Portable Media Center Arrives - First Impressions "Thanks to the good folks on the PMC team, I have a VERY early Creative unit here to play with for a bit.
First, the size. It's a little bigger than an iPod and not something I’d call pocket size (other vendors may have different units and form factors) but it does have a wonderful 3.5 inch color screen. I mean gorgeous. Side viewing is excellent, you could easily watch something with a friend. Sound quality is excellent and the video played smoothly. Watching TV on a 3.5 inch display is akin to watching from a large screen across the room. It’s very doable and something I can easily see carrying on flights. If Microsoft gets the synch part down right, this could be a very compelling experience. Pictures displayed nicely (but of course they were 320x240 so there’s little overhead to display them). Music was great and I could view content in a number of different ways. Albums displayed tracks in the correct order and I could build play lists on the fly. I could also shuffle content and decide what should go into a portable play list. Very nice feature. One nice thing about having a color screen is the ability to have album art displayed.. Playback time is hard to evaluate as this is a very early unit and probably not optimized for maximum battery life.
Overall, it looks like Microsoft and partners are heading down the right path as they build on the important elements that made the iPod a success and then take it to the next level with functionality. I’ll post more about this over the next few days. Here are a few pictures and size comparison with the iPod."