So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
NetComm Banksia PMP20
- Large hard drive, double headphone jacks
- Poorly designed and slow user interface, mediocre screen quality, confusing controls
This portable multimedia player does the job but is plagued by poor design.
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
The PMP20 was Banksia's first foray into the growing portable multimedia player market. It features a large 20GB hard drive from which you can play videos and music and view photos. You can also record TV to it. However, this model is let down by poor software and hardware design.
The front of the PMP20 is covered by a large 3.5" digital TFT LCD backlit display, a screen we found to be average at best, lacking the crispness and sharpness of screens with a similar (320 x 240) resolution. While the screen is a touch-screen, users are forced to navigate with a stubby stylus hidden at the back left of the unit. We found the screen to be not very sensitive and we had to select options a few times before input was recognised.
The other controls on the unit were also somewhat confusing, with a non-responsive four-way joystick and two buttons on the left confusingly labelled. Poor design also plagues the user interface. Our tests found the interface slow and it took considerable time to load video files.
The sound quality through the built-in speakers was adequate, and two headphone jacks are provided (so two people can listen at once). A microphone jack is also included for recording purposes.
We were able to play videos continuously for about three hours on this unit before the battery ran out. Banksia claims the PMP20 is capable of 18 hours of music playback. The PMP20 helpfully displays a battery life indicator on the main screen, so you know at a glance how much battery life is left.
Data transfer is via USB cable and is fast; a 1GB file took about a minute. As no wireless connectivity options are available, you have to take the USB cable with you when you travel. It has a CompactFlash slot for flash memory.
The PMP20 is also capable of recording TV signals to its internal hard disk. It receives TV signals via a composite line-in and records video in MPEG-4 format.
For playback, the PMP20 supports files in MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX (3.X, 4.X and 5.X), XviD, ASF and WMV formats.
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