This has been one of our best buys ever. Not so much for the quality of the product, which is average, but because it solved an ongoing problem - how to quell the constant bickering from the kids in the back of the car on long journeys!
Now, I don't particularly blame the kids, sitting in a car for hour after hour is pretty tiresome, I run out of stories and games after a while and inevitably we all have different musical tastes so choosing a CD can be problematic.
It was with some trepidation that we invested in this portable DVD player. It was £50 from Argos, quite a lot for a small screen device, and quite a lot if it didn't achieve its purpose. So this review is really for anyone in the same position.
Physically it isn't much to look at: a small silver rectangle, which unfolds to display an even smaller screen in the lid. 7 inches doesn't sound like a lot, and it isn't (not when you are used to huge modern TVs and computer monitors). However, it is adequate.
Put a DVD in it and it runs automatically. Picture quality is quite ok, and one of the kids can balance it on their lap so that the other two can see it as well.
Top tip 1: use a lap tray to help them balance it!
The sound quality when in the car is not great; the volume is not sufficient, and I don't think we have an especially noisy car. This was relatively easily resolved. They all have headphones (for MP3 players and the like), so buying two jack-splitters, and daisy-chaining them, meant they could all hear perfectly well, and adjust the volume individually. Another advantage of this is that any children who weren't watching didn't have to hear it, and neither did their parents, who could then drive along in peace and quiet or even chat to each other.
Top tip 2: use headphones.
The controls on the machine itself are fairly basic and don't work brilliantly. It comes with a remote control which has a few more functions. It's a little awkward to use, but manageable. We find it easiest not to bother with anything fancy, and just use the fast forward to get to the appropriate place in the film. Using the DVD menus doesn't always work. However, given the situation, where the kids are mainly just watching a film from beginning to end, this isn't too disastrous. We also found that the battery in the remote drains quite quickly (even when not in use), so we tend to sellotape it to the remote's case and just put it in when actually in use.
Top tip 3: just watch a complete film
The DVD player comes with a mains charger, and takes a few hours to get fully charged, so you need to remember to do it the night before a long journey. The battery in the device will then last you a good few hours, enough for a film or two anyway. However, it makes sense to use your car's electricity. Unfortunately the player doesn't come with a suitable power lead, however you can buy a generic one fitting into the cigarette lighter for about £12 - we got ours from Maplins. This is great because although you can't recharge the player's battery using this (it has to be mains, 240V), it means you aren't using the player's own charge. So when you switch off the engine and visit a service station, the DVD player has plenty of juice remaining and will remember where you are in the film, thus saving all that tedious mucking around with the remote.
Top tip 4: get a power lead to plug into the cigarette lighter
It has lasted us several years already, so we have no complaints about its robustness. It generally plays DVDs perfectly well; occasionally it will jump when you go over a bumpy surface, which I imagine isn't great for the disc, and the whole thing will slide around madly if you go round sharp corners (so whoever is holding it has to be alert). So on the whole we restrict its use to being on motorways.
It hasn't totally stopped all bickering in the back of the car (that is probably impossible), but it has cut it down substantially, and mainly about which film to watch........ maybe one day I'll write my top tips for helping them to decide, but for now this has saved parental sanity on many a journey!
For the machine itself I would only give it 2 or 3 stars, as in many ways it isn't that great, but for it's part in making travel more tolerable for all concerned, I'm giving it 4.
Argos has completely revamped this little DVD player, and since I happen to own both, I will include a review for the older model pictured above, as well as a review for the model currently on sale. My rating however reflects the quality of the 2nd machine only as I don't want to rate this one down for the faults of its predecessor.
THE OLD MODEL:
The older model of this product looks exactly like the one pictured above. The 7" measurement refers to teh screen of course. The overall product dimensions are as follows : 8 1/2" x 6 3/4" x 2 1/2". The remote has long since been lost as I bought this 4 years ago, but we never used the remote anyway, as this is such a small screen it is always right next to you. All functions can easily be accessed through buttons on left hand side, or play. FF, RW, skip stop and pause buttons inside the console to the left of the DVD door. I always did feel this door was a bit light and flimsy, but we've never had a problem with it, and this was a child's dvd player. That said it did not get a great deal of use due to short battery life.
This set also has the red white and yellow sockets for AV cables so you can hook this up to a large TV and playback onto this instead of the small screen. This isn't something we would bother with at home as we have a DVD player for each TV, but we did try this when staying at Haven. There is an earphone jack and a socket for the AC power adaptor which came included. A separate adaptor was purchased from ebay for in car charging, but I can not remember the price. The DVD player could not play while connected to the in car charger, but could play on the AV lead. To use this in a car - you have to have enough charge on it to watch the programme you wish to see.
The main problem with this unit was battery life. From new this was less than hour, dwindling to it's current battery life of 15 minutes. It was lent out to a friend for a few days, who left laying in the back of a security van. After this playback became much more erratic - and it would not play at all while ac adaptor was in. So while we can technically still use it - it can only be watched for up to 15 minutes at a time. It currently resides in a makeshift for the adult super hero action figures - as the Teen titans do not wish to share their base. For a pretend TV - it is OK but that's about it, and even at that - it wasn't good enough for inclusion in Titan Tower.
