Crystal-Clear Picture, Decent Sound
So you liked what the PSP's display does for video? The AV 500's will wow you even more. Free of the reflections that plague the PSP and twice as bright, this display guarantees you a crystal-clear picture, incredibly detailed despite its rather modest 480 x 272 pixel resolution. When we tested it with an especially dark photograph of an underground cave, the AV 500 showed every detail of the rock.
The other new thing about this display is its size. While not huge, with its four-inch (10 centimeter) diagonal measurement instead of the usual 3.6 inches, it can display films in true 16/9 format without excessive distortion. As for color quality, as on the AV 700 the contrast is fairly well balanced in video mode, but a certain degree of saturation appears in photo mode. So avoid photos of canyons in the sunshine... Unfortunately the operating system hasn't been changed, so you won't always be able to correct this problem (though it is less pronounced than on the AV 700). Only two parameters are adjustable: brightness and image stability. These faults affect only direct display on the player, though. If you connect it to a TV set, the quality of the image will be as good as that of the set's display.
Video means sound as well as picture. And the AV 500's sound reproduction is not a disappointment. It's clear, well balanced and very pleasant to listen to, even without earphones. Though they still have a trace of a metallic quality, the speakers in the AV 500 put out warmer sound than the ones in the AV 700. However, since the player's small size limits it to strictly personal use, don't hesitate to use the manufacturer-supplied earphones to keep from disturbing the people around you. Though their reproduction wasn't as detailed as that of our test earphones (Sennheiser MX500s), they didn't distort the sound and proved fairly comfortable to wear. On the other hand, don't expect too much from the sound adjustments on the AV 500. The operating system keeps you on the same bread-and-water diet as with the image adjustments - the equalizer is reduced to a minimum and offers only four functions (bass boost, bass, treble and balance). You'll just have to make do with that, or else tweak your files before you transfer them to the player.