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Goodmans X-Pro GPDR40 review: Goodmans X-Pro GPDR40

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The Good Bright screen; solid chassis; video recorder functionality.

The Bad Sporadic dimming of backlight; having to encode media using the bundled software.

The Bottom Line It’s not the prettiest handheld media centre, but the Goodmans' screen is brighter than the Samsung YH-999s and it can record from a live source. Unfortunately our experience of the GPRD40 was sullied by a schizophrenic dimming of the LCD backlight at times, and two crashes. You also need to encode all your video externally because the Goodmans only plays its native MPEG-4 codec. This can potentially take many hours

5.5 Overall

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Handheld media players are still in the uncomfortable stages of teenage angst. They’re either awkwardly shaped or bad tempered. With just a few exceptions, the players we’ve reviewed so far have been extremely picky about the codecs they’re willing to play back. In most cases it’s WMV or nothing at all.

The Goodmans X-Pro is the most moody of the bunch. You’ll need to encode video into MPEG4 using the proprietary bundled software. In the case of a DivX movie, this process can take hours even on a fast machine. It would have been much more sensible to design the player to decode DivX on the fly. The X-Pro is not alone in its funk, all Microsoft-endorsed handheld media players insist on using Windows Media Player (WMV). Although the Goodmans runs a home-grown interface, its encoding method is almost as restrictive as Microsoft’s.

Design Considering Goodmans is at the budget end of the handheld player market, the build quality of the X-Pro isn't bad. The chassis is solid enough to survive getting knocked about in a rucksack and there’s a bundled felt baggie you can put the player inside to avoid scratching the screen. Flexing the top and bottom faces of the X-Pro reveals a fair amount of give, certainly more than we’re used to on these devices. This will only be a problem if you’re seriously mistreating the device.

The 9.1cm screen takes up most of the front of the X-Pro, the plastic protecting this LCD is glossy but not distractingly reflective -- you’ll have a clear view during playback. Around the edges of the player there’s a rubber grip which kept our fingers locked around the device during the more tense moments of Aliens. There’s nothing like an acid-for-blood creature from hell rushing towards you to test out how durable these players are when you fling them across the room.

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