After the huge success of portable MP3 players, it was only ever going to be a matter of time until mobile video took off in the same way. As portable movie players become more and more popular, the temptation to buy one of these sleek, spanking new devices becomes almost unbearable! But wait! As the proud owner of a Pocket PC or Palm PDA, you probably already have the hardware necessary to enjoy video on-the-hop. All you need now is a piece of reliable, free software to convert and optimise your movie files for mobile use. PocketDivXEncoder is that piece of software.
The installation procedure for this application was a breeze, mainly because there wasn’t one! It was refreshing to see that a simple program didn’t need to touch the registry in order to run, let alone force us to restart the computer (as all Nokia’s apps do). So as soon as you download the program, you’re ready to go. The program itself was pretty easy to use, with controls and settings which should be familiar to anyone who’s even come close to thinking about video compression in the last five years. For those who haven’t, all you really need to do is tell the program which device you’ll be using and it’ll do all the work for you.
Experts will likely balk at the lack of fine-tuning tools available in PocketDivXEncoder but its ‘advanced options’ dialogue allows for greater control over such features as 2-Pass Encoding, XviD Compression, audio Live Effect and more. A really impressive little feature is the live clip resizing tool which allows you to preview your video while changing its dimensions – handy if you’re working with a device which doesn’t have native support from PocketDivXEncoder.
The most important factor in video conversion and compression tools is the quality of the end product. It’s no good reducing a movie to 4MB and rendering it completely unwatchable in the process. PocketDivXEncoder performed admirably when converting our (fairly high quality) test video, achieving good video compression without losing much detail. Small changes we did notice was a slight alteration to colour and brightness balance on the picture and an almost imperceptible shift in audio-video sync. These issues reflect the fact that this is not a professional level tool but then again they’re almost impossible to spot without really hunting for them.
Working with PocketDivXEncoder is on the whole a pleasing, simple and rewarding experience. That a free application can offer such reliable performance and high quality – at levels often missing from other, highly priced software – says a lot about what a good freeware program should look like. If you’re looking to convert video to fit your PDA, all you need is PocketDivXEncoder.