MID battle: Aigo P8860 (Intel) vs. Archos 5 (ARM)

Aigo_archos

Even though Archos isn’t using the “MID” term to describe its new range of Internet Media Tablets, there’s no denying that it is a mobile internet device with many of the same capabilities and even some of the same design elements as Intel’s original vision. So when Rob Enderle called the Archos 5 “the closest thing to what Intel is imagining in a MID currently in the market,” I took it as an open invitation to pit the new Archos (arguably the best ARM MID around right now) against the Aigo P8860 (the first Intel MID to be available worldwide).

Read on to see how the two devices stack up and decide for yourself which one comes out on top.

But first, a word about target audience.

Aigo_archos_2

The Aigo P8860 and Archos 5 aren’t meant to be competitors; in fact, they’re not even really designed to appeal to the same kind of user. There’s a lot of overlap in their functionality and it’s possible that certain consumers will find themselves unable to decide between the two units, but generally speaking, the devices “shouldn’t” be compared.

Aigo_archos_3

Adventurous users with more technical know-how than the average consumer would be more drawn to the P8860 for its hackability and potential to become a full-blown Linux or Windows XP computer. The Archos 5, on the other hand, would be more attractive to mainstream users who consume mass quantities of multimedia content and are happy to leave the essentially unhackable system as is. This is an obvious oversimplification, of course, but you get my point.

Aigo_archos_4

And now that we’re clear on why comparing the P8860 with the 5 isn’t the “right” thing to do, let’s do it anyway. By the way, the point of this article isn’t to reach a definitive conclusion that one MID is better than the other. All that matters is what’s better for you; I’m just laying out the facts. And here we go!

Side-by-Side Specs

Aigo_archos_5

Aigo P8860Archos 5
Price
$699$349, $399, $449
Storage
4GB SSD60GB, 120GB, 250GB HDD
ExpansionmicroSD card slotNone
Memory512MB DDR2128MB DDR
Display
4.8″ touchscreen
(800 x 480)
4.8″ touchscreen
(800 x 480, 16M colors)
OSMidinux LinuxLinux (proprietary)
Preinstalled
Applications
Coolfox, Pidgin, PPLive
video player, music player,
photo viewer, ebook reader,
games, stocks, office, PDF,
email, contacts, calendar,
dictionary, task list,
calculator, audio recorder
Opera 9, Archos Store,
video player, music player,
photo viewer, PDF,
email, contacts, widgets
(calculator, currency/unit
converters, password bank,
RSS, notes, weather)
Third-Party
Applications
Only with hacked OSOnly Opera widgets, Archos
games, and Flash 9 apps
CPU800MHz Intel Atom Z500600MHz ARM Cortex A8
Wireless
802.11b/g
Bluetooth 2.0
GPS (?)
802.11b/g

      

Camera 0.3 megapixels None
I/O Ports
Power, USB 2.0 host,
USB 2.0 device, mic,
headphone, microSD
Proprietary accessory
connectors, headphone
   
Keyboard HardwareVirtual
SpeakerYesYes
StandNoYes
BatteryRemovable li-polymerNon-removable li-polymer
Estimated
Runtime

3 to 5 hours
depending on usage
Audio: up to 22 hours
Video: up to 7 hours
   Web: up to 4 hours
Dimensions
6.0″ x 3.1″ x 0.9″5.0″ x 3.1″ x 0.5″ (60GB)
5.0″ x 3.1″ x 0.8″
Weight
10.6 ounces 8.8 ounces (60GB)
10.6 ounces
Included
Accessories
Standard USB cable,
headphones, cleaning cloth,
case, AC adapter, software
CD, quick start guide
Proprietary USB cable,
headphones, cleaning cloth,
DVR station adapter,
quick start guide
Optional
Official
Accessories
UnknownDVR station, DVR snap-on,
GPS car holder, FM remote,
mini dock, battery dock,
helmet cam

Comparison Photos

Aigo_archos_size1

Aigo_archos_size2

Aigo_archos_size3

Aigo_archos_size4

Aig o_archos_keyboards

Depending on what kind of user you are and/or what you value in a portable device, you may have already made up your mind after looking at the pictures and the specs.

