16 million colors. Video format support is aplenty, from the common H.264 and WMV formats, to the less than familiar RMVB and MKV formats. Playback was smooth and no tearing was noticed during fast frame rates, but we did notice a slight slowdown for RMVB file playback.
Up till now, you might be wondering what the fuss is with the new Archos 5. The evidence is in its user interface, which is running on Google Android 1.5, otherwise known as Cupcake. While it sports a similar interface to its Android phone counterparts, the Archos 5 version has a few things lacking, such as a full-fledged Android Market for app installation.
With an active Wi-Fi connection, you can still grab your Gmail over the air, and the web browsing experience is pretty solid and easy to use. With all our multimedia and web action, the Archos 5 lasted from dawn to dusk on a single charge.
Out of the box, the Archos 5 Internet Tablet is a great media player. While having an Android OS seems to have made the interface much more intuitive and easy to use, its potential is unfulfilled and stunted by the lack of supporting apps specifically built for the internet tablet scene. Treat the Archos 5 as a portable media player however, and you'll find the S$669 (for the 32GB flash drive version) worth the money.