ViewSonic’s all-in-one MovieBook VPD400 media player

An entertainment gadget that does everything. Who wouldn’t want that? With music, films, books and even HD to its name, the ViewSonic MovieBook VPD400 is an all-in-one standalone portable media player (PMP) that launched last month, promising to encase every entertainment possibility in a pocket-sized device.

To start with, the VPD400 is less expensive than its contemporaries, currently retailing at £105. For that you get a slick, light, compact, easy to use gadget that allows you to watch films, listen to music, view photo albums, read e-books or even record a voice memo – should you so wish.

viewsonic-moviebook-vpd400The 4.3” LCD display with 800 x 480 pixel resolution is the main feature of this 4.4” x 3” x 0.5” device. With its 8GB built-in flash memory plus microSD card slot, which expands storage space to 16GB, it’s sort of like a big memory stick with an HD screen.

Don’t be disappointed by the quality of the gadget’s demo, though. Tested out on both a Mac and PC, its potential was fully realised with a HD film playing on the device within minutes of plugging it in for the first time. It’s reassuringly simple to upload files; with no software to download, you just plug-in, drag and drop – and play. It then stores files in folders, which can be navigated using up / down and enter / back buttons on the side.

The VPD400 is compatible with Windows® 98/2000/SE/ME/XP/Vista and supports multiple audio and video formats (including subtitles): MP3, WMA, FLAL, OGG, AVI, MP4, MPG, H.264, H.263, FLV as well as image files: JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, RM/RMVB and can either be hooked up to a TV via the AV-out port or watched with stereo sound using earphones (which are also provided along with a USB, AV and component cables).

Battery life isn’t bad either, providing 12 hours of audio playback and four hours of video playback (3.5 for HD-quality, 720p, video playback). In addition to all that, it has built-in microphone, voice recorder and USB 2.0 port and even ships with a dinky remote control.

Ok, it doesn’t have WiFi or Bluetooth; something that other PMPs often boast. And it also lacks touchscreen abilities. But in the attempt to have it all, the unassuming ViewSonic MovieBook VPD400 has ticked off affordability, simplicity and functionality. And you can’t argue with that.