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Archos AV340

Discussion in 'Portable Disc & Media Players & Recorders' started by General Panic, Nov 15, 2003.

  1. General Panic

    General Panic
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    Hi Guys
    Anyone own the Archos AV340 or know someone who's got one for an opinion on the machine?
    Can't for love nor money find one in any local store to peruse before buying.
    Was originally looking at a I-Pod just for MP3's but this machine looks far better as an all rounder for JPEG's and movies as well.

    General Panic
     
  2. captaindobie

    captaindobie
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    Hi General Panic.
    I can confirm that i am the proud owner of one of these fabulous machines. I took delivery 3 or 4 weeks ago, upgrading from the Archos Multimedia Jukebox 20.
    You will no doubt have seen many online reviews for this product.
    Most of the goods ones are pretty accurate in their overall assessment (although T3 don't seem to like Archos too much)
    The 3.8 inch colour screen is truly awesome, and is very watchable on the bus/train/car etc (not if you are the driver of course!)
    The unit is packaged with the video recorder accessory - simply connect it to sky or dvd player and away you go. (yes - it copies DVD's without any problem!)
    Converting the input to MP4, picture quality is pretty good and certainly looks the business when watching on the small screen.
    Obviously, quality does suffer a bit when watching on a large screen TV.
    You can also store photographs, again they look pretty good on the screen. It is great fun sharing the images with friends down the pub etc.
    Remember, there is also an optional digital camera that you can purchase, which simply attaches to the archos unit ( i don't have this so cant really comment on quality/usefulness etc)
    Sound quality is extremely good (haven't heard an IPOD to compare) but all my MP3's are encoded @ 192kbps and sound fantastic. (if you do buy this machine, the first thing to do is throw away the headphones - they are crap!)
    When connected to a PC the Archos is recognised as an additional hard drive - this allows it to store data files of any format. Handy if you wish to carry files around relating to work etc.
    The unit itself is a little chunky, and will not fit easily into a trouser pocket (although this may in turn impress the fairer sex)
    I usually place mine inside my jacket pocket or my rucksack.
    If you choose to do this, then the optional remote control with FM radio is pretty much essential (available direct from the Archos website)
    The only downsides that i can think of are the following...
    ...quirky menu system (well, it is french!). Not always obvious which button you should press when navigating the menu system although this has been greatly improved over the earlier models.
    In time, you do get used to this so it is not really a serious issue.
    The GUI is pretty well laid out and looks cool.
    If you have this in a trouser/jacket pocket you are unlikely to forget that it is there. It is quite weighty (although this does give a feeling of improved build quality over previous models)
    The unit is not packaged with any kind of travel kit and there is no screen protector, which may be a cause for concern.
    Overall, this is definitely an 8/10 product.
    However, if you simply require a product that lets you listen to MP3s on the move then the Apple IPOD may still be the one to go for (around £400 for the 40gb version i think)
    The Archos AV340 will set you back around £550 (dabs.com), so i guess you will have to consider whether the ability to playback video is something that you will use often and therefore worth the extra cash.
    If you need any more info. then please don't hesitate to ask:smashin:
     
  3. General Panic

    General Panic
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    Thanks a lot for the indepth review Captaindobie. I think i really need to see one working as a demonstration to get a proper idea.A trip to the big city is called for me thinks.
    Thanks again :)

    Panic
     
  4. brians

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    Hello

    Does this device provide any way of editing tv recordings, like editing out ads etc? Also, does it allow you to tune in different tv stations itself, as opposed to only accepting a composite signal as input, which would therefore require you to have an existing vcr?

    Brian
     
  5. General Panic

    General Panic
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    Hi Brians
    Still not got one yet and probably just going to get an i-pod now.
    The unit doesn't have a tv receiver built in and have read of a number of people having problems actually getting recordings of the TV,VCR etc to work well. Sound but no picture that kinda thing which put me off the unit somewhat.
    Captaindobie might offer some words of wisdom on the subject though.