When it did work, playback was adequate, if kept stationary. It really did skip terribly in a car due to the movement. Sound was reasonably loud, as one expects to be very close to such a small a screen. You wouldn't expect to hear this over a room full of people. Sound quality however was acceptable for cartoons. I do feel it would be adequate for music, and even for films I would prefer a bit better.
In spite it's problems, my youngest did really like this, calling it his laptop and taking it into bed to watch cartoons. So when it was broken we did replace it for him. I wasn't happy to get another one of the same make, as I really did not like this unit, but it was the only one I could find at a fair price, the Argos ad states it holds a charge for 2 hours, and I had every intention of returning it for my money back if the new model did not meet at least my minimum expectations. I would give this model only 2 stars, and that is being generous.
THE NEW MODEL:
This is still the Argos Value DVD Player, but it is a completely different machine. The screen size is the same, and the overall size similar: 8"x 6 1/4" x 1 1/2" with the main difference being the thickness. It looks much more streamlined with a sharp silver finish and black trim and interior. This also just feels like a better make. The door for the DVD seems more solid, the hinge seems sturdier and it just doesn't feel cheap and plasticky like the old one. It looks like metal but it is still plastic. It has a very tiny remote with all the usual features, which I have never used. There just doesn't seem much point in using a remote for an object sitting on your knee. There is no obvious volume control for this on the main unit - but it is here, There is a large silver circle with OK in the middle and <, ^, > and one which points down but I can't find on my keyboard. You simply use the up and down ones to control volume.
Playback on this is brilliant, with the only fault being small screen size. - which I can't really complain about as this is meant to be small. It is limited to region 2, but most of these personal players are. The picture is very clear and sharp and I have had no skipping or jumping even when moving this about. The sound quality is also quite good. I would not say it is as good as good stereo system, but I would be happy enough to listen to music on this, and it is more than adequate for a good film. According to Argos this will play: DVD, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, MP3, WMA JPEG - but I have never used this for anything except standard region 2 DVD's which work perfectly, and I did try a region 1 which said incorrect region and would not play. No harm in trying though.
This was primarily used by my youngest son, but he has lost interest since getting a small TV set up under his bunk he has interest. My oldest has taken it into his bed a few times to watch in his bunk - as they both have netting which turns their bunks into wee huts. For the most part though - I have inherited this. I like o use this now and again late at night when I'm having trouble sleeping to watch a film before bed. I like the fact that I can leave the sound quite low - or use this with earphones so as not to disturb anyone else. I usually opt to play this at a very low volume as most of the time when I am having sleeping problems, I prefer to be able to hear what is going on around me. I usually play this on about 1/3 volume, but if I were using it in the daytime I would go up to 1/2.
This does not have the same AV cables the older model had, but it does have a USB port so I assume you could connect this to a newer TV, but in all honesty I haven't tried. It also has a connection to connect your phone to this, as well as the standard head phone jack, and one for the AC adaptor. This does come with a standard adaptor, but not a car one and I have not bought one, as this does not need to charge in the car. Argos claims the battery lasts for 2 hours. My unit is less than 6 months old but I have found it to last closer to 2 1/2. this may diminish in time, but as it stands I am very happy with this. You can use this without a charge as well, as long as it is plugged in with the adaptor.
I was very hesitant to buy this, but I am glad I did. At £49.95 this still seemed expensive, but it was the cheapest personal player we could find and in all honesty I can't think of a single bad thing to say about this. I really have tried to find at least one tiny issue to put in the disadvantages but I can not find a realistic fault.
Argos 7" portable dvd player .
I bought the Argos dvd player [ currently £49.99 Jan 2013] for my daughter aged 5. It was bought for 2 reasons , 1st was part of operation sleep in your own big girls bed, and the 2nd was because i wanted more control over what she would be watching as opposed to a television in her room.
After some research and deciding cheap and cheerful was the right way to go due to her age and the fact it might get dropped etc , i settled on this one which had good reviews on the Argos site.
Actually this is the only disappointment due to the fact it has the value range packaging [ basic and cheaper looking] and might put you off if you were buying for a gift , for me it didn't matter on this occasion.
Once opened the box contains the dvd player, a remote control with batteries], and a 3 pin plug wall charger. It is ready to use straight away and can be run of the mains , you do not have to wait for it to be charger to use it.
The DVD player.
Argos specifics tell you its a 7 inch (17.8cm) visible screen size.
TFT LCD screen.
Resolution 480 x 234 pixels.
DVD region 2.
Playback compatibility: DVD, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, MP3, WMA JPEG.
The dvd player itself is 8" x 6" and comes in silver. On opening, the screen is on the underside of the lid with the disk drive being in the bottom. The dvds are easy to put in and take out . The open button is easy to press and opens the lid automatically for you to insert disk. To the right hand side is an ok button with arrows for going through the menu of your dvd. Also has a stop and a source button.
The on, off slide switch is situated on the outside , right hand side and is easy to use . Along side that is a headphone socket , the charger socket, an AV out and a usb port . There is no volume control on the player , you have to use the remote control that comes with it .
