TEAC Australia PCDV125L

The boombox is back

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TEAC Australia PCDV125L
  • TEAC Australia PCDV125L
  • TEAC Australia PCDV125L
  • TEAC Australia PCDV125L

Pros

  • Easy to use, great functionality, portable, decent sound

Cons

  • Heavy

Bottom Line

Teac's PCDV125L stereo is a portable model that maintains the functionality found in a more traditional mini hi-fi system. If you're moving around constantly but want the ability to listen to music and watch movies, it's a good choice.

Would you buy this?

TEAC's PCDV125L portable stereo is a unit that has the simplicity and portability of a big, old-school boombox, and the added usefulness and convenience of a portable DVD player. The sound from the system's speakers is surprisingly good, and the pop-up screen displays DVDs well in harsh lighting conditions. It's very heavy — especially with batteries inside — but that's its only real failing.

The PCDV125L is styled like a traditional portable stereo, with stereo speakers, an AM/FM radio tuner with a built-in aerial, and buttons on the top to control the CD and DVD systems. A small remote is also included in the package. Users have the option of using the unit via AC power, but they can also opt to install eight C-cell batteries for portability.

Systems like this one are designed to be transported from location to location and set up. They're not as mobile as a smaller personal DVD player like the Sony DVP-FX720, but they don't tie the user to a single room like a mini hi-fi system. The necessary compromise here is in the unit's speakers. Two three-inch drivers built in to the body of the boombox are protected by strong grilles and are able to produce surprisingly rich audio. However, because a single driver is responsible for the entire frequency range, the sound is somewhat blurred and smooth; movie dialogue is still distinguishable from background music.

While boombox speakers are generally more suited to playing radio, the unit performed well with our test audio CD. Low-fidelity, simple pop music had the best sound, mainly due to the low demands it places upon speakers. More complex acoustic rock tracks sounded blurred, with individual musical elements lost in the background.

The unit's bass performance was surprisingly good, with the deep synthetic notes from electronic music reproduced audibly — although lacking any real kick or oomph. When it came to complicated orchestral pieces, the PCDV125L was found lacking. Individual instruments were impossible to distinguish from one another, with a 'wall of sound' effect being created. However, if you're a fan of listening to classical music you shouldn't be using a portable stereo anyway.

The option to connect external storage is offered through either a memory card slot or a USB port. The unit is able to play MP3 files of any quality without difficulty, but it's unable to decode more complex formats like AAC or FLAC. MPEG-4 movies can also be played; we were able to watch DVD-resolution files with no buffering or skipping evident.

The swivelling, 7in LCD screen is the PCDV125L's party piece. It turns the unit from a simple CD/MP3 boombox into a crowd-pleasing entertainment unit. We ran The Matrix to see how the screen stacked up. It's a relatively low-resolution screen, so DVDs do look somewhat blocky. However, colours are vibrant and bright enough, and the screen works well in direct light and daylight, which is a definite bonus for a portable system.

If nothing else, you can also use the unit as a dedicated DVD player — albeit a slightly chunky one — by using the composite video output and the analog RCA outputs for connecting to separate stereo speakers. We connected these to the Edifier S730 PC sound system and found the sound quality quite acceptable. Video was predictably poor quality, as we expected from a composite output. Users will most likely stick to the in-built screen and speakers — they're more than good enough for occasional DVD watching.

If you want a rugged system you can take on a picnic, with better sound and video than a portable DVD player, the PCDV125L is a good choice.

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