Epson P-3000 Multimedia Photo Viewer Review
I think we’ve all experienced this type of scenario. You have at least one memory card available to your disposal for use on your digital camera. Especially with today’s high megapixel offerings, chances are you fill that memory card up rather quickly and have no more room to take further photos. What do you do? Where do you dump your photos? You hope that you can find an Internet café available where you can upload your pictures to your email and that you can clear the memory card for further photo usage. Or you’re forced to travel with your big laptop. Chances are that none of this is possible and you’re forced to just settle with not taking anymore photos or inconvenienced with a laptop.
Well Epson has created a unique device that will cater to all such problems and offer tons of storage in a portable solution. It’s called the Epson P-3000 Multimedia Photo Viewer and it features an impressive 40GB of storage for not only photos but videos, music and just about anything you have on your Secure Digital and Compact Flash card. Today I will share my findings with this device and if it can benefit you.
About Epson Canada (from Wikipedia)
“Seiko Epson Corporation (セイコーエプソン株式会社 Seikō Epuson Kabushiki-gaisha), or Epson, is a Japanese company and one of the world's largest manufacturers of inkjet, dot matrix and laser printers, scanners, desktop computers, business, multimedia and home theatre projectors, large home theatre televisions, robots and industrial automation equipment, point of sale docket printers and cash registers, laptops, integrated circuits, LCD components and other associated electronic components. Traditionally, the company has been manufacturing Seiko timepieces since its foundation and is one of three core companies of the Seiko Group. Based in Nagano prefecture, Japan, the company has numerous subsidiaries worldwide. Net sales over 2006/2007 amounted to ¥1.416 trillion. The company is headquartered in Suwa, Nagano Prefecture.”
Epson P-3000 Features & Benefits
One thing the specification does not state is support for the newer SDHC cards and I can report that SDHC cards are indeed supported.
The Epson P-3000 was the model I originally was supposed to review but the Compact Flash eject button was already broken thus Epson sent the P-5000 as the replacement in a plain brown box. Both are the same but the only difference is hard drive capacity. The P-5000 has now been replaced with the P-7000.
The box design looks simple yet is effective showcasing the product predominately and product features also on the front.
Opening the box, you are presented with the following items…
I like the fact that Epson decided to include a carrying case and a nice one too. It would have been easy to exclude it in the package but kudos for doing the right thing. The carrying case is very soft and padded so it doesn’t scratch the screen and protects the device just a bit.
The P-3000 is a portable device that measures in at 3.5”x 5.9” x 1.3” and weighs in at just one pound. It almost reminds me of a Sega Game Gear and it actually is just a bit bigger and obviously thicker than a Sony PSP for size comparison.
Let’s look at the Epson P-3000. It’s a pretty simple looking device and for what it is meant to do, I like it that way. I don’t want to press too many buttons, I just want to upload my photos to the device as quick as possible and get on with my business. We see the big 4” Photo Fine Ultra LCD screen which in use looks very good and presents great resolution to check your photos with confidence along with nice color rendition. Going to left to right is the LED activity light, zoom in/out buttons located at the top right corner, directional pad with OK button, back button, charge indicator LED, Menu button, Display button and Star (rate/highlight) button.
The right side of the device is where the hand strap hook is located and the hold/power on/off button is located.
To the left side of the device are where rubber covers are located covering the A/V Out port (which the cable is not included and is an optional purchase), USB Host and Device ports, Reset button and AC adaptor port.
The back of the device just features the Epson logo engraved in the product and two rubber strips that protrude so you can lay the device down on a table.
Coming to the top of the P-3000 is where we find the SD card slot with eject button, Compact Flash card slot with eject button and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Looking at the bottom is where the internal speaker is located and the battery compartment. The battery that is included is a small little candy bar sized battery but last quite a while being 2600mAh in size. It takes around 3.5 hours to fully charge the battery. The battery compartment has a latch that holds the battery in so it does not fall out.
The P-3000 is very simple to use. Across the model ranges, the GUI is the same throughout being simple to use and not having lots of menus. All you really have when you turn on the device is: My Music, View Rated Files, My Videos, My Photos, Backup Files, Memory Card, USB Device and Settings. To navigate through menus, you simply use the directional pad to go left, right, up, down and use the OK to confirm your selections. To go back, simply tap the back button. It’s very user friendly.
During my use with the P-3000 at the 2009 Canadian International Autoshow I found the P-3000 to be a capable performer and perfect for the travelling photographer. It really helps out tremendously as it basically lets you travel light without needing other equipment.
I had taken over 5GB of photos and each time I had to transfer it was easy. All I did was place the card into the correct slot, the Epson P-3000 recognizes the card was inserted, automatically opens the Memory Card menu where all I need is to confirm either CF or SD backup. That’s it! During the process of transferring photos, the P-3000 will automatically place the pictures in the Backup Files category of the device with the date stamp. Each transfer I made was about 2GB in size and took about 5-6 minutes to complete which was completely fine as it gave me time to sit down and take a breather.
Here is how the P-3000 performs under HD Tach Quick Bench. It has a burst speed rate of 22.5MB/s. I was curious to see how the P-3000 performed with its smaller 40GB hard drive and it actually happened to be quicker having a burst speed rate of 29.1MB/s. However average read speed for both were about the same (~23-24MB/s)
Once completed, the photos are in the Backup Files menu waiting to be seen. They are shown as mini thumbnails (64 or 12) on the screen. One of the great things about the P-3000 is support for RAW files from select camera manufacturers. The Nikon RAW file (.NEF) was supported so I could view those on the screen and pull up a histogram and check if the photo turned out well. Epson also includes EXIF information so you can see the settings you had taken for a specific photo. The zoom function lets you reach up to 400% magnification in a photo. All of these make the P-3000 a useful photo viewer on the go. Now I really want to pick such a device up as it’ll be very useful in the long-run.
As for video and audio function, I did not really test it fully but took a few minutes to dump a video into the device. The P-3000 supports a number of different containers such as AVI, DIVX, MOV, MP4, MOV, WMV, MPG, VOB and ASF so it should be sufficient for most. If you have a digital camera with video function, the P-3000 would be a nice device to have. So I tried two different movie files (AVI and MPG) and surprisingly without doing any conversions they worked perfectly.
The P-3000 already had some audio files pre-installed and the internal speakers are sufficient for outdoor viewing. There is a 3.5mm headphone jack that provides good sound and can be further optimized with an equalizer and preset sound modes.
I like the Epson P-3000. It provides a nice colorful screen and most of all the usefulness of photo viewing allowing for histogram and EXIF information to be shown. Audio and video playback also is a bonus as you can travel along with your digital camera recording movies all day and not worry about space any longer!
The mobility is the selling factor. It allows you to travel as light as possible and that makes a ton of difference than carrying around a laptop and its bulky AC adaptor. It also helps to have 40GB of storage room that allows you to not worry about conserving your memory card as you can shoot in highest quality RAW all day long. Before you could never shoot in RAW and not worry if it was going to run out of room because it was only a matter of when you ran out of room. Now there is no limitation because you have the P-3000 beside you as your assistant.
Pros and Cons