The Windows-only Iogear Portable Media Player GMD2025U120 is a small, self-contained, non-networkable external 2.5-inch hard drive that you attach to your PC’s USB port; copy media files onto it, and then attach it to your TV or other display to render its contents. The whole deal–drive, cables, remote, carrying case, and all–will easily fit into a briefcase or backpack. It lacks an HDMI output, but you can hook it up via component or composite jacks on a TV–far more common inputs on hotel sets than HDMI or DVI, at any rate.
Though the unit ships with a remote, it conveniently has a full complement of controls on the unit itself that allow you to control playback as well as to navigate the on-screen menu. It’s not all that uncomfortable to actually hold the drive in the palm of your hand like a remote and press the buttons. Just be careful not to drop it–the case has a spinning hard drive inside that will almost certainly sustain damage in a fall.
The Iogear played all its supported files types (including MPEG-1, MPEG-2, Xvid, DivX, MP3, WAV, and JPEG) without any glitches. The one on-screen error message we received was when we tried to play a 1080p DivX file whose resolution exceeds the Iogear’s 720p output capability.
One inconvenience: The onboard video electronics apparently takes a fair amount of power, so the drive requires its AC adapter to operate, even when plugged into a PC’s powered USB port.
–Jon L. Jacobi and Melissa J. Perenson