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REVIEW: Samsung portable dvd L100

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by David Tolsky, Jul 30, 2002.

  1. David Tolsky

    David Tolsky Supporting Actor

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    Portable DVD Player Review: Samsung DVD-L100 10" screen
    Way back in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, I saw prototypes of the portable dvd player of my dreams, the Samsung DVD L100. I had time to play a few of my own dvd's on it, like The Ten Commandments and The Warriors. Beautiful picture on a progressively scanned whopping 10" 16 x 9 screen. I wanted it so bad I tried to get them to sell me one right then and there. Samsung promised me it would be out by April. To make a long story short, it finally started shipping in July.
    Now having bought one, I must tell you that aside from the big beautiful picture, there isn't much to like about this unit. It was pretty poorly designed. Let's start with the battery. Samsung claims 3 hours out of the clip-on lithium battery. You'll be lucky to get 2 hours from a full charge.
    Ya better buy another battery for long trips. And about the battery, I can understand getting a few quick warnings when the battery charge is dissapating. But your last warning is a flashing empty battery that does not stop until the picture dies. How annoying, your nearing the end of a movie and the battery flashes IN YOUR PICTURE for like over 10 minutes. Who came up with that brilliant idea?
    There are no picture controls whatsoever, save for an extremely lame brightness control on the side of the screen that barely does a thing. Tint, Color or Contrast? Forget about it, it doesn't exist. That aside, the "fixed" picture is pleasant to look at and shouldn't disappoint.
    I should mention here that it took me 3 DVD L100's to get a screen that did not have a dead pixel right out of the box!
    On the good side, a cool addition is compatability with Sony's memory stick for still photos. Just put your stick in the slot and you have instant software for digital stills on a big 10" screen. I haven't gotten into this yet but I understand that it even includes editing software for your photos, like a poor man's Adobe Photoshop.
    I'm going to stick with it because I love the size of the screen and the picture. I'll have to buy another battery if they ever become available, and some noise-cancelling (amplified?) headphones. If your a tweaking nut, I would not recommend this unit for the total lack of control.
    www.samsungusa.com
     
  2. Dave_P.

    Dave_P. Supporting Actor

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    Well, I just picked this up as well and I have to agree with David's comments (though I had no dead pixels on mine, luckily). The picture quality is truly outstanding though the battery issue is definitely a problem. The MP3 player and interface works very well through the Memory Stick and I'll probably try a CDR today.

    I have a question for you David: have you tried watching a non-anamorphic or 4:3 disc on the player? Since there doesn't seem to be an LCD screen adjust button (Zoom1, Zoom2, Wide, Normal, Panorama etc.) how do you get these to play without being distorted?
     
  3. David Tolsky

    David Tolsky Supporting Actor

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    David,

    I've tried a couple of 4:3 discs and they both have automatically stretched the image to will the 16 x 9 boundaries. There is a zoom feature on the remote that did not seem to do anything to the 4:3 native image. If you have no disc in the player, press setup on the remote. Go to "Display", press "enter" and you will see choices for aspect ratio. With a 4:3 disc like Citizen Kane or Universals Dracula, I chose "pan and scan". The other 2 choices are Letterbox and Wide. But even with this setting, the image did not conform to 4:3 so I am still playing with it. Maybe we can help each other out. Let me know what kind of luck you have with 4:3 material.
     
  4. Dave_P.

    Dave_P. Supporting Actor

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    David,

    Unfortunately, I already tried the display settings on the Setup menu and it had no effect as you noted. I fear that those settings may be for an external monitor. I'm starting to get worried here. I've posted on a few other forums and discussion boards, so maybe someone can help us out, though I don't really see any other options here. I'll post here if I get any feedback. The majority of my DVD's are anamorphic (thankfully) and in that case the player performs beautifully, but if there is no way around this 4:3/non-anamorphic issue, I'm gonna be pretty pissed. This would be a MAJOR oversight in my book. I'm sure the P&S lovers would be even angrier...
     
  5. David Tolsky

    David Tolsky Supporting Actor

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    Strangely enough, I remember the zoom feature actually working on an anamorphic disc as well as widescreeen letterbox disc. A non-anamorphic widescreen movie appeared to look normal with no distortion, as in Mad,Mad,Mad, Mad World. But there's no doubt about it, we had to give up a lot to have a beautiful 10" 16 x 9 picture. On airplanes, that flashing battery is going to drive me completely insane, however. That's why I have to buy a second battery.
    Plus did you notice, nothing really mentioned about purchasing accessories in the manual. What's up with these Samsung guys? Also, I can't figure out why they would have an aspect ratio choice in their setup if the damn thing doesn't work. Scratching my head on that one.

    As far as the pan and scan lovers, they shouldn't even be buying this machine. They can get a much squarer unit a lot cheaper.
     
  6. Dave_P.

    Dave_P. Supporting Actor

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    Well, with my 2.35:1 non-anamorphic The Thing DVD it looks as if it gets squished down to about a 2.80:1, and it really isn't unwatchable, but still. I tried the centered zoom but it cuts off at least 50% on the sides and fills the screen. I threw a 4:3 Buffy Disc in and it stretched to fill the screen. Annoying.
    About the flashing battery light, did you even see the other warnings between the 3-bar full and the flashing empty? I just get the 3-bar at the beginning power-up and the next one I see is the empty flashing one. I don't remembr seeing the 2 or 1-bar warnings. I guess the onscreen flashies are what happens when you don't have a mini digital LCD screen on the unit. [​IMG]
    Anyway, where are you getting the extra battery from? I remember reading somewhere that you could get a 6 hour battery from them as well. I'd love to get my hands on that, but you're right, no mention of accessories anywhere in the packaging or on their website.
     
  7. David Tolsky

    David Tolsky Supporting Actor

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    What they should have done is put the warning light into the same blinking light as when the unit is charging, or something similar. Putting any kind of battery warning light into the picture is just plain poor designing with no consideration to the movie watcher. Actually, I think the website is the place that I found info on the 6 hour battery. But with the delay in shipping this product, I'd bet it would be a nightmare getting the spare battery. Best bet is to call Samsung USA in New Jersey and talk to someone
    in person. That's what I plan to do. And, if their 3-hour battery barely lasts 2 hours, I'd bet the "6-hour" battery will barely give you 4 hours. This is a frustrating product with a great picture. It's great, yet, it sucks [​IMG]
    I'm going to use AC power with it whenever possible.
     

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