The screen resolution is an encouraging 800 x 480 pixels, which means the PET1030 can almost reproduce DVDs in their native resolution and reduces the chance of seeing the panel's pixel structure, which can affect picture clarity. Interestingly Philips calls this a Zero Bright Dot screen, which is the company's guarantee that you won't find any blank pixels, often a side-effect of LCD mass production. And sure enough, our review sample was completely free from bright dots. Hooray!
You can make simple adjustments to the screen's brightness, colour and contrast by pressing ‘display' on the remote. Other features include an array of trickplay functions, including a three-stage zoom, three-stage picture shrink, A-B repeat and up to 32x search speed. According to the spec sheet, the built-in speakers muster 250mW of power, which is fairly puny but you'll probably use the headphone jack anyway.
In the box you'll find a decent range of accessories, including an in-car mounting kit, cigarette lighter adaptor, travel bag and slinky little remote, which is attractively styled in silver and white and sports a helpful arrangement of buttons.
The PET1030's job is quite simple so there isn't a great deal to configure, but making basic changes is easy thanks to the excellent menu structure. Aside from the main setup menu, there's an options menu that lets you access some of the more frequently used functions, like subtitles and zoom. The unit responds immediately to remote commands without any annoying pauses.
Philips also says the unit is shock-proof, a claim that we tested with a few light taps and bumps and we were amazed that the DVD continued to play through it all without even the slightest blip.
But even more impressive is the PET1030's picture quality with the screen turning in a fantastic performance with our Batman Begins disc. What strikes you first is the sharpness of the image - lower resolution portable DVD screens have the tendency to look jagged because they're cramming all the DVD detail into fewer pixels, but here the image looks sharp and fluid.