The DVP-FX930 is incredibly easy to use. The touch-sensitive buttons on the front are satisfyingly responsive, and the onscreen menus are sensibly laid out, using a bright yellow cursor and legible text. Press the Options button, and a menu appears on the right hand side giving you two options – LCD Mode and Setup. Using the former, you can alter the contrast, hue and colour levels as well as switch between Full and Normal aspect ratio modes and dim the backlight. Select the latter and you get a basic set of options, the most noteworthy of which is the DivX Video on Demand registration code for watching content purchased online. There’s also a separate playback display which shows the Title, Chapter, audio track and running times.
The player comes with a compact remote that boasts a well thought out button arrangement. The cross of menu controls and volume buttons above it are directly under the thumb and the rest are clearly labelled and well spaced out. The only downside is that the playback keys are at the bottom, which requires extra dexterity to press them. There’s no button for selecting the line input or the USB port – to do that, you have to press the Input button which is hidden away down the side of the screen.
Onto picture quality and from the start it’s clear that the DVP-FX930 is a cut above many portable DVD players. As predicted the key is that 800 x 480 resolution, which makes ”Spider-Man 2” on DVD look crisp and detailed without any sign of the visible LCD pixel structure that hinders some rival portables. The intricate patterns on Spidey’s costume and fine textures during facial close-ups are clearly visible and give the picture pleasing depth and punchiness, while diagonal edges are crisply defined without any stepping.
Also impressive is the player’s well-judged colour balance, which prevents skin tones looking lobster-like, yet saturates colours strongly enough to give Spider-Man’s costume a deep, luxurious shade of red. There’s also some excellent shadow and shading work on display, giving darker scenes (like the climax inside the deserted warehouse) admirable clarity, while blacks look solid and motion tracking is smooth. It’s not flawless, as there’s some grain crawling around on some backgrounds and some hints of mosquito noise flittering around some moving objects, but on the whole we can’t complain – this is one of the best portable picture performances we’ve seen for a while.