PMP pretenders toast Archos' absence

[intro]Archos decided not to bother coming to Vegas this year, but Cowon and SanDisk more than filled the portable video vacuum[/intro] Archos deci

Archos decided not to bother coming to Vegas this year, but Cowon and SanDisk more than filled the portable video vacuum.

Korean stalwart Cowon particularly impressed us with the D2 (left) – a new competitor for iRiver's charming little U10. It has a bright QVGA touchscreen, forceful 74mW sound output and a (claimed) 52 hour battery life, or 10 hours for movies.

Although there'll initially only be 2GB and 4GB flavours, a spokesperson told us that an 8GB version will follow a few months later. We reckon that's the one to save your pennies for.

On the right is the follow up to the A2, previously a recipient of four Stuff stars. The A3 looks almost identical – no bad thing – but makes refinements in the video quality and playback thanks to a new chipset and component outputs for hooking to your telly. Unfortunately, the March/April due player is still only 30GB, but we were told a 40GB version (a bit better) will arrive in July.

Not to be outdone, SanDisk also tossed its fez into the PMP ring with the Viewer (below). With only 8GB flash memory, it won't be troubling the 120GB Archos 504 in any film marathons, but it does have a 4in widescreen and a reasonably wide format support, including DivX, WMV, MP4, MP3, DRM-ed WMA and JPEG photos.