Picture Porter 35 At a Glance
Pro: Easy to use, good battery life, ample storage capcity
Cons: High definition files not supported, pricey
Who Needs Portable Storage?
As camcorders have moved from tape and disc storage formats, there's been a big shift in how consumers can store their video. If you were on vacation with an old, tape-based camcorder and ran out of space, chances are you could find a store to buy more tape. Today's camcorders use hard disc drives and flash memory cards to store video, and you can't walk into any old store and buy a flash memory card (and you can't swap-out camcorder hard drives for empty ones, either).
So what do you do if you're on vacation and you've filled up your camcorder's internal memory? Well, you could lug your laptop along and use its hard drive to store your footage and free up your camcorder's hard drive or flash memory card - but a laptop is cumbersome to carry around and besides, you're on vacation (I don't know about you, but I'm strictly forbidden from bringing a laptop on vacation by a higher authority - aka my wife).
That's where the Picture Porter 35 comes in. Its internal hard drive can hold your digital videos, freeing up your camcorder memory for more shooting. The Picture Porter 35 is fairly compact at 5.4 x 3.8 x 1.2 inches. It weighs in at 14 oz (with battery) so it's light enough to carry with you during a day's travel.
How It Works
The unit offers slots for memory cards, including the SD cards used by nearly all consumer camcorders. It also offers a USB connection, so you can connect a hard drive camcorder directly to the Picture Porter 35 to transfer videos and photos. The Porter accepts most video and photo files from camcorders and digital cameras however it only supports playing back standard definition video, not high definition. If you own a high definition camcorder, the Picture Porter 35 will store your video files, but won't let you review them on the display.
Once you insert a memory card or USB plug, on-screen prompts on the Picture Porter's 3.5-inch color display will guide you through the transfer process. The user interface is straightforward and easy to use. You'll have access to a basic set of file management features - such as the ability to delete and rename files and create folders to help you organize the drive's contents.
You can also view your photos and videos on the Picture Porter 35's display or, if you choose, you can connect to a TV via A/V/ connection.
The battery life on the Picture Porter 35 isn't bad: you'll get about three hours for copying over footage or almost four hours of continuous video playback.
How Much Space Do You Need?
The Picture Porter 35 comes in 250GB and 500GB capacities. Unless you're a professional, or are a truly avid video-taker, most consumers should find the 250GB as more than sufficient for their portable storage needs.
Picture Porter 35: Bottom Line
If you own a hard drive or flash memory-based camcorder and constantly find yourself running out of storage space while on the road, the Picture Porter 35 is definitely worth a look. It's a pricey accessory, even the lower-capacity 250GB model, but it's simple enough to use and is more convenient to carry with you on the road than a laptop.