Six years ago my brother decided he was going to get a portable DVD player so he could watch movies whilst travelling on business. Although very impressive at the time (you have to remember that DVD players were only just being released at this point), the unit set him back a hefty £1200. The 7in Shinco DVD player we've tested costs just £200.
The size of a two DVD boxes, the 7in version (there is a 5in version, which is even smaller) is small and compact. A battery that promises 3hours of battery life connects to the back and is enough to slog your way through most Oscar-winning epics, though we'd take the mains adapter for Lord of The Rings. Failing the reliance on battery power the unit not only comes with the AC adapter (mainly for recharging the battery) but also a car charger to boot, something you wouldn't expect to be included for this price.
The player is multi-region, allowing you to play any DVD disc from around the world, as well as also supporting a number of disc formats including DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD+RW, CD, CD-R, CD-RW, MP3, JPEG and Kodak Picture CD. However we did experience trouble with a couple of discs where the player simply refused to load up.
We have to admit we were slightly dubious as to how this player would perform, and it turns out we had nothing to worry about. Picture quality is very good and on our test movies (Gladiator, Mars Attacks and Finding Nemo) colours were reproduced well especially the blues of the sea in Finding Nemo and the sepias in Gladiator. Likewise the TFT screen coped with masses of CGI action of the screen at any one time.
Sound is supplied via a small set of speakers under the screen on the unit although don't hold your breath regarding their performance. We would recommend the use of the headphone jack and a good pair of speakers, or going the full hog and connecting the audio to a hi-fi or portable range of speakers. Cables come in the box to allow you to do such a thing and additionally if you want to turn this into your DVD player you can via the video out socket.
For what the Shinco DVD player offers we are truly shocked by the price (it would still be cheap at twice the price). Rather than requiring that you buy all the extras; charger, car charger, remote control, additional cables, all of these come in the box.
So what's the catch then I hear you ask? The case does feel slightly plasticky, like a cheap portable CD player and it's made by a company that you'll have only heard of in hardcore home cinema magazines. Then again if it works and works well who cares about the lack of a big logo of a familiar brand standing out at you. Ultimately, this is a great little device that offers far more than it should. Why can't all gadgets be like this?
This product was kindly loaned to us by firebox.com