Philips PET940 portable DVD player

Still watch DVDs? Haven't gone completely download only? Then good, as Philips is hoping its latest portable DVD player will offer you the chance to watch your favourite movies on the go, but does it? We get watching to find out.

The Philips PET940 sports a faux leatherette casing, a 9-inch screen and 3 hours of battery life off a single charge. The rather large player - it's bigger than your average netbook - sports a number of connections down the side, which gives you the chance to push the content to a bigger screen via Composite, share a movie with a friend via the dual headphone sockets and you can even play content through the USB slot.

Open the player up and the 9-inch screen takes most of the real estate on the top while the DVD drive door and control buttons take up the bottom half. The controls are all very straight-forward - no surprises - so you get the usual playback functions as well as a d-pad to navigate around the basic menus. There is an included remote for the really lazy amongst you.

The PET940 supports DVD, MP3, JPEG and DIVX playback meaning you've got virtually all your formats covered and load times for DVD are quick and the screen good enough to watch movies on the go.

Beyond DVD you can opt to play music, view photos and play movies via that USB socket and accessing the files is very basic and not very graphical. The PET940 displays everything in a standard file tree format with file names being shown. This is incredibly annoying if you've got plenty of files that haven't been named properly and when you access an image you have to wait while each one loads up. On a movie front DivX file playback is a good addition and using the solid state drive you've attached means you will get a little bit longer on the battery life front.

Audio support is via a 250mW RMS built-in speaker if you aren't opting for headphones and as is typical with these portable options, the quality is adequate rather than fantastic, with headphones delivering the better experience.

Verdict

Clamshell portable DVD players are so old hat and the Philips PET940 is clearly that. It's not the technology: on the whole the player is easy to use and promises you the chance to watch you movies on the go. However, at £170 you have to question why you would want a device that is so linear.

If you are really into watching your movies on DivX, chances are you are going to have a laptop with a bigger screen already or be better off investing in a netbook for a couple of quid more. With the rise of the netbook, prices of which aren’t that much more than Philips is touting here, you'll get plenty more usability (like a computer) for your money.

Ok, so a netbook doesn't have a DVD player you're going to say, but there are ways around that such as buying a £5 external drive from eBay or merely moving to a download model for your movie watching habits on the go.

The final verdict? The Philips PET940 works, but for someone as tech savy as yourself, there are better ways to spend your cash if you want to watch movies on the go.