Onto performance and let’s get the bad news out of the way first – as expected the low screen resolution means you can see the pixel structure of the screen, giving the image a distracting ‘chicken wire’ effect that doesn’t help with fine detail resolution, plus edges look serrated.
While a higher-res screen would have helped the player to convey detail more convincingly, picture sharpness isn’t too bad on the whole – it’s certainly not soft or hazy. With Easter just gone we loaded up The Passion Of The Christ – gruelling yes, but a brilliant test disc – and the Toshiba reproduces the astonishing detail of the period costumes and scenery with admirable stability, although on long shots of crowds it struggles to resolve faces.
The colour palette is superb. Skin tones are free from the reddish or greenish tinge that occur with many low-grade LCD screens, while the wide contrast range and solid blacks give the image surprising depth and make dark scenes easy to watch, even when viewed under bright room lighting.
Naturally we’re looking at the unit’s pictures with a critical eye (that’s our job after all) but despite its detail shortcomings, the Toshiba’s picture quality is perfectly adequate for knockabout movie viewing on the train or in the back of the car.
As for sound, you can just about get away with watching a movie through the built-in speakers (particularly ones with lots of dialogue) without your ears getting fatigued, but it doesn’t get particularly loud and when the action intensifies the speakers start to struggle – best stick with headphones.
Finally, DivX files are well suited to the 7in screen, looking bold and vivid with no motion glitches, while MP3 music is clear and dynamic though good quality headphones (which sadly, the supplied pair are not).
The SD-P73S is yet another solid portable DVD player from the Toshiba stable that offers useful features and groovy looks. Performance could be bettered by a higher resolution screen, but otherwise you’ll have few complaints with its pictures – particularly at this price.
Score in detail