TODO alt text

Grundig VP6200 review

A portable player that tries to be a Jack of all trades

Jump to Section:

Our Verdict

All of that functionality doesn't come for free. Loads of features but several glitches deny it top spot

For

  • Lots of features built-in
  • fair performance

Against

  • Some playback glitches
  • insensitive tuner

Clearly influenced by Archos's more advanced PMPs, the VP6200 boasts such luxuries as line in NTSC/PAL video and audio recording, external AV output, FM tuner and voice-recorder. And there's an in-built camera capable of both stills and moving video.

The VP6200's screen, which dominates the front panel, is a 3.5in TFT type with a resolution of 320 x 2 40. It may be 4:3, but the quality is fair. It's not, alas, that detaileded and tends to reflect light. In storage terms, the VP6200 puts 30GB at your disposal.

The VP6200 supports DiVX and XViD AVIs, as well as Windows ASF format files. The latter is Grundig's format of choice for self-made camera and AV-input recordings. Unfortunately, the unit draws the line when it comes to MPEG1 and MPEG2. You certainly won't be able to play ripped DVDs as you can with the P600. The VP6200 handles MP3 and W MA audio, but not uncompressed WAV files.

Still-image formats understood by the VP2600 are JPEG and BMP. The menu-driven user interface, which is operated by a tiny 'nipple' device and ancillary buttons, is broken down into sections for setup, radio and photo/ video/audio playback and recording. You'll also find a text-file viewer here. After every recording (or file-transfer) you have to wait for the device to update its internal database.

Talking of recordings, those made from an external source (composite video/stereo audio) do look surprisingly good, albeit with some obvious 'cropping'. If you want smooth (25fps) video, though, you have to select the lower-quality setting, which sensibly matches the resolution of the screen. Switching to the higher-quality mode, which ups the resolution to a near-DVD 640 x 480, reduces the capture-rate to an unacceptably juddery 15fps.

The camera offers both such modes in its video setting; for still images you can choose between 320 x 240, 6 40 x 480 and seemingly upscaled 1280 x 240 resolutions. Camera quality is fair, but a limited dynamic range tends to bleach out bright details in scenes of high-contrast.

Captured audio is in 128kbps MP3 format, and of reasonable quality and, interestingly, you can record from the in-built FM tuner. Highly insensitive to start with, matters deteriorate further still as the battery runs out. Video playback is also affected under such circumstances - annoyingly, playback tends to randomly jump back to the beginning, so always ensure that battery's charged!

DiVX and XViD files are handled adequately, although the pictures were slightly out of sync with the sound on one or two of our sample files. The external AV output is OK, but nothing more. With decent 'phones, music is conveyed pleasantly enough, although the VP600 proves better in this regard.

In summary, the VP6200 tries to do too much for the money and perhaps suffers as a result.