The dvd player itself is very easy to use , my 5 year old had it sussed in minutes . Once the player is open press open on the disk drive and insert disk , close and the dvd will be playing straightaway . It lets you do all the normal things you can do on a dvd player, access menus, extras and games etc. The battery life lasts approx 2 hours.
I think the sound is very good, and certainly loud enough. On a normal day the volume is set at about 65-70%, at night time i reduce this to 50% which is still perfectly audible and loud enough.
The player tells you it has 480 x 234 pixels , now that doesn't sound a lot , but the quality of the picture is excellent , due to the small sized screen it looks no different than watching on a full sized television screen. The pictures are crisp and clear and look exactly how they should . We have experienced no jumping or skipping with it .
All in all i am very pleased with this dvd player, and feel i got a bargain , it does everything i wanted it to do, was an excellent price and is quite a sturdy little machine. I would highly recommend this and would definitely buy again should i have the need.
Pros - price and quality
Cons- no in car charger [ but can be picked up cheaply, so not the end of the world]
I bought this DVD player purely for use in the back of the car on longer journeys and so far so good ! Its been responsible for hours of fun and sometimes i even use it when on the train to work. Id defiantly recommend it and my mother was so impressed with it i will probably be buying here one for her birthday. Its great value for money and a very handy piece of equipment. it has far outweighed my expectations and i would recommend it to anyone with kids to stop the ' are we there yet ? '.
The only thing i was worried about was the fact that the volume doesn't go up very high and i was concerned that some of the loud train noise would effect it but it doesn't. It seems to be a great product so far and i thoroughly recommend it so if your not sure - go for it !
This is another example of a great value product at a great price, fifty pounds was the cost of mine from Asda stores, The value one I purchased come in the colour black, it had a cool little remote that come with a watch like battery in it, I also got a car adapter lead as well as a mains adapter lead and also some head phones as well as a carry bag and straps for fitting to a car headrest. It is just a fantastic little gadget and is very simple to use, it will charge if need be and will last for approx two to two and half hours per charge, but I find that if I have not got it plugged in to the car I have got it plugged in to the mains so I hardly ever use the charge facility, It is now a must for all car journeys for me, it looks and sounds great either through its speaker or through the headphones and I have now had mine several months and never had any issues with it although there is people out there that rip these no namer products I just think it is an example of one that is the complete opposite and I would rather spend fifty quid on one of these than hundred quid on one with a name on it, but that does nothing different to this one. You can also play your music C.D's on it so it works as a c.d player too, great value for money, I have had great usage out of it and it has plenty left.
I bought this dvd player nearly 2 years ago when I was going into hospital for a week and thought I would ger really bored. It was £49.99 so not to expensive and I thought that my kids would be able to use it afterwards.
When I bought it I noticed that it didnt really come with any accessories so I bought a set of headphones (didnt want all the patients having to listen to my rom-coms). I also bought a case for it to go in as I didnt want it to get damaged.
The actual dvd player is quite heavy and appears bulky but then there is less chance of you dropping it. It has a 7" screen and has a really good picture quality , especially for the price.
This dvd player is silver in colour but does appear a bit plasticky looking.
It also come with a remote control which meant I could press play and have it on the table over my bed without having to sit up which was perfect. The buttons are really easy to use on the dvd player and on the
remote, even my 3 year old can manage it.
In hospital I used it with the power cable that it came with but it does have a battery that can last up to 1 and a half hours (no good for really long movies as you would miss the end).
It was perfect for my hospital stay but has been useed loads since by the kids in their bed room and on car journeys although we did have to buy an incar charger as it kept running out befor ewe reached our destination. We have even taken it on the aeroplane when we have gone abroad.
Overall a great purchase that has lasted well over the years.
My two daughters are always arguing over what they are going to watch as a dvd before bed time each night and of a week end so to stop all the problems I decided that last Christmas I would buy my eldest daughter this portable dvd player, I paid £49.99 for it from Argos and it is still available at the same price today.
It is a lovely silver colour and looks really nice in my daughters purple bedroom, I expected it to look scratched and scruffy by now but it isn't and it hasn't exactly been handled too gently by my daughter.
It is wide screen which is good and it has a 7 inch screen which I thought might be a problem for my daughter and that she would need to have her glasses on to watch this but because you have this close to you she didn't need her glasses to see it.
TFT LCD screen which is nice and clear for viewing the films and the colour quality is lovely as I was a bit worried about this as a lot of her films are Disney I wasn't sure such a cheap machine would have good enough colours.
Now for the technical bit
Resolution 480 x 234 pixels.
Contrast ratio 200:1.
DVD region 2.
Playback compatibility: DVD JPEG.
Built-in rechargeable battery with 1.5 hours battery life during playback I was a little disappointed in the short battery life which means I have to charge it up every day but if it stops the arguments in our house then it is worth it.
Built-in speaker are good if you are close to the dvd player but it gets muffled if you move away from it but it does have a head phone socket so my daughter uses this most of the time and she really likes this and the sound is good.
