"This Best Selling Archos 43 4.3-Inch 8 GB For Sale Tends to SELL OUT VERY FAST! If this is a MUST HAVE product, be sure to Order Now to avoid disappointment!"
Experience HD video playback and full Android connectivity with the Archos 43 Internet Tablet. Thin, light, and strong, the Archos 43 showcases a 4.3-inch high resolution touchscreen with a built-in HD camcorder for exceptionally sharp video capture and playback. Featuring an HDMI-out port for full connectivity with HDTVs, OpenGL 3D graphic acceleration for the latest 3D games, and an Android 2.2 operating system completely open to programmers, this Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled tablet puts the full power of a computer in the palm of your hand.
If this sounds like you and you have any reservations about buying this tablet, forget them. I think you will like the Archos 43. I skipped the 7″ tablets because they’re too big to fit in my pocket. I wanted something ultra-portable, and as of now, this seems to be one of the few remaining small tablets around. It is a little old now, but if you’re interested in a better Ipod Touch at a fraction of the price, or a perfected successor to the Nokia Internet Tablets of a few years ago, this certainly fits the bill.
Let me start with the negative. I wish this thing had the Ipod’s touch screen. The resistive touch screen is good by most standards, but coming from an Ipod Touch, their screen is simply more accurate and responsive. I find it works better when you use the tip of a fingernail rather than a fingertip. Even so, it is still not as good as Apple’s. Not bad, but you notice a difference. It is not enough for me to diminish the user experience.
Beyond that, there’s not much I miss about my Ipod Touch.
Android is Android. The interface, as you would expect, is slick and easy to use. I have some Android experience, so I was able to get stuff working immediately.
The first two things I did was update the software, then added an APK for Android Market. You can do a search for “archos 43 android market” and you will find the correct APK to install. Just download it and click on it, and when it is finished, reboot. Now you have the full array of Google apps at your fingertips.
Even though Android 2.2 is not an up to the minute system, it still works VERY well, and browsing through the Android Market suggests that people are still developing apps for it. I immediately installed Flashplayer. Yes, flash videos work, but you have to kill everything else with the task manager before watching. No big deal, as the built-in FLV player seems to work with most sites, and that’s really a better experience anyway. But, in a pinch, you do have flash to watch videos from the more obscure sites. Nice.
I also installed Mobo Player, a universal media player that’s built on the FFMpeg libraries. You can also install some extra codecs from AM. So far, I haven’t run into any video that this won’t play. So much better than having to convert everything to watch it on the Ipod!
The Tiny Shark app lets you stream music from Grooveshark, and even lets you use your pre-created playlists. I tried for months to get some form of Grooveshark working on the Ipod Touch, but it is intentionally locked out to protect Apple’s business interests.
I couldn’t find a Google Earth, but I do have Google Maps with satellite views, which is almost as good. I installed a Street View app so I could get that functionality, too.
Dropbox makes it easy for me to transfer files from my computer to the 43. I just put them in the Dropbox folder on my PC, open the Dropbox app on my 43, and there’s the file, ready to download. No USB cord required.
A few other things…installed the Opera Mobile browser, but I think I like the default browser just as well. I use it most of the time.
As far as the unit itself, it seems larger in every dimension than an Ipod Touch. That’s not a bad thing. It definitely makes viewing videos more pleasurable, and if you have big fingers, the extra real estate means that it is easier to use the on-screen keyboard. It seems solidly built, with a shiny metal back that could double as a mirror. It also has a kickstand so you can set it on a table if you don’t want to hold it all the time.
There are only two “hard” controls…the volume and the power on/off/sleep/wake button. A short press puts the unit to sleep. A long press brings up a menu with several options, including shutdown.
Unlike the Ipod, the Archos has a micro SD slot, both to expand storage and to facilitate transfer of files. I think the Archos recognizes cards up to 32 GB. I would say, unless you want to install a million apps and need space on the hard drive, you’d be silly to get anything but the 8 GB model. Just get a high speed microSD instead, which, depending on the size, could save you a few dollars over the 16GB. That’s what I plan to do.
The Archos also has a headphone jack, USB charging/transfer port (and it will run in host mode with the right cable, provided you don’t have accessories that require too much voltage…meaning USB drives should work). And when you hook it to a computer, you can open it as mass storage…meaning no stupid software is required to load/convert files, and there’s no “guilty-until-proven-innocent” DRM schemes to keep you from copying files to and from whatever computer you want.
It also has a mini HDMI out, for use with a full size HDTV. Yup. You could put HD movies on the thing and use it as an ultra-portable movie player. The mini HDMI to regular HDMI cable is included.
You also get a set of headphones and a USB charging/transfer cable. There is no wall charger, but you can use a 120V to USB transformer, or buy a cheapo micro USB phone charger at any dollar store. I have one for use in my car and it works well.
If you can’t tell, I’m pretty happy with this thing. I’m not Apple-bashing, but it is so nice to have a device that is created to bring you the best multimedia/internet experience possible, rather than a device that is designed to maximize revenue streams after the initial purchase. I’m not criticizing Apple, I’m just saying that I prefer this device because those limitations and restrictions have been taken out of the equation, and I’m free to install whatever I want to enhance my experience. The thing will even dual boot with other Linux versions, so I forsee many happy hours of hacking various distros onto this thing just so I can say I did it.
