Yamada's PDiX-770 is certainly attractive enough to make people want to grasp it and the price is no longer a deterrence.The PDiX-770 has other aces up its sleeve as well.It is region-free out of the box,can handle DiVX files and it comes with a very commendable range of accessories.

Most people will be most interested in the 7in LCD screen,with a resolution of 1,440 x 234 pixels.It isn't the biggest,but is far from pokey.

The look is influenced by the decision not to have the screen built into a folding flap.This means the disc slot is side-mounted,which is actually rather convenient.But this unusual design does mean that you have to tilt the entire unit in search of the most dynamic picture - and then you have to hold it in place or prop it up against something to keep it there - not always an easy thing to do.On the move (it comes with a bag which hooks over a car seat headrest),it may be impossible to get the desired viewing angle.

The battery is good for two and a half hours'use - which should be enough for a movie.There is also a car battery adaptor,as well as the option to run the deck off the mains.

Playback options include slow motion and a zoom,while audio can be enjoyed through the supplied earphones or the onboard speakers.

Of course,you can also hook it up to your TV and sound system. Basic connections are offered for this,but it unlikely to be this deck's main source of employment.

The initial impression of the picture from the PDiX-770 is disappointing. You need to crank up the brightness and contrast settings to get a watchable image - the trouble is the manual makes no mention of how to do this! You have to press the Function key on the remote and then make adjustments using the volume up/down buttons.

The picture becomes more viewable when these adjustments have been made,but the viewing angle is a problem.Looking straight on at the screen it is muted and you have to tilt the top of the deck slightly towards you to get the best picture.

With the unit slung over the back of a car seat, kids are likely to be looking up at the screen,in which case the picture will be struggling. But it's fine on the train where you can hold it at the optimum angle.

At the best angle there is plenty of detail to the image,but there is also an element of artificiality.This is probably introduced by having to ramp up the brightness and contrast. Still, the picture is good enough for occasional viewing.

Audio quality is fairly good through the earphones,but they become uncomfortable after a while.You would probably want to invest in a more substantial set of ear or headphones if you intend to use the PDiX-770 a lot.

Routing output through your existing AV set-up obviously improves matters,but that is not what the PDiX- 770 is for.Judged solely on its stated purpose and tested as it is most likely to be used,it's average at best.

The price means you may still fancy the indulgence,but don't expect a performance to match the design.