You may think Apple is king of portable player innovation, but there’s a lot to be said for Archos, too. Back when Apple and Creative were coming up with chunky music and, later, music and video players, Archos was besting them both. Archos has long offered support for more formats, larger capacity players and often manages to undercut them on price, too.

While this 40GB Archos 704 WiFi player isn’t quite as overblown as the 100GB PMP (portable media player) Archos launched a couple of years ago, it’s a monster in other ways. First, let’s deal with its size. The screen is fully 7in, which isn’t far off that of the daintier ultraportable laptops and is actually larger than a couple of the new breed of UMPCs (ultramobile PCs) now launching. Coupled with a metallic casing, this makes the Archos 704 WiFi pretty hefty, yet it doesn’t feel like a 600g product.

Unlike Apple, Archos hasn’t hedged its bets then. It’s not gone for a device that you’d watch video on at a push (video playback times for the Apple iPod Video are impressive, but would you seriously watch a couple of feature films on a 320x240-pixel screen?). Instead, Archos has come up with a quality portable video player that additionally does lots of other useful things.