So I’ve been hunting for a portable blu-ray player for a while for two main reasons. One—the only TV service we really subscribe to at home is this all-Korean package so my grandma has something to watch at home. I work three jobs right now so I’m hardly home to watch TV and my mom is usually pretty busy most of the day too. Two—I prefer staying in my room once I’m home, and my room is way, way too tiny for a TV of my own. So most of the “television” I watch is mostly by Internet.
I like watching movies on Netflix, but the selection is kind of limited. I’ve bought several movies that I really enjoy on blu-ray with the full intention of getting myself a portable blu-ray player. After saving up a little I finally had enough money to go hunting for one, so to Amazon.com I went! After shopping around a little, I finally settled on the Panasonic DMP-B100 portable blu-ray player, because it seemed to have the least dissatisfied reviews on Amazon. The lowest rating for the device was 3-stars, and honestly, that I can live with.
To be up front about it, I was expecting a little bit more for what I paid, but it does its job. The resolution isn’t nearly what I would have liked, but I knew I was taking that risk by deciding to shop for something like this online instead of going to Best Buy or something. I knew it didn’t have any TV output, but that didn’t really bother me because as I said, the point is for me not to need to use a television. I feel like using a portable player to do TV output is kind of silly anyway, since I feel like you might as well just invest in a regular blu-ray player then. I mean, I guess I can see why people would want to do it, like if they travel a lot or something, but honestly it just seems like overkill to me. Like the people who want the iPhone and the iPod Touch. iPhone and iPad I can understand, but iPhone and iPod Touch seems a little silly to me.
Anyway, my main problem with it was resolution and the fact that it’s a matte and not glossy screen. I can’t stand matte screens. Sure they don’t have as bad a glare as glossy screens, but I feel like the picture quality comes out better on a glossy one. Now don’t get me wrong, the resolution isn’t awful, it’s just not as sharp and vibrant as I would have liked it to be (again, mostly because of the amount I paid for it). There is a stark difference between when a blu-ray disc is played vs. the regular DVD copy of the movie though—the DVD copy definitely comes out significantly fuzzier.
My full pro/con breakdown of this device is below the cut.
-Nice design—the outside is a shiny silver, similar to the first generation iPhone or first generation Nintendo DS. When you open it up there’s a black glossy border around the screen and the place where you put the DVD is a nice glossy white.
-It plays blu-ray discs, regular DVDs, and homemade discs. I’ve tried all three formats and about 10 different movies as a test, and it played all of them with no problem.
-Comes with a remote and battery.
-The player’s battery is removable and rechargable. I have yet to test how long the charge lasts for though.
-Clear difference between blu-ray quality and regular or homemade DVDs.
-Sound is good—personally I find 6 bars for volume to be more than sufficient. Anyone expecting TV-like sound quality probably shouldn’t be looking for a portable player anyway.
-Pretty lightweight for how heavy it looks. (At least to me, anyway.)
-Use of the remote isn’t necessary. You can seek, fast-forward, rewind, change player settings, and raise and lower volume all on the device.
-Matte screen (unless you like that sort of thing; definitely has less glare than a glossy screen).
-Resolution isn’t what I expected for the price.
-Durability is a toss-up. On the one hand, it’s not going to fall apart in your hands and it’s pretty sturdy. On the other hand, I have a wood floor. Now obviously I’m not going to test it out, but I have a feeling that if it were to accidentally fall off my bed or something, it’s a 50/50 on whether or not the machine will make it.
-No TV output.
-A couple of the controls are not intuitive. (For example, I had to look at the manual to find out the volume control was on the side of the screen and not where you put the blu-ray disc. Which I thought was totally silly since I never would have thought to look there when everything else was at the bottom.)
-Disc load times vary. Blu-rays take longer to load than any other disc by about a half-minute.
There’s one feature I haven’t really tested yet outside of the battery life of the device, and that’s its sleep mode. I believe when you put it to sleep while it’s playing a disc and you turn it back on, it should start off where you left off, or at least keep your place. Come to think of it I think there’s a play from where you left off type feature in general without putting the device in sleep mode, but I haven’t tried that out either.
Anyway, would I recommend this player to someone else? I’d say no. This is definitely a 3-star device. If I could go back in time I might have invested in something else. Oh well. I will use this player until it stops working though, since I did pay a good amount for it.
On a different note, I’ve got a few TV show recaps I’d like to do, so hopefully I’ll see you all again soon!