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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 1:49 am 
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I bought both this week, they are specifically for watching video on a train commute, so I thought I would post my first impressions of both.

As for video quality, I am really concerned with subjective enjoyment more then anything else.

At first when looking at the Archos display vs the touch, I was really disappointed with the h264 fluidity, brightness, contrast, and color quality of the Archos.

The Archos doesn't do better on any of these - the unit ships at its full LCD brightness, which I would describe as 'adequate', and the lack of anything brighter is very disappointing. This is compared to the touch, which ships at 50% but is already brighter then the Archos at max - if you want, you can fry your eyes with a touch. Fiddling with the contrast and brightness controls are a mixed bag of results depending on the content.

The colors on the Archos also seem innaccurate - especially when viewing tv content. There is no color adjustment - however, if you adjust the brightness and contrast, you might find the color cast jumping from yellow to green, which is *weird*.

As for H.264, the Archos has a very mild motion problem - H.264 videos which look flawless on the touch have slightly perceptible motion issue on the Archos - however, I noticed that if I studied the same file on the touch VERY closely, I could see the touch actually had some issues as well, they just aren't perceptible at normal viewing distance.

Finally, the volume on the Archos is just too low. In a quiet room its fine, but on the train to work I can tell this is going to be a big issue.

After all this, you might be surprised to hear I think I am going to like the Archos better in the long run...here's why...

As you probably have heard by now, the touch has a black issue. Bright content is outstanding, but normal-dark or dark content is actually annoying to watch. The blacks are reflective and there is very little gradation.

On the Archos, thanks to its general lack of contrast, this isn't an issue. As a result, the Archos is more watchable over a greater breadth of content than the touch (subjectively speaking). Plus, theres the bigger screen.

As for other issues - the interface of the Archos is of course, awkward and playskool-like compared to the touch (I was glad to find out that I didnt have to live with the weird water background). However, some things, like volume and ff controls, are actually a little easier on the Archos, because neither one of those controls are well suited for touching - this is where the rockers buttons actually work. And, like most interfaces, you do find yourself getting used to it - but its not intuitive.

But one of the features I look forward to most is being able to rip dvds to in vob format directly, and then watch them in their full resolution. This is really the easiest solution to what I find is the most awkward issue of PMPs, which is transcoding. The Archos also has no issues playing back VOBs, although I do wish it was able to read the dvd folder like a dvd player does - or at least display the filesizes alongside the filenames so you can tell where a feature begins.

As for the Wifi and Browser - the wifi takes a longer to connect then the touch, and is less reliable - sometimes it says cannot connect with a fine signal to a previously connected ap.

The browser in general works well and this is where the screen resolution on the Archos really shines (because as far as video is concerned I would trade LCD brightness for resolution in a heartbeat). Its the most like-pc browser yet for a pmp, although its a little rough around the edges in rendering some sites, and its definitely a little slow on the draw compared to touch Safari, which is beautiful but less usable.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 1:55 am 
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Did you try divx or xvid or vob or any .avi oh wait...... :roll:

Get outta here with that bias stuff.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 3:33 am 
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Again, I look at the price of a 160 gig Archos 605 in Canada versus the price of the IPod Touch with 16 gig. I find it hard to justify and I am not Archos bias, I own a new IMac and and MacBook Pro and my wife just got the new 8 gig Nano.

It's all about preference :)


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 4:21 am 
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GminiOG402 wrote:
Did you try divx or xvid or vob or any .avi oh wait...... :roll:

Get outta here with that bias stuff.


Did you even read the post?

I mention that one of my favorite features is the flawless vob playback and that I think overall I will like using the Archos better.

I dont use Xvid/Divx/avi so I didnt try those as they are irrelevant to my personal usage.

My goal is not transcode anymore and just use vob, but when I do want to archive, h.264 is my codec of choice.

I have had a lot of audio sync and device compatibility issues with DiVx in the past.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 4:50 am 
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JETS wrote:
Again, I look at the price of a 160 gig Archos 605 in Canada versus the price of the IPod Touch with 16 gig. I find it hard to justify and I am not Archos bias, I own a new IMac and and MacBook Pro and my wife just got the new 8 gig Nano.

It's all about preference :)


Youre absolutely right - it is about preference.

The Archos looks better on paper but the Touch is far more impressive in person.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 2:47 pm 
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As a followup, I actually put the Archos to work on the train today.

To my surprise, the audio level was actually just fine, and subjectively I enjoyed watching video on the train more the the iPod Touch.

