Pros: Affordability. Tastefully sculpted console. Ergonomic remote control with remarkably friendly layout of function keys.
Cons: Unacceptable video display with a few DVDs I tested (but OK with most I?ve tested).
My Modest Quest:
I'd long wanted a "spare" DVD player for merely "casual", intermittent use, namely, to watch various "comedy shorts" (e.g., "The Three Stooges" or vintage-TV episodes from the 1960s) while dining. By contrast, I continue to rely on my primary, higher quality, Toshiba DVD player whenever I want to retire to the "recreation room" and my "home theater" to relish a truly state-of-the-art flick.
I also didn't want to spend much money for this "casual" DVD player. Accordingly, I was prepared to sacrifice certain "convenience" features, and, conceivably, a degree of longevity. But I still wanted reliable, satisfying performance.
The solution was to shell out a mere $33.44 (at my neighborhood Wal-Mart store) for this diminutive, attractive Apex unit. Actually, I'd originally intended to bring home a roughly comparable "Cyberhome" (logo) model; however, it turned out that this Apex model's remote (handset) features a much friendlier, easier-to-use key layout, not to mention I somewhat prefer the overall appearance of the tastefully sculpted Apex console to that of the Cyberhome.
According to the manufacturer's own site (http://www.apexdigitalinc.com), this AD 1115 model is an "entry-level" DVD player that can "play back most every format of digital media available. Besides DVD, [you can] play back your CD, MP3, CD-R, CD-RW, JPEG and Kodak picture disc".
NOTE: To view the manufacturer's page for this player, copy and paste the following URL onto your web browser's address line:
Summary of basic features:
Dolby Pro Logic
Dolby Digital/PCM Ready
Analog Audio Out
Composite Video Output
Mid Sized Chassis (Silver)
KODAK Picture CD Compatible
Programmable Playback Sequence
Zoom (2x, 4x)
Frame by Frame Advance
Multiple Language Subtitles (Captions)
Slow Motion Forward
Fast Motion Forward
Remote Control (batteries included)
1 year parts
90 days labor
90 days remote control
This unit is quite compact and should fit virtually anywhere. Its dimensions are: 14.25"(W) x 2.25"(H) x 10"(D), and its weight is 4 pounds. Its exterior has the currently fashionable "silvery" hue. On the face of the console, there's a "power on/power off" button at the far left; otherwise, there are only three buttons (at the far right): "open/close"; "play/pause"; and "stop".
The remote control (handset):
By contrast, the remote control comprises an array of 34 function keys. Thankfully (unlike some competing products' hastily designed, nondescript remotes), the layout of the keys generally makes controlling the Apex AD1115 a pleasure instead of a pain. (Moreover, this compact, stylish handset is exceedingly gratifying to the eye.)
Most strikingly, the primary "on-screen cursor-control" keys are ergonomically and logically isolated and arranged in a conspicuous, central cluster.
The "eject" ("open/close") key is at the extreme upper-right.
Analogously, the remote's "power on/power off" key resides at the extreme upper-left. Pressing this key on the remote will, indeed, cause the TV screen to go blank. However (and unfortunately), to totally shut off power (such that the DVD console's pleasingly blue, "power on" LED is no longer illuminated), you must press the DVD console's own "power on/power off" key, which (unlike the other keys on the console's face) "clicks" into a "fixed" position, either "in" or "out" (i.e., semi-permanently "on" or "off"). Personally, I'd prefer to be able to totally shut off the DVD player's power via the remote itself; but this is, arguably, a moot point, for it evidently causes no harm (other than some modest consumption of electricity) to leave the console permanently "on" (i.e., with the blue LED illuminated). Frugal as I am regarding electricity consumption, I've already gotten into the habit of switching off the console itself whenever I conclude a given DVD-viewing session. In other words, I no longer consider the remote's own "power" button to be of any great significance. Considering the dirt-cheap cost of this product, I'm of no mind to quibble unduly about this modest shortcoming.
Thankfully, there aren't too many other little surprises (compromises) to be tolerated when using this Apex "entry-level" unit. Oh, to be sure, I do miss the ability to automatically resume watching a video from the precise point where I'd left off before previously shutting off power to the DVD player. (My aforementioned, costlier Toshiba unit includes this capability.)
Otherwise, if you've operated other DVD (or VHS-tape) players, you should feel immediately reasonably comfortable with this Apex product.
The console's disc tray, when extended, feels a bit flimsy (thin and flexible); I wouldn't feel safe exerting much stress on it. On the other hand--for all I know--perhaps this very flexibility helps preserve it from breakage?
Important caveat: While my Apex AD1115 DVD player has (so far) played the majority of DVDs very acceptably for me (with fully satisfying brightness and clarity), I did notice that there was conspicuous, unacceptable, intermittent "video distortion" when I tried playing certain, exceptional media, including the recent DVD release of Star Wars III--which movie I'd borrowed from my city's public library. Thus, if you do purchase this Apex AD1115, you should certainly initially test it with various media before committing to it; and hang onto your sales receipt in case you feel compelled to obtain a hasty refund prior to upgrading to a costlier (more completely "media-tolerable") product.
The "user manual":
The 29-page manual is well-written and profusely illustrated. The folks at Apex merit kudos for this, given the low cost of this product. Moreover, they even include a fairly large, colorful, heavy-gauge-cardboard "EZ Setup Guide" that further simplifies what most users will ever really need to know about operating this friendly machine. This folding card is especially useful regarding alternative approaches for connecting TVs or monitors. You can opt to use the mere "composite" video cable (included in the product box); alternatively, you could use either an optional "S-video" cable or, better still, an optional "component-video" cable. Albeit I do use the latter for my "primary" (Toshiba) DVD player, for this Apex unit I am content to use the provided "composite" video cable.
All in all, I must say that I didn't really expect such very nice "instructions" to be enclosed with such a basic (read "CHEAP"!) DVD player. Again, kudos to the considerate folks at Apex!
For scarcely over thirty bucks, the thoughtfully and tastefully designed Apex AD1115 is a relatively--even surprisingly--multifaceted product that should admirably serve your basic needs for watching DVDs (not to mention playing audio CDs, CD-Rs, etc.). While I might not feel comfortable endorsing it as anyone's "primary" DVD player for a "home theater" setup, I can certainly endorse it as a "secondary" player. It might even satisfy some users as their "primary" player, given its commendable inclusion of "S-video" and even "component-video" jacks.
Provided that this spiffy little machine manages to work for (at least) several years before needing replacement, I will feel that it's been money very well spent!