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The name sounds familiar, right? Well if you shop in Tesco or have bought any Technika products then that's why it sounds familiar; Tesco sells Technika brand products, some of which are TVs, DVD and Blu-ray players and digital radios. They probably sell a lot more but off the top of my head these are the items I can think of. I've noticed that the Technika brand updates their products in line with what's popular but that they tend to follow a Tesco pricing strategy; selling cheap, but not stocking high or providing sub-standard items.
When buying Technika products from Tesco it is Tesco who will deal with any issues with the Technika products, through their customer helpline.
With all this in mind I have to say that I've never had a problem with Technika products and have certainly never had any issues with this product. I remember when portable DVD players came onto the market, starting at around £200 for the most expensive, high quality and going down to £89 for the cheapest and cheerful. I couldn't tell you what this cost new as it was given to me by my brother :).
These days I use it if we're going on a trip somewhere for hours on end and stock up on DVDs for my son to keep him from getting too cranky on public transport. I've had a portable DVD player before that played like a dream but the volume always seemed low on it. With this DVD player volume isn't an issue at all, it goes up full pelt and even at the maximum volume is loud enough that you wouldn't want to have it at this level if you're on your own. The machine itself comes with a black, glossy finish that works better than my previous WHITE DVD player (I ask you, who thought of that one?!) as these things tend to be handled an awful lot so black is the ideal finish to have. The player also has the basic play, fast forward, stop and rewind buttons on it and comes with a small remote that will probably be very easy to lose ;).
There aren't many 'features' to this player - it does what it says on the tin. It plays DVDs and CDs, keeps children entertained and keeps adults enthralled, too ;). It is definitely on the smaller end of the portable DVD player line, but this isn't really noticeable when you're close to the screen and as this is designed for portable use then you're probably not going to be too far away from the screen so I can't see it being much of an issue. Picture quality is decent - clear, crisp and everything you'd expect.
The battery life is decent on this, at around 5 hours or so when fully charged, and is a good travel companion. I wouldn't say this is a 'must have' item as most tablets and smart phones have the capabilities to now play full length movies so DVD players are being made a little redundant by these devices...however if you don't own a tablet or smart phone then hey, why not have a portable DVD player. After all they're far cheaper than a tablet or smart phone! I don't find myself using this item an awful lot these days as we do tend to use our tablet when we're traveling but it's nice to have it around, fully charged, if we did need it as a back up either when traveling or stuck indoors. Overall I'd give this item 5/5 because although it's not an essential item it does perform very well and has lasted me years.
Fortunately, the evenings are getting lighter and the threat of power cuts becoming less frequent. However, there were times in the past, during a mid-evening loss of electricity when too early to retire for the day and too little light to read; I wished I had a portable DVD player to while away the darkness watching a film, view my photos or to listen to my CDs.
Of course, it would be a waste of money to buy such a gadget just for entertainment in the event of a power failure. To justify its purchase there has to be other reasons for having a portable DVD player.
It could however, save a major spat when children want to enjoy their favourite DVD for the umpteenth time, or mum prefers to watch a film whilst dad watches footie on the telly- as long as not all three situations occur at the same time. I believe it might also be useful to keep a child occupied on long journeys by car, bus or train.
The main reason I got this model was for its, size, portability and duel personality, by the last feature, I mean that it will play DVDs and CDs, so I can watch a film or listen to music, wherever and whenever I wished - indoors, outside, or even in bed.
It has on the odd occasion, when my nephew visited with his little family, been very handy in entertaining my great-niece with cartoon DVDs and preventing boredom setting in, as can happen when toddlers visit relatives and the general conversation eventually turns from child to adult.
What was in the box and cost?
The player is made exclusively for Tesco, by Technika and now priced at £49.97. Apparently Technika is part of the Tesco empire.
Inside the box was a very useful, sturdy, moulded cardboard tray in which was housed the DVD player, a set of earphones, a mains adaptor and a wafer thin remote control. Also included was a comprehensive, well-illustrated 28-page user guide. The cardboard tray, I found handy to store the player, together with the adaptor and remote, when not in use.
The whole unit weighs in at a meagre 0.725kg, is 20cm long, 16.2 wide with a depth of 4.1cm - when closed.
Power consumption is 10Watts.
The Li Polymer internal, rechargeable battery once fully charged will power the player for around 2-hours.
When fully charged, the indicator light will change from red to yellow. When the battery is running low a warning appears on screen and the unit will shut down shortly afterwards.
Interestingly, a note in the User Guide states that, "The battery has no Memory Effect and can be recharged safely whether it is fully or partially discharged."
It can also run on the mains, using the mains adaptor, which doubles up as the battery charger. Incidentally, the battery will only charge when the DVD player is not in use, so there is no danger of overcharging the battery.
According to the user guide, the player is set to play Region 2 and region (0) discs and accepts formats DVD, DVD+R, DVD+RW, CD-DA,CD-R, CD-RW, and picture CD.
However, improperly formatted discs or discs that are not finalised or DVD discs with Region codes other than Region 2 and zero are not acceptable.
