Product Type: Argos DVD players
Newest Review: ... 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 h... more
Not bad if you already have the accessories
Argos Value PVS3377 Portable
Member Name: IzzyS
Argos Value PVS3377 Portable
Date: 30/12/08, updated on 30/12/08 (835 review reads)
Advantages: The remote has a good range of options, plays DVD-Rs, av output, the price!
Disadvantages: Not all accessories included, headphone port loose, battery not replaceable, needs the test of time
- 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).
Summary: Good value 7 inch portable DVD player
|Ease of use:|
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