Panasonic Q Personal Review
It was a rather hectic Tuesday the 21st, but after all my prior engagements, I finally was able to go home. When, I got there, I had a package waiting for me at the door. WOO HOO!! It's here!! I quickly went upstairs and unveiled the Panasonic Q in all its boxed up glory. "I'm getting excited...!"
Now let's get down to business... What does it look like? What does it have? What can and can't it do? To answer the first question, this is what it looks like. A very highly reflective front plate. Actually, I believe it's a mirror because it acts exactly like one (hence why I took the picture at an angle). The top handles are made of plastic and it feels like it could be easily broken (now who plans to take this everywhere they go?). It weighs about 10 or 11 pounds and really cool to look at. :) On the front, it sports buttons for changing into cinema mode, GameCube mode, bass boost, surround sound, game reset, dialogue enhancer, not to mention power and open and closing the disc tray. The four ports are ther as well as the memory card slots. On the back, it has s-video output (oooo!!), standard av-output/input, and digital (game) output. Some guess work is involved in figuring out the standard av-out as opposed to the av-in because it's in... Japanese. :\ But, I got it right the first time and time to put it to the cube test with Bloody Roar: Primal Fury (of which I paid nothing for thanks to FYE ^_^).
I turn it on and... Oh look! How cute... insert the game and let it rip. Hmmm...nice opening logo. ...and even setting the system's options is entertaining. When you go to the "play game" option, it gives you various information about the game. Who made it, when it was made, the title, and the logo of the game. A nice little extra feature. After getting past all that, the Q plays Bloody Roar flawlessly (as it should) and it's a kickass game too. Nice anime intro and graphics to boot, but what the hell is Uriko doing on the character selection screen? Looks like some sort of strange dance... Hmmm...can't save because of no memory card? Bah...details! I'll take care of it later. After playing training mode for about 30 minutes and then going to the main game, load times are virtually non-existent. I felt like I was playing a good old cart again. "I was MOVED!" After playing through the game with Uriko and unlocking a new stage and character I decided to play around with it. What happens when you open the door while playing? The moment I pressed the open door button, the machine stopped and told me to close the door. I did that and it picked up EXACTLY where I left off and restarted the music (which is pretty good, by the way). I wonder if it'll do this on an RPG or something? We'll see later. :) Since it IS a Universal Q with all DVD regions enabled, I decided to press the switch for Japanese mode and see what happens in the mddle of the game.... nothing. Alright, let's restart it. Same logo...oh wait...a message comes up and it won't continue any further... my guess is that it says something to the effect of "this game cannot be played on this system". I can't really tell you what it says because... it's in Japanese. Ah well, enough of that. It was time to put the machine to the ultimate test. How well does it play movies?
For this test, I couldn't use my tv. No no no... a test like this deserves a tv of more fitting quality. ;) Now, it has been reported that this particular system can play VCD and SVCD, from CDR, CDRW, and even DVD-R discs (I have my doubts about the DVD-R part, but I can't test it currently) as well as MP3s. Now, of course, I had my test for this all set up. For the VCD test, I placed a movie I dow...had on CD and burned it to a VCD (for backup puposes, of course) on a CDRW. It came with a remote and some guesswork was involved here too because...well...it's in Japanese. But at least all the universal buttons and symbols were on there (by the way, the button just to the right of the red one on the bottom does muting). Popped in the CDRW and pressed play. ...Nothing happened. Oh, well, I guess it would help if I were to switch it from GameCube mode to DVD player mode (long button in the bottom left corner). "...VCD1 59:38..." and it automatically starts playing. Very good. I watched the whole first disc with no problems at all. I even paused it in the middle and left it there for a good hour to see what it would do. It stayed in the exact same spot and played flawlessly again when I pressed play. "Combo is continuing!" Now for the CD-R VCD movie that I dow...backed up as well. Well, what do you know? Again, no problems; no skipping, sound distortion, nothing at all. Quality was VERY good considering it was VCD and not SVCD on both CDs. Time to test the SVCD on CDRW.
Let's see how it reads the first disc...wait. Shouldn't we make this test a little harder? How about using a CDRW that has been written to before more than a few times? So, I get an RW (Verbatim) that I've used many times before and copied the other RW right to it. Now let's see how it performs... Hm...video and sound is choppy. If I press fast forward, everything plays as if i just pressed the play button. Well, what if I use another disc that's been used, but write it as a VCD instead? Let's try it! Wow. No problems...sound was great. I wonder if the difference in brands of CDRW is it (this one and the first two were Office Depot CDRW)? Ok, now how about audio CDs? For this test, I used the CD Enya: Paint the Sky With Stars. Played with no problems. Then again, the CD barely has any scratches on it because it's one of my absolute favorites. How about one that has undergone some abuse? Even better, one on a CDR! Wow...not even a flinch. I'm very impressed! "This is the best show I've ever seen!"
OK, now for the MP3 test... hmmm... do I need a certain format to have the MP3s on the disc for it to read it? Let me turn to the manual for help. ....I'm sure it's very informative, but not to me because... well, audience? Audience: "It's in JAPANESE!" Right...ok, we'll hold off on that till later as well. "Oh no! Combo STOPPED!" Maybe someone on the net has more information. Oh, one thing I forgot to mention about the CD player part is that it doesn't have anything special for it like the PSX or Dreamcast did. All you see is "DVD VIDEO" in the middle of the screen and reflected off the bottom...layer...plate looking...thing. This test had to be the most extensive because it's my first DVD player...in fact, the first one to enter the house ever (so we're behind a bit...) and just how many ways can you test a game dvd? I showed the playback capabilites to my mom and do you know what her first question was? "Will you let me watch movies on it?" Uh...no. Not unless you want to pay me half for it. ;) Unfortunately, I could not test the surround sound (for both game and DVD) option since we don't have an uber sound system downstairs (neither me nor my dad plan on setting that up or moving it!) Oh yeah, you can't control the movie or CD with the controller. Either use the remote or the buttons on top of the machine.
Survey SAYS: 8.5 out of 10.
A very solid DVD/Cube hybrid. It's the perfect solution if you don't have a DVD player (like me) and have no interest in Xbox or PS2 except for maybe 2 or 3 games at the most (again, like me). I think they could've constructed the handles of something a little more durable than what they have in case someone wants to lug it all over the place (read: mommy dearest). Also, it doesn't allow you to eject a disc from the remote. But that's fine because if you're going to change CDs or DVDs, you might as well get up and eject it too, right? I noticed the system stays very cool for as long as I leave it on unlike some systems which would burn a hole in your floor. Oh, one thing I forgot to mention. If you tend to play in the dark (like me), they included blue indiglo backlights for each of the four controller ports making it easy to find.
Well, time to turn it off and let it rest... oh look. It did it again...
That's my personal review. If you have any further questions or comments, please e-mail me at home, at work, or on the mesage boards and I'll respond to your inquiry.