The larger screen is definitely appreciated, as is the fact that the screen has outstanding anti-reflective/anti-fingerprint qualities compared to the Touch, which becomes a smudgefest within 3 minutes of use - its not even worth trying to keep it free of fingerprints, because you *have* to touch the screen to use it.

Also, the lack of the reflective black issue and dark gradation on the iPod was wonderful. Its definitely a big issue.

The LCD brightness was just fine (I still would appreciate the ability to jack it up a little more), but I found that it helps to put all the video controls to max, except the brightness, which should stay at 50-60% (brightness is not the same as the LCD backlight brightness).

The control issues didnt really bother me, since I just watch two videos on the train ride, there isnt a whole lot of fiddling to do, plus I noticed I was more used to them.

However, when I get off the train I switch to music while I walk and take the subway, but here I switched to the touch as it easily fits in a shirt pocket.

I guess I could put the archos in my backpack, but I wouldnt have any convenient access to controls. Still a lot of experimenting todo.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:58 pm 
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OK, on the ride home I completely changed my mind.
I like the ipod Touch screen better.

This is because on my morning ride, it is not very bright in the train, but on the ride home it is. Also, I got a protective film for the Touch which actually helped with some of the reflective black issues a bit.

I watched the same H.264 file on both systems clocked to the same point, which really is the acid test, and the touch definitely outperformed the Archos.

Sometimes I would fiddle with the Archo's video settings to get it to look as close to the touch as I could, and would come about 80%, but then the scene would change and I realized that the new settings only worked well for the last scene, while the Touch just continued to look great.

Trying to watch the Archos in a brightly lit train or car is just a bad experience, there really isnt much you can do about it.

This is really frustrating, because a company which has been making video pmps for so long (Archos) should absolutely know that a brightly backlit screen is a *must* as your viewing environment for a mobile device is rarely controlled. I think their engineers would start working in a room with a large skylight at least.

Its so frustrating because I really wanted to like the Archos better because of the specs, pricing, and storage, but the screen just isn't bright enough for my usage.

What it comes down to is that with some dark content, the Touch is a little lame, otherwise its fantastic. The Archos in a dimly lit room is great, but in a brightly lit area it just sucks.

ymmv


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 11:52 pm 
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iPod has 3 times less pixels, less colors and doesn't have the unscratchable touch-screen technology. Also the iPod Touchs screen is smaller. All these let Apple put more brightness in there. But really more brightness is like looking into a light bulb, not good tfor the eyes, and not confortable for prolonged watching of video such as a half hour episode of something or an hour and a half movie.

If you want to compare screen brightness, then compare it with the same resolution, same color precision Archos AV500 released two years ago. Since then, Archos has decided better colors, better resolution and unscratchabillity and unsmudgabillity of the screen was more important.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:25 pm 
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Charbax wrote:
Archos has decided better colors, better resolution and unscratchabillity and unsmudgabillity of the screen was more important.

The unscratchabillity and unsmudgabillity is a lucky side effect of using a cheap touchscreen membrane. I very much doubt it was intentional. In fact, I don't see even Archos touting it as "Unscratchable and unsmudgeable". I sure they would if it was the intention.
The not so lucky side effect is that it stuffs the contrast ratio of the screen. This is why Archos loses these types of screen comparison tests.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:56 pm 
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mitchelln you are so far off again. Archos has won all the screen comparison tests that there has been and still wins them. It being unscratchable and unsmudgable is the whole secret of the screen that Archos used, since it's to be used mostly with the finger. They learned from the PMA430 which was smudged too easilly cause it was just a conventionnal touchscreen LCD, their goal with 604 WiFi was to change the touchscreen technology to make it super usable touch-screen and with the 605 WiFi they improved the quality of the output, thus removing most of the grainy effect that people complained about. The grainy effect, now nearly invisible, being the tradeoff that is required to have unsmudgable and unscratchable touch-screen.

Smudges and scratches are the most disturbing thing about using touch-screens for video. It's like having bucketloads of dust on your big screen TV, it ruins the movie watching experience, so you would keep swiping your big screen TV and you would realise each time you swipe it it gets worse.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 3:08 pm 
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Long running viewers of this sitcom may remember that I own a Fujitsu Pocket PC. It's actually a couple of years old now, but is generally considered to be the best one ever made. It has a 640x480 transflective display with a completely transparent (and still unscratched) touchscreen membrane.

Now, I've put this next to one of my colleagues 605. Fired up Opera on both. The Fujitsu's display is much brighter, the colours are stronger and outside viewing is far superior. Same goes for viewing pictures (my Fujitsu supports PNG by the way). There is simply no contest. I bet if you hid the rest of the unit and asked even an ArchosFan which was the better display they would point to the Fujitsu. This is why I initially so upset with my 604 wifi. Instead of being a brand new cutting edge device it was like jumping back 2 generations of Pocket PC's touchscreen wise. (This exact same debate about touchscreen quality raged about 3 years ago in the PPC fraternity. I thought such degradation issues were long gone).

