The lowest-priced brand-new, unused, unopened, undamaged item in its original packaging where packaging is applicable. Packaging should be the same as what is found in a retail store, unless the item is handmade or was packaged by the manufacturer in non-retail packaging, such as an unprinted box or plastic bag. See details for additional description. Great piece of video equipment.
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Its audio capabilities are music to our ears, but the real value lies in its video recording and playback features, which are the best in its class.
The device itself measures 3. The LCD is 4 inches diagonal and has a resolution of by pixels—yep, that's widescreen. The rechargeable battery is removable, and you can purchase a spare from Archos. On our battery rundown test, the AV ran for 5 hours 45 minutes—that's 45 minutes longer than it's rated for. Archos products have a history of less-than-intuitive controls, but the AV breaks the mold. Navigation is split between a four-way rocker with a center select button for the main menus and file browsing and a set of four buttons just beneath that for contextual menus.
All are located on the right of the screen, providing a clean analog interface, though we wish the contextual buttons were a bit larger or separated more. The main menus themselves are very simple and professional-looking, and browsing files is a breeze. The contextual menus provide lots of flexibility in a manageable way, and thumbnail previews load more quickly than on other devices.
Audio files can be loaded either with WMP or drag-and-drop style on any. PC including Macs. We also had no trouble at all using the AV with online subscription services like Napster. We were anxious to try out the AV 's main feature, so we jumped right in and hooked the device up to our TV to record some programming.
We had to plug the AC adapter into the TV Docking Pod and connect it to the AV in order to record, which was a minor inconvenience, but once we got set up, recording was a breeze. The player lets you record video at up to 2. If you're recording a copy-protected DVD, however, you can record only in Optimal mode. Don't be put off by the lag time between what you see on your TV and what you see on the player's LCD—your files will come out fine.
We recorded at a few different bit rates and found them to be watchable even on the lower end around Kbps. Recorded video is smooth, with minimal shimmering at highest quality setting 2. We did note that in VGA mode, the bottom of the screen where the headline ticker on a news channel is gets cut off. Also, if you change channels a lot during a recording, the audio sync can fall significantly behind.
Since the AV picks up the copy protection from protected DVDs, you can't watch that content on an external monitor or on your PC, but we don't think this is such a big deal, since you can always bring the DVD with you to play at a friend's house. That and the built-in LCD is bright and sharp, with very good viewing angles, so we were able to watch a feature-length movie comfortably with minimal eye fatigue.
Recording is pretty flexible. You can snag your favorite shows on a schedule and even attach the IR emitter cable to the Docking Pod and your VCR or set-top box so the AV can turn them on and off while you're not around this may confuse your pets. The Mini Cam has an autofocus and white-balance system and records video and audio directly to the hard drive at up to VGA resolution, even in low light.
The photo features are very good, including panning and zooming, but there are no fancy transitions in slide shows, and you can't listen to music while viewing photos. The AV has impressive audio-recording capabilities. Our recordings were extremely clear, and we like that the display shows you in real time how big the file you are recording is. We wish that the microphone had adjustable sensitivity, but it does have a volume-level meter, so you can see if you're too loud or not.
It does, however, support ID3 tags, file management renaming, deletion, moving , and album art. The built-in speaker is fairly powerful and clear enough, but we don't imagine too many people will use it when they're on the go. The included earbuds are adequate, but they are very weak in the bass and really don't do justice to the AV 's impressive audio output capabilities.
Bass Boost and the bass tone control helped a bit, but the earbuds didn't have much more to give. Our formal testing showed the AV to have a much flatter frequency response with non-Archos headphones plugged in, especially our PX set. Moral of the story: If you shelled out for the player, don't skimp on the headphones. We also measured a clean signal at up to 3 clicks below top volume, though if you're listening any louder than that, you're probably close to deaf anyway.
The AV 's audio playback options are mercifully simple; there are bass and treble controls and a BassBoost feature. The BassBoost feature boosts the upper bass, where it usually doesn't need too much help. In case you couldn't tell already, we really like the AV Our wish list for it is basically negligible, though we would like to be able to record without using the Docking Pod.
But as a portable DVR, it's second to none in its class. And at the same size as many nonrecording devices, such as the Creative Zen Vision , it provides a nice step up in features. More portable media player reviews:. He is also a working trumpet player in and around New York City. See Full Bio. Editor Rating: Excellent 4. About the Author Mike Kobrin. Become a fan of PCMag.
Archos AV series
The Archos AV series is a line of portable media players from the company called Archos that was released through to This series introduced the digital video recorder for the AV, an optional feature that would be compatible in subsequent players. Although the AV series did not have standalone digital audio players , Archos did release them under the concurrently released Gmini series. The AV series were similar to the Jukebox Multimedia with some updates including recording capability and faster performance. The player was criticized for its low battery performance and lack of DRM playback facilities. The battery playback on the device is stated at 3 and a half hours when watching video or 10 hours when listening to music.
Archos AV500 Gray/Silver ( 30 GB ) Digital Media Player
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