For anyone interested - the explanation of regional codes is as follows. Most Discs come marked with a region coding and is playable on players designed for that region. A universal coded disc can play on all players whatever their region.
Region 1 is Canada and USA. Region 2 is Europe Japan, the Middle East, and South Africa. There are six regions altogether the 6th being China. So, if Uncle Sam sends his DVD from Chicago, it will not be playable on the Technika here, unless it has a universal or zero coding.
It would seem that a glossy-black finish is the "in-colour" for technical devices at present. True to 21st century tradition, the Technika Portable DVD has that glossy-black sheen, which wears finger marks like a well-worn coat and proudly highlights dust particles landing on its surface.
Set under, and on each side of the 7-inch LCD screen, set in the lid section of the player, are the in-built stereo-speakers.
The DVD/CD disc compartment is on the left side of the table. Next to this are the manual controls; an unusual figure of eight shaped control, four areas on this control are designated for Set up, Menu, Play/pause and Stop.
Under this is the more familiar shaped, circular navigation control, with the OK button in the centre.
Above the figure of eight control is a small LCD Panel shut-off switch, to shut down the screen to conserve battery life when listening to CDs or when the player is connected to the television to view DVDs on the larger TV screen rather than the titchy 7-inch player screen.
The Technika portable player can be connected to the television, using an interconnect lead with a "three pole jack" on one end and three RCA phono plugs - white, red and yellow - on the other - though not supplied, any household with camcorders will already have an interconnect lead to connect camcorder directly to the TV.
Useful, maybe, if you visit Uncle Sam in Chicago and want to show him your DVD of photos, or great-grandmama who, refusing to be shoe-horned into the 21st century, has no DVD player.
The socket for the mains adaptor is at the rear edge of the player platform, whilst on the right edge of the platform the sockets for the interconnect lead, and the headphone. Between these two sockets is the volume control wheel, and at the rear of the right side is the on/off switch.
At the very front edge is the battery charge indicator light.
The remote control has all the necessary keys to control every function of the player; each function very clearly marked on the appropriate push-button key. I find this very useful because more often than not, I forget what the symbols on some remotes stand for - is it a pause, stop, mute, repeat button etc...but because these are labelled I don't have to keep referring to the manual to remind myself.
The basic features of the Technika, as with the more expensive portable and non-portable DVD players, are the same in that the tracks can be changed whilst the disc is still playing, or paused. It can be fast forwarded and fast forward/playback or fast reverse/playback. The picture size can be increased or reduced in size. Where there is a choice, subtitles can be selected if watching a film of a different language or the appropriate language can be selected - the default for the Technika is English.
When playing audio CDs, the same features exist for the Technika as do for most simple CD players.
However, JPG CDs can also be played on this player, using the same controls to select one of fifteen transition effects. Some examples of a transition effects are as follows. The slide will go from left of the screen to the right or from top to bottom. Alternatively, you can choose the slides to go from the left top to the right bottom of the screen.
When connected up to the Television, parental control settings can be selected by highlighting "Parental," in the menu and entering the given password - an easy to remember 4 figure number or one of your own choosing, which will have to be keyed in before use. The default, for the Technika is Adult.
Interestingly, according to the manual, "A DVD disc may contain 9 angles of view." In order to change the "camera" angle, just press the "Angle" key on the remote repeatedly to select a suitable angle.
My experience and impression
When I first saw the size of the screen, I must admit to being a bit sceptical about the quality of the experience of watching a film on such a small area, having been so used to viewing DVDs on a larger TV screen.
However, I charged the internal battery for the recommended 5 hours then loaded a DVD. Not wanting to use earphones, I was delighted to find that, without turning the control to maximum, the speakers gave a good quality of sound and volume. I half expected the sound to be a bit tinny.
After a moment or two, I hardly noticed the screen size, the picture quality was excellent and volume to my liking. I later tried with earphones and found these also gave a good quality of sound. The battery lasted for the duration of each film, which in most cases lasted 1.5 to 2 hrs. I always recharged the player afterwards and again before viewing another film, especially if it had not been used for several weeks, since the battery slowly discharges even when not in use.
When viewing, I found it best to sit with the screen about 20-inches away, but of course, the distance may differ between individuals.
I have played a few audio CDs and found the quality of sound perfectly adequate, though obviously not quite to the same high standard as a good stereo CD player with larger speakers, but perhaps more on a par with MP3 players.
I was amused to read in the user guide that the player was suitable for use when travelling, then in the instructions advised against using it whilst travelling since sudden changes in speed could cause the disc to jump, I guess what it means is that it can be taken anywhere and is independent of other appliances, but if there is a chance that the journey is a bumpy one, I would not risk using it in the car.
Another interesting piece of information perhaps, is that normally one can find a website of the manufacturer, but when I tried to find any information about the Technika "company," all roads ended at Tesco. The country where the player is manufactured appears to be the UK, but I am left wondering who actually makes this player - exclusively for Tesco. Is Technika another extension of Tesco?