In terms of performance, the DVD-LS83 works well. We weren't overly impressed with the video quality; we'd have to label it as just average compared with the other players we've tested. We were happy to see that the LS83 had no problem playing our DivX-encoded video files, MPEG4 videos, MP3 and WMA audio files, and JPEG photos. However, you'll need to burn all of these files to a disc (DVD-R, DVD-RAM, or CD-R); had Panasonic added a USB port or flash card reader, the digital file support would've been far more attractive and convenient. Sound quality from the two onboard speakers was good, but like with all portable devices, you'll probably be using headphones in most viewing situations.
The battery rests below the screen's hinge and doesn't protrude excessively from the player's body. Panasonic claims the device will give you 6 hours of playback after a normal charge, and we found in our testing that this was spot on. It's worth noting that the step-up model, the Panasonic DVD-LS86, is essentially the same player that promises up to 13 hours of playback, but in our testing it yielded only 9.
A few design and functionality caveats aside, the Panasonic DVD-LS83 is an all-around good portable DVD player. Its unconventional width may deter some buyers who are looking for the ultimate in portability, while some may be put off by the screen's unusual collapsible hinge. The LS83 does boast a decent amount of playable file formats, we just wish it came with a USB or flash card reader as well. Some may find the asking price of $180 a bit much, especially with other comparable players on the market (some with even more features like the iPod-compatible Philips DCP851) priced even lower.