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Archos 2 8GB review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £36
inc VAT

Archos 2 may be very cheap, but the poor screen, annoying controls and muffled sound make it impossible to recommend.

The Archos 2 is the cheapest 8GB portable audio and video player that we’ve seen.

Its looks don’t betray its price, as it’s slender, has a 1.8in colour screen and weighs just 54g. It looks similar to an iPod thanks to its glossy white fascia and reflective metal back. There’s even a MicroSDHC slot for expanding its capacity.

Unfortunately, the fiddly controls take some getting used to. The rewind and fast forward buttons are used to navigate through the menus, which feels odd at first. Scrolling through long lists is difficult as the screen takes a second or two to update. Even more annoying, the combined power/lock switch is poorly designed, making it far too easy to turn the Archos 2 off accidentally instead of locking the controls.

Music sounded muddy and harsh, with little bass from the included earphones. Audio quality improved greatly using a high-quality third-party set, but the bass was still too subdued for our tastes. Unfortunately, boosting the bass using the equaliser also made music sound even more muffled.

We were also annoyed to find that the screen displays an animated soundwave while playing music, which can’t be turned off, leaving no room for the name of the artist and album of the current track. The 2 lasted just nine hours and 35 minutes while playing music, which is the shortest time of any MP3 player we’ve seen recently.

The 2 can play DivX video files, but only if they’ve been re-encoded to fit the low 128×160-pixel resolution of the 1.8in screen with a low, jerky frame rate of 15fps. This makes watching TV or films on it practically pointless. It’s a shame video quality isn’t better, as the four hours and seven minutes of battery life we got while playing video is enough for even the longest Hollywood epic.

The Archos 2 is very cheap, but it’s still not worth the money. The flawed controls, poor screen and disappointing sound mean that Sony’s more expensive Walkman NWZ-E443 is a much better choice.


Price £36
Rating **
Headphone Rating **


Capacity 8.00GB
Formatted capacity 7.64GB
Interface USB
Storage medium flash memory
Battery and charge options Li-ion, USB
Size 40x8x84mm
Weight 54g


Device has screen? Yes
Viewable size 1.8 in
Native resolution 128×160
Memory card support MicroSDHC
FM Radio yes
Audio record options microphone
Video record options none
Supplied with headphones, USB cable

Test Results

Tested battery life (MP3 playback) 9h 35m
Tested battery life (Video playback) 4h 7m
500MB transfer time 3m 23s
Audio MP3 playback Yes
Audio WMA playback Yes
Audio WMA-DRM playback Yes
Audio AAC playback No
Audio Protected AAC playback No
Audio OGG playback No
Audio WAV playback No
Audio Audible playback No
Image BMP support No
Image JPEG support Yes
Image TIFF support No
Video MPEG-4 AVI playback Yes
Video MPEG-4 MP4 playback No
Video WMV playback No
Video MPEG-1 playback No
Video MPEG-2 playback No
Video MPEG-2 VOB playback No
Video MPEG-4 DivX/XviD support Yes
Video H.264 support No
Video MPEG-4 MP3 audio support No
Video MPEG-4 AAC audio support No
Download compatibility WMA-DRM subscription and download

Buying Information

Price per MB 0.4p
Warranty one year RTB

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