I recently lost my Ipod while travelling. Very annoying, but fortunately I had all my music and videos backed up on one of my Macs, so at least my wonderful collection of astonishingly bad eighties disco tracks was not lost. The question was of course: what now? I needed something mobile to fulfill my need for constant entertainment on car journeys and planes, and have a device I can use to listen to my favourite podcasts at night. Another Ipod was an obvious choice, but has two significant disadvantages:
- the screen is too small for anything but short video clips
- annoyingly, one can only synchronise with one dedicated machine.
- while present, the current Ipod software running on Linux is still quite unstable
So I needed something with a bigger screen that was able to run most video codecs and easily synchronised with all 4 different OSes that were running at work and in my household: OpenBSD, Linux, Windows and OsX. After a little bit of research I stumbled over a great offer for this: the Archos 500 is only 12 x 7cm small, but features an enormous screen and firmware that pretty much reads every media format you throw at. The 30GB hd is big enough for my music collection and 10 feature films in AVI format, which should be enough even for the most torrid long haul flight. Here is my Archos, busy playing the introductory sequence from Serenity:
The audioquality is excellent, the screen is astonishing, and as a bonus I can record all my favourite shows from TV while I’m not around via its interface to my satellite receiver. Battery life seems adequate (I still haven’t run into trouble there) and it’s small enough to carry around in jacket.