Unfortunately the VMP30’s remote is a bit of a mixed bag. On the positives side it’s constructed using fairly solid matte black plastic and is reasonably comfortable. Button layout is logical with clear labels and while not backlit, the main navigation buttons glow in the dark, which is a useful and unusual addition.
On the negatives side, the remote inexplicably eschews the ‘back’ button found on the main unit, making navigation more tiresome than it needs to be. We also can’t help but wish the remote used AA or AAA batteries (allowing you to use rechargeable ones), rather than a CR2025 cell battery.
Getting back to the media player itself, a clear and comprehensive colour Quick Start Guide includes all the basic information you could want, including how to set the device up, supported formats and ViewSonic’s contact details, though the digital user guide is not online yet.
Time to check out what’s most important though: how it performs. First off the visual interface is nicer than most – at least aesthetically. Underneath the polish hides a similarly-clunky interface as found on the Emtec Movie Cube or any of a dozen other examples. Though it’s slightly more intuitive thanks to its simple, logical layout, it simply can’t match up to the smooth experience offered by Western Digital’s WD TV and the like due to its lack of indexing into a local library. Instead you must select media by the usual Photo, Music and Movie categories.
There’s also a fourth category marked Text. ViewSonic’s media player is the first we’ve come across that will display any document with the extension ‘.txt’ as black letters against a blue background. However, the usefulness of this feature is debatable. Last on the list is Settings, which is so simple that the VMP30 is a doddle to set up.