The range of supported formats includes DivX, MP3, WMA and JPEG, any of which can be played from CDs and DVDs. The unit supports every DVD disc format except DVD-RAM, including dual-layer DVD-R and DVD+R discs. Other features include brightness and colour adjustments for the screen, the somewhat pointless ability to flip the picture vertically and all the usual DVD trickplay functions, including slow motion and a three-stage zoom. The unit supports Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks, and can pass them on to a compatible amplifier from the optical digital output. Battery life is somewhere in the region of three and a half hours, which isn't bad considering it allows you to watch an entire British comedy series or even Lord of the Rings in one sitting.
The supplied remote is small and packed with fiddly, similar-looking rubber buttons, which doesn't exactly make it easy to use. But the unit is responsive and the main menu is good-looking and well laid-out, allowing you to make basic changes quickly and easily.
When testing the DP271's picture prowess, we thought we'd ease it in gently with a run through of The Simpsons Movie on DVD. The first thing to jump out when watching this animated movie is the strength of the colour reproduction, with the famous yellow skin looking particularly bright and powerful. Colour tones are displayed with a vibrancy that makes the image stand out no matter the viewing environment.
The screen sports a QVGA resolution (320 x 240 pixels) which doesn't sound much on paper, but it still manages to display a decent amount of detail. This becomes more evident when you switch to live action movies like The Departed - small objects and patterns on display in Scorsese's cop thriller are reasonably well defined, such as the criss-crosses on Jack Nicholson's suit jacket or Leo DiCaprio's facial stubble.