Hands-On With The Just-Announced Archos 704-WiFi PMP

At midnight, Archos pulled the curtain back on their feature-packed, but anything-but-pocket-friendly 704-Wifi PMP (although it’s closer in form to an UMPC than an iPod.) This 80GB, 7-inch-screener packs in WiFi Web browsing and DVR functionality with the usual music/photo/video business. We got our hands on perhaps the most feature-packed of players and took it for a spin.

The box is pretty typical.

The design of the actual unit can be be described as Sci-Fi. The incredibly sleek stainless steel finish is cold to the touch out of the box, and nearly the entire face is taken up by the 7-inch touchscreen. In fact, the only buttons on this thing hug the sides.

As you can see, this isn’t exactly the type of player you go jogging with.

The features are endless: In addition to the usual audio/video/photo stuff, it automatically scans for open WiFi networks (hence the name) and lets you touchscreen your way through the Web. And, like previous Archos models, an optional dock turns it into an on-the-go DVR.

The screen is a GORGEOUS 800×480 pixels, and the built-in speakers actually have decent juice for piping your flicks and tunes. Like usual with Archos, codec support is alright: MPEG-4, AVI, ASP@L5, MP3, WMA, and the nearly-dead PlaysForSure–not to mention PDF reading and optional plug-ins that add in a few more extensions. The Web browser is the always-good Opera, and at $549.99, it does more than an iPhone.