I’ll be updating soon with more info.
EDIT (1/3/12) – A couple of issues/problems that I brought up in the original review have been resolved. One, the touchscreen issue has been largely bypassed by the use of Voice Search. Not only does it let you speak your search queries into Google, it also lets you dictate into Google Docs, online forms, etc. Great for posting short messages on forums and for instant messaging. It works surprisingly well…I didn’t want to get my hopes up when I saw that I could use it for dictation, but I’m pretty happy with it overall. I’ve seen Siri in use and it is far from perfected. No big deal…using Voice Search is almost the same thing, except the tablet doesn’t answer you out loud. I can live without it for the price.
Although I didn’t find Google Earth in the Android Market, I did find a copy on the internet, which I downloaded and installed. Works great…full 3D views, tilt, pan, etc. Nice!
I’m digging the big screen. I gave my Ipod to my mother, and I had to set it up for her, and you really do appreciate the size of the screen when you have to go back.
Again, if you’re considering an Ipod Touch, I’d take a good look at the Archos. It might not be trendy and have “the logo” on it, but seems to do everything the Ipod does and then some.
But for someone addicted to the internet, and in need of quick drug references in the clinic and checking up on emails, this is perfect for me. A single payment of $170ish versus 24+ months of cell phone bills giving me minutes I don’t need, texts I won’t use and stingy data plans at obscene rates made this the logical choice for my needs. Besides, smartphone carriers and their services are a joke in the U.S. So **** em.
Coming out of the box, you have to charge it before it’ll turn on. Don’t panic like I did and think that it’s dead. Just let it charge first. Make a sandwich. Eat it. Watch TV. It’s like watching a pot of water boil, so be patient.
You’ll probably want to look for the ArcTools app to free yourself from the somewhat limited AppsLib that Archos has pre-installed on it. ArcTools will let you install Google Apps such as Gmail, Calendar, etc. and enable you to access the full Android Market, just like a real phone. Of course, this is not a phone and has no GPS capability, nor does it have 3G or 4G connectivity. This is, after all, an internet tablet. Takes wifi signals only, but where I live, there are plenty of wifi signals available. I… should probably get an antivirus of some sort. Someday. But yeah, I used AppsLib to find ArcTools to get the Android Marketplace, which I then use to get all my other apps, since there’s just so much more available than on the AppsLib.
The screen itself is single-touch-capable and resistive. This means that you can’t do the neat iTouch/iPhone squeeze in/zoom out action, but you just double tap instead and can keep double-tapping to zoom in or touch the zoom +/- icons that show up on screen. And you can’t do anything that requires two fingers touching the screen at the same time. The iPhone/iTouch things are capacitative, meaning that it takes the electrical properties of your skin to detect where you are pushing. The Archos is resistive, meaning that it is detecting the pressure that you are applying to the screen to localize where it is being pushed. It’s rather sensitive, so it’s not like you’re going to be scraping the hell out of the screen to scroll through an article.
The screen is rather bright, and has nice, vibrant colors. The lowest brightness setting is plenty for indoors. Kinda have to crank it up a notch when outside. There’s a nice, quick icon to push on a widget to quickly go through lowest, medium, and brightest on the screen brightness settings.
Being the Archos 43, it has pretty good screen real estate with its 4.3″ screen. The iPhone is like 3.5″ or something. The Archos 32 has 3.2″ screen. The Archos 28 has a 2.8″ screen. I personally do not have needle-like spider fingers, but if you do, or if you have kids, you might be fine with an $80 2.8″ screen. My sausage fingers and near-sightedness demand a larger screen to touch and look upon, respectively. Plus, the next-largest screen size would be the older-generation Archos 5, with a 5″ screen and gas-powered engine. But after that, then you’re looking at Nook-sized, or Samsung Galaxy tablet-sized, or iPad-sized tablets. MY POCKETS ARE NOT THAT BIG. If I wanted to look at something that big, I’D USE MY LAPTOP. Just saying.
But even with the luxurious 4.3″ screen, my sausage fingers have difficulty typing some things sometimes. This doesn’t seem to have autocorrect, depriving me of hilarious moments of miscommunication, and bestowing infuriating gibberidj imxtead. I guess I should file my fingernails to a point or only use my pinkies, the least-sausage-like of my fingers. Or maybe find an app for autocorrecting things.
Unlike the Archos 32 and 28, the Archos 43 actually has speakers. Granted, they’re not that great, so superaudiophiles should just instead use their $500 headphones through the headphone jack to experience sound worthy of stimulating their snooty ossicles. But hey, iPhone speakers aint that great either. So whatev.
It also has a microphone. It’s not too bad. It just increases my self-awareness about how horrible my voice sounds.
