Archos 43 Vision PMP

A few weeks ago Chris got us iPhone 4s, but in doing so we had to downgrade from 32GB to 16GB. What’s that you say? “Sucks to be you!” Yeah, I’m sure.

Anyway, I’m doing fine, but Chris loves him some portable media and has recently discovered iMovie on his phone and basically ran out of space on day 1. We’ve been trying to find a solution (downsizing his active collection for example) but they didn’t work out well. So, last weekend we went looking for a solution at Future Shop, intending to buy an iPod Nano. Probably a shiny green one that he could use just for music, leaving his phone for anything else he wants (tv, movies, books, photos).

Instead, we found the Archos 43 Vision Personal Media Player (PMP).

It sounded promising. It played a bunch of different media files, hooked up to the TV with an HDMI cable (high quality) , started with 8GB of internal memory and had an expansion port for up to 32GB more. Awesome.

The screen was great on the Archos 43 Vision and the video playback was great. But.

  • We couldn’t play media from the exansion cards.
  • The “calibration mode” in the settings would get stuck and have you repeating it over and over and over.
  • The touchscreen is resistive touch, meaning you “push” a little bit like a button. On this device you had to tap 2+ times to get anything happening.
  • Even after calibration, the menu size was so small that I couldn’t accurately press the right choice anyway.
  • It wouldn’t play some of our personal video files, including any created on our iPhones.
  • It had size restrictions and format restrictions on the video that didn’t match many other things.
  • Chris disliked the feel of the back of the device.
  • For a small device, it’s pretty heavy. This is a good and bad. Heavy = bad, but heavy = metal = sturdy.
  • It also said bad things about my mom one time.

So, we played with it for a day or so. The real killer was the absolutely horrible touch screen interface. I guess we’re spoiled by iPhone/iPod devices, but you shouldn’t have to tap the screen 3 or 4 times to start a video playing, no matter what.

On the plus side, this nifty little device is only $99 – an amazing price, but if it doesn’t work properly or as expected, then it’s not a value at any price.

Today, we returned the device (we had a busy week). We looked at some other devices but in the end, Chris got himself a shiny green 8GB iPod Nano. He is very very happy and it sync’d perfectly to his iTunes when we got home, and he had it up and running within about 15 minutes – with all his music on it.