Epson P-2000 Multimedia Storage Viewer review

4.5 out of 5
£349

For

Well made and possessing just about the best colour LCD screen I’ve seen for this type of device.

Against

Basic menu system, Clunky albums and slow to copy data even from SD or CF cards

The P-2000 looks like a pure indulgence when you take it from the box and turn it on for the first time. The 3.8in PhotoFine display is simply sublime. Looking a bit like a bloated XDA, the P-2000 holds a 40GB disk within its finely built form.

A range of simple controls down the right side provide direct print capability with PictBridge compatible printers, access to menus, a large ‘OK' button and a smaller cancel control. Below these is the Display toggle control and Home buttons, the latter takes you back to the top screen that provides access to albums, memory card access points and the like. These are all fairly self-explanatory and easy to use.

On the right edge is the sprung loaded on/off switch and on the opposite edge are ports for headphones, AC power supply (with the supplied mains adapter) and the USB 2.0 port. The last key item in the P-2000 equation is its Epson EU-97 lithium ion battery under a slide away lid. It provides up to 3.5-hours of portability says Epson, and I used my review sample over a few days and it easily coped on one charge, so it lasts at least that long given my modest use over those three days.

While the P-2000 cannot play DVD-Video, it is compatible with JPEG, TIFF and RAW still image files for Canon, Nikon and Epson, AVI video files (MPEG-4 and Motion-JPEG) at up to 30fps and AAC and MP3 files for the audio side of things using 48 kHz 16-bit stereo.

The 3.8in screen has a broad viewing angle (astonishingly, almost edge on if you want) and provides a 640x480-pixel resolution capability that frankly looks much more. The screen in bright, colourful and clear and really can make the most of your images or data.

That data can be placed into albums (with shortcuts to them on the Home screen for faster access) and creating Albums is quite easy, but the lack of a keyboard means slow scroll-to-each-letter typing. This P-2000 is screaming for a touch screen. Overall, while some elements of the P-2000 are distinctly clumsy to use at first, familiarity cures those ills.

A couple of niggles remain: RAW files are quite soft when displayed, particularly compared to JPEG or TIFF stills or MPEG video for example. Audio quality is compromised when using other buttons (the display button sets up interference and crackling in playback) and the process of copying data is slow, even when copying across from a PC or SD or CF Type I/II memory cards, the latter two safely ensconced in their respective card slots on the device's top plate.

But I defy anyone to look at the Viewer in action, see that amazing screen and not be won over. While not exactly cheap for a 40GB portable hard disk, the other elements it contains (music and video player) and the superb screen make it well worth the dosh in my view. In fact, I want one and so does my wife… ‘Nuff said.

Verdict

Stunning screen, good price given the flexibility conspire to make the P-2000 a winner. It's a must-have for any photographer who needs extra storage in the field but with that certain something extra.