Pros:affordable, capable, well-designed portable DVD player
Cons:a few mostly minor issues
The Bottom Line: Portable DVD players are great for watching movies on the go. At less than $100 for a well-built, well-designed player like the Sony DVP-FX750, it's hard to go wrong!
Family travel is a great opportunity for togetherness and sharing fun times --- it can also be a source of infinite irritation when parents forget to plan ahead for on-the-road entertainment. Getting there might be half the fun, but eight hours in a car, bus or airplane seat isn't much fun for anyone --- particularly the smaller, more restless members of the family. That's where the Sony DVP-FX750 portable DVD player can be a life saver!
Recommend this product?
This is the third portable DVD system I've had, and it's by far my favorite. The things I like about it are:
* Affordable price: (I paid under $100 for this DVD player when it was on sale at Target).
* Sold everywhere: The DVP-FX750 is a widely available model: I got mine at Target but I've seen it advertised at Sears, Best Buy and other stores too. It should be easy to find.
* Very lightweight (less than 2 pounds --- so it's as easy to carry as a 1 litre bottle of water).
* Well-built: it's got a rugged textured outercase built of solidly heavy plastic that has even managed to endure the touch of a 6-year old boy! (Wow! That *IS* tough!)
* Good quality picture --- I don't see any dropped pixels or screen artifacts when I watch a movie on this player. The 7-inch screen is small, no doubt about it, but it's fine for watching with the unit on your lap or in front of you on a table. Besides, nowadays people like straining their eyes with insufficiently teeny screens on iPhones and similar small mobile devices. The 7-inch screen on this DVD player is obviously far better than those.
* Good fault tolerance --- Real families should care a lot about how sensitive a DVD player is to smudges and scratches. My kids do not wash their hands every two minutes, nor do they carefully put DVDs back in their case when finished watching a movie, nor do they handle DVDs only by the edges and center. Needless to say, fingerprints, scratches and odd little bits of curious grossness are found on almost every DVD in the house. One of our DVD players at home refuses to play at least half our DVD collection, it's so sensitive to clean surfaces. Fortunately, the Sony DVP-FX750 is forgiving of fingerprints and small surface imperfections --- it will play most of the DVDs my kids put into it. Very seldom does it skip while we're moving --- unless I hit a really BIG pothole...
* 3-hour battery life means you can watch just about any movie all the way through without having to plug in for a recharge --- great for picnics, camping, etc. For road trips, the battery life is a non-factor since there's also a standard DC adapter plug as well as AC adapter plugs to charge it up when you're home or in a hotel.
* Excellent human factors design --- controls are large, intuitive, and EVERY basic function is included ON THE UNIT (not just on a silly remote control). The controls are very clearly labeled and I like the faux rounded dial of the directional arrows which helps position the buttons appropriately. You would expect a company like Sony to do better than most electronics manufacturers when it comes to human factors engineering, and the controls on this particular DVD player do indeed reflect better than average usability.
* Two headphone jacks --- this is great for those rare road trip moments when BOTH kids will actually agree on a single movie to watch. They can plug in the headphones and watch even an obnoxious movie like Alvin and the Chipmunks without Dad busting an artery (not to mention the DVD player...)
The things I think could be better are mostly minor (or insignificant) complaints:
* Battery life, while adequate, would be better if it were even longer (for plane trips, 3 hours won't really get you through a coast-to-coast or international flight). 3 hours is okay, but 6-8 is what I think would be optimal.
* There's still a remote. Even though Sony does FAR better than most portable DVD player manufacturers, the fact is that a portable DVD player is PRIMARILY used on your lap, NOT connected to a TV set for viewing (though it can obviously be used that way in a pinch). For various human factors engineering reasons, I am solidly opposed to ANY portable device having ANY feature accessible only via a remote control. Remote's are stupid for portable electronics. You are free to differ in opinion, but if you do, you should richly understand that you have no future as a human factors engineer. None. Period. End of discussion. Bye-bye.
* Playback is NTSC region 1 --- it is NOT multi-regional. That sucks for people who travel internationally because DVDs you might buy in other parts of the world won't work. Multi-region playback should be standard on ALL DVD-capable electronics, in my opinion. I certainly don't like being constrained to watching only what media companies choose to market in the U.S.
Other than the highlights I've mentioned above, the Sony DVP-FX750 has some other features that make it a great value (especially for the family traveler). These include:
* the ability to play audio CDs (including those you burned yourself)
* the ability to play MP3 format
* the ability to play DVDs you burned yourself (DVD+R, DVD+RW, DL), note though that this doesn't include MP4 or AVI, so it's not as great a selling point as it could be.
* control lock feature, just in case you don't want the little guys playing with the controls (doesn't work if you've got smart kids over the age of 5 who figure out for themselves where the lock switch is)
* you can buy it in your choice of classic black or tastelessly ugly colors like bright blue, pink or red
* DVD player
* AC power adapter
* DC power adapter
* remote control
* video cables (not HDMI --- the old style cables with the yellow, white, and red plugs)
* user guide
I love taking my kids with me whenever I travel. The only think I don't always like is combating the boredom that can come with long drives or plane trips. A portable DVD player is a great choice. It keeps the kids entertained on the road. I might never find world peace in my lifetime, but at least I travel better knowing I can find peace in my backseat! The Sony DVP-FX750 helps...
Until next time, see you on the road!
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