But there are tell-tale signs of the low resolution, such as the clearly visible pixel structure that makes the image seem slightly gauzy with edges that look jagged, plus there's some severe banding on large areas of colour where the tone goes from light to dark. However, the player does handle the movie's colours well, as the appropriately peachy skin tones demonstrate, and black areas of the screen are reasonably dense with some shadow detail visible within them. And we're also pleased to report that the DP271 keeps video noise at bay, rounding off a generally pleasing picture performance.
The unit handles DivX files stored on DVD and CD with ease, not once stuttering or suffering from lip sync issues. On the audio side, the unit's built-in speakers produce a typically weedy sound, so you're better off listening through some good quality headphones. If you do, you'll be treated to a crisp and surprisingly bass-heavy sound that's dynamic enough to cut through the drone of a car engine or rattling train. CD, MP3 and WMA playback also sounds superb, and when piped to a proper sound system via the digital audio output you'd barely notice that you were listening to a portable deck.
It might lack the glitz and glamour of an iPod Touch or an Archos hard-disk player, but as portable DVD decks go the DP271 is a great example. Yes, there are problems with its picture quality, resulting mainly from the QVGA screen, but apart from that picture quality, colour and noise suppression is generally solid. It also offers some useful extras like a USB port and DivX playback, which will no doubt come in useful if you've got a big library of compressed movies that you want to watch on the move. What's more the alluring design and flexible swivel screen give it a desirability that will make you proud to pull it out on the train, all of which makes this one of the best-value portable DVD decks around.