I am in awe of this thing.
With that out of the way....
Purchased an Archos 5 250GB, didn't purchase any of the accessories (yet). But since this is my first touchscreen device I bought some HP styluses to get accostomed to using the interface.
The A5 package itself is minimal: box, some instructions, earphones, USB cable, cleaning cloth (no case, no power adapter, no TV connection dock). To these eyes this device is beautiful -- some will complain about the glossy surfaces being fingerprint magnets (which they are) but matte surfaces have a habit of becomming unevenly glossy with daily use. (Look at your keyboard's space bar to see what I mean) The build is solid and actually deceivingly heavy. The battery is non-replacable but can charge through the USB connection. In addition to the standard MP3, with a firmware update (no charge) the Archos 5 can play back .ogg Vorbis and .flac files. This is a feature that has been asked for years from Archos and they finally deliver. Album Art is supported either embedded in MP3 or folder.jpg file within the album's subdirectory. There may be other ways also. The device can sync with WMP11 or one cas set it to disk mode and just drag and drop. The Archos ARCLIB (database) updates and you're ready to play!
The interface is clean, simple, and fast. There's some computing going on under the hood as this device can get a bit warm. Navigation can be done by finger or stylus and there is a built in calibration program. Background "wallpaper" can be used -- even those with moving images. The music quality is good, not quite as loud and powerful as the older Archos AV500, but lound enough with some heft to the bass and some sparkly highs. We're still talking compressed music here so I don't expect sonic miracles. Even so, the .ogg feature works well. Plenty of space left over after adding 12,000+ .ogg files. With 250GB there is so much space, some bitrates on certain music (The Beatles!) are going to be increased when re-ripped.
Video is smooth and the color and clarity of the demo material is amazing. The screen is of very high quality. No dead pixels or sub-pixels and the panel probably isn't a cheap TN, either. Color and contrast are quite good from above, side to side and below. PVA or S-IPS? Anyway, quite amazing. I have not converted any movies yet so I don't know what that experience will be like. With the increase in detail (800x482) over the AV500 I'm expecting a very good colorful, picture, with quite good black levels.
WiFi works. I'm still getting used to the wealth of material for web TV and radio but can state that the feature works. Watched some TV from Hawaii and listed to a few internet oldies stations. Quality can vary wildly depending upon the bitrates so don't expect HDTV or SACD from these connections. Internet browsing is OK. I'm getting used to the virtual keyboard so "surfing the net" is a bit slow on my part. The network speed and website loading seems pretty fast. The CNN page can be very detailed and small but a couple of presses magnifies a portion of the screen and one can scroll about without too much effort.
Can't say about the battery life. The Archos 5 is supposed to get about 14hours audio and about 7hours video after the battery has gone through a few cycles. We'll see. I've had enough juice to have some fun and learning this fascinating device.
If there is one complaint, it's the lack of a case -- evan a simple rudimetary one. Archos sells one for $24.99 but I've seen some forum postings about using a 4.3" GPS portable case that should do for general protection. There seem to be plenty around and not that expensive so a quick trip to Best Buy or the like should turn up something that works.
All in all, a very pleasant experience and I expect to get much use from the Archos A5.
Thank you for reading.