Following swiftly behind Toshiba's gigabeat S series of media players is the V30, which, like thebefore it, is a 30GB model that runs the portable edition of Windows Media Center.
The V30 has a horizontal orientation, making it better suited to video viewing than the more music-focused S30. While the display is larger at 3.5 inches, it retains the 320 x 240-pixel resolution, meaning the screen looks less sharp and fluid than that of its predecessor.
Measuring 76mm by 124mm by 18mm and weighing in at 225 grams, the V30 is not a device to force into the hip pocket of your skinny-fit jeans, but it's thin enough to slip in the front of your bag or a jacket pocket.
The S30's controls consisted of a lovely cross-shaped navigation button and a line of subdued silver circles along the side of the device. The buttons on the V30 are a little more fussy. You navigate the menus by moving a small, recessed thumb toggle at the top right -- pressing it in will select items on the screen. Below the toggle are two rectangular keys: one launches the Windows Start menu, and the other returns to the previous menu layer. Rounding out the keys on the front of the V30 are the dedicated volume keys, which sit above a teeny speaker and are curiously small.
On the top of the player are the play/pause and track-skip buttons, and a two-way slider that functions as both hold switch and power button. We would have preferred it if the keys controlling music playback had been placed further to the right, as their location makes it difficult to keep your thumb on the toggle while controlling them.
Windows Media Center users will recognise the interface, which is a scaled-down version of the desktop software. The text-based menus are a cinch to navigate, and if you own a media centre PC, the device will slot nicely into that set-up. (Recorded TV shows can be transferred easily without requiring conversion, and programs retain their file information.)
The V30's feature list is notable for its brevity -- the FM tuner seen in the S30 has been ditched, and there are no voice-recording capabilities. This player is for those who like to watch, which is reflected in its vastly beefed-up battery life -- Toshiba claims the lithium-ion cell will keep on chugging for eight hours of video viewing or 30 hours of music.