Friday, May 27, 2011

Tech Review: Archos Vision 30c 8 GB Video MP3 Player

Archos Vision 30c 8 GB Video MP3 Player with 3-Inch Touchscreen and FM Radio (Silver)
My Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
I.e. Epic Failure
Archos Vision 30c 8GB Video MP3 Player

I have not been as frustrated by an electronic since the Visioneer scanner (it was craptastic). This mp3 player is, hands down, the worst mp3 player I have ever used. Although I have only own iPods, I have used my friend’s mp3 players which vary in brand.

Let’s start dissecting this piece of plastic.

The body of the product: Plastic at it’s crappiest
The mp3 player itself feels very flimsy and breakable. It feels like a piece of plastic and after poking the screen so much in frustration, I was sure it was going to break.

The screen and video: Circa camcorder 1998
I would not call it a screen per se, it’s more like a mirror. The screen reflects EVERYTHING, even in low light. It was really hard to watch something when I kept looking at my pretty face in the screen. The quality of the screen is something akin to pre-iPod. It is a low quality screen and that results in very grainy pictures. Remember your old 1998 camcorder? The screen where the controls were? Remember that you could see all the pixels and stuff? That’s exactly how it looks.
Yep, just like this.

The User Interface (UI): The poke-screen
So, the ‘thing’ is touch screen, woo hoo... Yeah right. After charging the mp3 player, I powered on the player and started playing with the controls. You have to poke it repeatedly for it to work. It’s not a touch-screen, it’s a poke-screen. I thought I was going to break it.

The menu are pretty simple: Music, Video, Pictures, FM Radio and so forth. I first tried the Music feature and, after poking it repeatedly, I finally got to the music section. Then I tried the FM radio and to get it to the right station was damn near a nightmare.

This was a VERY frustrating UI. It is unresponsive at best and completely worthless most of the time. If you HAVE to do touch screen, at least provide better manual controls. All the button does is go back to the previous screen.

FM Radio: Your favorite static station!
I was actually looking forward to this feature. It is the one thing the iPod doesn’t have. I poke my way through the menus to get to FM radio. I hear...static. Oh! silly me, it is set to Europe setting. So, I poke the screen some more and change it to United States setting. I search for some radio stations and I hear...static. Well, there is a Search Station feature, let’s try that! The ‘thing’ did not find a single radio station. I was by the window, then outside, and nothing. All I hear is static. 

If anyone got the FM Radio feature to work, please let me know how. Otherwise, I am going to assume the FM Feature does not work.

Sound quality: I hope you like your plane’s music channel!
The sound quality is not horrible but, it is not good either. My first generation iPod sounded 100 times better. The bass is off and after playing with the equalizer I just got tired of trying.

The headphones that come with the player are pretty crappy. They are the ones that they give you in the plane.

Archos Music Download Manager and Store

The mp3 player came with some credits to the Archos Music Store. The selection of music is very limited. Let me rephrase, it is extremely limited. The download manager becomes unresponsive all the time and I had to keep restarting it.

Do not even bother buying this, or giving it to someone (do you dislike them that much?). The interface is very bad. The sound is sub-par. And the features do not even work.

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