Portable Multimedia Players

These days, portable media players are everywhere. Devices such Apple's iPhone manage to pack video and picture playback into common everyday devices, whereas units such as the Creative Zen Vision W offer a more dedicated media playback solution.

Portable Media Centres


  • Big screen
  • Lots of storage
  • Usually has the ability to output to as well as record from TV
  • Often support a huge variety of formats


  • Usually very large
  • Heavy
  • Slower operation than flash players
  • Less durable than flash players
  • Low battery life

We have created a third category which we have called Portable Media Centres, for lack of a better term. Simply put these are basically the same as the hard disk PMPs discussed earlier, with a few differences. They typically come sporting much larger screens, anywhere from 3in to 6in, and often have the ability to output to a variety of display panels.

In essence these devices are targeted at the video and photo enthusiast. The LCDs on these models are more than large enough to enjoy feature films or hours of television episodes and the image quality also tends to be better than on either of the other two types of PMPs. You'll also find they tend to support a larger variety of files, ensuring they will cater to a wide variety of users. Nonetheless, we'd recommend checking the supported formats before purchasing, just to be safe.

Meanwhile on the connectivity side, the majority will offer composite if not component output for pumping your media through to a television. But it doesn't just stop there, with many allowing you to also record footage and store it on the player.

Of course these advantages don't come without some tradeoffs. Portable Media Centres are by far the bulkiest of the PMPs. They are unlikely to fit in your pocket and most require two hands just to hold. They are also relatively heavy and you'll definitely feel the added weight in your purse or bag.

The big display also typically means battery life is greatly decreased. You will often only get enough charge for one or two full length feature films, as opposed to the 15+ hours of music playback you'll get on a flash-based PMP.

Aside from these differences they have all the same pros and cons as the aforementioned hard disk players.

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