Well my new 3 arrived today and ive been playing with it non stop.
The machine is the sort of quality build you expect from archos, very good.
the screen is beautiful tbh, video on the screen is small in comparison to the 5 but still very watchable and enjoyable.
Touch screen is very positive (sorry peeps its resistive not capacitive), the virtual scroll wheel is an funny idea but works once you get the knack, a bit quirky though.
The machine is very pocket friendly in comparison to its bigger brothers.
The codecs it supports is excellent, no plugins needed - RMVB out of the box!!!
Boot time is quick, from power button to operation its about 4 seconds.
The built in FM transmitter is very very good, in the past ive not had much luck with these and thought the 3 wouldnt be any better, i was suprised with the results it produced. You have to make sure you plug in earphones as these act as an ariel. the sound is of normal FM standard, i had to move the leads around a bit to get rid of white noise but then it worked well over a 100mile journey, no stations managed to cut accross the signal!!.
The sound quality is very good, i think but havent actually tested yet but i think its actually louder than the 605 and 5. i will keep you posted on that.
STANDARD usb connections again!!!!! thank you archos.
there are a couple of areas that ive found that could do with some tlc.
the screen lock works but when you touch the screen it will still light up!?!? the point of this is well your guess is as good as mine, i was hoping it would de activate the screen to save on the battery life.
It has an excellent range of playable codecs, what happened to AAC?, it a very popular codec but seems to be ommited from this model.
No DRM support (ok imho its not a bad thing as i hate drm but i do like to occasionally download a proggie of bbc iplayer - oh well).
No bookmark feature - this is another thing i use constantly on my other players. it does have a resume though on video and music (unlike the 2 it will resume to where you left off).
No expansion slot, not a big deal tbh, you purchase a 8gb player you get an 8gb player. I find 8gb ideal for a days work, i put what i want on there and thats enough for that day or two at work. But 8gb would fall short for me if i was away on holiday etc.
TV out cable NOT INCLUDED. Ive got dozens of these knocking around from previous models so its not a big deal for me, but i think archos should really have included the leads, leave out the earphones and put in the tv leads would have won over a lot of people.
Cant be read when connected to an 5 using the mini dock. I find this strangely amusing that an archos brand machine cannot be viewed from another archos machine. this is a first for me, all my other machines going back to jmb20 can be read when connected to the 5.
No playlist or search mode options??!!
Some of those things can be solved with a firmware update others cant. But overall, if you need or want basic small player that is an excellent video viewer as well then this machine is ideal. Ive used it now for it now for 14hrs flat and the machine has been rock solid, total crashes - a big hairy ZERO!!!
I wish i had never purchased the 2 now, ive used that once and put it into a draw, but i think that this 3 will now take place of my 5 for every day use.
Battery life, well it has been commented on other sites that the battery life is bad, well from one days usage i wouldnt say it was bad at all. i watched a 1hr 45 min movie, and played an audio book at about 70% volume for a good 12 hrs on one charge (the other 2hrs it was on FM transmitter, 1hr of it on the way into work it was charging but not on the way home). checking now its still showing 2 bars. BUT this battery hasnt yet been properlly calibrated so i will re access this in a weeks time.
I will put some pics up tommorow comparing it with the 5, 605, 405, 2 and 105 so you can get a better idea of dimensions etc.