Can be operated via a 12V car socket which we have done on the way to rhyl earlier this year, in my car this required me to have a cigarette lighter so do bear this in mind.
It also comes with a remote control which to be honest isn't really needed but my daughter insists on using it.
This has been a good dvd player to try out with my daughter to see if she was responsible enough to look after it and for just short of £50 I think it is a great dvd player and may look to upgrade in the future to a more expensive model with more battery life.
All though looking a bit cheap and not that modern when it comes to design, this portable dvd-player from Argos really surprised me when it came to quality, as the picture and sound quality really was quite good, and I didn`t really expect that! The screen is only 17.7 cm in its size, but it still presents your dvd`s in a great way, and with such a good, balanced and clear sound, watching movies on this product is a real joy, especially because it costed so little to purchase!
I paid only sixty pounds for this portable dvd-player, and that`s a real bargain if you ask me, as it`s made up of very sturdy and good quality, is ver easy to use and plays your dvd`s in a very good and clear quality manner! The product also include a power adaptor and charger, allowing you to bring this dvd-player with you everywhere, I have brought mine with me to the park, in the car and so on... What really impressed me and pleased me greatly, was just how clear and well balanced the sound was, it really heightened the experience for me, together with a lovely screen image! This dvd-player is very easy to use, with standard buttons and controls, you will learn to use it in no time! The design is made up of silver, and it doesn`t look superb and slick, but ok!
This is a great, low cost portable dvd-player, I would absolutely recommend it as a great purchase!
I bought this portable DVD player from Argos late last year, I was due to take my granddaughters' away for the weekend and realised at the last minute that the younger of the three would be bored on quite a long car journey. I had some Argos vouchers at the time and as this one was priced at just £49.99 I decided to take a chance on it, despite not being impressed with other items from the Argos Value range.
The machine is fairly attractive, if a little plastic and 'boxy' looking. It is silver coloured and has a simple lift up/press down method of opening and closing.
While the machine itself is rather larger than I imagined it would be, the screen seems almost lost within the thick plastic border. It's a 7 inch screen, which I was aware of before I purchased the DVD player, but this isn't actually as large as I thought it would be. It features widescreen playback, although on a screen this small I think that is somewhat of a moot point.
The picture is very good with no blurring or static, as has happened on older portable DVD players I have owned. My only criticism actually would be that the volume is incredibly low even when turned right up, this turned out to be a nuisance as my granddaughter was watching a DVD in the car and the general traffic noise made it hard for her to hear what was going on in the film. I solved this by plugging in a set of headphones for her, but again this was not ideal as it meant she alone could watch the film properly - and there being just one headphone socket it was not possible to connect another pair for my middle granddaughter to share the experience.
Despite being so quiet, the sound is sharper than I expected it to be. One evening when the girls' had gone to bed I found myself battling insomnia so decided to watch a DVD of my own on the machine, this was in a perfectly silent apartment (aside from my granddaughter's snoring!) so I found the low volume acceptable and was quite surprised at how well the various blasts and bangs (I was watching The Hurt Locker) came across through the small speaker on this player. In fairness, earlier Hollie had been watching Mulan which is an altogether more sedate and quiet film, and this may explain why she had problems hearing it but I didn't.
One thing that did irritate me somewhat was the fact that during particularly fast moving action there was some slight pixilation of the picture. Over the months I have noticed this is something that happens when the DVD player has been used extensively, although I thought the days of having to allow electricals to 'get their breath back' were over! Sadly not for this gadget and it does need a few minutes rest here and there.
Another thing I have noticed is that if the DVD player is knocked even slightly this may cause your DVD to either skip, stick or stop completely. I have trays on the back of the front seats of my car so I simply used a bungee cord to hold the DVD player firm, although this would have been a bigger problem if I were relying on my granddaughter to hold the machine on her lap for the duration of our journey.
When you first purchase your DVD player you will need to give it a fairly lengthy charge, this is usual for this type of gadget however and it is certainly worth doing as it will enable the battery to hold its charge for a decent length of time. The battery life (once fully charged) is 1 1/2 hours, unfortunately it does not come with a car charger so you either need to purchase a cigarette lighter charger seperately or ensure your DVDs are fairly short ones. Luckily I had a car charger to fit the machine so this wasn't an issue for me, I'm simply warning you so that you don't find yourself caught out with a grumpy toddler in the car who has only been able to view her film for an hour and a half.
If you plan to use the DVD player in your home, the short battery life shouldn't be a problem as you can use the charger as an adaptor and run the DVD player whilst it is charging. Obviously this will mean it takes a little longer to charge the battery, but at least it means you do not have to wait for the charging to finish before watching the remainder of your film.
There is also a remote control included with this DVD player, although it's so small as to be almost useless to anyone with 'adult sized' fingers - and was actually lost on the very first journey we made with the DVD player.
For such a cheap portable DVD player I was somewhat surprised by the amount of different formats it will play. Obviously it's Region 2 only but aside from that it will happily play CDs, CD-R, CD-RW and (sometimes) DVD-R. I say sometimes as it depends entirely on the mood of the DVD player that day as to whether it will play copy DVDs, sometimes it will and sometimes it won't.
