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Archos AV700 PVP Gets Bigger (And Better?)

Great Looks, Astounding Picture

So you thought that the Archos AV400 was one of the best audio/video players currently available? Think again. With the Archos AV700 Mobile DVR, Archos has again set the bar very high for their competitors.

The size of the screen on the AV700 is what first impresses. With its seven-inch (17.8 cm) diagonal measurement, it's among the largest on the market. Add impressive battery life, recording functions (TV and audio) and simplified synchronization, and you have the object of your dreams. But will it live up to its promise?

Big, Beautiful And Well Endowed

However, the word "ultra-portable" is not quite accurate to describe the AV700. Its weight (20.8 oz. / 590 grams) and size (4.2" x 8.2" x .7" / 107 x 209 x 19 mm) mean you can't slip it into you pocket or purse. Its size puts it more in the category of certain ultra-portable computers and portable DVD players. But if its size is a disadvantage for using this player on your daily commute, it becomes an advantage for using it during longer trips. The control buttons located on either side of the screen are arranged similarly to the ones on a game console and are particularly intuitive to use. Held at arm's length or propped on its stand, it lets two people sitting side by side in a car or on a sofa watch video at the same time without getting in each other's way or having problems seeing the picture correctly. All that's missing is a double headphone jack and you could finally have peace and quiet in the car!

Archos has made efforts on the design side, mixing brushed metal and white plastic. To my taste, this device wouldn't win a first prize for design, but compared to its predecessor, the AV400, its massive appearance won't be out of place in your living room - provided you don't surround it with all its accessories. Placed near its docking pod with its infrared emitter and connected to the television set via the video cables, it looks more like some kind of strange octopus with a rectangular head that washed up on the beach than it does the latest technological toy. You'd be well advised to load any files you may need onto it before leaving for your trip instead of taking all the accessories along, unless you're ready to devote an extra bag for it. In any case, with its 40 GB capacity, the basic version can store 160 hours of video, 20,000 songs, or 400,000 photos.