We, like, totally dig Archos for its many fabulous products, but the hard drive-based Gmini XS 100 isn’t one of them. Despite its charming simplicity, it seems dowdy and overpriced compared with the extraordinary 4GB iPod Mini and Creative’s 4GB featurific Zen Micro, which both cost just $30 more.
The defining element is, of course, the sound, and the Gmini XS 100 sadly fails to distinguish itself in this category, whether playing MP3, WMA (including protected WMA), or shiny, uncompressed WAV tracks.
The bundled earbuds, not surprisingly, deliver dry and lifeless audio, but even paired with Shure’s E4c earbuds the sound quality falls well below that of the iPod Mini and Creative’s phalanx of players, thanks to the grainy highs.
Conditions do not improve with the EQ presets, and the Gmini XS 100 has the least effective five-band custom EQ we’ve ever heard.
We got off on the seven-line screen that displays the current track title as well as the next track in the queue, but that’s not enough to compensate for flimsy audio.
-- Logan Decker
Month Reviewed: Holiday 2005
+ Beavers: Nice display; plays uncompressed WAV tracks.
-Fevers: Sound quality far behind its peers.