Along with Toshiba and Sony, Philips is one of the biggest players in the portable DVD market, flying the flag for removable media while all around them are turning to hard-disk devices. The Dutch company's success lies in the fact that its portable decks are consistently the most attractive and technologically advanced on the market - and its latest flagship model is no exception.
The PET1030 comes equipped with a 10.2in, 16:9 screen, which by portable DVD standards is pretty big, but Philips has built it into a remarkably slim and compact unit. It's also one of the most attractive portables around, sporting a beautiful glossy white finish on the outside and black styling on the inside, with a few sparkly silver bits thrown in for good measure.
The top half flips up laptop style and can be swivelled 180-degrees for added viewing flexibility - turn and tilt the screen right back and it turns into a tablet-style device. Another nice touch is that the speakers and buttons, which include playback and menu controls, are fitted flush into the space below the screen, which reduces the clutter factor - leaving the lower section as one big disc flap.
The PET1030's slim, lightweight profile is made possible by the inclusion of a built-in rechargeable battery as opposed to a clip-on pack, which when fully charged offers up to five hours of continuous playback - a decent amount of juice compared with rival players that tend to conk out after three hours.
In terms of connections, Philips has been extremely generous, fitting the right hand side of the unit with a USB port, an SD/MMC card slot, S-video and composite outputs (for using the PET1030 as a regular DVD player with your TV), composite video input and a coaxial digital audio output for listening to Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 soundtracks through a suitably equipped receiver.
Using either the USB or SD card slot, you can view JPEG photos, play MP3 or WMA music files and watch DivX videos on the device, but it will also read these from CDs or DVDs. The unit accepts a pleasing range of disc types, including DVD+R/+RW, DVD-R/-RW and CD-R/-RW and it also supports DivX VOD, offering the relevant DRM code in the setup menu.