Archos 5 Internet tablet rocks

Alison Krauss. Maybe you’ve heard of her? She has this great song, “New Favorite.”

“New favorite: they all say it. I’ll say it too. You’ve got a new favorite.”

I’ve got a new favorite: the Archos 5 Internet tablet.

This is 500 gigs of rompin’, stompin’ dynamite, is what.

Android OS. Bluetooth. Wifi. Optional GPS. Web tv and radio.

I hate to fly and I want to fly somewhere just so I could use this on a plane.

It's not a tablet, in the way that I think of tablets. It's more like an iPod Touch on steroids.  It will fit in one hand, and its touch screen means you can enter keystrokes with the other.

As a multimedia player, this thing is near perfect. The 4.8-inch touch screen has a resolution of 800 x 480. It's beautiful. Crystal clear, and the level of detail in movies is terrific, even with a screen protector.

I have 200 video files loaded and 260 GB of space still available. Haven’t loaded any music, but that would only take about 30 gigs. 

What I wanted at a minimum was a physically smaller device to use for video than my tablet PC, but not so small as the screen on an iPod.

Check. This is easier to carry than the tablet PC I have used or a netbook or laptop. All my videos, which are mostly .avi files, play perfectly (although it will not play videos recorded via XP Media Center).

I also wanted something that would have some of the apps I use often on my Droid..

Check. The tablet ships with Android 1.6. I've just downloaded a firmware update but haven't installed it yet. I saw some forum warnings about problems with an earlier upgrade, so I'll be checking on this one, too. Most of the apps I used on my phone work on this device, too. (Angry Birds does not work. Probably just as well.)

Though I don’t travel often, I wanted something that would get me through a flight to either coast.

Check. Although battery life is not spectacular, I’d get probably two movies out of one charge if I wanted. The specs say up to seven hours of video and 22 hours of audio. Battery life is never as good as specs, and I haven't pushed this thing yet, but I've had no problems.

The wifi works, finding networks and connecting quickly.

Bluetooth gives great sound, although Bluetooth also is where I have the biggest gripe. When I watch a video with Bluetooth headphones, the audio is slightly out of sync. The same video with wired headphones works great. My Bluetooth headphones are pretty old, so that might explain it. (This also might vanish when I upgrade the OS.)

My personal favorite Celtic music station (liveireland.com) is already listed among the choices for the web radio that is pre-installed. But it has a ton more of them, so I’m enjoying exploring.

There’s a GPS feature for a fee. My phone takes care of that, so I can’t see paying for it, although it comes with a one-week free trial.

It’s a little thing, but I appreciate that the kickstand is completely hidden when not in use, but gives the perfect viewing angle when it is.

The Archos uses the same charging/USB cable as my Droid, so that’s one less cable I have to pack. And if I wanted to shell out another hundred bucks, I could get a dock that would charge it and use it with my television as a DVR.

Hmmmm.

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