I recommend this DVD player if you are looking for a machine that will not cost you the earth, but will ensure a quiet car ride even with the most boisterous of toddlers and children. I wouldn't ordinarily harp on about the packaging, but with Christmas around the corner and these being such popular presents I will say that the cardboard box it comes in is extremely basic - so if you're the sort of person who gets embarrassed at giving 'Value' presents then this might not be the gift for you to choose.
We were planning our family holiday which we take every year to Wales. We had everything ready to go when we realised we had no car activity's, which for a 2 year old is not good. It was a 4 hour car journey so we definitely needed to get something. Previous years we had been away this was never a problem because she would sleep most of the journey. This year we had no chance of that happening. Ten minute car journeys to the supermarket ended up in a struggle for freedom, then resulting in a tantrum!
At the time of our holiday she was really into Shrek, she would constantly watch the DVDs at home and demand a toy anytime she saw one. So one day when we were lulling over the prospect of travelling to Wales in the night, i thought of getting her a portable DVD player for in the car. I figured this would solve a lot of our problems (because once Shrek comes on her eyes do not depart from the screen!) I figured it would be a lot safer to travel in the day than at night and if she had something to keep her occupied well then it was perfect.
The only problem to this solution was that we hardly had any money, I didn't want to have to break into our holiday savings and let's face it, in car DVD players do not come cheap. With no other options I thought i would pop into Argos (in my opinion a great place for a bargain!) it wasn't until I had looked at several DVD players i came across this one. To be honest it didn't look the best, the box was plain and simple, not like all of those fancy ones. Any way at a bargain price I decided to buy this one.
Once I got it home my first opinion was that it was bulky, but I soon realised that this was a good thing because being handled by a 2 year old meant it wouldn't easily brake. The picture quality is good, better than expected for the price. It is of a simple design with the screen on the top screen and the cd holder on the bottom. It also has a play, pause, stop, skip, fast-forward and rewind button on the bottom. At the side there is room for a charger and headphones and the volume. This is great for the price and as I have found out after being lugged around by a toddler is very durable.
There are some drawbacks to the product but that can only be expected with the price being so cheap. The most annoying thing is that the volume is very low; if there is other noise going on in the same room you can barely hear it. It also has a low battery life, it lasts for approximately 2 - 3 hours and with no car charger this can be a problem if you plan on using it for long journeys. Another problem which occurred for me was that my toddler found how to take the disk out, which on this is very easy, this makes braking DVDs very easy.
Some other good details of the product that I forgot to mention is that it has a built in memory, so when you turn it off half way through a film it will come back on from where you were watching it (this doesn't always work, it has a mind of its own this thing and sort of decides when it wants to do this!) it also comes with a remote which is handy for controlling the volume ( not like you really need to do this, if you turn it any lower than the maximum then its near impossible to hear!) it also controls all of the other functions such as on/off fast forward/rewind etc.
This portable DVD player has an equal amount of pros and cons but I would definitely say that it is value for money.
I would not recommend this if you are big on gadgets and into the latest things, but if you are looking for a cheap sturdy entertainment system then I would highly recommend this one, especially if you are looking for children, the worst thing would be to buy an expensive top of the range DVD player for the children to break it a few weeks later!
Features of this portable DVD player:
*7 inch (17.7cm) visible screen size.
*TFT LCD screen.
*Resolution 480 x 234 pixels.
*Contrast ratio 200:1.
*DVD region 2.
*Playback compatibility: DVD JPEG.
*Built-in rechargeable battery.
We bought this DVD player in pink but it also comes in silver.
It is currently available at Argos for £49.99 (a bargain for what it is)
The Argos Value portable DVD player is actually better than you might think, I got one a few months ago as a temporary dvd player, I had just moved apartments and because my laptop had been stolen from my hotel room that week I had nothing to do as I was still staying in a hotel while my apartment was getting ready so I went to Argos and bought the cheapest portable dvd player I could find, and this was the one I purchased.
Being 'Argos Value' I had little expectations about the product and thought it wouldn't be very good quality but I was pleasantly surprised.
I opened up the box and it comes with a range of features including a small quite snazzy remote control. It's got a small 7" screen but this isn't as bad as it sounds, you can still see it well, but obviously not suitable for longer term. The picture quality on this producy though is fantastic, I would sit watching DVDs in my hotel room every night, had no problems with the picture quality, with top crisp images on the small screen.
Sound quality is also really good, a lot better than I imagined, you can get a very crisp clear sound, loud too, I thought it would be really quiet, having never bothered with a portable dvd player before due to having a laptop, but the sound was really good.
It has a very simple to use on/off system with a switch on the side, even the simplest of people who hate technology would know how to use this. It's very simple to use with play, stop & rewind buttons on the top and also on the remote control.
Would deffinately recommend!
My eldest child is a big fan of the simpsons and loves to watch harry potter, due to having a younger child he doesnt get much chance to enjoy the luxuary of sitting and being able to watch things in peace since she loves to turn the tele off.
I purchased this from argos at christmas which was his main presant it was priced up at £50 and I allocate £100 each child at christmas so this was half of his money gone.
