Channel 5

Archos 3 Vision

Monday 28 September 2009


Rating of 4

The basics

The Archos 3 Vision comes packing a bit more than the last portable media player from the company we had a play with, the Archos 2: this time we're talking a sharp 400x240 3-inch screen, 8GB of storage, oodles of file support, including lossles FLAC, and an FM radio to kick it old school style when you get bored of your regular playlist.

The good

The Archos 3 Vision is easily the best-looking gizmo the French PMP maker's ever come up with, and though that's not saying much, if Apple ever decided to make a touchscreen iPod nano, it'd struggle to be smaller (63g) or slicker than this. Speaking of the nano, the Archos 3 Vision's a whole lot more video friendly: file format support ranges far and wide so you won't find you have to convert videos, just drag and drop, and on that touchscreen, they look lush. Sound quality is grand for a flash music player of its size too, with little flaking even on the roughest of guitar chords, and FLAC support is a great feature for fussier hi-fi fanatics.

The bad

We can forgive the fact that Archos's media software is uglier than a pug dog with its faced pushed against a window. Grotty menus are laid out well, and that's all that matters for dedicated audiophiles. What we're not loving though is the lack of microSD support as found on Archos's cheaper pocket jukeboxes, and the unresponsive screen which makes scrobbling through tunes a nightmare. That, and there's no way to adjust the volume without powering up the screen and pushing really, really hard. Would it hurt to have a little rocker on the side so you don't have to look every time songs are too loud or quiet? Even the minimalist iPod touch offers that much.

The bottom line

Don't buy in to the whole "iPod + iTunes" ecosystem lark? That's cool. With the Archos 3 Vision you'll still get a great little media player that destroys the iPod nano when it comes to video. You'll find yourself prodding the display a bit too often, but if you know Apple isn't for you, it's worth the trade off.
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User comments (33)

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This player could have been so good - unfortunately, after 2 weeks of ownership, I've just sent mine back for a refund! The reason for this was that the battery life failed to extend beyond 1.5 hours - I realise that this could well be a one-off fault with my player (although more likely to be due to the screen jumping into life when touched, even with the lock on), but, truth be told, I was pretty relieved that it gave me a legitimate excuse to get my money back. The other problems just became too irritating, and overshadowed what is a beautiful piece of hardware. The problems I found are as follows: As mentioned, the locking device does not disable the touch-screen, so when in one's pocket it will continually activate unnecessarily, thus draining the battery. There is no facility to make your own playlists. As with most mp3 players (with the possible exception of Sony), the supplied earphones are nothing short of atrocious; empty baked bean tins would produce a better sound... The player doesn't recognise audio smart-tags, opting instead to play tracks in alphabetical order. Album tracks therefore have to be renamed to add track numbers to the title - a pretty onerous task if you have a large mp3 collection! Selecting "Artist" in the menu will show all of the tracks by that artist, not the album those tracks are from. The only way to play an album as the artist intended is to search for your choice from the "Album" menu, a very laborious process if you have a lot of albums loaded onto the device - particularly if you have more than one album entitled "Greatest Hits"!! Which brings me to the method of navigating the device; Archos have developed a software version of Apple's thumb-wheel, which appears on the lower right hand corner of the touch-screen. Unfortunately, this is truly horrific to use and results in a massive amount of errors. I really cannot articulate just how pants this system is!! I'm sure that most these problems could eventually be cured with a firmware update. I did email Archos and asked if this would be the case, but, having received no reply, I was just so relieved to get shot of it. Shame really, it could have been brilliant.

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bob williamson

Bought it sent it back worst thing i ever bought crap

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Pity the radio recorder has severe motorboating incorporated ! Confirmed by QVC Tech Support

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Liked the unit but FM transmitter does not work even when you have the device next to a radio and was even worse in the car. Sorry to say going back as I have had the same problems listed in other comments.

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i bought it and a week later it was absoloute rubish, i got it replaced with a sony MP3 so i will see how this one holds up. the Archos' screen cracked straight down the middle, the touch screen is so hard to manouver and overall i just didnt like it. but in the shop it did look very attractive and the video quality is rather good and the thing i liked most was the 3" screen, other than that its not worth having.

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Vicessa Picson

I'm very suspicious about the comments above as they have little if anything to connect them to my unit. Mine is superb and by far superior in audio quality to most uniots I've tried. I think perhaps these reviewers ? don't know how to create high bit rate samples or are too ham-fisted to control their fingers. They probably work for a rival Company! I also own an Archos 605, and also very pleased with it. hope this balances the picture. Don't be put off, go for it! ps. I work in the NHS.

