If you liked the Archos 605 we reviewed recently but felt the asking price was a little steep, the Archos 405 digital media player may be for you.

Like its stablemate, the Archos 405 looks good and performs its duties admirably. The screen is smaller (a still-decent 3.5in) and has a significantly lower resolution, so video playback is less of a highlight – movement is handled smoothly but the picture can be grainy.

We’ve looked at three similarly priced media players with identical screen resolutions but differing sizes – the Creative Zen, the iPod nano and the Archos 405. This presents an interesting dilemma. Do you go for a smaller screen with a sharper image (the nano) or save your eyesight with the Archos 405’s 3.5in but suffer weaker quality?

User experience during video playback is most enjoyable with the Archos 405, assuming you’re willing to lug around a larger unit. Better still, an optional docking unit (setting you back a further £70) allows you to play clips through your TV. The Gen 5 dock adds PVR (personal video recorder) functionality.

The Archos 405's interface is simple and user-friendly, with arrow buttons and the usual select, back and menu keys down the lefthand side.

There’s also a volume control that, oddly, duplicates the action of the Archos 405's up and down buttons when a song is playing.

A capacity of 2GB may not sound too impressive considering the outlay, but bear in mind the extra space made possible by the SD Card slot. This adds a potential 16GB to your Archos 405's storage allocation.

As for down sides, the Archos 405 can’t match the Archos 605 WiFi’s wireless facilities or its touchscreen display – yet it can replicate the Archos 605’s rather sluggish battery charging. Set aside a good few hours for this.

Archos 405: Specs

  • 2GB
  • 3.5in colour display
  • claimed battery life 16 hours (audio), 5 hours (video)
  • USB 2.0
  • supports Mpeg4/WMV/MP3/WMA/Wav
  • SD Card slot (SD/miniSD/microSD)
  • 99x13x78mm
  • 146g
  • 2GB
  • 3.5in colour display
  • claimed battery life 16 hours (audio), 5 hours (video)
  • USB 2.0
  • supports Mpeg4/WMV/MP3/WMA/Wav
  • SD Card slot (SD/miniSD/microSD)
  • 99x13x78mm
  • 146g

OUR VERDICT

It’s got fewer bells and whistles, but the Archos 405 mirrors the impressive performance of the Archos 605 WiFi at a more manageable price.

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