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We use portable DVD players a lot & have found in the past that the first thing to fail is the battery life - often after a year's use - which means not being able to watch even one full film before it dies.
It was important then to get the most reliable, powerful player we could afford, so after much research I chose the DVP FX730.
Most portable DVD players have a seven inch screen. We'd have preferred an eight inch but the extra inch bumps the price up massively. The DVP FX730 has a seven inch widescreen LCD screen, and currently costs about £120 on Amazon.
We use it for playing DVDs and audio CDs, although it although it also takes MP3, Jpeg and video via the USB socket, which you select using the Input button. It also comes with cables for connecting to a TV screen or monitor.
The picture quality is really good, and the sound volume has always been fine. It has two sockets for headphones (not included) which is very useful for both children watching a movie on the train, for example. Although we use the default settings, the Options button can be used to change the picture size between 'normal' and 'full' and to change the contrast etc.
The controls for watching a film are really straightforward; there's a remote control too, although we've never used it.
Most importantly for us it has a five-hour battery life so will comfortably play two or three films. This understandably requires a charging period of four hours or so, so a bit of forward planning is needed, although it does come with an in-car charger.
We've had the DVP FX730 for nearly a year now. The shiny blue casing has gone very scuffed but the player itself is still working brilliantly and we're delighted with it.
I had been thinking about buying this as a replacement portable DVD player for a while, when I happened upon a review on Dooyoo which gave it just three stars. I was a bit put-off initially, but then when I read the review, it turned out that most of the criticisms were that this has a small screen and is only suitable for one person to watch at a time. So first things first, what is this DVD player for?
Well, this is a portable DVD player that's intended for personal use. It can be taken on holidays, it can be used in a hospital, it can be used on a train, plane or in the back of the car. It's not meant for use at home, unless you're intending on having a little something in the kitchen perhaps to keep you company while you cook. This portable DVD player has a 7" screen, so obviously it is intended for viewing up close by a solitary person, rather than shared in a group or watched from a distance. That's something to consider when buying a portable DVD player in general, as even the largest screens are still only up to around 10".
What really appealed to me about this player above the competition was that it boasted a five hour battery life. If you compare that to most other 7" screen portable DVD players in this price range, you're getting around 2hrs more battery life than the competition has to offer. If you go down a price range, to the £50 - £90 players, you'll only be getting around 2hrs battery life. That'll be fine for some, but not for others. I had a Wharfedale portable DVD player previously with a battery that died after only around 6m of use, so that was a contributing factor in hoping for a better quality battery in my new player.
The other reasons for my choosing this player were that it comes with a remote control (handy for fine tuning any menu options), the blue casing is pretty stylish (there are a few other colours available too), there is a USB port included, and of course the Sony brand name is a trusted one. So for these reasons, and the longer than average battery life, this is the player that I recently bought.
When I got my new player, I was pleased to find that it was extremely easy to use. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I only needed to charge it up for five hours, to get my five hours of battery life, so I was able to test the battery pretty soon after purchase. Sure enough, I had five hours out of this - a full film followed by several in-car cartoon DVD sessions for the grandson too. I think the battery warning symbol could do with flashing up a little sooner than it did (about two minutes before the player died!), but I definitely got a full five hours play out of this from one charge. Obviously, as with all batteries, I charged it right up and then ran it right down for the first use to maximise it's life.
The picture quality is noticeably clearer than my old Wharfedale DVD player allowed, and I can only really say that it's like watching a miniature TV screen. All the details are there, they're just scaled down to size! The sound quality is much better than my previous player had to offer, and I like that the volume covers a very reasonable range (from mute to 20). At full volume, you could easily hear the player in a noisy car without headphones. Though if you wanted to use headphones, you're spoilt with the choice of not one, but two headphone sockets! Great if you've got two kids sharing one of these in the back of a car or sitting on a train.
I'm especially pleased with how easy this is to operate. On my old player, there were certain functions that I could only access by using the remote control, as the player contained limited buttons. This player, however, is different. It has an arrow pad and a menu button actually on the player, so you can access and navigate your way around most of the functions without needing the remote at all. The buttons are all reasonably sized and effective at first click too.
