VOXSON Companion Studio

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VOXSON Companion Studio

Pros

  • Slick design, can record directly to MP4

Cons

  • Limited range of supported formats

Bottom Line

Though the Voxson Companion Studio doesn’t support Windows media files, elegant design, a polished interface and the ability to record directly to MP4 all add to the unit’s appeal.

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The ongoing boom in digital media has brought with it an influx of specially designed hardware to convert, play, and generally store video and music files. Voxson's Companion Studio, although a slick player, lacks advanced features and doesn't support some common file formats.

The Companion Studio boasts a 7" TFT screen running in a 16:9 aspect ratio, that can output video at up to 30 frames per second with a maximum resolution of 720 x 480 pixels. Three models are available, with capacities of 20GB, 40GB or 80GB respectively. Given that an MP3 music file generally compresses down to around 1MB per minute of audio, the largest of the three models provides enough space to store 80,000 minutes of music, more than enough for most user's needs.

Although the Companion Studio is available in white or blue, our review model offered a gloss black screen surround that gave a smooth, polished appearance. The 580g black model features blue edging that contains all the buttons and connectors. The top offers access to play controls and the power button, while the left includes AV in/out sockets, headphones, power and USB 2.0 interfaces. There's also a tiny microphone input next to the power connector for recording interviews, presentations or lectures.

The right face serves up a hold button, reset switch, and scroll-wheel for navigation, while the rear features a clip-on easel-style stand that allows it to sit on a coffee table or desk. The package includes all you'll need to connect the device to a television to either play back or record video files, and the Companion Studio even offers realtime recording into MP4 format. The machine ships with a copy of Ulead Video Toolbox 2 Home Edition video editing software, which can be used to trim and convert video for playback on the device.

We did however, experience a few minor issues with the review hardware. The power supply features two round pins, so you'll need an adaptor to connect it to an Australian wall socket. Enthusiast users will also lament the relatively slim range of compatible file formats compared with competing products. The Companion Studio supports MPEG4 video, MP3 audio files and JPEG, BMP or GIF images, meaning that some popular file formats - most notably Windows Media and OGG are left out in the cold.

Bundled extras include a velvet carry case and car power adapter, so you don't have to rely on the built-in lithium polymer battery on long road trips. Though the Companion Studio is a capable player, the lack of supported file formats means that there are better deals to be found elsewhere.

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