The Archos 5 has high entertainment value with its enormous hard drive, exceptional video playback (720p HD videos are supported with an optional plug-in), DVR capabilities, and built-in stand, while the Aigo P8860 is nicely suited for business use because of its preloaded office suite, Bluetooth 2.0, hardware keyboard, and PIM functions. It becomes less clear to identify which device excels in which areas when the internet is considered. And since the word “internet” is part of the gadget category name that each unit belongs to (i.e., Mobile Internet Device, Internet Media Tablet), it’s obviously a big consideration for both.

Website Load Times

Aigo_archos_web

I’ll discuss the ins and outs of browsing on the P8860 and 5 in separate reviews, but what I can share now are a set of page load times recorded this afternoon. My usual guidelines apply, but I’ll repeat them in case the accusations, criticisms, and judgments (yeesh!) from the last time I did this come around again.

  • This is not a scientific study or professional lab test.
  • Each browser’s cache was cleared before the first set of tests.
  • Load times were measured from the same location this afternoon from the click of the enter key or “Go” button in the browser’s address bar to the complete page load according to the progress bar.
  • Load times vary by location, time of day, ad servers, content, etc., so your results will not be identical to mine.

One thing I did differently this time was to measure pageloads a second time. Most users don’t clear their browser’s cache after each browsing session, so I thought cached results might be useful. These times are listed in the “Pageload 2” columns below.

Note: The P8860 is capable of running desktop Firefox after a little hacking, but I’ve done the tests with the default Coolfox so that both devices are using their out-of-box browsers.

Aigo P8860
Coolfox browser
Archos 5
Opera 9 browser

Pageload 1Pageload 2Pageload 1Pageload 2
Amazon12 seconds9 seconds12 seconds11 seconds
CNET14 seconds9 seconds24 seconds16 seconds
Digg8 seconds7 seconds20 seconds15 seconds
Engadget22 seconds18 seconds22 seconds17 seconds
Google News6 seconds6 seconds6 seconds4 seconds
Micro PC Talk11 seconds8 seconds17 seconds14 seconds
MySpace7 seconds6 seconds9 seconds8 seconds
NY Times
17 seconds13 seconds21 seconds13 seconds
Pocketables
17 seconds15 seconds18 seconds17 seconds
YouTube
9 seconds6 seconds12 seconds10 seconds

Is it any wonder that ABI Research (via Reg Hardware) predicts that almost half of all UMPCs and MIDs will be ARM-based by 2013?

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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13 thoughts on “MID battle: Aigo P8860 (Intel) vs. Archos 5 (ARM)

  • October 22, 2008 at 6:51 pm
    Permalink

    Nice comparison Jenn. Which device do you find yourself going to pick up more often?

    Reply
  • October 22, 2008 at 11:30 pm
    Permalink

    I’m more drawn to the Archos, partly because it’s actually mine and partly because the Aigo isn’t the Gigabyte M528. If I were more adept at hacking, I’d probably be having a lot of fun with the Aigo, but since I’m more of an out-of-box user than anything else, I don’t really care for it from a personal standpoint (i.e., I wouldn’t buy it for myself). Midinux is functional but it lacks polish.

    I really hope the Gigabyte hardware isn’t 100% identical to the Aigo. I believe the M528 has a rear camera, so I’m optimistic that the build quality could be better than the P8860.

    Reply
  • October 22, 2008 at 11:53 pm
    Permalink

    I don’t think “complete page load according to the progress bar” is very relevant!

    Could you test the actual usable speed, this means time until:

    – The top of the page loads so you can start reading the page
    – Enough of the page is loaded so you can start scrolling on the page (for situations where you need to find information that is not at the top of the page)
    – You can start clicking on links.

    I have the Archos 5 right here, and I find that loading NYT.com for it to be readable, scrollable, clickable only takes 3 seconds, not 17 seconds.

    That indicator spinning on the browser saying it is loading the whole page does not have to mean much. It could be waiting for some totally useless advertisment, or some useless javascript counter or something in the background.

    Also, if more and more reviewers use that as an indicator, the manufacturers could just as well start cheating with that progress bar and display it as completed even though it might not be completed.