I took it out of the box when I got back home to ensure it worked. The instructions were clear to understand with diagrams to help. It came with a charger and a remote control and was smaller than I thought.
It had to be charged for 5 hours so I plugged it in in our bedroom. Later that night when the children were in bed I went to fetch it to try a dvd and put batteries into the remote. I grabbed one of the harry potter dvds that he had had the christmas before and poped it in.
The screen was a bit small but it showed a good picture and the sound was great on it. there are buttons on the base that rewind fastforwad, stop, pause and play. I dont think there is much need for the remote because you cant have the player that far away from you or you wouldnt see it.
This was a good investment for me because my son will go into his bedroom when he wants some quiet time and put a dvd on until he has had enough. This has also come on holiday with us due to having a 4 hour drive it worked out great for him because the time passed so well.
It was good value for money and it doesnt make the dvds stick because it is cheap either. If you do alot of travling with children or have so many people in the house that they often would like quiet time this is great for them to watch there dvds without interfearance.
My little boy received this very portable DVD player for Christmas off my mother as he absolutely loves watching films and cartoons etc, it was the ideal present!! I now get to watch the TV in peace whilst my boy watches his films on this player!
The built in battery only lasts between 1 ½ to 2 hours and when travelling, this can be quite awkward as it doesn't come with an in car charger, this has to be purchased separately.
Although this only has a 7 inch screen, the picture on it is as clear as it would be on a large TV. It weighs approximately 840g so isn't heavy and won't make carrying around difficult.
On the left side of the player it has a socket for head phones, the slider wheel to adjust the volume, the charger socket an also it has the white, red and yellow 'audio/video' out sockets. The power button is very straight forward, it has three positions in which it can be place, when switching off completely it is to be placed in the 'charging' position, then you have the standby position, then last but not least there's the 'on' position in which it needs to be place for you to be able to view your selected DVD.
The play, skip buttons etc are situated to the left of where you insert the DVD's, they are slightly raised but not actual buttons, this was ideal as my son has a thing for pressing buttons but has not attempted to touch these once!!
I would advise that you buy a carry case to store this in as it is rather fragile and would damage easily if dropped, as is the same with all portable DVD players.
Another bonus is it comes with a remote, which is ideal for when you are travelling by car n can't reach to press the buttons.
- Introduction -
Keeping an eye out for bargains recently, I spotted an 8" portable DVD player on sale at my local Sainsburys store for £59.99 and I went home to search for reviews on the model. However, there weren't any that I could find but I did spot some negative ones for the brand and when I thought it through, I decided that I really didn't need an 8" screen but that my priority would be to get a pretty bog standard portable DVD player that would do the job alright and that would be as good value for money as possible. The reason why I say that is because its mostly novelty value I want one of these for, I don't see myself spending any large length of time regularly using a portable DVD player, yet its a nice item to have. I wanted to have one that would give me the option of bringing it on holidays, so I could watch my own DVDs when it suited. I figured there are enough other gadgets on my current 'wish list' that I would spend more time using, so it seemed sensible to look for the best value deal and settle for a more basic model when it came to this particular gadget, to leave me more money left to spend on other items.
Anyway I was browsing the 'net trying to think of stores nearby I could check for their cheapest such gadget and I came across this. I liked that there were quite a number of reviews about it on the store website and out of all 68 of them, there are/were only 3 which seemed to say that the unit was actually faulty, 3 out of 68 sounded like pretty good odds to me and others said they thought it was very good value for money and that they'd had good fun with it, which also appealed alot. However, thats not to say that there weren't other criticisms or that its perfect, its not. Read on to find out more...
- Whats Included -
When I opened the 'Argos Value' box, I found the following:-
* The main unit (of course) (its quite a nice size, its pretty portable and should fit into a medium to large back pack)
* A remote control, with the relevant 'c' cell battery included (I like the remote as it offers quite a wide range of buttons/options, for navigating through DVDs and for adjusting picture settings and other such things)
* The mains adapter (the length of cable is, I'd say, about average. Its long enough to be able to plug it in and move the unit a few feet or so away, just be careful not to trip over the cable of course!). The plug shape is quite long and might not fit into all plug sockets unfortunately though.
* 1 x Quick start guide. This shows you how to get up and running with diagrams and written instructions, its pretty simple to understand and is useful to get you started
* 1 x Owners manual (small-ish booklet) - Its nice to have a hard copy of this (not some .pdf on a CD as you often get with IT accessories these days(!)). Its 18 pages long and covers all of the main functions of the unit, explaining how to do most everything your likely to want to do and it also has a mix of text and diagrams. Its pretty simple to follow and has a basic troubleshooting section at the end.
Be aware that the following items ARENT included - Earphones (or headphones) & car charger (it can be powered by the cigarette lighter/charger in your car for car journeys).
- Setting Up & Battery -
Charging the battery for the first time out the box was surprisingly quick and easy, though it maybe sounds a little complicated here but really its not and it was all over and done with, being fully ready to use, in under 3 hours, which I thought was quite impressive, all things considered. The battery is in-built and thus non-replaceable (though this doesn't overly bother me, for the price if it becomes dud in a couple of years I'll just buy a new one, anyway new batteries for portable DVD players are hardly cheap im sure) but it means you don't have to insert it into the unit, like you insert the battery into a mobile phone, so that saves a bit of work.
