Overall, this tiny PMP is unlikely to be anything more than a novelty gadget, and as such, high expectations for sonics and picture quality are redundant
Set up is straightforward
Games option is a bonus
Connections are basic
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This doesn't happen often. We've been released from the confines of the labs to road-test the pocket-sized MSI D310, a minimal and good-looking 4in widescreen LCD TV, digital radio and SD/MMC memory card playback.
Pocket TVs are nothing new. Many can play media files, but it's a bit of a rarity to find one armed with a digital tuner, for accessing Freeview and DAB. The downside is that you'll have to use an aerial, making its use while travelling awkward, but it's ideal for sneakily watching TV in the office.
Firstly, the battery needs charging, via the supplied adaptor, which needs a US-UK travel plug. The LED light on the front of the TV stops blinking when charging is complete (after a few hours), supplying nearly 3hrs digital TV viewing, 4hrs video playback or 6hrs music playback.
Connections are basic, limited to a headphone jack, external antenna jack and SD card slot.
Set up is straightforward. Menu screens are easily navigated via the (ugly looking) remote or the user-friendly toggle. Options include language settings, Teletext and an Electronic Programme Guide (EPG).
As well as coming with an external aerial, the MSI D310 has a flip up back flap which operates as the internal device. At least in theory. When tuning in, reception doesn't rise above an inadequate 40 percent, producing a poor picture.
Things improve dramatically when the external aerial is introduced. Not a perfect signal at about 70 percent, granted, but a watchable enough picture, bearing in mind the screen's size.
Watching a digital broadcast of Doctor Who, colours were reasonable enough and the picture overall was clear, if not too sharp. There are obviously limitations to a screen of this size: black levels are grey, picture is a little grainy, text is indistinct and there is evidence of motion smearing.
Contrast is adequate, but a poor viewing angle means this really deteriorates unless the MSI D310 is viewed head-on. Adjustment of the brightness helps the overall picture quality.
Football, however, suffered extreme judders and the picture breaking up into blocks - again you are at the mercy of your reception.
The MSI D310's speakers are also gnat-like with little volume available. The supplied in-ear headphones are much better and do the job well enough, though, and put in a clear performance with the digital radio stations. A bonus is the games option, as we put Tetris through its paces, risking RSI.
Overall, this tiny PMP is unlikely to be anything more than a novelty gadget, and as such, high expectations for sonics and picture quality are redundant. It's there to ensure you don't miss, for example, the dying moments of a crucial match.
And on those terms, it does its job well enough, although the problematic internal aerial is irritating.
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