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In our house we own several portable DVD players, at one time they were given away daily in online competitions and at last count we had seven between us. This one was the very first portable DVD player we had, bought from the (now defunct) Kwik Save roughly eight years ago it cost somewhere around the £50 mark.
This was quite a good price at the time, the DVD player was bundled with a reasonable amount of accessories and seemed the height of technology! Originally purchased to keep (then) seven year old Charlotte entertained during a long car journey, I'm surprised that it's still going strong actually even all these years later. Well, when I say 'going strong' I mean it's still working - it's never been the most reliable or best quality DVD player but back in 2004 I had nothing to make a comparison with, since owning other portable DVD players however I can honestly say it's rubbish!
The picture quality has always been appalling; fuzzy horizontal lines would spoil the picture regularly, and the edges of the 7" screen were so thickly black that trying to view anything at an angle was impossible. Over time this got worse to the ridiculous point of the screen darkening so that the watcher couldn't really see much of what was happening - this started off as some shadowy areas, but quickly affected the entire screen. Despite it's age, the player hadn't been used much (probably the equivalent of watching a DVD every two weeks) so I'd assume it's either an age related issue or just a poor quality screen, rather than being caused by over-use.
Sound is equally bad. It's been fuzzy and buzzy from day one, the large(ish) built in speakers not seemingly able to transmit sound as clearly as you'd think. There are exceptions to this, we've noticed the various Barbie films all have relatively decent sound but mostly it's tinny and disappointing. Actually I can't believe how amazingly ace we thought this was when we first bought it! A good example of the lack of sound quality was when we watched Alice in Wonderland on it last year, the part where Johnny Depp did his wacky dance was just a jumble of thuds and roars with hardly any resemblance to the normally brilliant Fuderwhacking music!
Using the DVD player is very, very easy - definitely the most simple of the many portable machines we have in our house. The functions are so basic and straightforward that you really can't go wrong - all the buttons on the remote are replicated on the console of the DVD player, which makes it easy when you eventually lose the credit card sized remote control! The buttons are all very responsive and once you've pressed for whichever function you want it'll start pretty much instantly - this isn't true of the 'forward' button though which only seems to work when it feels like it, and that isn't actually very often! The disc mechanism doesn't have an 'open lid' button, instead you need to use the tip of your finger to open it - this instantly makes the machine feel dated and cheap to me and the constant flicking open and pushing closed has made the hinges loose and therefore the lid itself has gone floppy.
The battery lasts for roughly three hours on a full charge, which is slightly more impressive than the more modern DVD players we use at the moment. A full charge takes just over an hour and if you watch a DVD on it at the same time as charging this doesn't really affect the time it takes, again surprising as another portable DVD player that Charlotte is using at the moment just stops charging completely until you stop watching. There are lights on the DVD player to indicate when it's charging and when the battery is full, this is useful as overcharging these players can damage the battery.
Despite the fact that this DVD player is advertised as lightweight, I think it's very heavy. Too heavy for four year old Hollie to hold on her lap in the car, the fact that the underside gets extremely hot is another obstacle to this. It's also quite a bulky machine, the battery pack fits flush to the edge of the player but the overall thickness and bulk means it's not particularly suitable or easy for children to handle. This is a shame as the good battery life would otherwise make it ideal for entertainment on a journey.
I've also been impressed by the number of different discs that can be played on this portable DVD player; aside from the usual original DVD and CD discs, it copes with any copied disc you can throw at it as well as having a function where you can plug in an MP3 player and play your music through it. Not that you'd probably want to listen to your favourite tunes through these appalling tinny speakers, but it is possible! This DVD player is Region 2 only, which means only discs designed to be played in the UK and Europe will work. This would be a problem if you regularly watch films from the US (for example), although you'd probably check for region capabilities before purchasing it anyway if this is the case.
Now, this particular Daewoo DVD player isn't widely available these days - checking on Ebay you can pick up a 'barely used' machine for around £15 including postage. To be honest, the poor picture and sound make this a very poor buy and I can't recommend it at all - I know I've spoken highly regarding certain aspects of the DVD player, but watching and listening to your DVDs has got to be the main consideration when buying any DVD player and unfortunately it fails miserably in this very important respect.