August 18, 2006 | Category:

Archos And Service

A few weeks ago, my beloved Archos AV420 died, for no good reason. The screen looked fine, the hard drive didn’t make any funny sounds, it just stopped working. I’m so used to having it as an mp3 and video player, and as the hub of the tv/hi-fi set-up, that it was looking near unbearable not to have it; I’d need to get a new one.

Imagine my panic when I realised I had purchased it around 1 year before (the standard manufacturing warranty in the UK for electrical goods), and couldn’t remember whether it was just short of a year or not. A two day search through my flat and my parent’s house finally turned up the all important receipt: it had failed 5 days before the warranty was up. Phew!

The next part, I imagined, would be difficult: getting Curries Digital in Glasgow to accept a receipt from Dixons Tax Free in Heathrow (a now semi-defunct part of the same chain), for a not uncostly electrical device that just happened to die under the years warranty. Nothing could be further from the truth.

A brief wait for customer services, a quick explanation of the situation, and cursory glance at the device and I was told immediately that they’d buy it back off me for the original price. I could, if I wished, go for a different model and pay or receive the difference, or get a full refund if none were to my satisfaction; barely a question asked. That’s the kind of sensible, straight-forward service we should be getting everywhere.

I had been thinking about replacing the 20Gb hard disk anyway, so I opted to pay a small difference to upgrade to the newer Archos AV560: a better looking device, with triple the hard disk space. Of note is the larger, slightly wider screen, a vastly improved operating system, better accessories (the mini-cam add-on looks interesting), the inclusion of a USB host port (so you don’t need a computer to transfer between it and other USB devices), and a slightly better battery. Absolute bargain.

The downsides of this model are an ill-fitting leather case (stretched at the seams), a poorer TV hub (the device doesn’t dock, as before), and a few questionable UI widgets (primarily the playlist control which was never very good).

All in all, I’m very happy with both Curries handling of this, the additional warranty and the device itself.