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When it came to Harry's 6th birthday in March, we were struggling to think of something to give him. He had all the things a 6 year old boys wants and needs; a bike, computer games, DVDs and lots of toy cars! Therefore I had to get my thinking cap on and think of something else a bit different, and finally it came to me - a portable DVD player! We do a lot of travelling to my parents who live 150 miles away, going every couple of months and Harry always gets really bored on the trip and always points out DVD players in other people's cars. I had a look around online and found which one which looked like it'd be great, and was a reasonable price as well. I knew he'd love it because it'd keep him entertained for the trip, but he could also use it around the house as well if he fancied watching one of his Top Gear/Jeremy Clarkson DVDs at any given time! Luckily for me, it was a great idea and has been a hit ever since!
The product I chose for Harry is the Nextbase SDV8 Portable DVD player. It has a 7 inch screen, and is a single monitor. You can buy this as a set of two which is obviously good value for money, but we only had the need for one machine, so we went for this one. The reason I chose this machine is because it isn't a standard lid up/down product (like a laptop design), instead being one flat device with the screen on the front, and the DVD is encased inside, the screen is also the lid as well. It's a really good looking product, in matt black with shiny black around the area of the screen. The product comes really nicely boxed with plenty of accessories. It comes with a canvas carry case, a headrest attachment, a mains car charger, an in-car charger, set of in-ear headphones, two-pin adaptor and remote control for the unit. I was surprised when I opened the box to see so much, but it's great they've covered pretty much everything you would need in just the one box, and all for £69.99 as well.
The machine itself is fairly light-weight and is easy for Harry to carry around, whether in his hands or in the carry bag provided (which truthfully he hasn't really used too much). The unit looks really sleek and modern, and is a good size too, with a 7" screen being plenty for single person viewing. To put a DVD into the unit, you slide across the "open" switch which is located at the top of the unit, and the screen lifts forward to a 45 degree angle. You then place the DVD onto the tray until it clicks (much like you do in a computer's CD drive) and then gently let the screen close. DON'T just let it go as it'll slam shut and I don't know what damage that'll do to the screen or mechanism, and even Harry has realised he has to be gentle. You can then watch the DVD. The on/off switch is also located at the top of the unit on the other side. If the player is on when you insert a DVD, it'll show a loading screen, then will play when you press the play button. Otherwise, this will happen when you switch the unit on after putting in a DVD.
The unit has a few buttons on the front of the unit at the bottom under the screen, and these are for use during playback of a DVD. From left to right, these are 'set-up', 'Mode', a large directional button which is the rewind and fast forward around the edge, and an 'ok' button in the middle to select any options on screen menus, a play/pause button, and a stop button. The button all sit flush with the front of the unit, and do make an audible click when you press them, which is good as Harry knows he's using it correctly. Two speakers are located on the front left and right bottom corners, and this means that the noise of playback isn't disrupted even when used on a lap or the headrest attachment, and the sound is projected directly at the viewer. On the right side of the unit, you will find the charger jack, headphone jack, volume control and a slot for an SD card. The left side features a USB port, but we haven't used with the SD or USB ports on Harry's machine at all as he simply uses it for DVDs.
Playback - the unit in use
Playback on the device is excellent, and we have had no problems with it at all, even with discs that have light scratching on them. The screen is LED and is backlit, so this ensures a good bright picture in all conditions. Harry watched this in the car on a recent trip we took, and it was fairly bright weather conditions, and he had no problems seeing it at all which was fantastic. The volume is of a good level through the speakers, and we were able to clearly hear the speech on a Top Gear DVD when we were travelling at 70mph on the motorway so I was really impressed with it there, I did expect to find it difficult to hear at speed when the car is making more noise. However, Harry prefers to use his headphones (purchased separately as I don't like him using in-ear headphones on his young ears), and the sound quality through that is excellent, and adjusts perfectly with the volume control situated on the side of the player. It's worth noting the player features 'last memory' playback, meaning if you stop a DVD at any given point, if you leave it in the machine and return later, it'll start when you last left it instead of going back to the beginning. It doesn't work if you remove the DVD, but it's a great function on the player, especially as children won't want to have to search for their place of viewing each time they use it!
Another bonus of this unit is that it comes with a remote control. This is particularly useful if your child uses the unit with the headrest attachment, and can't reach forward enough to touch the buttons to pause or stop the DVD. It's a small, grey remote control with quite a few buttons on it, but it's easy to use. If you wish to use subtitles on your film (as Harry often likes to), the only way to get these on I have found is to use the remote control so it's a handy device. It also features the normal DVD remote options, as well as functions such as repeat, mute, zoom and numerical buttons 0-9. The remote takes a CR2025 battery so is easily replaceable one it dies. However, Harry doesn't use it that much really so I can't see myself having to replace the battery too often. The unit does have a rechargeable battery inside of it, but as with most devices, this can't just be replaced and would have to be sent off to be changed. I have found we get just over 2 hours when the unit is fully charged, but it can be run off the mains/in car charger when the battery is low, although it won't be charging at this time, it only charges the battery when the unit is switched off. However, I've not found this to be a problem, and Harry is happy to sit with the unit on charge. There is an LED on the front of the unit which indicates charging state - red = charging, green = fully charged and blue = running from the mains and not charging. A low battery indication flashes up in the bottom right of the screen when the unit is at low battery, and you only get about 5-10 minutes playback before the unit just switches off.
The headrest attachment is fantastic because it is entirely separate from the main unit and therefore allows you to use the unit independently either in the car or home, or to strap it to the headrest of a front seat in your car, which is useful for younger children you wouldn't perhaps trust to hold the unit securely for a period of time. It's simple to use, simply lay the unit onto the rectangular attachment, thread the velcro strips through the holes on either side of the unit and fasten onto the back (this holds the unit onto the attachment so do make sure they are done tightly and securely), then bring over the adjustable straps across the front sides of the machine and clip around the headrest. Pull the straps to tighten, and you're done. It's so simple to do, I managed it without instructions first time in under 2 minutes, and the clipping on and off means for easy installation and removal for us parents. I keep this part of the unit in the car so if we were to be going somewhere and Harry decided he didn't want to hold the unit, I could easily install it into the car without worrying I've left it behind.
Overall, this DVD player has been an amazing purchase and Harry is absolutely thrilled with his grown up birthday present. Due to the fact we travel, Harry gets so much use out of his, but I've been surprised by how much he uses it in our home as well. He loves sitting on the sofa plugged in to it watching his shows, especially in the school holidays when I like to take half an hour to watch a show of mine, and it's really handy so he doesn't get too bored. It's simple to use, and Harry has no problem in mastering all the functions of the player, from the remote control to opening it and playing a DVD too. He is a mature 6 year old, and I'm more than happy for him to be in charge of using his unit, but if you have younger children you may want to be a bit more hands on in using it. I'm so impressed with the value for money, the playback quality is fantastic, the volume is great too and the battery life of 2 hours is more than adequate to watch a kids movie (roughly 90 mins) or for a few hours of petrolhead fun for Harry! I'd more than recommend this DVD player for your kids, it's fantastic, sturdy, and hopefully will cure Harry's boredom in on our travels! Fantastic, and recommended!
Resolution: 480 x 234
Dimensions: 33.50mm (w) x 25.00mm (h) x 9.00mm (l)
Divx/Mpeg1,2/Jpeg Compatible: DVD / CD / MP3 / JPEG
Screen Size: 7"
We purchased Harry's DVD player from Halford's for the price of £69.99 which I think is great value for money. You can also find it on other online sites for a similar price.
Thank you for reading.