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Customer Review

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Train / plane journeys just all became business class, 3 Jun. 2007
This review is from: Archos 704 80GB WiFi Wide Touch Screen Multimedia Player (Electronics)
Cast your mind back to the early 90's, when the idea of having little TV's in the seats of airplanes was first becoming common. You could choose from multiple channels, you'd get relatively recent films, and it was a great distraction from long flights. Fast forward 15 years, and apart from some of the more expensive airlines or those in the middle-east / east-asia, we're stuck with the same aging technology. Take my last flight to the states; the in-flight entertainment didn't start till we'd been in the air for 90 minutes, and it consisted of a few chick-flicks, a few slightly older films, repeats of TV shows, and one or two decent movies. If you've seen them, you're stuck. Not to mention that it's a 3.5' screen and it's quite common for channels or sound not to work brilliantly.

So, there we have a problem. The Archos 704WiFi is the solution. 80gb is easily enough to put 20-30 full length films on there, but perhaps a more likely use will be to load up TV shows that you've downloaded from the web or recorded from TV using it as a personal Digital Video Recorder (DVR). Is there a show you and your partner watch together? Get the episodes down in advance, transfer them to your archos and watch them on the plane so you're still "synced" when you get back! The sound's pretty decent, battery life is fine for a long movie or a few episodes of TV, alternatively I think you can charge it via USB. You can also get a spare battery if you're going to be away from a socket for a long time (mine came with UK, European, and US heads for the AC adaptor).

Video quality is good, and so far I haven't had any problems with movie types; reviews of older Archos DVR's mentioned needing to buy plugins to play certain movie types but it's not something I've come across so far. If you set it up in Windows Media Player sync mode it can sync your library very nicely, and it can convert most movies that are not already in the correct format. However this can take some time (sometimes equal to the running time of the movie) so I'd recommend you plug it in, set up your sync, then leave it to run overnight.

Finally, the WiFi. This hooked into my home network first time no problems. For browsing sites that dont' require much text input it's fine. The browser is intuitive and fully-featured so you can use advanced "Web 2.0" sites, and if you're in an internet hotspot but don't want to get your laptop out, this is perfect. It's certainly not going to replace a laptop in its entirety by itself, but in combination with say a PDA/Smartphone they do seem to be increasingly redundant...

One final note; build quality is solid. This is a prestige bit of kit that's now in its 4th generation. You'll be excited when you get this out of the box, and that's not something you get to say very often. Enjoy.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Nov 2007 20:59:11 GMT
Excellent review, thank you, sufficient to persuade me to pick one up in Gatwick. Now cannot for the life of me work out how to actually put a DVD onto the thing. Any ideas? I am not that computer literate, and all these decriptions about the finer subtleties between an AVI file and a DVD are beyond me, and the instruction book was less than informative. Any ideas of how to unleash the potential of this device would be warmly appreciated, thanks, Hugh

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Feb 2008 18:02:02 GMT
Err, putting a DVD on there is not something I've done. I've been getting films from BitTorrent that are specifically already in AVI format. Otherwise you'll need your own ripping/burning software to get the right filetype.
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