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Review of Archos 705 WiFi Digital Video Recorder and Player

Thursday, January 03, 2008
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles...)
Tags: Archos, portable electronics, portable media player

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(NewsTarget) Watching video on a portable video player is a great way to make the time fly by while engaged in cardiovascular exercise. So I recently decided to try out the new Archos 705 WiFi digital video recorder and player to see how well it work as a portable video device to use in the gym while exercising. This article contains my review.

Archos calls their 705 WiFi device a "generation 5" device and claims to have conquered "at least five major technological breakthroughs." After using the device extensively for two weeks, I can bluntly say that one of those breakthroughs apparently didn't cover the basics of any portable media device: Reliable operation and quality video recording.

I found the Archos 705 to be extremely buggy. Nearly everything I tried to do with the unit sooner or later resulted in a crash. Plugging it into the DVR adapter to record a video? It crashes. Trying to play back a video? Crashes. Trying to copy files to it from your computer via USB? Big time crash. The Archos 705 unit seemed to just crash randomly and unexpectedly at various times. (I installed the latest firmware update right out of the box, by the way. So this wasn't a firmware issue.)

But the random crashing of the Archos 705 was the least of its problems. It turns out that its video recording algorithm is fatally flawed: It introduces a video hesitation or "hiccup" every 15 frames or so. It sort of looks like a keyframing error in the video encoder. The result is that watching any video recorded on the device is extremely annoying and fatiguing on the eyes.

The video encoding itself is also problematic. While you can set a video recording auto-stop timing function for, say, two hours, the Archos unit sometimes just stops recording before the two hour time limit for no reason at all, forcing you to start over or just flat out miss whatever you were trying to record. Its built-in FAT32 file system also limits video files to 2GB, meaning it has to split larger videos into multiple files. This also means that if you're trying to use the Archos 705 as a portable video player, you can't copy any file to it that's larger than 2GB!

That's absurd. A full-length movie is going to be far larger than 2GB unless it has a lousy bit rate. Limiting file sizes to 2GB seems like a serious oversight. Why not adopt a better file system that would support larger files? FAT32 was invented in the 1990's. Maybe Archos should join the 21st century in its file system.

Not everything about the Archis 705 is broken or stupid, however. The WiFi function actually works well. The screen resolution is outstanding, and the brightness is truly impressive. The battery is easy to reach, too -- a fact that comes in handy when you're trying to remove the battery to force a hard reboot.

But overall, the Archos 705 is a disastrous device that, in my opinion, doesn't do anything well that it claims to do. For around $500, it should at least record videos without keyframing artifacts, not to mention that it shouldn't crash more often than my Windows PC. This device makes Windows Vista look stable by comparison!

My recommendation? Skip the Archos 705 product. If you're looking for something to take with you to the gym and watch while you work out, your best bet right now is probably a portable DVD player (which also happens to be a whole lot cheaper than the Archos device).

While the Archos 705 makes a great effort to be a truly outstanding digital video recorder and playback device, it falls flat on both counts. I give it one star, and that's for the great screen resolution and brightness. It's something you'll really come to appreciate as you're repeatedly watching the reboot sequence.

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About the author:Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is a best selling author (#1 best selling science book on Amazon.com) and a globally recognized scientific researcher in clean foods. He serves as the founding editor of NaturalNews.com and the lab science director of an internationally accredited (ISO 17025) analytical laboratory known as CWC Labs. There, he was awarded a Certificate of Excellence for achieving extremely high accuracy in the analysis of toxic elements in unknown water samples using ICP-MS instrumentation. Adams is also highly proficient in running liquid chromatography, ion chromatography and mass spectrometry time-of-flight analytical instrumentation.

Adams is a person of color whose ancestors include Africans and Native American Indians. He's also of Native American heritage, which he credits as inspiring his "Health Ranger" passion for protecting life and nature against the destruction caused by chemicals, heavy metals and other forms of pollution.

Adams is the founder and publisher of the open source science journal Natural Science Journal, the author of numerous peer-reviewed science papers published by the journal, and the author of the world's first book that published ICP-MS heavy metals analysis results for foods, dietary supplements, pet food, spices and fast food. The book is entitled Food Forensics and is published by BenBella Books.

In his laboratory research, Adams has made numerous food safety breakthroughs such as revealing rice protein products imported from Asia to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium and tungsten. Adams was the first food science researcher to document high levels of tungsten in superfoods. He also discovered over 11 ppm lead in imported mangosteen powder, and led an industry-wide voluntary agreement to limit heavy metals in rice protein products.

In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Through the non-profit CWC, Adams also launched Nutrition Rescue, a program that donates essential vitamins to people in need. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

Adams is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released over a dozen popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at HealthRanger.com.

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