Epson P-3000 photo viewer and media player

The iPod for digital photography buffs?

Audio support is reasonably comprehensive, with MP3, AAC and WMA formats all present and accounted for. Sound quality is impressive through a decent set of cans, which we would always advise over the bundled headphones or - gulp - using the on-board speaker, here bizarrely located on the underside of the player so when stood up you can't hear it.

Epson P-3000
Epson's P-3000: slots'n'ports a-plenty

The user interface is text-led and as such is very simple to get to grips with, especially thanks to that big and bright screen. There are some minor quirks, such as the option to access photo files from different menu options rather than just via the My Photos icon, but they never hindered our navigation.

New Link2 software means it's easy to manage all of your multimedia files, with automatic format conversion so you don't have to panic about compatibility issues. Transfer and back-up speeds are like lightning: around 160s for 1GB of data (6.4MBps) from a CF card.

Epson P-3000
Epson's P-3000: easy-to-use thumbail-based UI

The rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides a claimed three hours of continuous slideshow action, and never ran out during our encounters, rounding off what we're not ashamed to admit was a surprisingly impressive all-round performance.

Verdict

There's no escaping the fact that Epson's P-3000 is very different to its PMP rivals. It's unquestionably bigger and bulkier than we'd like - and judging from other feature-packed PMPs on the market we can't believe Epson couldn't slim things down - but it feels reassuringly robust.

Our only other complaint of note has to be the cost-to-capacity ratio: 40GB of storage for £350 doesn't represent great value for money these days, and upping to 80GB is bank-breakingly expensive - ridiculous for a product presented as a portable storage device. This almost places Epson's multi-talented marvel in the niche sector for photographers, which is a real shame because it's a well-featured, easy to use and extremely high quality device with a screen as good as any we've yet seen on a portable device.

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Epson P-3000 photo viewer and media player

It's big, quirky and pricey, but the P-3000's performance and gorgeous display won us over...
Price: 40GB: £350/$500 RRP