So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
- Attractive design, good sized screen and viewing angles, comes with mounting bracket
- Poor image quality, below average sound
The Panasonic DVD-LS80 is yet another mediocre portable DVD player.
Price$ 439.00 (AUD)
The Panasonic DVD-LS80 is a portable DVD player with an 8.5in LCD screen. It offers basic functionality, as well as the ability to play back DivX files, but the image quality is fairly poor and only suitable for casual viewing by those that don't know any better.
The challenge with any portable DVD system is providing a large LCD screen with a wide viewing angle and displaying an image on it without any major aberrations. While the screen is certainly large enough, the image quality suffers from a great many things.
Like many portable DVD players, the screen isn't all that great. Images are noticeably pixelated and a great deal of undue noise fills the image. Edges dance with over-sharpening artefacts and text appears jagged. Colours were reproduced fairly well but black levels were a little too grey due to the intensity of the backlight. Contrast was another big problem with major stepping, including skin tones. The viewing angle, on the other hand, is quite good and avoids colour shift with what appears to be a 178-degree viewing angle.
The speakers deliver basic sound which tends to distort with too much volume. It isn't the worst sound we have heard but it certainly isn't as high fidelity as we would like. We don't expect full crystal clear DTS from a device like this but at least enough volume to make it viable would be desirable.
The LS80 comes with a mounting bracket which can be strapped to the back of a car headrest and there are two headphone ports so more than one person can watch the movie at the same time. The viewing angle is excellent so there shouldn't be a problem if two people want to watch at the same time.
Since the player supports DivX and VCD formats, it naturally supports most types of writable media as well. This is a great feature as you can rip a whole stack of DVDs to DivX format and burn them to one DVD -- handy for long trips. In this regard, the quality of the screen won't be as much of an issue since the compression of the original data will most likely cause image quality loss regardless.
The design is quite attractive with a faux leather finish on the lid and a general gun-grey aesthetic. It weights only 1kg so it's not too heavy to carry around, although it is a little too large to be considered as convenient as an iPod or mobile phone. Battery life is good and is rated at around 6 hours. We discovered a similar result during our testing phase.
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