Made from plastic, the look is sophisticated and the overall feeling is one of quality. It opens like a notebook, so can be rested on a table. Alternatively, you can twist the panel around and fold it down, which makes it easier to mount on the back of a car seat for the kids to watch.
Controls are mounted conveniently along the bottom of the screen, so are easy to access in whichever mode you to choose to use. There is also a switch for switching mode from DVD to USB memory key, which is a nice touch.
Weighing 1.3kg, this machine is heavier than most other portable DVD players and is even heavier than mini-notebooks like the Asus Eee PC, so you have to wonder why you'd want to carry a machine this heavy with you.
The answer is battery life. Sony quotes an average of 6 hours but in truth we managed to get a little over 5 hours, which is still better than you'll get from other players on the market.
The 8-inch screen has a typical resolution of 800 x 480 pixels but it is the quality of the display that really impresses. The colours are bright and rich and movies really come to life. The one downside was the reflectiveness of the display, so images looked washed out and rather poor when viewed outside.
We were impressed it could instantly recognise the right aspect ratio for the files being played, something that is not always the case. A wide range of files are supported but we found we had to burn DivX files to disc before they could be read.
The Sony DVP-FX850 Portable DVD player isn't without its flaws but it works well, the battery life is more than acceptable and the screen impressive.