I've changed. I was always a portable video sceptic, ready to decry the very concept of video on-the-go to anyone willing to listen or not strong enough to escape my clutches. But a couple of new pieces of kit have landed on my desk that have made me a new man. Both are flash-based MP3 players with video playback capability, and both are totally great.
First up is the Sony NW-A800 (actually, mine's an NW-A805 – the 2GB version). It's the first ever video Walkman (clap clap, Sony), and you've no doubt already read plenty about on this fine website. For some reason, I was expecting something quite bulky, but it's actually nigh-on Nano-sized, if a teensy bit thicker. It's beautifully made and has a very funky PSP-cum-Walkman phone interface. The screen is pin-sharp and colourful, if a tad reflective for use in sunlight, but the video is pretty fluid and pleasingly block-free. I like.
Handily, it's still a great little Walkman. It sounds fantastic, and Sony has been ever so generous with the headphones – they're utterly decent. Its 30 hour battery life doesn't hurt it, either.
My second new love is a bit of an oddity. It's a machined aluminium-clad 4GB video jukebox from LG called the FM37 – interesting name, guys – but its interface is completely touch-sensitive and slightly customisable. I say 'slightly' because you can choose an icon or list menu, and you can choose from two colour themes. In any case, it's really simple to get to grips with, and makes a welcome change from drab buttons. Actually, there is a button – it turns the FM37 on and off.
The FM37 is bigger and thicker than the Sony (around iPod Mini size, I'd say) but its movie capabilities are on another level – the pre-loaded anime MP4s on my one are jaw-dropping, probably thanks to the XD engine processing it borrows from LG's TVs. I haven't yet spent enough time with it to decide whether my fascination with it is based on short-lived novelty factor, but it's one of those devices I want to carry about and say, 'look, look!' to anyone passing. This is a positive sign.
So, I still don't know whether I'd ever use a portable video device. But crikey, I want one.