High-definition content looks so good that we can barely leave our house without taking it with us. There are various ways of doing this – iPads, personal media players and laptops – but one of the more unusual ways is a portable Blu-ray player like the Panasonic DMP-B200. These haven’t really taken off in the same way as portable DVD players, probably due to stiffer competition from the HDD-based players listed above, but they do offer a great way of watching your Blu-ray discs on the move with the added bonus that they’ll play your video files too.
Surprisingly, Panasonic is still the only company making portable Blu-ray players in the UK, and the DMP-B200 is Panasonic’s third-generation model. It sports an 8.9in 16:9 screen with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels, and like previous Panasonic portables the ‘Free Style Viewing’ feature allows you to move the screen into a comfortable viewing position. You can flip up the screen from its closed position (like a laptop) and unclip it from the hinge, which then allows you to tilt it or bring it down to rest almost flat on the bottom section, with little wheels letting you to slide it back and forth. This flexibility will in handy in the car, when manoeuvrability is more of a problem.
The base section of the player houses the disc tray, which flips up at the touch of a button. In the corner of this are the multi-direction menu controls and an Option button, while there’s a row of playback buttons running along the front rim. The player is styled in a sexy gloss-black finish that’ll no doubt be covered in fingerprints once the kids get their hands on it. It’s fairly heavy for a portable product but compact enough to tuck into your bag.
There are just three sockets dotted around the side. Most significantly, there’s an HDMI output, which allows you to watch Blu-ray discs on your hi-def TV. So essentially you can use this as your main player in the home, then simply unplug and take it with you on your travels. You also get an SD card slot, supporting both SDHC and SDXC cards, and a single headphone jack. It’s a shame there’s no USB port, which would have made it easier to enjoy digital media, and there’s no Ethernet port or Wi-Fi for BD Live downloads either, making this a Profile 1.1 player.