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Panasonic DMP-B100EB-S review

Jim Martin
28 Apr 2010
Panasonic DMP-B100EB-S Portable Blu-ray player
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
349
inc VAT

It isn't cheap, but it's a great portable player that plays a lot more than just Blu-ray movies

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Specifications

The concept of a portable Blu-ray player is a little odd, given that the main advantage of Blu-ray over DVD is superior-quality video and audio. Watching a Blu-ray movie on a tiny 8.9in screen with tiny speakers would seem to defeat those advantages. However, this is Panasonic's second-generation portable player, so there's clearly a market for it.

In the box is a messy-looking remote control and a mains adaptor, plus a cigarette lighter adapter and sturdy plastic headrest mount for your car. You also get a large battery which lasts around three-and-a-half hours, meaning you can watch even the longest movie without needing to recharge.

The plain silver exterior is nothing special, but we like the black screen bezel and glossy white disc tray. More importantly, there's a double hinge where the screen can open and then fold back flat against the player. There are even little wheels on the bottom edge of the screen to make it slide smoothly. It's a slight shame that you can't tilt the screen left or right, which would be handy to allow all your back seat passengers to see the image clearly.

Fortunately, viewing angles are very good, so at least two people sat side by side will be able to enjoy the show. The screen has a resolution of 1,024x600, just like many netbooks, and Panasonic claims this is high enough to appreciate the difference in quality between DVD and Blu-ray. We thought this was an exaggeration, but it was obvious in the parkour sequence at the beginning of Casino Royale that we weren't watching standard-definition video. The angular line of cranes and beams of the buildings were sharp and details in faces were also impressive.

Colours can be tweaked by pressing the button on the side of the screen which brings up a menu dedicated to image quality settings - a thoughtful touch. Brightness and contrast were more than acceptable for a portable player, and there are presets so you can quickly switch between Standard and Night modes, for example.

Sound from the tinny speakers wasn't as impressive, but this is easily fixed by plugging in a pair of quality headphones. It's only a shame there's not a second headphone output provided, so you;ll need an adaptor if sharing with a friend.

When you're not watching Blu-ray or DVD movies, you can also use the SD card slot for playing AVCHD content, JPEG photos and MPEG-2 videos - great if you have a camcorder or camera that shoots in one of these formats. You can also watch DivX HD files from optical discs as well as JPEGs and MP3s.

Meanwhile, the HDMI output means the B100 can double as your home Blu-ray player, and there's a full set of options, just as you'd find in Panasonic's standard Blu-ray players. There's 1080/24p support along with the ability to output DTS HD Master Audio, Dolby True HD and Dolby Digital Plus in bitstream or PCM. The only thing missing is an Ethernet port, so you'll miss out on BD Live content, which few people will mourn.

There's no doubt that the B100 will appeal only to a small minority, but it does the job well if you need both a Blu-ray player and portable video player. See our FAQ, left, though for some other ideas and cheaper alternatives.

Details

Price£349
Rating****

Buying Information

Price£349
Supplierhttp://www.play.com
Detailswww.panasonic.co.uk

Features and Connections

Blu-ray profile1.1
HDMI outputs1
HDMI Version1.3
Component outputs0
S-video output0
Composite outputs0
Stereo phono outputs0
Coaxial S/PDIF outputs0
Optical S/PDIF outputs0
Wired network ports0
Wireless standardN/A
USB ports0
Mass storage supportno
Supported memory cardsSD, SDHC, SDXC
BD Live storageN/A

Video, Audio and Photo

Video playback formatsMPEG-2, DivX, DivX HD, AVCHD
Image viewing formatsJPEG
Audio playback formatsN/A
YouTube streamingno

Audio

Dynamic Range Controlno
Dolby TrueHD supportyes
DTS-HD MA supportyes

Physical

Power consumption standby0W
Size240x195x60mmmm