This is a classic example of where paper specs are only one half of the story. The 605 should clearly have the advantage as it has more pixels, but boy are those pixels tiny! About all you can do with them on this size of physical display is use them to anti-alias the font.
The paper spec cannot take into account the degradation caused by the touchscreen. The reviews I have seen have all mentioned the degrading effect of the 605's membrane. Usually along the lines of "it's not as bad as the 604, but still there." Even you are saying exactly this Charbax!
Perhaps if Archos had listened to their customers and put a stylus slot on the 605 (a common gripe with the 604) then you wouldn't have to use greasy fingers so much.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:38 pm 
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Charbax wrote:
But really more brightness is like looking into a light bulb, not good tfor the eyes, and not confortable for prolonged watching of video such as a half hour episode of something or an hour and a half movie.


That depends on your viewing environment - the pupils in your eyes open and close to accommodate light - we do not perceive light as a constant.

If you view a 60w lightbulb in a closet, that would hurt your eyes. If you viewed the same bare lightbulb on your porch at noon, it would not. Thats because your pupils have shut down to accommodate all that ambient daylight.

As a result, you absolutely need to be able to adjust a mobile video display widely to deal with the unpredictable viewing environments a mobile device is supposed to be designed to accommodate.

Both the iPod Touch and Archos 605 have backlight adjustments which deal well with anything from a completely dark room to a moderately lit living room or office.

However, the Archos has no additional backlight settings to compete with ambient daylight. It ships at max backlight and thats it. It has 2 lower settings.

The iPod Touch has 30 increments of backlight, it ships at 50%, which is good for ambient daylight to begin with and much brighter then the Archos at max.

Why is this so critical? Because if you cannot get an equivalent amount of light to your retina in ambient daylight as you do in a dark room, the screen resolution, color depth, etc are all completely irrelevant, because they are interpreted through light.

I was actually quite surprised that the Archos has more colors then the iPod Touch, because looking at then side by side, it seems the exact opposite is the case, because I am getting enough light from the iPod touch screen that I can even tell one color from another easily.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:47 pm 
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Charbax wrote:
mitchelln you are so far off again. Archos has won all the screen comparison tests that there has been and still wins them.


Didn't win mine ;)

Charbax wrote:
Smudges and scratches are the most disturbing thing about using touch-screens for video. It's like having bucketloads of dust on your big screen TV, it ruins the movie watching experience, so you would keep swiping your big screen TV and you would realise each time you swipe it it gets worse.


Well, I would argue from my 605 and iTouch usage that the most annoying thing is not being able to see the screen because its too dim.

However, the smudges on the Touch were a big problem, but solved instantly with a $7 film that works as good or better then the Archos coating, but the brightness issue is unfixable.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 1:18 am 
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You need to compare the screen with what it can be compared with, other 4.3" 800x480 screens. N770 and N800 being one of the only other competitors at that size. Oqo1 and I guess one or two UMPCs being other competitors at that size and resolution.

By definition the 800x480 4.3" is better then 480x320 3.5" iPod Touch. If Apple did 4.3" 800x480 screens we could compare performance. Having a better subjective movie watching and web browsing experience on the iPod Touch screen is simply impossible by definition. I'm not saying that the experience of the iPod Touch is bad, but it can simply not be as good as if Apple had chosen to use 4.3" 800x480 screen.

Transflective screens are the only way to improve outdoor situations and situations with a lot of surrounding light. If a Pocket PC with a 3.5" VGA display like Fujitsu had that technology then great, but it probably also cost too much more for now to be transflective or use the same sunlight readable dual-mode screen technology as the OLPC XO-1 just having the sunlight readable mode be in color.

I guess that Archos might be considering transflective sunlight readable color LCD technology with LED backlight for the Gen6, just as there is on the OLPC XO-1 and the Toshiba R500, but they won't choose it if it increases the price of the device, now the 605 WiFi costs $200 and target for the 606 WiFi most probably is $100-150.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 3:53 pm 
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Charbax wrote:
Having a better subjective movie watching and web browsing experience on the iPod Touch screen is simply impossible by definition.


No, its not, I have both, right in front of me.
Yes in regular lit room the Archos is a much better movie watching experience, except, once again, on my bright train ride home, when it is unwatchable.

As for web browsing, there is one and only one advantage to the Archos, and that is that it has a larger screen.