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i got one for christmas and i love it to pices. yes the screen is a bit less sensitive tha the i pod touch but the quallity is good.

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FM transmitter doesn't work at all :(

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The only reason i bought this Archos was because I wanted something I could watch movies on without having to convert the files. I use the train everyday for work and I have to say this is the best hundred bucks I've spent. I use my ipod for music and I use my archos for movies, that simple. If your a movie kinda person like me and have time to kill in your day to day life I strongly recommend this unit. It plays every file type I throw at it. totally worth it for the price.

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The FM transmitter function relies on the use of earphones as a transmitter aerial, try with them plugged in and it works a treat. The menus are a bit naff but it is a good player.

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bought one right last weekend, the touchscreen feature was a hit. loved it =) but the only thing is that i was expecting more. the whole thing is rubbish

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Emma tomlinson

Hi! I have read most of the comments about the Archos Vision! I have only had mine for a few days now and after reading all the comments I feel a little sorry so the MP3 player. It might not have the greatest of menues but for a touch screen and the price I think its well worth it. The film quality is great the sound quality if fantastic apart from the naff head phone which I have changed to Sony this makes the quality of sound even better. I have a nokia music express which is also a touch screen so going from the phone to this was quite easy for me to use. I think they do need to think about the volume control as it is rather small and hard to use they need either buttons at the side or I little pen like the nokia express. All in all I think this is a good MP3 player. a few snags but nothing majour. I was going to go for the Zen touch but the price put me off.

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I've had this mp3 player for about 4 months. On the plus side - it's cheap, but you get what you pay for. My main problem is the touch sensitive screen doesn't always work and can be very annoying. Most of the time I dream about putting a big hammer into the screen for all the hassle. If this hadn't of been a gift I would never buy it. I'm not a big apple fan, but at least their screen works. Back to the drawing board for this unit.

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N Reid

straight out of box transmitter doesnt work . well peed off.judging by previous comments this is not a one off . 80 quid not well spent

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ok got mine yesterday i must say that most of the comments are bad but not to sure why for the price you payed i think this is well worth load any meadia is so easy it plays almost any thing and as thats why i got mine i must say i am very happy with it.

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brian collins

Great device, however customer service is on the poor side. My son accidentally cracked the screen, I have tred on several occassions via the on-line support fucntion to try to find out if this can be fixed and although the automated response from Archos indicated that we would receive a response withing 2 working days it has now been over 2 week and no response. I will think twice before buying anything else from archos.

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I've had the player for less than 24 hours and already there are problems. Archos offers a superior product in many ways but, as mentioned above, the software is incredibly crappy. It's ridiculous to think that after what, six generations now? we still can't browse individual albums under the Artist category. But what is worse, after less than a day my player seems to have lost its ability to display true color and instead is doing a fine job at mimicing the appearance of an old 32bit monitor from the early 90's. Archos boasts it's ability to display a wide range of formats, however many of the files I have tried to play are either suffering from slowdown, out of synch with audio, or do not play at all. The manual is also quite pathetic as it says nothing about which screen resolutions are compatible and which aren't. It's really mind boggling to think that Archos could produce such a beautiful product with so many great features, and at a competetive price no less, yet continually load it with the most embarassingly uesless software known to humanity.

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I love the archos! I have had mine for 6 months now. I was loving it until i accidently broke the screen! I was very upset! It is seriously a great mp3, Dont know why these people have a problem with the screen, i think it is great!

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1 have had my archos3 since march i have a handfull of videos but now cannot drop any more.they are all showing on my computer but will not go into my archos any ideas

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tony turner

i have had my archos3 since march i have had a handful of videos in the archos but no more.they are all showing in my computer but will not drop into the archos whatever i!!!!!!!

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huda abdirahim

ive had mine for almost 6 months now and i lost it for the first 3months. HEHEHE. but after i found it it was ok, but i left it on my cabinet for another 2weeks or so, i charged it and the back of the archos came off, i put it on but it comes off now and then and when it is on its not properly suck on.theres no crack on the screen but when i put it on its like its shows a million cracks and now it wont come on at all. please if the same thing happend to you or you know how to help please say. NO OFFENCE TO ARCHOS but this is the BIGGEST WASTE OF MONEY EVER!!!