Basically what you have to do is to connect the mains adapter supplied to the unit and to the plug socket, select the 'charge' setting on the side of the unit and the green light on the side front should come on, which indicates that its charging (the other light, the red light, shows when the unit is using the internal battery to power it, once its fully charged). It only took two and a half hours to fully charge it for the first time (though the paperwork indicates it normally takes 4-5 hours to fully charge, though I've charged it for a second time and the light went off to indicate charging had finished after only one hour and fifty minutes, which was an even shorter time to charge!) and after its charged for the first time, its ready for use.
I've ran the battery down by watching a DVD of shows I recorded off cable (DVD-R disks that I recorded on my Sony DVD recorder (which I've also reviewed) seem to work fine on this, which is a bonus for me) and its 'low battery' warning appeared after it had been playing for about 1 hour and 55 minutes, with the picture/screen all but dissapearing 5 minutes after, so at most it lasts 2 hours, though its perhaps safer to claim it lasts 1.5 - 2 hours, which is what the Argos catalogue claims. Some people have complained in reviews that this is too short but again it doesn't bother me too much as I intend to mainly use it on mains power and it is long enough to watch three half hour long sitcom shows or something like that, even if it isn't quite long enough to watch an entire movie.
- Picture -
I'm perfectly happy with the picture quality of this player, its perfectly watchable which is about all that matters. The screen size is also fine, being the standard size of most portable DVD players, I haven't felt any headaches come on from watching it so far and something I do like is that adjust the screen brightness and contrast through the supplied remote control.
- Audio -
I'd read that this unit had somewhat low or otherwise inadequate audio/sound levels through the speaker and possibly through earphones too but thats not my experience really. As long as the volume knob is turned up quite high its fine, its not hard to follow at all, although I suppose it might be different if you were on a very loud/busy train perhaps but I think if you had decent headphones, preferably noise cancelling ones of course, then this wouldn't be a problem, of course.
Like I've hinted to, there is a headphone port which allows you to listen to your DVDs through head or ear phones but unfortunately I found that this is a little dodgy, in that when I plugged in a set of spare earphones I had and I pushed the plug all the way into the port, I could hear background static type noise and even worse, I could only hear audio out of one ear, so I wasn't impressed with that at all! However, I've since discovered that if I plug it in only say 3/4 of the way into the socket, it somehow seems to work better, I can hear out of both ears and the background hiss/static type noise is acceptably quieter and I can sit and listen to a DVD with no real problems.
Ok its not perfect but ive tried it a few times and it works and
I've checked that the speaker isn't in use with it plugged in this way, it isn't, so I guess its not that big an issue but it shows that the build quality isn't exactly 100%, though given the type of range/brand this is and the price it carries, its hardly to be surprised, you get what you pay for I suppose and it has made me suspicious about how long this unit might last but there's nothing to say that it will suddenly break down and otherwise it works fine and it has some pretty decent features even, so, judge for yourself what you want to make of that...
- What Types of Disk Does It Play? -
It can play the following types of disks (CDs or DVDs):-
DVD, DVD-R, CD-R, CD-RW, .jpg files on CDRs.
The Argos site doesn't mention DVD-R compatibility but trust me, I tried one of my own finalised Sony DVD-R disks and it worked fine, which is great! it means any DVD I record myself of shows/films etc. on cable with my Sony DVD recorder (or really the brand of recorder shouldn't make a difference), as long as I finalise the disk it should play fine on this, giving me an even wider choice of DVDs I can bring with me to play on this.
I can't comment on the CD compatibility sorry, I haven't tried this yet but I know DVDs and DVD-R disks play absolutely fine on it and it only takes about 5-10 seconds to read and load the disks, which is pretty good. Cds with .jpg files according to the manual can be viewed on this, although it doesn't have a slide show function, you have to navigate and select each indvidual photo you want to view, so it isn't an alternative to a digital photo frame, as I'd wondered about at one stage, im afraid!
- Other Noteable Features & Benefits -
There are a few, such as that you can get subtitles to show, which is nice. Being aware this is one of the cheapest such units around (or so I believe), I don't take for granted some such features. I also like that it offers av output options on the side, so if you have the right cables, you can get it to work with a TV and use it as a secondary DVD player, thats always nice to know incase mine breaks down or something.
It can be used in a car using a car charger, although this doesn't come with the unit, so you'd have to buy one separately, though I already had one I got with another item, so check you don't already have one knocking about somewhere. You can't charge the internal battery when its used in a car but you can watch DVDs etc. if its hooked up that way I believe, I've yet to try it out though but I hear it does work, based on other reviews.
I like that on the front of the unit are basic buttons for navigating through the DVD, so if the remote control stopped working its not totally useless, you can play, pause and stop the inserted DVD and you can also fast forward and rewind and skip between chapters. Its very obvious how to use the unit and so its easy to learn to use too, as other reviews mention, im sure children would be able to use this quite easily, though I'm being careful with handling it so that I don't accidentally break it or anything, knowing how cheap it was, I will always be a bit wary of its build quality but as I say its been fine so far (minus the earphone port problem/hiccup), so I can't entirely mark it down for that.
