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

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Navigation controls on the X-Pro are functional but unremarkable; the buttons feel solid and rest naturally under your right-hand thumb during playback. On the left hand side of the player there’s an SD/MMC card slot, an AV port, USB and headphone jack. When everything’s plugged in there’s an imposing mass of wires erupting from the side of the X-Pro. Although unwieldy, it does make you look like you’re some kind of endearingly wired uber geek.

Features Unusually, the X-Pro includes a calendar application which you can sync with Outlook. We would have prioritised DivX compatibility over this feature, but Goodmans obviously didn’t. The 40GB drive will hold a fair library of video -- you’ll run out of battery life before you run your collection dry in a single sitting.

The X-Pro’s best feature is its ability to record from a live video source. If most of your video is going to be ripped from existing DVDs or your home TV, then you can totally sidestep encoding it by using this built-in record feature. Instead of painstakingly re-encoding your movie, the X-Pro will encode it on the fly via the AV cable included.

If you’re a photographer, the built-in SD/MMC slot is supposed to let you view your photographs on the Goodmans’ screen – we had a frustrating experience with this, it caused our review model to crash.

Performance
There’s plenty of room for video here, the X-Pro’s 40GB drive will house a reasonable stash of movies. Disappointingly, we were limited by its refusal to play anything but MPEG4 video encoded by the software that came in the box. There are two problems with this system: It takes hours to encode video, and you’ll have to source your own software to encode on a Mac.

The X-Pro’s screen is bright and clear even in sunlight. For reasons we were never able to pin down, our review model occasionally dimmed its backlight, causing the screen to plunge into a darkness that was almost impossible to recover from. This frustrating problem is compounded by the X-Pro’s predilection for MPEG4 files. Although the Goodmans GPDR40 is an affordable solution to watching video on the road, your mileage may vary.

Additional editing by: Nick Hide

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