Panasonic was the first company to launch a portable Blu-ray player with last year’s DMP-B15, an impressive if expensive mobile movie machine. The company has followed it up this year with two new players – the DMP-B100 and DMP-B500. The latter is a ‘photo frame’ style deck with Wi-Fi and sizeable 10.1in screen, but it’s the smaller DMP-B100 we’re looking at here.
Like its predecessor, the DMP-B100 is fitted with an 8.9in, 1024 x 600-pixel (WSVGA) screen. That’s not much higher than some portable DVD player screens and around half the amount of pixels used in a typical Blu-ray image, but Panasonic still maintains that it delivers much higher image quality.
Resolution aside, the choice of screen size is a good one – it should be big enough to highlight the hi-def picture quality but not too big that you feel like you’re lugging a laptop around with you.
The DMP-B100 is strikingly good-looking. The light silver finish on the outside is fetching enough, but flip open the screen and the white disc flap makes it look even more alluring. Set into this white panel is a cluster of menu controls, while a row of tiny keys are prominently placed along the very front edge of the base.
The screen section is attached to the base with a mono arm that allows you to tilt it or bring it down to rest on the base – something Panasonic calls ‘Free Style Viewing’. You’ll even find little wheels on each corner of the screen to roll it forward and back and find the right angle. It’s a slight shame that you can’t swivel the screen too, but this arrangement makes the unit nice and compact when it’s perched on your lap.
For in-car use, the B100 also comes with a solid plastic headrest, which the player clips onto with minimal hassle. It’s joined in the box by a DC adapter to power it when you’re on the road. The supplied battery attaches to the back of the unit discreetly and hardly adds any bulk at all. Fully charged, you get around 3.5 hours of Blu-ray playback out of it.
The DMP-B100 sports fewer sockets than the DMP-B15. On the left side, you get an HDMI output for playback on hi-def TVs and an SD card slot, while on the right is a headphone jack. The fact you can use this player on your TV at home means you might not need to fork out for a separate standalone deck, and when watching Blu-ray pictures via HDMI you get the benefits of Panasonic’s PHL Reference Chroma Processor Plus, which aims to deliver the most accurate, nuanced colour reproduction possible. It also outputs in 1080/24p.