Portable DVD Players are extremely versatile and useful electronic devices. Although mostly used when travelling, they’re great to watch your favorite DVDs and TV shows in bed, on the beach, or anywhere else your adventures take you. Portable DVD players are especially great on road trips for families with children, to keep them quiet and distracted during long drives. Likely, you already have a large collection of DVDs of your favorite shows and movies to bring along, or buying more is a very affordable option. Portable DVD players are great for watching multimedia on for several reasons. They are bigger than your iPhone or Android, more affordable than an iPad or tablet, and don’t take up precious storage on your devices. But which portable DVD player is the right one for your needs? Today we will review three of the best options available for you to decide.
Sylvania 13.3″ Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player
The Sylvania 13.3″ Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player holds the largest screen of the three we have featured. As a result, it’s also the largest unit, and also the heaviest, weighing in at 4.4 pounds. The body is thin, black and a brushed plastic design. Despite its size, it’s still an acceptable size for a portable DVD player, and is packed with great features.
Screen & Video Quality
The Sylvania Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player holds an impressive 13.3 inch screen, that swivels 180 degrees. The screen is a 1280 x 800 mexa-pixel TFT-LCD which gives video clear resolution. This makes it easy for finding the perfect angle, to rest the DVD player in just the right spot, avoid screen glare, and make sure everyone watching can see perfectly. The screen provides vivid colors during playback, and the videos look high quality. Even fast-moving scenes look great, thanks to the larger screen.
The speakers aren’t large or loud enough to shake your vehicle, but they’re definitely loud enough to ensure everyone watching can hear dialogue and music clearly. If you’re in a very loud space like an airplane, you may want to use the earbuds that Sylvania provides in the box to make sure you can hear every little detail of your show or movie.
The Sylvania Swivel Screen is capable of playing movies through DVD discs. However, it cannot recognize Blu-Ray formatted discs. This portable DVD player is also able to play music via MP3 files or CDs. MP3 files can be played through insertion of a USB or SD card with your music loaded on it into the designated slot on the device. Additionally, you can even view your favorite pictures on it, by importing your JPEG picture files onto a USB or SD card. If you don’t want to carry DVDs around with you everywhere you go, we would recommend loading up a larger USB or SD card (maybe around 32GB) with your movies and TV shows for a smaller more compact option when travelling.
The last thing you want for your portable DVD player is for the battery to die midway through a thrilling movie scene. Thankfully, Sylvania has packed a powerful rechargeable lithium ion battery into the design that should last you a long while. You should be able to get around 5 hours of use from one charge. When charging the battery, using the included AC adapter, the power position must be switch to off.
Naviskauto 9″ Portable DVD Player
The 9″ screen in the Naviskauto Portable DVD Player results in a medium-sized body, though smaller than the Sylvania. It weighs one full pound lighter than the Sylvania at 3.4 pounds. It’s definitely more compact than the Sylvania and possesses more of a rounded design. The Naviskauto also has a built-in anti-shock system to prevent skip and lag during those bumpier rides.
Screen & Video Quality
Although the Sylvania model above boasts a 180 degree swivel screen, the Naviskauto takes it up a notch, possessing a 270 degree capable swiveling screen. No matter what the perfect angle is in the environment you’re in – the car, in bed, on a plane – you can flip the screen and find it. The screen of the Naviskauto has a lower resolution than the Sylvania model, only a 800 x 480 TFT. It’s not extremely noticeable to your eyes due to the smaller screen though.
The speakers in the Naviskauto are not quite as loud as that in the Sylvania model. Although the volume maximum seems to vary between DVDs. Most vehicles should be quiet enough for you to hear the media playing just fine, but louder vehicles or loud talking may make it harder to hear. Of course, you can always use headphones with it in those scenarios to make sure you don’t miss a beat.
The Naviskauto Portable DVD Player is also incapable of playing Blu-ray discs. However, it makes up for it in the other types of media it can play for you. Aside from DVDs, it can also play CDs directly from disks, or other audio MP3 files from a USB drive or SD card. You can also fill your SD or USB drives with videos and play directly from those as well.
