Any digital photographer worth his salt should know that half the job involves lugging around an array of essential equipment and it only gets worse when it comes to assignments that stretch over a period of time such as an overseas shoot. With digital storage demands scaling ever upwards at the back of the megapixel race, photographers everywhere are facing a growing issue of storage constraint when on out on the field. Quick to answer the wishes of photographers is Vosonic with their VP8360.
Taking up most of the facial estate on the VP8360 is a bright and sharp 3.7-inch QVGA LCD screen and a simple navigation panel that’s ergonomically designed into the right side of the screen for obvious handling reason. A dash of silver on the palm grip and control stick breaks the color monotony of the VP8360 reasonably well, giving the portable media player a clean and welcoming aesthetic signature, which means it should blend in seamlessly with most professional photography equipments. Ergonomically, the matte-black VP8360 is considerably small and sits comfortably in most palms.
Included in the menu are options for quick backup of memory card, audio/video recording, slideshow, radio as well as a simple but highly entertaining Tetris game. As one of the more important functions, the slideshow does not disappoint with programmable transitions as well as options for background music. Video playback mode on the VP8360 itself is modest, capable of handling AVI, MOV, MPEG-1, MPEG-4 and XVID formats at 30fps while recording mode can be initiated in three different resolutions with a maximum of 352x240 pixels at 30fps.
As an added bonus, an infrared remote control is included so you can kick back and enjoy movies or slideshows leisurely.
Finally, the all-important flash memory card reader can be found at the top of VP8360 and this is compatible with CF, MS, SD, MMC, MD, miniSD, RS-MMC, MS-Duo and MS Pro Duo formats. The reader is part of the VP8360’s quick-backup function earlier – perfect for digital photographers.
What really sets the VP8360 apart from other funky portable media players that are concurrently flooding retail channels is the upgradeability that Vosonic is advocating. Simple instructions and tools are included to encourage users to replace and modify the VP8360 using their own standard 2.5-inch hard drive – signifying that storage capacity is only as limited as the largest 2.5-inch hard-disk on the market. This upgrade-friendly path is definitely worth a crowd pleaser and will probably put Vosonic on the radar sights of many photographers to come.
This is not to say the VP8360 is perfect however, as we thought a tougher cover for the card reader could have been used over the stock version as it appears too fragile to accompany photographers on road trips, not to mention lasting the mile. Also, the buttons on the bundled remote control are too rigid for easy usage, thus defeating the intended purpose of convenience.
The VP8360 should not be compared side-by-side with consumer portable media players because it was obviously designed to appeal almost exclusively to digital photographers rather than the masses. Fanciful looks and gimmicks aside, the Vosonic VP8360 worked as intended and was easy to use as it was easy to carry around.