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Mustek MP80D: Portable, you say?

Waving the MP80D's wobbly little aerial around trying to find reception had us all misty-eyed in nostalgia for the Game Gear's TV tuner -- it's that level of sophistication

We looked at the MP80D's little brother, the MP70D, a few months back, and this beast is similar -- but with a larger screen (8 inches to the MP70D's measly 7). It's a decent little DVD player -- it does that job really quite well. Sharp picture, actually in sync with the sound, all the options you'd expect, and it's all very easy to use.

The problems arise when you try to use the integrated Freeview TV. Standing on the top floor of our new office, waving the flimsy aerial around like a glow-stick in a nightclub had Crave reminiscing about the Sega Game Gear's TV tuner. Back then, reception was dodgy, choice was limited, and we remember the sense of achievement on finding a clear picture -- this was a games console, and you were watching TV. Way better than a Game Boy, Nintendo dorks!

Now though, the Mustek's reception is dodgy, choice is limited (bidup tv but no BBC) and on finding a clear picture, there's little child-like sense of achievement -- the MP80D was designed for this. Certainly not way better than a DS Lite.

Mustek has included a comprehensive set of extras in the box, some useful, like the car adaptor, some useless like the remote -- there's still no way to adjust volume (the MP70D had the same problem), and with a screen this size, the notion of being far enough away to need a remote seems bizarre. In fact, when all the add-ons are added on, they turn a reasonable-sized DVD player into the gadget equivalent of a beached whale.

The insanely large battery, which slots on to the back, doubles the weight of the player. And as the headphones come out one side and the TV aerial the other, you end up carrying a clump of wires. Basically, everything designed to make this player portable achieves the opposite. However, when there's space to plug it in, you've got a stack of DVDs to watch or you're a die-hard fan of Sky News, you might find this a useful addition to your entertainment arsenal. -Jennifer Melmore