Jobo Giga Vu Pro
Review Date: June 9th 2005
(out of 5 stars)
It's impossible to review the Jobo Giga Vu Pro without comparing it to the Epson P-2000, which also offers a 3.8 inch colour LCD screen, near-identical size and weight, 40Gb hard-drive, support for video and music playback and the ability to playback RAW files. Jobo have also added a number of options that the Epson device doesn't offer and which the German company claims make the Giga Vu Pro a viable replacement for a laptop. Underneath all the specs and marketing hype, however, the Jobo Giga Vu Pro is nearly but not quite a match for the Epson P-2000, mainly because it doesn't do the simple things as well.
Copying the contents of a memory card onto the Giga Vu Pro is unnecessarily complicated, with two different ways of doing it that have implications for viewing and managing the files later. There should be just a single Copy option which copies across both supported and unsupported files, and which provides full zooming, histogram capabilities etc for the files that are supported. The Jobo Giga Vu Pro isn't as fast as the Epson P-2000, taking 2 minutes longer to copy a 512Mb compact flash card and longer to copy files across to a PC. And ultimately the LCD screen on the Giga Vu Pro just isn't as nice to look at as Epson's gorgeous display - it's fine when viewed alone, but put the two devices side by side and there is a clear winner. I also experienced a few reliability problems with the Jobo Giga Vu Pro, including a random inability to boot up properly (forcing a restart) and a strange clicking noise when the battery life was almost, but not quite, exhausted. Other downsides include the non-upgradeable 40Gb hard drive, which may not be big enough in a couple of years time (although there is a slightly more expensive 60Gb version available), and you need to buy an adapter if you use anything other than Compact Flash or MicroDrive memory cards.
Having said all that, the Jobo Giga Vu Pro is still a very nice product that should be commended for its photographer-friendly features and especially for its RAW file support for over 70 cameras, which easily beats the Epson P-2000's rather limited RAW support. Levels and Channels viewing, keyword editing, WiFi and PictBridge support are all welcome features on the Giga Vu Pro, but also features that you may not use on a regular basis. If it wasn't for the Epson P-2000, I would certainly recommend the Jobo Giga Vu Pro more strongly, and if you value the pro-level features or your camera's RAW format isn't supported by the Epson device, the Giga Vu Pro is the one to go for. With a price-tag that is £50 / $50 more than the Epson P-2000, however, I would personally opt for Epson's product instead.