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Gadget of the week – 3.5-Inch Media Player Hard Drive Enclosure

I’ve just bought one of these 3.5-Inch Media Player Hard Drive Enclosure as they were on special offer. I dont think I would have bothered at the original price. I also had a discount voucher so in the end I paid £36.99.

After installing a 250Gb hard disk that was in an old usb enclosure I gave it a test. It functions without problems as an external USB drive, however the drive was formatted as NTFS, which is not compatible with the devices built in media player. A quick 20 minutes with Paragon Partition Manager and the drive was converted to FAT32.
After plugging into a television I was then able to get the menu up and select photographs to display, mp3 files to play and mpeg video to play. The default options for selecting the various file formats are a bit on the poor side, however there is a file mode where the disc can be navigated to select the files.
The device has a multi card reader so it can display media from a digital camera instead of the hard disc. I think ther is an option to copy files from the memory card to the hard disc but I’ve not yet tried this as it appears to be on a file by file basis, so copying a few hundred images may take a little time to complete.

Good points:

  • Cheap, when on special offer
  • Works well as an external usb drive
  • Mpeg playback was good
  • Remote control for use when connected to a television

Bad Points:

  • Only supports FAT16/FAT32 filesystems when in media player mode
  • Can only access memory card from the media player and not when connected to a PC via USB.
  • Media player is slow as it it needs to search whole disk for compatible media files
  • Does not play avi files
  • Occasional crashes requiting a power off/on to clear
  • No firmware updates

Overall this is a useful piece of kit, it does what it says on the tin, but could do it better.

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