Archos 5 first impressions

So I got an Archos 5 internet tablet last night, and I'm planning to review it as an ebook reader. I got the basic model, and it has a 4.8" screen, 8GB flash, Wifi, and a microSD card slot. It's easy to hold it in one hand in portrait mode; my thumb is positioned over the volume buttons (which act as page turn buttons).

Using the Archos 5 has refined my opinion of Android, and I'll post that elsewhere.

eReader

This was the easiest to find and download. Loading ebooks from Fictionwise and eReader.com was straightforward.  The page turn animation is excruciating, and can be turned off. eReader will likely be my main reading app while I fiddle with the others and try to get them working.

FBReaderJ

At this time, FBReaderJ is unusable on the Archos 5.  It installs the default Books folder on a partition that I can not access, and it can't find the ebooks on my SD card no matter what I name the folder. Also, I cannot access online sources like Feedbooks.

I've already the FBReader devs about the problems; if and when they are resolved I will post instructions. If anyone has already fixed this problem, please let me know.

Aldiko

This is a pretty good ebook reader app, but the installation process is fraught with problems. See, the primary design concept with Android is hiding everything from the user. Aldiko follows this principle by not letting you download their software from their website. I had to find it through someone else (Google "aldiko download" and look for the Softpedia link). Okay, it turns out they do tell you how to download Aldiko, but the information is hidden at the bottom of the Support page. God only know why they put it there instead of on a page labeled, I don't know, download, perhaps.

Aldiko has an option to import all your ebooks. I can't get it to work. But I downloaded several ebooks from Fictionwise so I will still be able to review it.

BTW, here is a direct download link for Aldiko: http://www.aldiko.com/packages/1.2.5/aldiko-standard-1.2.5.3-signed.apk

Impressions

I'm quite please with the hardware. The button placement is just about perfect for a one handed grip, and swiping the screen with my thumb is easy. But I'm not happy with the amount of trouble I had in trying to read ebooks. Someone somewhere screwed up. I don't know if its the app developers, Archos, or the Android OS itself.  I would only get the Archos 5 if you are a masochist or you are content with eReader.

About Nate Hoffelder (11591 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

12 Comments on Archos 5 first impressions

  1. Nate, I use Aldiko all the time on my Camangi Webstation.

    Make sure you have your books in Aldiko’s ebooks/import folder. Then from the main page hit the menu key, select import, and any ePUBs in the import folder should pop up on your bookshelf. The confusing bit is that there may not be an /import folder by default…use OI File manager or something similar to create it on the SD card and you should be all set.

    So the file tree for Aldiko imports should look like:

    /SD Card/eBooks/Import

    If you have any questions or it doesn’t work for you, let me know and I will try to help troubleshoot. I love Aldiko, and once I learned how to use the import function I started using it a lot!

  2. Forgot to mention, I downloaded both Aldiko and FBReader via the Apps Lib program installed on the Archos 5IT. So I had no problem finding them or downloading and installing them. I’m not sure if you have to install Apps lib or if it comes preinstalled as the unit I bought was a returned unit and obviously had stuff already installed that was not factory installed.

    When I returned the unit, the guy at Best Buy said he was the one who took that unit back from the first purchaser, and that guy had also complained about the difficulty of installing multimedia files.

    If the Archos 5IT is running true Android, then I extremely unimpressed with Android. I think the outdated Palm OS is way more usable than Android, and it has been discontinued and was written years ago!

  3. Not yet, but I will.

    Also, I just now found AppsLib. I now have several ebook readers to try.

  4. Hey, I have downloaded Aldiko and have been trying to import my ebooks (in epub format) but there is no ebooks/import folder on my SD card.. any help would be great!!

  5. Hey Nate, did you finally manage to install Market??

    Theoretically, you should be able to download the Kindle and Nook softwares for Android, very interesting alternatives to Aldiko, IMO.

    Cheers.

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