The battery is pretty good. I haven’t had it run out on me yet, considering that I charge it overnight every night or every other night. It can get kinda hot when charging or running on high brightness settings. But it’s a battery. I hold no illusions that a hot battery is beneath my consideration. But maybe I should. I don’t know. I’m not a tech wizard. Nor am I rich enough to hold it next to an iPhone and let them discharge simultaneously to see how they compare. iTouch is probably better. But I can’t have iTunes on my computer for some odd reason. And there are other reasons why I prefer this over an Apple product.
Its wifi antenna might be a little weak. Either that, or wifi signals around me are always either 1, 2, or zero bars. I dunno, I don’t have an iTouch to hold in my other hand as I run in the opposite direction of a wireless router to gauge their sensitivity to wifi signals. iPhone’s probably better. I just use it as an excuse to get back to work or walk around, holding my tablet up in front of me. It can take pretty much all the current wifi security things, like WPA2 and whatnot, so that’s nice, unlike the DS lite. I swear, Nintendo and its wifi-security. Still in the stone ages.
A nice perk of this is that it takes microSD cards and uses non-proprietary USB 2.0 cables to connect to computers. Apple products can’t say the same thing. My Archos has an 8GB HD. I could just as easily put in a microSD card to increase its memory by however much I want. Apple products can’t do that kind of convenient thing. Also, it can take a micro-B USB cable that you can get anywhere for super cheap, as opposed to a special cable from the Apple Store. Apple may have excellent, excellent products at a rather high price, but at least when I buy my things, I can do things to them considering that it’s my property that I purchased. What SD card and standard USB cable-production companies have done to wrong Apple, I do not know.
The Archos itself is decently fast. It can freeze at times, and it can take a little while to get things going, but you can go through the System Monitor on the 2nd page of the screen to cease other programs from running and occupying memory space. Also, you can hold the power button for like, 10 seconds for it to restart. It’s not perfect, but what is? I can’t say that I have much experience with an iPhone or iTouch and how fast they run. But it’s probably smoother.
Its camera is not very good. It works. It can take pictures. It can take video. But it’s not like it’s much better than an average cell phone camera. At least it works. No flash for the camera either.
But again, if you’re looking for an economical method to have smart-phone-like stuff without paying for an actual smart phone and getting smart phone service, this is a really nice deal. If this dies on me or wrongs me horribly, I’ll be sure to update. But as of now, it is my own. My love. My precious.
UPDATE: Yep, still works. Kinda sluggish, in comparison to iPhones and iTouches and whatnot. But still works decently.
I think most of the complaints about the Archos 43 stem from pilot error and the fact that many of the buyers paid between $150. & $200. and expected to get I-Pad performance, “get real”, “STOP CRYING” and read the manual, I feel if you do you’ll find this is a nifty little device, I’m loving mine and the more I use it the better it gets. If your thinking of getting one “(Do It)” read the manual completely, fully charge it and I think you’ll be as happy with it as I am—-I recommend it!!! Eleanor B.
2) Android (I luv anything that says google).
3) Mp3 player is good (Nice UI).
4) Good Video playback.
5) Decent battery backup.
6) Camera is nice in good daylight.
7) Some very good apps in google market for it. Works pretty well with most of them. (The camera apps don’t though)
8) Once you install some funky apps, it gets pretty addictive. I couldn’t stay apart from my tab even while typing this.
1) Fu***n long charging time. I mean really, it takes almost as long to charge as to discharge sometimes.
2) Hella SLOW. If you can’t tolerate lagging or slow responses or s/w crash occasionally, DONT EVEN THINK OF BUYING IT.
3) WIFI is pretty weak in connection. Not that i face severe problems, but if your router is far away, not a good thing.
4) Crashes occasionally, gets stuck sometimes.
5) Camera sucks in dark background. Way too much pixelation.
6) The camera photos automatically generate a duplicate copy and many times, deleting any one copy deleted everything in the folder.
7) Skype call quality SUCKS on it.
8) (My) youtube app (preinstalled one) doesn’t work as is the case with many other users. Sadly, it doesn’t allow you to uninstall either.
Other points worth mentioning:
The marketplace installed is bad. Search for gapps4archos2.apk and install.
Do not forget to install the flash player 10.2 as it comes with 10.1 which is useless for the video surfing.
Surf up some apps like acrobat reader, file manager etc. I couldn’t open pdf attachments in emails before installing them. Now i can save them too.
The outer plastic case may wear out quickly.
DO NOT fiddle with the software. I tried it and lost everything.
Although the camera sucks in the dark background, it works pretty amazing in the daylight or well light background. No zoom though.
Requires you to BUY software to view many DVD format films. Regular format ones work good though. s/w costs around $15-30 extra i guess. Better convert the videos.
Lots more to say. If you need more advise, mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Regarding the complaints about the resistive screen – I have never had any problems with that. I use a stylus (a small wooden cable knitting needle is my favorite) for most things, because it is more precise than my finger. The stylus works fine on this touchscreen, unlike the screen on my son’s Ipod Touch, which does not ‘feel’ the stylus.
Unfortunately, last night I dropped my beloved Archos and now the screen seems to be dead. Augh! I’m doing some troubleshooting, but if the screen is truly dead, I plan to buy a replacement right away. I LOVE MY ARCHOS!