The thought of carrying your entire DVD library on one pocketable device is a pleasing one, but hours spent levering the videos onto the PMP isn’t quite as alluring. So why not look at a portable DVD player like the LS80? To recap: these require you to simply put in a physical disc and press play. How quaint.
Like the majority of machines left in this arena – a dwindling but well-specified bunch – the Panasonic DVD-LS80 comes with a detachable, rechargeable battery, and a car kit.
Fully juiced up, the ‘LS80 gives six hours of movie-time from its 8.5in widescreen, and for the backseat drivers of this world, the car-kit includes a headrest mount, plus a cigarette lighter DC adaptor.
A key trade-off in portable DVD world is unit weight in return for screen size and battery life, but given the above replay stats, the Pana’s 1030g load is pretty fair. Lose the battery – say, when travelling on an electronic socket-equipped train – and the machine’s weight drops to 890g.
A downside of its comparatively featherweight figures is the ‘LS80 chassis’ somewhat flimsy feel – we wouldn’t recommend this unit takes too many tumbles down escalators. The finish, though, is smart and the hinged-screen helps you adjust the angle so you are watching ‘on-axis’.
Due to the Panasonic’s occasional problems with blacks – like many portable players it struggles to dig-up maximum detail from murky pictures – you may find you are regularly tweaking that hinge, but brighter lit scenes look vibrant. And, even with fast-moving images, the picture is decently smooth.
The built-in speakers sound passable at lower volumes, but they’re pretty teeny so sonic composure cracks when you crank the dial. For best results invest in a pair of cans (the package price doesn’t include any) and, for rom-com viewing, this saucy little unit includes twin headphone out sockets.
Music fans also shouldn’t forget that this player will play MP3-loaded CDs and DVDs, so in its own little way the ‘LS80 is a portable media player. Having said that, we wouldn’t suggest binning your 160GB iPod just yet.
Compare this Panasonic player to the likes of an Archos 605 Wi-Fi and there’s little to talk about. But that’s the beauty of portable DVD players – they’re simple. And, as Simple Simons go, the Panasonic DVD-LS80 is one of the sharper looking and performing ones.