Can’t afford a jet but want to be jet-set? Time to get your own in-flight movie. The first portable Digital Versatile Disc player on the market, the two-pound Panasonic L10 DVD/CD/Video CD “PalmTheater” player, was designed with the traveler in mind. Smaller than a laptop, it slipped easily into my shoulder bag for my ride out of town (on a train). The L10’s vivid 5.8-inch LCD screen serves up more than 400 lines of resolution (twice as good as VHS). Hell, even Waterworld – the sample DVD disc sent along with the test unit – looked great.
Fully charged, the battery gave me almost two hours of viewing time before the screen went politely blank, so steer clear of relative epics like Boogie Nights unless you pack a spare battery.
The L10’s infrared remote let me do some dubious tricks for added amusement, like bookmark my favorite combat scenes (Dennis Hopper loses an eye!) and even dub the wily bandito Kevin Costner in Spanish.
New DVD titles (about 1,500 are available so far) currently go for $25 to $35, and if you get tired of watching movies, you can slip in your Beck CD (DVDs are “backwards compatible” with audio CDs) and do the public-transit hand jive. Bonus feature: the “parental-lock function,” which, after I entered my secret access code, allowed me to make damn sure nobody watched Waterworld when I wasn’t around. Unfortunately, I was never able to figure out how to unlock Waterworld. But come to think of it, I’m okay with that.