Although the body of the Naviskauto is significantly smaller than the Sylvania, the battery contained within it is of comparable size. As a result, it’s capable of about 4.5 hours of media playing. The battery is a rechargeable 2600 mAh lithium-ion. The DVD player comes with a wall charger for charging the battery backup when at home or, and also a vehicle adapter that plugs into the cigarette lighter to charge the battery. Unlike the Sylvania, the Naviskauto can operate while charging.
Philips PET741M/37 Portable DVD Player
The Philips PET741M/37 Portable DVD Player is the smallest of the three DVD players we reviewed today, which has its benefits and drawbacks. The screen isn’t capable of swiveling unlike the other two models, but the small size makes it ideal for those who like to pack light. The rounded and compact design makes it the most durable of the three.
Screen & Video Quality
The Philips PET741M/37 holds a modest 7” TFT LCD screen. Despite its small size, the screen makes up for it with superior quality that produces bright, well-contrasted video and pictures. One drawback to the Philips when compared to the other two models is the lack of swiveling capabilities. The lack of that feature, paired with its small size makes the Philips more suitable for personal use as opposed to larger groups.
The audio capabilities of the Philips PET741M/37 are good, considering its size. The built-in stereo speakers hold their own in mid-level noisy environments, but the sound can be drowned out in louder contexts such as older vehicles or during takeoff in planes. For these situations, you will want to plug in your favorite headphones to jam out your music or immerse yourself in the movie. Typically, forgoing a device such as this one’s speakers for headphones also has a positive effect on the battery life of the device.
Similar to the other two portable DVD players we reviewed, in addition to DVDs, the Philips PET741M/37 is also capable of playing audio using CD-RW playback. However, unlike the other two DVD players, the Philips is not compatible with the use of SD cards or USB drives for playback of video, audio or picture media. You can view JPEG files through it, although only if they have been saved on a compatible disc.
Because of its smaller size, the battery of the Philips PET741M/37 is also correspondingly smaller. This unfortunately means less battery life. You can get about 2 hours of battery life when watching a movie, about the length of one standard movie. The lithium-ion battery within the device is rechargeable however, so once the battery is drained simply plug it back in and it’ll be charged shortly after. The DVD player is supplied with a wall charger, and a vehicle adapter charger. So whether you’re at home or on the go, you can keep it fully juiced. The player does continue to play video while charging however, so we’d recommend keeping the suitable charger nearby for when the battery gets low.
Which Portable DVD Player Should I Own?
Each of the portable DVD players we reviewed have their own set of unique features, and will each be best suited to different situations. When buying a portable DVD player, consider when and where you will be using your portable DVD player the most, as well as what type of media you will typically be viewing.
If you are using the DVD player mostly on your own, perhaps the Philips PET741/37 will be best suited for you, since it has the smallest screen and cannot swivel to accommodate other viewers. Keep in mind that this device is the smallest, and the battery life reflects that. The video and audio quality is still good, but you may have to keep a charger handy at all times. This model also does not allow for SD card or USB drive compatibility so you will need physical DVDs to make the most of this device.
If the size of the screen is the most important feature for you when viewing your DVDs, then maybe the Sylvania 13.3″ Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player is the best model for you. Of course, the large screen is accompanied by the largest body of all three. The screen is the highest quality of the trio, with 1280 x 800 resolution. The battery life is quite good with it, up to approximately 5 hours, allowing you to view multiple movies without recharging. However, in order to recharge the battery of the Sylvania, the device must be switch off. The device is capable of playing media from USB drives and SD cards, making it more travel friendly as you don’t need to pack around DVDs.
The Naviskauto Portable DVD Player is a good option for those that can’t decide between the first two options. Both the screen and body of the Naviskauto are smaller than the Sylvania, yet larger than the Philips. The screen swivels similarly to the Sylvania, however as the body and battery are smaller, the battery life is not quite as impressive. However the battery still lasts longer than the Philips, and can be recharged while playing media unlike the Sylvania. Like the Sylvania, you can also play media from SD cards and USB drives.