The Good Lets you watch your Blu-ray collection on-the-go; HDMI output for use as a standalone player; full access to YouTube and Picasa if connected via Ethernet; comes with cigarette lighter adapter and headrest mount for car use.
The Bad Very expensive, with Blu-ray-equipped laptops available at similar prices; bulky design; short 2.5 hour battery life; small screen limits the capability to see the full detail of Blu-ray; can't output a standard 1080p signal; less reliable playback than standalone players.
The Bottom Line The Panasonic DMP-B15 is the world's first portable Blu-ray player that can function as a standalone player, too, but ultimately it has too many caveats and costs too much.
The Panasonic DMP-BD15K is the first portable Blu-ray player, and at first it's easy to write it off as useless since much of Blu-ray's visual superiority doesn't translate on its 8.9-inch screen. But that's missing the point. If you're a home theater buff with a growing Blu-ray collection, you might be frustrated that you can't watch those movies on a plane or even in your bedroom. The real niche of the DMP-B15K is letting you watch your high-definition discs in more locations (rather than making the immersive Blu-ray experience portable), and the DMP-B15K is well-suited to the task. It has a full suite of car accessories and an HDMI output that makes it easy to use as a standalone player, too. However, like many first-generation devices, the DMP-B15K has plenty of caveats: a bulky design, short 2.5 hour battery-life, and less reliable playback than standalone players. Even more crippling is its sky-high $800 list price, making it only slightly cheaper than entry-level Blu-ray-equipped laptops. Ultimately, we're onboard with that idea that there's a need for a portable Blu-ray player, but--unfortunately--the DMP-B15K's price and shortcomings make it difficult to recommend to all but the most well off Blu-ray fans.
Yes, it's the first portable Blu-ray player, but our first reaction after taking it out of the box was "wow, that's big." The DMP-B15K feels sizable mostly because of its built-in stand, which is actually required because of the DMP-B15K's unusual design. While most portable DVD players sport a clamshell design--just open it up and start watching--the DMP-B15K's screen is actually upside down when you first open the unit. To get the screen right-side-up, you twist it around and lay it flat, then prop the unit up. Sitting on its stand, the DMP-B15K looks like a digital photo frame and it definitely has a sleeker look than a standard portable DVD player does, but we'd still prefer a slimmer unit with a clamshell design.
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