The other plus points to this player are that it comes complete with a mains plug (for charging the battery or running off the mains), a set of leads for hooking the DVD player up to a large TV (good for caravan holidays!) and an in-car cigarette socket charger, which has a nice long stretchy cord on it so the player could be used in the back seats and charged in the front. You just have to tuck the wire around the passenger seat to make sure it doesn't affect the driver.
Finally, this player has managed every format I've tried so far. It will play computer downloaded media, it will load photos etc via the USB port, and it will play all manner of DVDs, CDs and VCDs too. It's basically a region-free player, whereas a lot of the cheaper players can only managed region 2 DVDs and shop-bought CDs. The only downside worth mentioning is that you can hear the disc spinning when this player is in use. But that said, it is considerably quieter than the spinning I had to listen to when using my last player! I think you'll find this with any player you buy to be honest.
This is a slightly more expensive player than a lot of the portable DVD players which have 7" screens, but it really is worth the extra money. This player is a reasonable weight and size, a very attractive colour, and obviously an excellent quality piece of technology. It's easy to use, it comes with all the accessories you need, and it'll cope with just about anything you could possibly want a portable DVD player to cope with. Five stars from me, I really recommend this and will happily buy similar products from Sony in the future if they're going to be like this!
It had never occurred to me to buy a portable DVD player. I have a laptop which will play DVDs, and on long journeys I am usually the driver, so I never felt the need for one. I came to acquire this Sony model through my work - it was bought for me by my boss as a reward for some good results - a totally unexpected gift which delighted me completely. To be fair, I love praise, so he could have bought me a box of Roses or just thrown me a Bonio with much the same effect!
The DVD player remained in its box for a couple of months, and I shoved it to the back of a cupboard with the mercenary intention of selling it on Ebay, or re-gifting come Christmas. I kept the "Well Done" card pinned to my kitchen notice-board, as to me that had been the best part of the package.
A few months ago, however, my boyfriend's laptop broke, and he bought a new one which crashed whenever you play video. I used to watch episodes of Lost and Dawsons Creek while he watched football on the telly, so this annoyed me a little, until I remembered I had this bad boy stashed away.
I dragged it out and unpacked it from its box - tons of different bits and pieces came out, which made me quite daunted, and I expected to have to get my boyfriend to set it up for me. On reading the instructions, however, I found that most of the stuff in the box was just accessories, such as headphones, and a USB connector, adaptor etc. In fact, it took me very little time to set up, and since doing so I have had no issues wth operating it - its intuitive, and doesn't seem to go wrong (touch wood)!
The design of it is surprisingly sleek - mine is a deep glossy blue and they are also available in white, pink or red (my boss is a Chelsea fan, so that would explain his choice). It is nice and compact, 20cm x 15.5cm, so roughly A5 size, and about 4cm thick. It weighs 0.84 of a kilogram, which is not much, but it feels pretty heavy in your hand because of its small size. You certainly notice it if you put it in your handbag, let's put it that way.
Unfortunately the convenience of the compact design means that the screen is measly - only 7", and 480x234dpi. This makes for a slightly uninspiring viewing experience. Its too small, really for more than one person to watch at once as you need to be quite close to it to see what's going on. The colours and sharpness are ok but nothing special, and overall I find watching DVDs on it is a far inferior experience to watching on a proper laptop.
The sound quality isn't brilliant either. Its clear and sharp, but the volume doesn't go very high. You couldn't for example, use it in the car on a motorway without employing headphones. Obviously as a driver, I would prefer not to hear the latest High School Musical blasting over my shoulder as I cruise the M6, but there is only one imput for headphones, so if you have two little darlings in the back, they'll have to squabble or split the headphones and stick their fingers in their other ears! That's if they can both sit close enough to each other to see properly without the temptation to pinch, bite and poke overcoming them.
You can use the player for photos and music as well as video, and if you connect it to a laptop it will play MP3s, MP4s, DIVX and JPEG files. It doesn's support WMV format though, and if you have a laptop, I'm not sure why you wouldn't just use that to play files rather than go through the rigmarole of sending them to a much smaller screen.
Full Spec and manuals are available from:
Overall, I can't say this is a bad product, because it is what it is, and it's reliable and easy to use. If you have a need for such a thing there is no reason not to buy this, but personally, although I use it now and again because the laptop's dodgy, I wouldn't bother spending my own money. It costs upwards of £120.