Toshiba SDP74 - Toshiba SDP74

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

Many portable players often come with separate bulky battery packs, but pleasingly the SDP74’s is built-in, which helps keep the unit light and compact. The battery lasts for around three hours, which is long enough for at least two short kids’ movies.

You get a few accessories in the box, including the aforementioned AV cable, a 12V DC car power adapter and the remote. There’s no carry case and the lack of a headrest bracket means you’ll have to trust the kids not to drop it on the floor.

The credit card sized remote controller sports a white finish to match the main unit and its size naturally makes it fiddlier to use than a regular DVD player remote. That said, the prominent placement of the menu controls makes navigation an intuitive process, and although the buttons are tiny at least they’re clearly labelled. The need for a shift key to use some functions is never good.

The setup menu and other displays are expectedly basic - and the use of white text on light blue boxes is dubious - but they are easy to understand. Setup menu scrolling is slow, but there’s a decent range of stuff to adjust, including aspect ratio settings, DivX registration for VOD files and a variety of view modes that fit the displayed image to the screen in different ways.

The Picture button on the remote calls up a range of screen adjustments, including brightness, colour, screen invert, and backlight brightness, which helps you squeeze the longest possible life out of the battery. An Enhanced Audio Mode (EAM) button lets you switch the '3D' mode on and off, but it makes very little difference to the weedy sound that emerges from the speakers.

The display button provides a handy summary of the disc being played – time, chapter, selected audio track, bit-rate, and so on. There are four different search speeds, as well as four slow motion speeds (activated by holding down the search key). There’s also a three-stage zoom that lets you explore the picture more closely.

bv121

May 14, 2010, 5:12 pm

I looked at pleanty of these sorts of thing buit ended up going to Chinavaision (I'm in no way affiliated) and risking £60 on a device that would play SD/USB containing DIVX and MPEG4. Seems just as good/bad as all the rest I saw (perhaps a little lower end) but for the daughter requirement it seemed the only sensible choice.

Dan97c

May 14, 2010, 6:34 pm

I know I got slammed when I said this last time a portable-DVD player was reviewed, but I still don't get why there's a sufficient market for these to justify developing/manufacturing them?





Surely, a hand-me-down iPhone/iPod/Creative/Andriod is as cost effective and far more flexible approach for keeping the little ones occupied with their favourite movies on journeys?





I keep a rubber case on my iPhone just so it's drop proof when my 2 year old twins are watching Pepper Pig and Timmy Time. And its so versatile - we use it in the car, at the doctors, at the opticians as its easy to pack.

Premfab

May 14, 2010, 11:54 pm

7 inch screen people - don't forget that. That's 4 times bigger than the i-phone screen.





Way more formats supported.





Best of all - take a DVD out of the case and pop it in to play - try that with an i-phone!!





I love these - particularly the Tosh ones. They are sublime when travelling - waiting at airports, etc. Also, when on holiday, you can connect these to the TV and watch DVDs on a larger screen.





Not saying that these will suit everyone's lifestyle / requirement, but there is surely a demand for these.

jingyeow

May 16, 2010, 12:50 pm

@Dan - You'd be surprised how much the older generation likes technology that does one thing and does it well and without other distractions. Sometimes the more features hardware has, the harder it is to learn if you are not accustomed to technology. This is simply enough. Put your disc in and play.

Dan97c

May 17, 2010, 1:31 pm

@Prem / darkspark - good points, well made.


(ps. and I'm secretly flattered you have me down as the younger generation..!)





I definitely buy into the need for dedicated simple use particularly for the family. I guess it depends on what level of cost/value is deemed acceptable for general/kids use. eg Over the weekend, my MacBook got quite a lot of use as a DVD player with a remote to placate our over exited littlens and it worked a treat. Now, I admit this worked because the expensive piece of kit was just out reach from reaching hands, but then again I probably wouldn't let them run around with a Toshiba DVD player.





I guess I hadn't factored in the connecting it up to TV's while on holiday, as I'm currently looking at Displayport>>HDMI cables so I can do this and the cost of the cable is only slightly less than the Toshiba unit in this review..!

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