    Panic
     
  6. captaindobie

    captaindobie
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    Hey Guys.
    As luck would have it i have just paid a visit to the Archos website...

    www.archos.com

    ...and low and behold the editing feature is on it's way! (December 03)
    A host of other new features will also be available via a free firmware update - compatibility with WMA and WAV files, a re-designed GUI and the ability to choose your own picture as the background display. Cool.:smoke:

    I can confirm that i have never had any problems getting sound & vision onto the unit. It is a really easy process.

    As General Panic has already said the unit itself is not capable of changing channels as there is no TV receiver. Connected to SKY however, you can use the auto channel change feature as the Archos can be set to record via the timer facility.

    Also, the Archos can accept S-Video input as well as composite.

    Hope this helps.
     
  7. General Panic

    General Panic
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    Watching QVC last night (no sniggers at the back there !) i ordered 2 AV320's for my brother and i. Talk about a quick change of mind or what!
    They had a guy from Archos on doing a demo and i was very impressed. Cost £450 which includes the FM radio controller which i beleive is extra normally and of course the QVC money back guarnatee which at the mo is extended till 20 January.
    I would of prefered the AV340 i think but for the money i think it's a good deal.

    General Panic
     
  8. General Panic

    General Panic
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    Captaindobie a question if you don't mind?
    I think i heard a caller on QVC last night saying you have to download something from the web to get the video function to work properly? A Divx codec or something?
    Can you advise?
    Cheers. Just got to wait the 5-7 working days now for posty to arrive :)

    Panic
     
  9. captaindobie

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    Hello again.

    The download(s) in question are only necessary if you are planning to add a lot of material from your PC onto the Archos.
    If you are simply going to use the supplied video recorder unit then no additional software is required.

    For PC based video, Archos recommened Virtual Dub
    www.virtualdub.org
    This software is available free and is used to convert different video files so that they are compatible with the Archos.
    As far as i can remember virtual dub does require the DIVX codec which, again, can be downloaded from here free.
    www.divx.com
    With this codec installed you can also playback all of the video files from the Archos on your PC!
    I readily admit that i am no expert with regards to all of the above but i have managed to get it working (although i very rarely download any video material from the web)
    Still, it's great learning new things as you go along, and there are loads of people out there on AV forums who are extremely clued up on all this stuff and will no doubt be able to help you more.
    The QVC deal does sound like a bit of bargain as the package you have bought would be nearly £580 from the Archos website.
     
  10. General Panic

    General Panic
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    Cheers once again Cap :)

    Panic
     
  11. General Panic

    General Panic
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    Just a quick update on the Archos if anyone is interested in getting one. Mine arrived (AV320) from QVC a couple of days ago and initially i was very impressed. It's true what a lot of folk say you really don't need any manuel it's so intuitive. I've also never seen a piece of kit come complete with so may cables , what ever your configuration at home there's a cable in there to work.
    The problem i found and the reason i'm returning it for a refund is the size of the unit. While not huge it's too bulky i found for portability. It's a good size for video playback and looking at photos but as an MP3 player it's too large IMHO.
    If you just use it round the house or taking it down the pub to show to friends no problem but out and about just listening to MP3's i found it just to big.
    I am glad i had the opertunity to use the machine for a few days and think it is a top piece of kit just not for me.
    I think i'll get the Creative Labs Zen for £200 and just use it for music.

    Panic
     
  12. dUnKle

    dUnKle
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    Ordered mine Boxing Day from Amazon - it arrived before 8 this Monday just gone

    Very, very impressed by it so far

    It is slightly bigger and a little heavier than some units but nothing major and fits into a pocket and is secure enough that you know its not going to slip out easy

    The sound quality is very good and it plays MP3s very well

    Video playback is also very good, only a few files would not play straight away but converting them is very simple, they can then be watched on the screen which gives excellent playback quality or connect to the TV which dos seem to be better than VHS quality

    Excellent little gadget - already ordered the camera for it
     

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