All-in-one portable device

The DVR-390H is a portable device with a 20GB hard disk and large (3.6in) colour LCD display that connects to a PC using USB 2.0. It can operate as a still camera, video camera, MP3 and video player; direct TV/video and voice/audio recorder, digital photo frame plus regular portable hard disk.

As a 3.1Mp still camera, photos at resolutions up to 2048x1536 can be taken in JPG format using the detachable 270 degree fixed-focus swivel lens with 2x digital zoom. There's a 10sec delay timer, built-in flash and red-eye reduction, white balance options and more. Camcorder-style or direct-from-TV video recordings made using the bundled composite AV cradle can be captured at either 320x240 (for device playback) or 640x480 pixels (for TV output playback) with MPEG-4 compression. Oddly, the file format for this is ASF, as are direct audio recordings, except the latter uses uncompressed PCM audio.

The DVR-390H has an integrated SD card reader, mono speaker, and special connection for use with the supplied lapel microphone. Bundled software includes PhotoSuite, WinDVD Creator and Muvee Auto Producer.

In use, the OS of the device feels clunky and navigation isn't as easy as it should be. The navigation joystick feels like it could break off and the camera attachment feels a little flimsy. Video playback was mostly OK, but was prone to occasional skipping and the display had a limited viewable angle. Camcorder-style recorded video suffered from intermittent vertical banding and video output didn't seem to take overscan into account, causing some on-screen graphics such as menus to go over the edges.

We wanted so much to like the DVR-390H, but can't help feeling it's a jack of all trades and master of none.

Vivitar DVR-390H

Price: $999 Distributor: Ricoh Phone: 1300 363 741 URL: www.vivitar.com