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PQI mPack P800 Portable Entertainment Centre

PQI mPack P800 Portable Entertainment Centre  - PCSTATS
Abstract: From it's nice 3.5" LCD screen outwards, this miniature media powerhouse is loaded with features, some of which we have yet to see on any competing player.
 82% Rating:   
Filed under: MP3 Players Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PQI Memory Sep 06 2005   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > MP3 Players > PQI Memory mPack P800

Compact Flash Card Reader

As we mentioned, the PQI mPack P800 sports a compact flash card slot. This can be used with the built-in file browser to copy files from the player to the flash card and vice-versa.

Unfortunately the browser does not allow you to copy more than one file at a time, though you can copy an entire directory at once. Transfer speeds were adequate, but not thrilling. Using a SanDisk Extreme 2GB card, transferring 65 5+MB image files took about six minutes.

Screen and menu system

The first thing you'll notice when using the mPack P800 for its intended purpose of movies, pics and music playing is how good the LCD screen looks. At 320x240 it doesn't have the advantage of massive resolution, but it gives a bright (too bright at maximum setting) lively image which showed no signs of ghosting or other untoward behaviour.

The mPack P800 uses a Linux operating system, oriented around stepped graphical menus like most media players. Where it's unlike most media players is in its use of context menus to enable additional options. The centre click buttons of each joystick brings up a menu with extra choices. You can even set any menu screen as your 'home' screen, the one that the player will go to first upon startup.

There are five major menu screens, player, browser, setup, application and recorder. The Player menus give you access to audio, video and photo media as well as the FM radio, each of which has its own application screen and settings menu.

The browser screen is a simple file browser very reminiscent of the Windows Mobile Explorer included with pocket PCs. You can play multimedia files directly from this interface, which gives you a way to play MP3s you have not copied to the unit with the included software. You can also read text files through this interface, which is useful.

The setup menu contains entries for each of the applications found in the player menu as well as a systems setting screen which allows you to set screen and device off times, format drives and compact flash cards and other goodness.

The application screen gives you access to the mPack's short list of included productivity apps. A fairly indecipherable math game is included as well as an address book, calendar and clock. None of these applications are particularly easy to use or very useful, as the mPack P800's control scheme makes it ill suited to PDA functions and it doesn't look like much time was spent making the software intuitive or user friendly. Having said that, we hadn't expected to see games or productivity apps on a media player in the first place, so we appreciate the effort by PQI. Apparently new apps and games can be downloaded from PQI's website, though at the time of review there was nothing available there for the device.

The recording screen gives you a choice of audio/video, audio in, MIC, FM radio and CF backup. More on recording later in the article. Let's take a quick look at the major menu screens to give you an idea of the GUI.

PQI mPack P800 Menus
Player Menu Player Audio options Browser menu
Setup menu Applications menu Application options
Recorder menu Recorder options
Audio player menu Video player menu Photo player menu

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Contents of Article: PQI Memory mPack P800
 Pg 1.  PQI mPack P800 Portable Entertainment Centre
 Pg 2.  First Impressions and Setup
 Pg 3.  Examining the mPack P800
 Pg 4.  PQI mPack P800 Accessories and Remote
 Pg 5.  — Compact Flash Card Reader
 Pg 6.  Companion Software
 Pg 7.  TV-out of Photos and DiVX Movies
 Pg 8.  Battery life and Conclusions

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