- Review Price: £444.00
Aimed at the digital imaging enthusiast who needs to back-up, view, share or print photos from their digital camera, the P-1000 portable photo viewer from Epson is, at first glance, fairly similar to most other designs on the market. It features a CompactFlash card reader for downloading images to the internal 1.8in hard disk, a USB interface for connecting to a PC and of course an LCD display for viewing images. However, it’s this latter feature on the Epson unit that sets it apart from other manufacturers’ designs. Epson claims that the high-definition ‘PhotoFine’ display on the P-1000 produces sharp, natural looking images that can rival high quality prints. What’s more, Epson also includes a stand that will prop up the P-1000 like a conventional photo frame. However, with a current price tag of around £450 including VAT, I was keen to find out whether the P-1000 was more than just an extravagant digital photo album.
The first thing that struck me when I unpacked the Epson unit from its box was how compact it is, particularly considering its better than average screen resolution of 640 x 480 pixels. Measuring in at 142 x 91.5 x 23mm (WxDxH), the relatively modest dimensions of the P-1000 mean that it’s (just about) small enough to fit into the palm of your hand. Its diminutive size is no doubt due, at least partly, to the fact that Epson has crammed 212 pixels per inch into the P-1000’s 3.8in LCD display. This is effectively twice the resolution offered by the more common 320 x 240 pixel displays that can be found on other 3.8in units.
The power switch is situated on the right hand side of the case. Sliding this downwards and then releasing it will power the P-1000 on or off depending on its current state. At the rear of the case is the battery compartment that houses the Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery. Epson claims that this will last approximately one hour when displaying the stored images as a slide show, although if anything, I found the battery life to be slightly better than this during everyday use. A neat looking carry case is also included which should protect the P-1000’s large display from scratches when not in use.
Once powered up, the quality of the P-1000’s PhotoFine display was immediately apparent (our screen shots certainly don’t do it justice). Images were noticeably clearer and sharper than standard LCD displays of the same size. Checking whether a photo you’ve just taken on a digital camera was properly focussed can often be a hit-and-miss affair when using the camera’s built-in LCD screen. However, when viewed on the P-1000, you can immediately tell if an image is sharp or slightly blurred.
Overall, pictures displayed on the P-1000 looked lively and there was plenty of contrast to help resolve fine detail. I was also impressed by the display brightness, which can be adjusted in the Settings menu if required. Viewing angles were also very good in the horizontal plane and from above, although from below I could only view the screen within approximately 30 degrees from centre.