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Old 02-28-2010, 11:54 PM
ron_z ron_z is offline
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Recently bought an Archos 5 IT 8GB version from archos.ca. I was a little worried with what I read here about buying this from Scott especially when I couldn't get through to him on the phone. But when I've emailed him he's always been very prompt replying (always under half an hour so far) so no problems there. I'd prefer a little more communication when making a purchase, like an email response saying he received my order and how long it will be for processing and shipping (this could even be an auto reply just so I know what to expect). But like I said he responds to emails immediately so no real harm.
I've been looking for something to replace my ageing Zaurus and I kind of thought this might do the trick. I mostly use the Z for voice notes, contact information, database, password management, taking notes, listening to podcasts, GPS etc. I've tried replacing it a few times over the years but always seem to go back to the Z. It seems to be the keyboard I miss most. I bought an ipod touch for my daughter in order to try it out, but found it unusable for me. Curiously, it's the capacitive screen that was the biggest drawback.
Around here it gets cold in the winter. A capacitive screen won't work with gloves on and the cold air seems to dry my fingers too much for the capacitive screen to detect my touch. Also, I frequently use freenote or sketchpad (imagepad) to jot down quick notes and make crude sketches when I'm on location so that I can refer to them later. None of this works adequately on a capacitive screen.
So far I haven't found a decent database app (I could set up a SQL webpage for this but it's not really what I'm looking for). Moving my 1000+ contacts over is a bigger pain than I was expecting and I haven't even attempted to move my calendar data. I'm quickly finding this isn't a PDA. It's mostly the little things like on the Z if I make a text note or voice note it automatically shows up in the calendar and can be retrieved from there. There are apps for Android that allow for some of this functionality but it's not as seamless.
Although I can enter text on the Archos way faster than on the Ipod touch it's still a pain compared to on the Zaurus. Also, every drawing app I've tried seems to have tremendous delay and is even more cumbersome than on my old palm pilot.
I was really looking forward to loading Angstrom on this and using it for some of my old favorite apps (mythtv, freenote, firefox, gpsdrive and a few others I can't think of at the moment) but fact is Angstrom on Archos needs a lot of work before it'll be usable for anything. I couldn't get wpa working and a lot of the hardware isn't supported. I can't say I gave it much of a try though since I had no way to connect a usb keyboard for now and bluetooth isn't working.
All in all the Archos has been well worth the $250, it has loads of geeky goodness, but in hindsight I'd probably go for the 32 GB version (I really like the thin form factor, it's very pocketable). Also, it was well worth getting the in car mount (it also comes with a dc power cable which allows the fm transmitter to work). Also, I'd like to see an external keyboard option (maybe it could snap over the screen and act as a protective cover – just a thought) a small, thin bluetooth keyboard with some kind of mouse function would be great. I've looked around but can't seem to find exactly what I want.
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