- Review Price: £289.00
DVD has been the most successful consumer electronics product in history. Even the big corporations behind it were amazed at how quickly and how whole heartedly the general public accepted these shiny movie discs.
Now that a DVD player is pretty much a prerequisite in a modern home, consumer electronics companies are having to find new ways of getting the public to buy into the already saturated DVD market. One of those new angles is the portable DVD player.
Portable DVD players have been around for a while, and if you’ve spent any time in an international airport over the past few years you will have seen them stacked up in shop windows, in a desperate bid to lure the impulse buyer who’s already contemplating a long boring flight. However, all the previously available portable players, or at least all the ones I’ve seen, have been clamshell designs.
The clamshell design is a logical form factor for a portable DVD player. Just like a notebook computer, you open the lid to reveal the screen, place on a table in front of you and watch your favourite movie. But what about when you don’t have a table in front of you, or any surface on which to place the player? It’s at this point that the clamshell design becomes a little cumbersome.
This is a situation that Next Base is well aware of and it’s the basis for the design of the Walking Cinema portable DVD player. The Walking Cinema is a tablet shape unit so it’s easy to hold while you’re watching, and it’s light enough not to become uncomfortable after prolonged use. But before I delve too deep into the usability, lets take a look at the specification of this mobile cinema.
Dominating the front of the unit is the 7in widescreen TFT display. Now, 7in may not sound very big, but for personal use, this is pretty much perfect, and the 16:9 aspect ratio means that you can make the most of your collection of anamorphic DVDs. The quality of the screen is very good and although the viewing angle is quite narrow, that’s not really an issue for a personal display system like this. I quite happily watched several movies on the Walking Cinema, and soon found myself forgetting that the screen is only 7in. Even though the response time of the screen is only 30ms, it didn’t suffer from any noticeable smear effects.
If you’re worried that the screen will get scratched because it’s not protected as with clamshell players, fear not. In the box you’ll find a sturdy sleeve with a screen protector sewn into it.
Below the screen is a row of control buttons. From left to right there’s a play/pause button that doubles up as the On button. Next to this is the stop button which also doubles as the Off button. Next along are the chapter skip backward and forward buttons, while the mode button cycles through the adjustments including screen aspect ratio, brightness and contrast. Adjacent to the mode button are + and – buttons which control the selected mode adjustment. The eject button is set slightly apart from the rest and is round and grey instead of oblong and silver.