Anyone traveling with small children knows how important keeping them occupied is. The more distracted the child, the quicker the trip seems to take, whether it's by car, plane or train. With that in mind, I knew that we needed to purchase a portable DVD player for a trip we were planning from CA to CO. Luckily we were flying, but we knew we'd need that DVD player nonetheless!
I purchased a Digital Labs 7" Portable DVD Player from Kohl's in their Black Friday sale, it was $80 with a $30 mail in rebate, so it was a net cost of $50. I think it was a great deal as the DVD player included built in speakers, earbuds, rechargeable battery, a car charger, a wall charger, remote, carrying case (there's even room to slip in a DVD into the carrying case) and some cables that you can use to hook this player up to a regular TV.
Before we were scheduled to depart, we charged up the battery and we were set! Somehow my husband and son were lucky enough to get the first seats on the plane, so there were no chairs in front of them - the "seat back pockets" were actually on the wall in front of them. Initially I was worried that the DVD player wouldn't work well as we were planning on putting it on the tray table, and with these seats, the tray is the kind that comes out from the arm and is very small. Hubby came up with a better solution and set up the DVD player so that it was flat and slid it right into the "seat back pocket" that was on the wall in front of them! So now my son didn't even have a chance of knocking it off the tray and onto the ground. What a great deal!
The included earbuds were a bit big for my 2 year old, but that was to be expected, he did well with them anyway and they only had to be put back in his ears a couple of times. The picture was nice and clear, just like at home. The fact that it's only 7" isn't that big of a deal once you get used to it. Opening the unit is easy, it's just a slide release on the top front of the unit. A push button opens the place to put the DVD, and you manually push the cover to close. The power button is on the front of the unit, slide to the right to turn on. Buttons on the unit include: Title, Menu, Setup, Display, rewind, fast forward and enter. This will let you navigate through all menu's and screens. There are also three buttons on the very front of the unit - pause, stop and play/enter, very convenient location for these commands.
The negatives on this unit include the volume level - even at it's maximum it isn't very loud. That was a problem in the airplane, and I'd assume it would also pose a problem in the car, the road noise (or air noise) can be very loud, and the volume from this unit isn't enough to overcome that enough. There is also an "aaahhhhh" kind of noise that I'm assuming comes from the DVD stopping and starting. It occurs when you start the DVD, when it switches menu's, when you push the fast forward button, and when you stop the DVD. It's not terribly bothersome, just more of a slight annoyance.
For the price, I feel that this is a pretty good deal. The unit is lightweight, provides a good picture, and the battery life (package says 2.5 hours, we recharged before that so I'm not sure how accurate that is) allows for at least one movie to be played without having to recharge. I really like that you get all the different chargers with this unit, and the play through the TV feature could be useful too, especially if you're traveling and don't want to pay a lot to rent a movie at a hotel.