Should you opt for a separate DVD player over a laptop? We got the LG DP8821 into the office to see if the portable DVD player still has a place in our gadget bag.

This 7in TFT portable DVD from LG looks, feels and sounds good. The exterior is topped with a lined, rubberised coating, giving a safe, grippy feel to the lid. The white rubber and the contoured battery nicely complement the silver finish. In short, you can see where the money has gone.

As the power source is always bulky on portables, the detachable battery shouldn't cause any surprises, but if you are new to portable DVD, expect a bulky clip-on battery to be the general standard. On average, the battery on the DP8821 is compact. Plus, by tilting the battery 45 degrees and texturising with some white sections, the battery looks smaller and minimises protrusion from the rear of the unit. With the battery removed, the player is aesthetically square and a lot lighter. Expect 3 hours DVD from a fully charged battery, so skip the quiet bits of Lord Of The Rings and almost any film should last as long as the power.

Pull open the lid and you'll feel the hidden fastening release. No need for a slider catch on the exterior here, adding to the smooth contours. The controls are split around the disc housing. Below the screen on the inside lid and on the front of the bottom piece, to be accessible when the device is shut. We are not sure what LG are thinking here. Unfortunately, those front buttons (skip/search/play/volume) are not backlight and a new viewer would be lost in the dark, with the light from the screen failing to reach these recesses. Presumably, these buttons are designed to allow sound-only use, with the lid shut. If so, it's a shame the one speaker is set under the screen and thus muffled with the lid closed.

Sound and picture quality score highly here. The 7in TFT is at the top of the lid, with thin frames and the 2channel speakers are discretely placed underneath. There is room for adjustment in picture, via optional colour and brightness control, subtitles, multi angle feature and graphic equaliser settings all controlled via an intuitive on screen display. Searching is slick with a 1000x high speed scan. It's a pleasure to use.


Probably not much call for the photo CD playback, but on the whole we made the best of its functionality. Well designed both for purpose and in the looks department, you'll have to go a long way to top this in our book.

Price wise, it errs a little on the expensive side, but worth shelling out for a name you can trust. We've had a few budget portable DVDs through our office, but you can tell the difference 50 quid makes in sound and picture quality. Does it mean you'll want this in addition to that laptop, probably not. But for the movie watcher with one this is a thumbs-up.

This product was kindly loaned to us by