I am bored thread; PMA430 review - Techist - Tech Forum

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Old 04-28-2007, 09:23 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default I am bored thread; PMA430 review

Well, what can I say? It is the geeky-est item I have ever owned and I can also see why it flopped and the iPod has succeeded.

I received the PMA yesterday and had a little play with it at lunch. First impressions was it isn't too bad.

Appearance. There is no mistaking this for a cool MP3 player. Because it is neither of them. And that is why it isn't cool! It's a computer running Linux kernel 2.4.19 with Qtopia 1.7 as its GUI. As far as hardware goes it has a 30GB hard drive, 64 meg of RAM and an unrated CPU called the "Texas Instruments OMAP5910" which according to wiki is in the "high performance" line. In reality it is around 150MHz which is OK when you are doing a couple of things but feels overloaded every now and then.

When you first turn the PMA on you get a sinking feeling of "what have I bought" as you watch it POST, then initiate the OS, load OS and then tells you it is loading the GUI. All in the space of a minute and half. It feels like forever. Thankfully there is a standby function which it wakes up from in the same time as the Zen Vision M.

Touch screen makes what would be a nightmare of features into something quite bearable. Easier than the iPod. Touch once onto music. It loads the music player and a file browser. Chose list by artist and select album and then first track. It plays the whole album. Great. I quickly eat my lunch and have to go back to school.

On arriving back I delete all the previous owners media and put on my own. Videos were fine. Playing a DivX TV program. Good quality video playback. Then I went onto what I expected to be fine. Organising my music. Oh no. You have to tell it to do that via a program call "Arclibrary". OK I thought. Go to the instruction manual where I expect it would show me how to load it, which it did. But it wasn't there. This really annoyed me. I had all his play lists being shown lagging my PMA while it hunted for them. All wasn't lost I thought. I can play it through the folders. And it did and I can thankfully say playback was very good through my headphones. The speaker built in is phone quality. There to show more than one person a track but not to really listen and enjoy the music of video through. I later found it by accident on a PMA forum where someone mentioned "file, update Arclibrary" where file isn't actually file in the PMA.

Being annoyed I went and looked at the other features this had. The built in web browser. Having used the PSP's one I had a rough idea what to expect from the wireless B capability. OK range, but the speed quickly deteriorated. The inputting of text is made easy-ish through the touch screen keyboard (compared to PSP), if I was doing anything serious with it I would plug in my compact USB keyboard. Browsing sites is very simple but scrolling gets very tiresome with the small (3.5") screen. A cool feature but not very practical. Especially compared to the time it takes to just walk to my PC. Even from complete shutdown it would be faster at a desktop (Unless all you wanted to do was display Google!)

Email is really only useful for reading them unless you have a keyboard. Will take too long to write anything other than "OK, will do!"

There are plenty of PIM functions on here. Which I am sure are just as good as every other PIM there is. The only advantage with them on the PMA is you don't have to carry around another item.

The photo viewer is pretty cool, especially being able to plug in your camera and (assuming it works as a mass storage device) the PMA will read and you can copy images from there and place them on the hard drive. This will be a function that I will use when going on holiday.

I quite like world time. I can see it is just going light on the west coast as I write this. Games go on the same category of opinion as quite good, 3d graphics are what they were 10 years ago or more on the Mophun trial games. I am pretty sure there are emulators for old school consoles. There are NES and GBA emulators available too via medios which I will try when if I feel the need to in the future. Not so right now.

In short, I bought this because I saw it on Ebay going for stupid money. 87 excluding postage was a steal. Especially as they are going for 170 yesterday. I think that 170 is pushing it for what is worth for me. Retail I wouldn't even think twice about ignoring it.

Well that took up some time to write. And some photos here: Index of /Trifid/PMA
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Old 04-28-2007, 10:03 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: I am bored thread; PMA430 review

Nice Review, but personaly id wait a few more years to get something like that, for the time being, there awkward and not powerful enough.
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Old 04-29-2007, 05:50 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: I am bored thread; PMA430 review

Just an update. The Archos firmware isn't that great. Being a bit slow and causing crashes if you are doing file browsing while playing an MP3 (not in the MP3 program.) I installed the OpenPMA software due to the quite proudly said "There has been no reports of permanent damage to your PMA" and the improved performance with less resources.

Installing it required a boot hack. A simple program that you install on the PMA like any other program. restart and connect the USB before it loads the OS (like you would put XP disk in to reinstall.) Copy over the files, reboot and it will install the OS.

This has given me a few more options within the PMA, but most interestingly it now has SAMBA! (I can now transfer files over WLAN at an impressive 11Mbps theoretical max.) The PMA feels slightly nippier too and hould be open to more software: Archos PMA400 Software Index
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Old 04-29-2007, 08:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: I am bored thread; PMA430 review

Nice
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Old 12-13-2007, 03:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: I am bored thread; PMA430 review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trifid View Post
Just an update. The Archos firmware isn't that great. Being a bit slow and causing crashes if you are doing file browsing while playing an MP3 (not in the MP3 program.) I installed the OpenPMA software due to the quite proudly said "There has been no reports of permanent damage to your PMA" and the improved performance with less resources.

Installing it required a boot hack. A simple program that you install on the PMA like any other program. restart and connect the USB before it loads the OS (like you would put XP disk in to reinstall.) Copy over the files, reboot and it will install the OS.

This has given me a few more options within the PMA, but most interestingly it now has SAMBA! (I can now transfer files over WLAN at an impressive 11Mbps theoretical max.) The PMA feels slightly nippier too and hould be open to more software: Archos PMA400 Software Index
How do you like Open PMA? I like the GUI but like to customize stuff.
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Old 12-13-2007, 04:38 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: I am bored thread; PMA430 review

Holy thread revival!

Over the extra stability, no different from the standard software. It is a shame Archos stopped supporting it as there are bugs in the software deeper than OpenPMA can touch which is a shame.

To be honest I now use it more as a removable hdd than a MP3 player so use it a lot less.
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