However:

-To use the browser, I need to hold down the power button to bring it out of standby, double-click the web browser, select my wifi network, click 'connect...', and the Archos then connects to the wifi network and start the browser - this takes 26 seconds, every time - if I switch applications or suspend (or just leave it on the table for 10 seconds), I need to repeat the whole process again, adn the browser isnt in the state I left it.

With the iPod touch, you press the hardware button, slide to unlock, click the safari button, and it switches to Safari - this takes 5 seconds - basically only limited by your finger speed - there is no wait time, no hourglass - it just happens.

If I switch to another application, like change the music I listen to while browsing (ahem), swtiching back to Safari, which is still on the page and place where I left it and still connected, happens again, as fast as I can hit the buttons.

-The range and reliability of the wifi on the Achos is simply horrible. I have two access points in my house, Archos usually can only see the one I am closer to. All ofther wifi devices in the house (two tivos, psp, two laptops, touch) can all see and use either AP.


-Archos cannot reliably connect to my AP, even if its in the same room. With no ryhme or reason, the Archos will 'fail to connect' to the AP 5 feet away, with no specific error. I have to retry 3-5 times and eventually get a connection, then it works fine, no idea why this would happen - again, none of the other wifi devices in my house have this problem with this AP.

(lol, I just went to use it, and it couldnt even SEE the AP in the SAME ROOM! - its just random)

-Finally, the Archos browser is very sluggish compared to the Touch when it comes to page clicking and scrolling.

Clicking is the biggest issue - sometimes I can click on an input box 4-5 times and the click will not register - this happens *all the time* - also, tryibng to move between text input fields on a web form with the virtual keyboard open is simply frustrating on the Archos. It often gets backed up and input gets queued and cannot be registered in real time.

Browsing and viewing YouTube is also much easier, MUCH faster, and great on the touch.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:13 pm 
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brundlefly76 wrote:
Charbax wrote:
Having a better subjective movie watching and web browsing experience on the iPod Touch screen is simply impossible by definition.


No, its not, I have both, right in front of me.


That doesn't mean a thing, man! You simply have to bow down to the power of Spec Sheets, and like what you're told! I mean, the nerve - trusting your own eyes... you crossed the line there, buster.[/sarcasm, in case it's not painfully obvious]

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 5:11 pm 
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brundlefly76, why don't you ask a friend to compete with you where one uses the Archos 605 WiFi and the other uses the iPod Touch and a third chooses the words, websites, questions, forums you have to log-into and post something. Then you try the other way around, and report which browser is better.

There is no miracle, you cannot make web browsing work on 480x320 screens no matter how bright.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 5:29 pm 
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Charbax wrote:
brundlefly76, why don't you ask a friend to compete with you where one uses the Archos 605 WiFi and the other uses the iPod Touch and a third chooses the words, websites, questions, forums you have to log-into and post something. Then you try the other way around, and report which browser is better.

There is no miracle, you cannot make web browsing work on 480x320 screens no matter how bright.

As I keep saying, it's more complicated than raw pixels! It's down to font point size more than anything. As I keep saying, on a screen of that physical size you can only shrink the font down to the point where it is still readable.
Do you honestly think you could read a 6 pixel high letter on a 605 Charbax? Of course you couldn't. The 605 will be using many more pixels than that for the font. What it may be better at anti-aliasing, but no more.
The 605 has an insanely high DPI. You probably couldn't see a single lit pixel on a 605's screen they're that tiny!


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 6:40 pm 
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Charbax wrote:
brundlefly76, why don't you ask a friend to compete with you where one uses the Archos 605 WiFi and the other uses the iPod Touch and a third chooses the words, websites, questions, forums you have to log-into and post something. Then you try the other way around, and report which browser is better.

There is no miracle, you cannot make web browsing work on 480x320 screens no matter how bright.


Isn't that, like, completely useless? Isn't it all about a SINGLE person's experience? I mean, I don't give a damn if someone can type in search words or scroll faster than me, since *I* have specific needs and habits, and the only thing that matters is how useful a device is to ME.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 6:59 pm 
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ETM wrote:
brundlefly76 wrote:
Charbax wrote:
Having a better subjective movie watching and web browsing experience on the iPod Touch screen is simply impossible by definition.


No, its not, I have both, right in front of me.


That doesn't mean a thing, man! You simply have to bow down to the power of Spec Sheets, and like what you're told! I mean, the nerve - trusting your own eyes... you crossed the line there, buster.[/sarcasm, in case it's not painfully obvious]


lol thanks for letting me know someone in this forum understood what I was saying!


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