    Reply
  • October 23, 2008 at 2:49 am
    Permalink

    Good poiont charbax
    although I thinik the integrity of these corporations will stop them from cheating.
    Cheating is wrong
    and they know that
    I’m definitly going to pick up the archos sometime soon
    in july most likely
    ^_^
    cant wait

    Reply
  • October 23, 2008 at 2:50 am
    Permalink

    Good poiont charbax
    although I thinik the integrity of these corporations will stop them from cheating.
    Cheating is wrong
    and they know that
    I’m definitly going to pick up the archos sometime soon
    in july most likely
    ^_^
    cant wait

    Reply
  • October 23, 2008 at 6:26 am
    Permalink

    Not sure what it is, but I’m so enamored by the OQO form factor. Most likely my first MID/UMPC would be the Gigabyte or Aigo one. Something about having native windows (or some derivative) is incredibly appealing.

    Reply
  • October 26, 2008 at 9:29 am
    Permalink

    Jenn,

    Thanks for the comparison. I really appreciate that you take the time to test the page load times on the two devices so we can get a better sense of what these two devices are really like to use. Personally I don’t understand why you get so much flack/whining/complaining for providing useful information that no other blogger/reviewer does. Well I hope that you can ignore all the complaints and focus on the compliments because I am sure that most of your readers are as grateful as I am for your incisive reviews and comparisons. Go Jenn!

    BF

    Reply
  • October 26, 2008 at 12:17 pm
    Permalink

    @ Charbax: I understand what you mean. The reason I measured complete load times (aside from the fact that I always do website load times tests this way) is because it’s the way I, personally, browse the web. I always wait for pages to load completely before I start scrolling because I don’t like to partially scroll and then have to wait while the rest of the page loads.

    I also think that waiting until a page becomes “usable” means different things to different people. Someone who only wants to view the second story on a website may be able to “use” the page more quickly than someone who wants access to the tenth story. Waiting for the page to load completely, while obviously not perfect because of various factors, evens things out a bit.

    @ BF: Aw, thanks! Don’t worry, the negative comments don’t bother me (I assume you’re referring to the iPhone vs. Archos vs. N810 article on Engadget). I understand that everyone has their own opinions, people don’t like seeing something they like/love “lose” or shown in anything but a favorable light, and many readers are actually skimmers who just zero in on certain elements like a table. Most of those commenters fall into one of these categories, so there’s no reason to defend myself. I’ll gladly explain why I chose to do something to someone who doesn’t attack or accuse me of anything. Anyone else can just have their say and move on. :-)

    Reply
  • December 8, 2008 at 4:26 pm
    Permalink

    good point, i have the archos 5 (after watching your youtube videos, i couldn’t help myself) and the page is displayed clearly before the loading symbol dissapears…. in fact, im using the archos 5 to type this.

    Reply
  • July 6, 2009 at 4:57 pm
    Permalink

    I can hardly agree that the Archos is for mainstream users since I am the only person I know that owns one, or has even heard of Archos for that matter. It is very interesting to see this comparison, and even more interesting that the Archos times are so close to the Aigo’s even when it only has 128 megs of ram…

    Reply
  • October 6, 2009 at 9:19 am
    Permalink

    Were can I get a used Aigo P8860 for cheaper than the posted price. I’ve been looking for a MID and it’s the best match except the price. I was looking at the Nokia N810, Archos 5, SmartQ 5 and Gigabyte M528<-where can I purchase this. I spent a good amount of time researching them but all I see is a lot of bad reviews. I would like if someone could list is from good to bad. I like hacking and modding things so pls keep that in mind.

    Reply
  • November 20, 2009 at 2:23 am
    Permalink

    While ARM Holding is going up and Intel Corporation is moving down, I therefore have no doubt who will end up being a clear winner in the race to become no.1 micro chip producer in the years to come.

    ARM with it ARM7 and ARM9 processor can easily take on Intel Atom for many reasons, firstly ARM7 and ARM9 consume less power and have longer standby times the Intel Atom processor. Secondly the ARM7 and ARM9 is much smaller in size then the Intel Atom, this will reduce cost for hardware vendors.

    ARM Holding to date powers more then 95% of the smart phones, such as Nokia N97 Mini, iPhone, Blackberry and host of other communication devices such as TV Music player and set-top boxes.

    Reply
  • April 13, 2010 at 11:03 pm
    Permalink

    Wile ARM Processors are moving up and taking the business model to comppete directly with Intel. I see ARM will eventally overtake intel as the biggest chip maker and dominate the Mobile Internet devices markets.

    Reply

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