A tale of two Archos 5 Android owners


Back in November, I described my Archos 5 Android Internet Tablet as one of those gadgets that I felt like I was supposed to really like…but didn't. The ARM Cortex A8-powered slate isn't a bad product—not at all—but it just isn't for me. Not in the way I hoped it would be, anyway. I still use the device as a PMP and sometimes an ebook reader, but Steve from Carrypad seems to think it's fantastic at doing much more. In fact, his personal experiences with the device are what I thought mine would be like when I bought it six months ago.

Steve and I chat about the Archos 5 every so often on Twitter and recently decided to take the discussion beyond 140 characters by each writing a paragraph explaining the reasons behind his "I like it" and my "I don't."

High expectations ruined the Archos 5 for me. As a long-time fan of the brand I still regard as one of the best for portable video playback, I was looking forward to my first experience with Android and expected the device to become my go-to MID for web browsing, email, Twitter, casual games, and media consumption. But except for the latter use, the Archos 5 has fallen short for me. The resistive touchscreen requires more forceful, deliberate, and often multiple taps for a desired action to be recognized/performed than the capacitive screens I prefer; it's a constant source of frustration for me that only worsens an experience I would already call subpar. Android without Google is like an ice cream cone without the ice cream: incomplete and almost not worth having. AppsLib and other marketplaces that can be installed pale in comparison to Android Market, the stock on-screen keyboard is terrible, and navigation in the web browser is cumbersome enough to make me not want to use it (even though the browsing experience is actually quite good because of the large screen, fast load times, and other general improvements over the previous Archos 5 IMT). I keep wanting to like the device but whenever I dust it off and try to give it another chance to be what I want it to be, which I do on a regular basis, it's quickly returned to my closet of unused gadgets…where it belongs.

Read Steve's perspective on the device here.

The bright side of all of this for me is the fact that I keep trying to like the device as an Android MID (and not just a PMP with extras), which means I like the size and form factor and recognize what Archos was trying to do. It also makes me optimistic about how I'll get along with the Dell Streak, which looks like the Archos 5IT done right and in turn makes me anxious to see how Archos will respond with its next generation of handheld tablets.

What's your take on the Archos 5 Android? Has it fallen short, met, or exceeded your expectations?

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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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