capsule review

Archos Gmini XS200

At a Glance
  • Archos Gmini XS 200 512MB MP3 Player (512MB Internal Flash)

Archon Gmini XS200

After toying with color MP3 players, I found that turning on the Archos Gmini's monochrome display was like watching Saturday morning cartoons on a black-and-white television. Then again, the sleek battleship-gray Gmini XS200 is about one-third smaller--and noticeably lighter--than the bulky IRiver H320. It's comparable to many 5GB players on the market. This player invites you to make playlists on the go (in contrast, the IRiver won't let you create playlists without a computer).

On the other hand, the XS200's hard drive is noisy, clicking with each new file that loads. The squat metallic joystick can be awkward to handle; I found myself accidentally moving it sideways when I wanted to go up or down, and vice versa. The Archos's 10-hour battery life is relatively short for a 20GB player. And in playlist mode, the screen takes several seconds between songs to display information--a good beat or two after the music starts. (This delay doesn't occur in normal playback mode.)

If you're economical and you care more about how Green Day or the Moody Blues sound than about how their song titles look on a color display, the Archos Gmini XS200 will satisfy your aural fixations.

This ultracompact, no-frills unit delivers great sound, on-the-go playlists, and photo storage.

Sam Jemielity

This story, "Archos Gmini XS200" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • Archos Gmini XS 200 512MB MP3 Player (512MB Internal Flash)

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