Toshiba Australia/New Zealand sent me the Toshiba Gigabeat X30 for review, a Windows Mobile Portable Media Center device. I spent about a month with this small media player, and totally enjoyed it.
The Toshiba Gigabeat X30 is a 30GB (gigabytes) media player device, but if this is not enought you can go a bit further with a larger 60GB vesion, the Gigabeat X60.
Measuring 59.3mm x 99.3mm x 14.5mm and weighing only 134g this device is a huge jump from the previous Windows Mobile Portable Media Center models. To make it this small and light, Toshiba used a built-in 1.8” HDD, which is very quiet.
For comparison, check the picture below of this Toshiba Gigabeat X30 on top of my Creative Zen PMC. Regardless of its very small size when comparing to the Creative Zen, this model punches a 50% increase in media storage!
The 2.4" display is still the same 320 x 240 pixels and smaller than the 3.8" on the Creative Zen, but overall it produces a more vibrant colour range and higher quality picture. It also translates into a longer battery life, which leads me to the next point.
As part of my routine I enjoy a daily walk to a nearby mall, with our baby girl. Carrying the Creative Zen PMC during these walks is something that never crossed my mind, due to its bulky size and weight. But the Toshiba X30 though is so small and light that I had to give it a try. It slips into a shirt or jacket pocket and you can't even feel it. I was actually enjoying using it during this period of testing.
The device connects to a Windows PC via USB 2.0 port for media synchronisation and battery recharging. You can transfer wma, mp3, wav sound files, jpg and gif image files and wmv movie files and recorded TV programs.
Synchronisation can be automatically managed through Windows Media Player 10 or Windows Media Player 11. You can create sync lists including your entire media library, or specify conditions such as most recently listened to soundtracks, or high rated movies and pictures - although I can't see you not synchronising an entire digital media library to the 60GB version.
Although not a new feature in this version, is always good to note you can start a slideshow and play a soundtrack simultaneously. Great if you are using the TV out feature and have the images on your big screen. At this moment you can output the images using either NTSC and PAL standard, user selectable through menu configuration.
The whole device operation is done through a "cross" key in the front fascia, plus a "Back" and "Windows" key just below the screen. On the side of the Gigabeat you will find some media keys (Play, Pause, Fast Rewind, Fast Forward) and volume button. On top there's a "Lock" button that prevents accidental keypresses when the device is in your pocket or bag. And very unique to Toshiba is the battery disconnect switch, at the bottom of the device (this is also present on Toshiba's Pocket PCs).
The back is nicely finished - not polished, but good to single hand holding, and with a loop for a lanyward.
The version of Windows Mobile Portable Media Center used on this device is a bit newer than the Creative Zen, with better looking menus, and faster overall operation.
Despite its small size, the Gigabeat X30 also comes with a built-in FM radio, and you can create a series of preset stations for quickly changing programmes depending on your mood - or how bad is the programming at the time. This is actually one of the features I used less, but I guess it could be interesting on an emergency situation for example.
Overall, I was really impressed with how Portable Media Center devices evolved in a year or two, in terms of size, user interface and usability. The Toshiba Gigabeat X30 would fit perfectly in my gadgets collection.
Really light and small
Can be used as an external drive for storing backup or transporting data from one PC to another.