Internal storage on the P-1000 is taken care of by a 10GB hard disk, which should be adequate for most users, although it does seem rather stingy when you consider that other manufacturers are supplying their units with up to 40GB of hard disk storage space. I should also point out here that the P-1000 only displays JPEG images of up to six megapixels. So if you normally shoot using your camera’s RAW or TIFF mode, or own one of the latest 8+ megapixel cameras, then you’ll only be able to use it as a storage device.
To the right of the LCD display, which incidentally is set off nicely by the stylish metal top cover, is the main control panel where you’ll find four separate buttons. These include an OK button for selecting the options within the various submenus, a Cancel button for cancelling a selection and for moving back to the previous menu, a Menu button which displays a pop-up sub menu (the type of pop-up menu varies depending on the particular situation) and also a Print button for printing directly to a compatible Epson Stylus Photo printer. In between these buttons sits a four-way controller, which allows you to highlight objects and thumbnails and move through the various menu options. Finally, at the centre of the four-way controller is a rather cool looking light that flashes blue during certain operations.
On the left hand side of the unit is a plastic cover that hides the AC adaptor socket, video out socket (which can be switched between PAL and NTSC) and also a USB 1.1 connector. This is my first major criticism of the P-1000, especially considering its price. You won’t be surprised to hear that the file transfer times via the USB 1.1 interface were not particularly impressive. Using the supplied USB lead, the Epson turned in a time of four minutes 45 seconds to copy around 150MB of images from my computer’s hard disk. A USB 2.0 interface would have permitted significantly faster file transfer times and I really feel that Epson has missed a trick here. Important or valuable images can also be backed up using an external CD-R/RW drive, although again, the P-1000’s slow USB 1.1 port means that it can take up to an hour to burn a full CD.
As well as the USB interface, files can be transferred to and from the photo viewer using the built-in CF card reader, which is situated along the top edge of the unit. Other types of memory card are also supported although you’ll have to purchase a suitable CF adapter separately. To download images, you simply insert the card and select the copy function from the P-1000’s menu. Thankfully, transfer times using the built-in CF reader were almost twice as fast as copying directly from a PC via the USB interface.
One thing that I found quite annoying though was that the LCD display turns itself off after about 10 seconds while you’re waiting for images to transfer to or from the CF card (the same applies when deleting images or copying to an external CD-R/RW). As far as I could tell, there is no way of overriding this feature, which made it awkward to check on the progress of a file transfer as I had to repeatedly press any button on the front panel to keep the unit ‘awake’.