Paul Mallinson : Writer : Designer : Photographer
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Jobo Giga Vu Pro
Little Box Of Tricks
As any digital photographer knows: copying and managing content during a
photo shoot is a time-costly business. With digital it's easy to accumulate
Gigabytes worth of photographs in a short space of time, and transferring from
a Compact Flash card to laptop is sometimes a laborious, time-consuming process -
eating into
valuable shoot time. On top of that: lugging a laptop to shoots is
sometimes just not practical.

With that in mind, German digital gadget company Jobo recently unveiled the
Giga Vu Pro: a self-contained Hi-Speed USB-linked hard drive with Compact Flash
port - complete with LCD screen - especially designed for pro digital photographers
who shoot large amounts of content on the go.

About the size of an old school GameBoy, the Giga Vu Pro is
amazingly portable,
and soundly made with a cool joystick and plenty of function buttons, but it
certainly isn't what you'd call cheap at upwards of £400.
Versatile; small; improves
workflow; super quick
USB2; good build quality

Requires update; could
be quicker; expensive

Superb, eventually.
"The hard drive comes in two sizes: 40 and 80 GB (more than enough for most) and, on paper, the Jobo Giga Vu Pro seems like a total winner."
Power Compact Flash Port Audio Out Video Out USB1 USB2  
Initial Problems Addressed
Unfortunately early models suffered from a host of reliability problems - random power-downs, constant
file-erroring, and a very twitchy operating system - resulting in a slew of complaints from customers. We
tested an early version ourselves had
major problems with it - in fact we were about to conclude the
Giga Vu Pro to the scrap heap.

But, in late February 2005, Jobo miraculously turned around the problem with a new version of the
Giga Vu Pro's easily updateable
firmware, available via it's website. Version 1.0.3 of Jobo's software
virtually eradicates previous problems with this novel piece of kit, and now the device looks like an
attractive investment for many digital photographers.

The only downside to this is that a fairly
risky firmware upgrade is required to get the device working
properly, which is
not covered by the warranty. Hopefully Jobo will roll-out future Giga Vu Pros with the
new firmware
already pre-installed. When that happens this superb, compact storage device should sell
as well as it deserves to.
Speed Tests
Using full 512MB 80x Pro Lexar Compact Flash cards with mixed JPGs, RAW & TIFFs

Copy via PCMCIA adapter = 6 mins

Copy only, no preview = 6 mins
Copy with preview = 6 mins 20 secs
Copy and verify, no preview = 12 mins 20 secs
Copy and verify with preview = 13 mins 15 secs
Copy, verify & delete = 13 mins 30 secs

Copy 512MB via USB2 = 30 seconds
In-Built Software
Proprietary firmware, current = v1.0.3 (7/3/05)
Updates downloadable via
Jobo website.

> Supports JPEG and numerous RAW (currently Canon, Nikon, and Kodak PRO) file formats

> Zoom, rotate, thumbs, slide show, dust detector,
channel/level viewer, keywords, touch screen keyboard, screen pen, auto copy, MP3 player

> Video formats supported: MPEG1, MPEG2,

TIP: Avoid any Giga Vu Pro firmware before 1.0.3
Early versions were problematic (to say the least)
Device Info: check firmware Output to LCD or TV Built-in MP3 player Easily view photographs
The Giga Vu Pro is a great piece of kit, virtually replacing the need to take a laptop on a photo shoot,
though the device is
not 100% perfect. There are no markings on the outer casing, making identification
of expansion ports somewhat difficult. Video output was also flickery on the TVs we used, and every now
and then the screen goes wonky and unreadable (requiring a restart).

I've heard some people complain about the
copy speed of the Giga Vu Pro, though my testing shows it to
be as fast as a straight copy to a plain old laptop (approx 6 minutes). Copy speed from a Compact Flash card
is generally limited by the card's speed - not the Giga Vu Pro - so, to me, these criticisms are unfounded.
It has to be said that copying from the Giga Vu Pro to a computer (using the USB2 connection) is
- much faster than copying from a laptop over a network - so using this device instead of a laptop will
almost certainly save you time in the
long run - managing shots after a particularly productive shoot.

Despite a few minor problems the Giga Vu Pro has proven to be
very reliable (after firmware upgrade)
extremely useful. The manual is good; connecting to a computer is easy (and does not require the
installation of any software), and with the built-in MP3 and video player the Giga Vu Pro has plenty of scope
for impressing your gadget-loving friends. If you're a productive digital photographer, though, the Giga Vu
Pro is a
Review © 2005 Paul Mallinson
Jobo Giga Vu Pro
Product: Portable hard drive/MP3/movie player with LCD screen
Aimed at: Professional digital photographers and gadget-lovers
Manufacturer: Jobo Digital     Price: 430 inclusive of VAT
Features: Compact Flash port, USB 2 connection, touch sensitive screen, built-in speaker, earphones, video out
RATING: 88 out of 100
Jobo Giga Vu Pro Full Specifications

General Features:
3.8 inch high quality color LCD screen - 320 x 240 pixel with adjustable brightness
Touch Screen (for keyboard entry)
Pal/NTSC selectable
Headphone/audio line out compatible with automatic detection
Built in loudspeaker with volume control
USB 2.0 high speed mass storage device
Recognized as a computer's external hard drive for fast up and downloading from or to PC or Mac
WiFi enabled, Optional WiFi (IEEE802.11) (Compact Flash card sold separately)
Menu languages include English, Spanish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, and Swedish
Non-interchangeable high quality rechargeable Li-Ion battery (2200 mAh)
Optional external battery pack available
Firmware fully user upgradeable

Photo Features:
Download directly from the following memory cards: CompactFlash (CF) Type I and II, MicroDrive, Memory Stick (MS) (with an optional MS to CF adapter), SecureDigital (SD) (with an optional SD to CF adapter), MultiMedia (MMC) (with an optional MMC to CF adapter), SmartMedia (SM) (with an optional SM to CF adapter), Memory Stick PRO (with an optional MS Pro to CF adapter), xD (with an optional xD to CF adapter)
Supports JPEG and numerous RAW (currently Canon, Nikon, and Kodak PRO) file formats
Decodes 6 Megapix.JPG < 1 second.
Automatic activation of copy function after memory card insertion
New folder is generated for each download
Copy with or without preview
Verify after copy function
Optional auto copy for sport photographers
Thumbnail view shows 12 images per page
Slide show mode available (JPEG only)
Zoom 100%, 200%, 300%, and 400% for JPEG and all supported RAW formats (currently: Nikon, Canon, Kodak Pro SLR)
Rotate images (JPEG only)
Channel view RGB & B&W
Dust detector
Rename albums
Add comments to images
Add keywords to images (into EXIFdata of JPEG files only)

Music Features:
MP3 files: Play, Stop, Pause, Next, Previous

Video Playback Features:
Video formats supported: MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4, DIVX 3, DIVX 4/5
Play, Stop, Fast Forward, Rewind
Video playing time: 120 minutes (with one charge of battery)

Dimensions: 5.7 x 4.2 x 1.5"
Weight: 14.82 oz.
Connection to computer: USB 2.0
Power Battery: Rechargeable, internal 2200 mAh battery
Power Adapter: 100/240V, auto-switching
Operating System: Windows 98SE II / ME / 2000/XP, Mac OS9.0 and up (except 10.0, 10.1.0)
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