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October 15, 2005

Now that’s a personal video player!

I was still mumbling to myself over the Steve Jobs “reality distortion field” surrounding the video iPods, so I thought I’d take a look at some alternative personal video players. Given a choice, I’d probably opt for some heavy metal like the Archos AV700:

Archos fans have known about this for quite some time already, but the company has officially announced its much-ballyhooed Archos AV700 Mobile Digital Video Recorder, available in 40GB or 100GB hard drive configurations. The first of a new breed of consumer portable DVRs, the AV700 certainly won’t be mistaken for any PSP-size devices—it measures just over 8 inches wide, 4.2 inches tall, and a bit less than an inch thick, and it weighs 1.25 pounds. But then, who really wants to watch movies on an ultra-tiny device? The AV700′s huge 7-inch screen is in 16:9 widescreen format, for that movie theater-like experience on the go—minus the darkened theater, popcorn, and sticky floor, of course.

but I suppose a more even comparison is with the new Archos AV500:

Now that portable video is on everyone’s minds these days, we can truly appreciate the AV500 Mobile DVR, Archos’s latest PVP gem. Available in 30GB or 100GB capacities ($500 and $700, respectively), the AV500 adds a gorgeous wide-screen display and compatibility with protected Windows Media audio and video content to its long list of features.

One test-drive with the Archos AV500 had us begging for more. The goodness starts with the solid build and the awesome 4-inch LCD. At 4.9 by 3 by 0.7 inches, the 30GB version is only a tad larger than the svelte Creative Zen Vision (the 100GB version is a little thicker at 0.9 inch) and has a quality, expensive feel. Tactile controller buttons are sensibly located and make navigating the colorful icon-based interface a joy. The 4-inch, 480×272-pixel wide-screen display doesn’t match the Zen Vision’s 640×480 pixels, but it’s brighter and has amazing viewing angles.

More by following the link where there are some caveats that the AV500 is a little too big to be a great portable MP3 player, but I think that’s the basic point. If you really want portable video the portable audio device form factor epitomized by the iPod is just too small.

Posted at 11:21 am. Filed under Apple, Archos, Brands, Companies, iPod, Portable Audio, Portable Video

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