“ Manufacturer: Disney / Type: Portable DVD Player „
We had a bargain with this DVD player, a friend of Marks's mum won it in a competition and sold it to us for £40 - I was aware at the time that this official Disney Princess Portable DVD player was retailing at £89 as I'd spotted it recently while searching for birthday presents for Alice.
We've had it for three years and in that time I've seen it available in several different designs, the one Alice has is a rose pink shade and shaped like a Princess crown. The flip lid has baby blue detailing which has stayed sharp despite some rough transportation and plenty of use, it's survived two house moves without a single chip or scratch to the pink outer casing. The pink theme continues when you open the lid, with a Princess silhouette on the DVD drive and a floral heart design surrounding the screen. Gorgeously girly, maybe not such a good choice for (then) nine year old Alice but perfect when little sister Hollie got to around three years old.
It's so simple to use that Hollie took to it pretty much straight away, using the console is the easiest way for a young child to learn to control the DVD player. The remote is tiny, ours was literally lost for years and only turned up recently - it's a very basic remote control and not particularly responsive unless you're standing two feet away and dead in front of the sensor! We don't bother with it; the buttons on the console are clearly marked and do exactly what you expect them to. From quite early on (4 - 5 months of low use) the combined 'pause' and 'play' button felt wobbly, but this didn't get any worse even though it's always felt like it's on the verge of falling off!
The picture quality was excellent until the player died three weeks ago, eventually it was the picture aspect of the gadget that failed as it developed severe fuzziness that couldn't be fixed. I've no idea what the problem is and to be honest my own competition wins and gifts mean we have such a glut or portable DVD players that I can let this one go, gorgeous design or not! Before this fatal issue I was always impressed by the sharp, clear pictures on the small 7" screen. The colours were always bright and natural, I noticed 'darker' films were too dark - not that Hollie watches horrors, Mark and I borrowed it for a weekend away (a very cheap hotel without a TV!) and ended up switching The Grudge off because we couldn't hardly see what was going on! For the more cheerful Lady & the Tramp, Barbie films and Peppa DVDs it's great though.
The player turns up to a decent level, and down to a level that won't irritate everyone else in the room. This is more important than it sounds in my house as Alice and Hollie share a room, the DVD player Alice is using at the moment doesn't turn down enough so she can't use it at night and it disturbs Hollie, this Princess one can be turned down to whisper level. There's an easily accessible socket for headphones, Alice tells me she also plugged a set of PC speakers into it and used it as a CD player when her iPod dock was in for repair. This makes it versatile, Hollie has used it on so many car journeys that it became a holiday essential - but it also gets it's use in the house when Hollie (or Alice) fancy watching something while they're lounging on the bed or sitting at the table.
It plays absolutely everything you throw at it; DVDs, JPG slideshows, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DivX, CD, CD-R, CD-RW - and more probably. Even the dodgiest of dodgy copy plays on it, the most impressive being a DVD Alice borrowed at a film - the disc held twenty full length films and none of our other DVD players would play it, this Princess disc loaded it with no issues at all and actually everything else we put in it. For the price, even at full price, it was amazingly versatile, Mark has a portable DVD that cost a stupid £250 and that doesn't play half of the disc types that this Princess player does.
The only problem for me is the disc-holding mechanism, it feels really cheap and although this doesn't spoil the workings of the DVD player it feels too flimsy for such a smart looking/working player. Once you've closed the disc lid most discs will start automatically though occasionally you will have to press 'play' to get things going, there's no way of telling whether it's going to start on its own or not - this isn't an issue really, although Hollie gets frustrated sometimes when she's settled back witting for Peppa Pig to start only to realise a few minutes later that she needs to physically press play for that particular disc!
The DVD player works through the mains, and while it's plugged in it will also charge the in-built battery. I've noticed that if you're watching a DVD while it's plugged in the battery takes a hell of a lot longer to charge, but if just plugged in the battery will be fully charged within around an hour. A full charge will give you roughly 2 - 3 hours of playing time, this hasn't changed whether the DVD player was one week or three years old so I'd say it's a high quality battery as often the deteriorate quite rapidly over time.
Although the kids aren't particularly bothered (remember the DVD player glut), I was quite sad to see this go. For the price it wasn't worth getting fixed, but the pretty and uber girly design was something that really appealed to me and watching the kids over the past couple of weeks with their bog standard grey players is a bit depressing after seeing them holding this vibrant pink one. Oh well, birthdays are coming up so I may just have a look to see what funky designs 2012 can offer.