- Style/Design/Size & Weight -
Ok so the style isn't so good but im not overly bothered really. The photo Ciao provides and the photo on the Argos site is a little misleading, indeed its advertised as silver, though when I pulled it out of the box I discovered that its really grey and not silver. It does look kind of cheap I suppose, being made of a plastic-y material/substance but hey, it works alright and the screen is fine, so really it doesn't bother me too much. I have noticed that while ive tested the battery life and watched a DVD on it while sitting on my bed, if you pull the screen too far back and place the unit down, it can fall down backwards but thats pretty obvious lol pull the screen back down lol I don't know if thats any kind of design fault, actually I more like it because you can adjust the screen angle back and forwards into a few different angles I think, which is good to know I guess, incase sunlight gets in the way, though obviously it is portable so you can move it somewhere else if thats a problem too. Again, like I say, the unit is easy to learn how to use, the buttons are quite big and obvious and so from that point of view, the design is quite good.
Its quite a portable/compact size and had it not been for the internal battery, it would be very lightweight. However, it isn't so heavy that you'd struggle to lift it by any means, its neither light as a feather or heavy as a rock really, I don't quite know how best to describe it without being able to show you it yourself. The Argos site claims its size is (H)4.5, (W)21, (D)16.5cm and its weight is 840g.
- How Much Is It? -
This is what I like most. Its under £50 at £48.91 at the moment and I used my Nectar card to get me £2.50 off that too, costing me under £47! This is subject to change of course and it may well come down in price in the coming year.
- Conclusions -
Ok it doesn't come with a car charger or earphones but most people will have at least a pair of ear (or head) phones to use with this and its hardly worth paying alot more just for those and where the car charger is concerned, the same still applies. I have a car charger I got with an gadget that stopped working and so I can use it with this but using it in a car isn't the main reason I bought it. I plan to use it when im on holidays with my family and they want to watch something else on the main TV, so I can go into my room and watch one of my own DVDs, on mains or sometimes on battery and for that use, this seems like a perfectly fine unit, as long as the earphone port keeps working the way I've learnt to use it lol.
Its hard to know if it will suddenly break down but there again, any such gadget potentially could do that... I would like to re-rate this in a years time, once ive used it a few more times and know for certain how robust it is, if it works fine and shows no basic picture/playback problems during 2009, I'll have no problems at all with increasing my star rating. At least I know I bought this in a local store, I have my receipt somewhere safe and I will keep testing it out and checking that it works regularly, if the screen shows any signs of not working properly then I'll take it back but so far its not shown any such signs and given the low amount of reviews on the Argos site indicating that the unit was bought faulty, then I like to feel that I shouldn't need to worry too much. Still, I'll be happily relieved when it comes to this time next year and its still working fine. I'm hoping that as long as I treat it well and don't shake it much or anything obvious like that, if I wrap it in bubble wrap when its in my back pack for holidays and the like, then it should keep on working well, so I'd say as long as your careful with it, hopefully it should be fine, it certainly has been thus far.
I wanted to post a review on this now all the same due to the fact that I think its worth being aware of as a real contender against the more expensive models by bigger brands, since I think from the features provided, this offers decent value for money and so far my experiences have been good. If that changes, I'll be sure to edit my review as applicable and anyway I could post this review in months time, having had no real problems (other than the earphones hiccup) and the following month it could break down, you just never know but im being optimistic here and I will edit this if im wrong in being optimistic, which I think is fair enough!
Why spend £60, £70 or even near £100 or more for such a gadget if all you want to do is to watch your own bought (or DVD-R recorded) disks when on holiday on mains or on battery for an hour or so? who doesn't have a pair of head or ear phones knocking about somewhere and if the car option is specifically for you then I'm sure you could buy a charger for a few quid somewhere, if you don't already have one. I'm lucky I have those accessories and I even have a replacement 'c' cell battery for use in the remote when the supplied one goes, so for me, I feel this is a very good solution. It means that I have more money left over for splashing out on items that I will use alot more regularly!
This might not be for everyone but I think that so far, from what I've read, seen and experienced, I am quite happy with it. The earphone port problem is a bit annoying but its hardly the be-all and end-all really. If I had any say in it, I'd rather give this a 3.5 star rating in general, for me its more good to great but for others I know it won't be perfect but I hope you can judge for yourself whether this is worth considering, personally I would recommend it though, as long as your a bit careful with it and know what accessories you'll need to get the most out of it. I did hum and haw a bit as to whether to give this a 3 star or a 4 star rating due to the fact that as much as it has some good to great features and everything, the looseness of the headphone port just does make me suspicious of more problems down the road, I guess I'll be a bit more harsh and go with a 3 star rating but like I've said, given the test of time, I'll gladly re-rate this. I hope this makes sense!.
I hope you found this review useful and thanks for any and all r/r/c's, this review is also posted on Ciao! UK, under my username there which is the same name (IzzyS).
Includes power adaptor/charger