The SD card slot is located at the top of the P880, next to the mini-USB port. This is a great feature that gives you the option of offloading images from your digital camera while you’re out and about. It also means that if you’re out with a friend who has a camera with them, you can take copies of their pictures home with you on the P880. There’s no doubt that the integrated SD slot is a killer feature, but unfortunately it’s not implemented as well as it could have been.
I tried putting several different SD cards in the P880 – different makes and different capacities – and the results were pretty random when it came to the P880 reading the images on them. When it could see the images, I wasn’t able to view them while they were on the card; instead I had to cut and paste each image from the SD card to the Photo folder on the player. Not only is this process laborious, but it also didn’t work every time. I would sometimes find myself having to copy or cut an image several times before I was actually given the paste option when I arrived at the destination directory. What I would have liked to have seen was a one-touch solution, so that you could insert an SD card, move all the images over to the P880, and end up with an empty card to put back in your camera for continued shooting.
To Aigo’s credit, if you do persevere and manage to get your pictures off your SD card and onto the P880, they will look great on the colour screen. You can even set your own images as the background for the player, which adds a nice personal touch. You don’t even need to resize the images to fit the small screen, although if you’re going to have a selection of backgrounds it’s worth resizing them to reduce the amount of disk space they use. It’s also worth remembering that if the P880 is low on power, it will flatly refuse to read an SD card, even though it will happily play music.
The right side of the player houses the volume controls and the headphone/remote socket, while on the left you’ll find a “hold” switch, an A-B repeat button and a Record button. The main controls are on the front of the device and the fascia is dominated by a large round illuminated button – at least that’s what it looks like. Strangely though, the big round button isn’t a button at all, it’s just a big round light – at least you can choose what colour you want it to flash. However, surrounding the round light is a four-way navigation pad and surrounding this are four other buttons – play/pause, menu, skip forward and skip back.
Navigation is hardly what I’d call intuitive – you need to use a mixture of the four-way pad and the menu button to get to where you want to be. Now the P880 is obviously going to be compared to the iPod Photo, and in some respects it can hold its own, but when it comes to navigation Apple’s got Aigo beaten, hands down. There’s just no comparing the clumsy, multi-button navigation on the Aigo, to the slick and easy navigation on an iPod, or even on a Creative Zen Micro for that matter. The P880 has a lot of features hidden inside it, but you’re going to have to work hard to get at all of them.
Another advantage that the P880 has over its fruitful rival is the integrated FM radio. Although having a built-in radio is a handy feature, reception was patchy at best, but no worse than most players that I’ve looked at with tuners. You can also record directly from the radio by pressing the record button while listening. Recordings can all be made via the integrated microphone, but as with the SD card, you need a decent amount of charge in the battery for this feature to work.