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from new there are 8 icons on the main screen... 1 music... the interface to choosing stuff to play and adjusting volume etc is terrible. the audio quality is fine though. 2 video ... will not show subtitles (small point to many but big for me) picture quality is fine. 3 transmitter... does not work at all even next to the radio or car radio 4 radio,,, will not pick up any stations at all in my area or London...(yes this is with the phones (arial) plugged in 5 stopwatch ... who on earth requires this on an mp3 player?? 6 recorder.. i've not used yet 7 files... it can be used to store other files. 8 it can display photos So one function works badly, one OK, two not at all, the rest you dont need. AVOID!!!!!

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Bought the Archos 3 in May 2010 for my 15 year old and I'm having trouble with music files stored in "unknown artists" files instead of the artists album. the scroll screen is a pain in the but, after 6 weeks the screen CRACKED down the middle and made this unit worthless. I tried to save money with the promise and sales pitch of a QUALITY unit, but dissapointed. I have a ARCHOS 7 and this unit is a pro tablet and works great! I wish they would have put the effert and quality into the archos 3. I'm now forced to look and buy a competitor mp3 unit.

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I purchased the Archos 3 a couple of weeks ago. Sorry to say but the screen cracked yesterday and now it is non responsive to touch. I thought I was being careful with it, keeping it in the lower side pocket of my shorts, but it cracked anyhow. I am hoping that the store will replace it or let try a different product. Well, that said, here is my impression of it while it was in service. 1. The fm transmitter is fine, a bit tricky identifying via the icon if it is active or not, but it worked really nicely in the car, once I realized that the headphones Must Be Plugged In. 2. The touch (or nearly so) is... uhm, not too bad, let's say, but takes some getting used to. If the glass had not cracked, I would likely have kept the unit anyhow. Once you get used to it, the volume control is okay and good enough to enjoy the unit. 3. Only played the sample movie but was impressed by the picture. Again, the surface appears to be on the fragile side. Surely this unit should come with a case to protect it. Otherwise, buy one if you want to keep it in nice condition and protect the glass face.

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mad the dog

the archos vision range is actually based on Chinese media player tech from 3 years ago, the same product in a different body shell can be bought from any stores for a quarter of the price, with bigger screens and better newer hardware People are always quick to knock Chinese made media players and i doubt we will see any reviews of Teclast or Ramos or Ainol (yes, thats the name and these are supported and well made chinese brand players) on the Gadget show but .. they have, the vision range is Archos way of releasing quick-buck hardware without the need to do any design and development, its was all done 3 years ago when china had these player in their markets, now, Archos are buying old and cheap, selling high and doing little to support them Dont buy the archos vision range, you really are being ripped off

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16 negative comments, 6 positive and 2 reviewers sitting on the fence. How the hell does that add up to a 4 star G rating?! Gadget Show - sort your act out!

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L Corrigan

I bought two of these Archos MP3 players just before Christmas, one for me and one for my husband. We have had no problems with either unit and my husband uses his most of the time. It took me a bit of time getting used it but other than that no problem. Re using in the car, yes the earphones need to be plugged in to act as the aerial and again the earphones as with the other Archos items we have are not very good, so we use our Sony or other makes out of preference. The Archos items we have I bought wallets for and they do offer good protection. We buy from QVC as they have good back up service - the Archos instructions and customer service side are poor and let the products down.

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bought my archos 3 a month ago and put loads of my music on, I don't have to pick just my favorites. It is a cheap alternative to the pricier competitors, it works well enough and if you lose it or break it then its not the end of the world at £50 odd. I used it in the car with a cassette player adapter which worked fine. I then changed my car and had a cd player to contend with, but great it had a transmitter, problem solved. Well not quite, the instructions were basic to say the least, you would not want to get Appolo 13 back to Earth with their help. Tried time and time again, then discovered that you need the headphones in, still nothing, reset the frequency a million times, nothing. Then suddenly there was light, I pressed the transmitter button on the little devil, and noticed the smallest of writing on top of the screen, did this mean that it was transmitting? Yes There is a moral to this tale, good eyesight and a fierce dose of tenacity, always bring the bacon home. Good luck!

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I had my 3 in my pocket and the screen cracked... Cheap technology that can't be fixed.

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i have to say that my archos 3 vision has serverd me well, its hasnt broke completely, and trust me ive gave it a hammering ;) the back has came of a little at the corner but no biggy as it still works as intended.. i think my money was well spent. my only problem is it can freeze from time to time but hey.. thats why the reset button was invented

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