This is Toshiba's new flagship portable - the Japanese company's idea of the perfect mobile movie machine. It certainly looks the part on paper: 9in 800 x 480mm screen with extra wide viewing angle, DVD-A and DiVX playback and a mammoth 4.5hrs of battery life per charge.
So how does it shape up in the flesh? Well, first impressions are overwhelmingly positive. Decked out in dark brushed metal, this player oozes class from every pore and feels solid enough to withstand a veritable battering; it certainly should stand up well to day-to-day use.
The feeling of quality extends to the connections and features. You get a progressive scan-compatible component video output for hooking it up to your living room TV, plus an AV input should you want to use the player's own screen with another video device (a portable media player, for instance). There's also a memory card slot, compatible with SD,MMC,MS and XD cards, which can be used for viewing JPEG photos.
There are some nice little touches, too: we particularly liked the inclusion of two headphone jacks, which should come in useful given the player's wide viewing angle. This is on a par with that of a decent LCD television screen, meaning you could sit three people in a row, stick the player on the middle person's lap and all three would get a clear view of the movie playing. It sounds like a basic thing, but it certainly sets the Toshiba apart from its rivals.
Playback quality is superb. The screen isn't what you'd call ultra high resolution, but its 480 lines make it ideally suited to displaying video from a DVD. We gave the director's cut of Donnie Darko a spin and were impressed by the smooth details - there is a little bit of grain and noise in the image, but jagged edges around objects certainly aren't an issue.
Sound quality is fine through both the built-in speakers and the headphone sockets, although audiophiles expecting great things from the DVD-A playback will be disappointed - the results are okay, and certainly a step up from CD quality, but not a revelation.
It's a shame that the photo viewer isn't up to scratch. The player downgrades photos in order to display them, so a seven megapixel shot will end up a blurry mess stuck in the middle of the screen with black borders all around - apparently, you have to convert all images to 640 x 480 resolution to get them to look half decent. You can't even zoom into an hi-res image properly - the player simply increases the size of the low res version. It's an oversight from Toshiba, and surprising considering the attention to detail demonstrated elsewhere on the product.
This flaw aside, the SD-P2800's is a great piece of kit. The fact that you can expect at least four hours of use from a single battery charge, the picture quality and the design of the player are all huge points in its favour. It's one of the best portables around. Sam Kieldsen