Polaroid PDU-1063

Although many others and I are able to use their laptop as a portable DVD player, I think most of us prefer to use a dedicated portable device for many reasons. So for this reason I went on a search for one of the best portable DVD players that you can get for your money and their were some key elements that I was looking for that would determine whether this device would end up on eBay or spends time with me during sleepless nights.

My search wasn’t difficult, but perhaps the most surprising part of the journey was to find that Polaroid, that we all know and love for their instant cameras in the 90’s have branched out in to other areas such as High Def televisions and portable DVD players to name a few of their product ranges.

Package Contents

One of the reasons why the Polaroid PDU-1063 came out top was because of the accessories that you get with it. Included in the box is a slim line remote, behind-the-neck headphones, car bag for wrapping on the back of the headrest, AV cable for connecting to your television, a 2.5 hour rechargeable battery, car power adapter and the AC adapter.

Design

In my search for the best DVD player, I decided to abandon anything smaller than 10-inches so the Polaroid was perfect in that respect because not only does it have a good quality 10-inch LCD screen, it also rotates 180-degrees and rotates back on to itself so you can fold it down like a tablet like device, perfect for holding in your lap. The widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio eliminates any black bars for DVD content that conforms to that standard, and for those that don’t, you can just zoom in to the picture or change the aspect ratio to best suit your needs.

With an all black exterior and silver trim the materials used to construct the PDU-1063 does hold that solid and quality feel that is durable and hard wearing. The black material has a rubbery feel to it and is probably made of plastic that is layered with liquid rubber. All of the corners on this product are rounded at the edges and has an appealing design that boasts quality and proudly wears the Polaroid badge.

The only complaint I have about the design of the whole unit is how the battery on this and most other portable DVD players that I have seen past and present always have the ‘bloomin’ battery sticking out at the back. I would much rather they designed the battery to slot in to the bottom of the unit and runs flat across the bottom.

Features and performance

A highlight of the Polaroid DVD player is the ability to slot in an SD card for viewing your pictures, that’s great if you’re on holiday and don’t want to take your notebook with you. USB is also included for this same function so you can plug in flash drives for displaying your JPEG pictures.

The DVD drive plays back both formats in the pointless format war between + and – disc types so you needn’t worry about whether your ‘copied’ DVD movies will work on this drive.

Connections on the side include the mandatory headphone jack as well as audio/video out for connecting to a television set using composite cables.

I tested the skip protection on the DVD player whilst I played season five of Curb your Enthusiasm whilst it was in Tablet mode and just shook it up and down for about 20 seconds and not once did the audio or video stop or skip at all, this is thanks to the Electronic Skip Protection system that acts as a buffer

Built in stereo speakers are mounted just below the LCD display and offer clear crisp audio reproduction however it lacks any real bass so all you get is a tinny sound, however to credit Polaroid designers at high volumes the sound does not distort at all and remains clear at all times.

The rechargeable battery is rated to run at 2.5 hours and with a couple of tests I was able to achieve 2 hours and 15 minutes and 2 hours 24 minutes.

Included in the package is also the credit card remote as described on the Polaroid site isn’t actually credit card sized at all, it’s about 1.5 times the width of a credit card when the remote is on its side and just a few millimetres thick. The grid layout of the buttons offers every control that you could possibly need for the DVD player and is somewhat confusing at first to comprehend, however it does the job using its infrared beam but lacks volume control since this is controlled manually on the side of the Polaroid using a dial.

Behind-the-neck headphones included in the package offer really good clarity considering they’re bundled and are much better than the usual in-ear types that look, feel and sound cheap. Polaroid have not decided to go down that route and bundled in some headphones that are actually quite decent offering much clearer audio quality than the built in speakers and are comfortable to wear even when I have my glasses on.

Evaluation

Polaroid has made a successful comeback in the consumer electronics arena giving some of the larger names a run for their money. The PDU-1063 is a successful proposition that offers both quality and a complete package for everything that you need whilst you’re on the go.

Innovative features like the 180-degree spin around display that folds back on itself like a Tablet notebook does is something that is rare on portable DVD players, so it’s fantastic that Polaroid have capitalised on this feature as it’s not just a gimmick to sell more or charge more it’s a feature that I have certainly appreciated whilst using it.

2007-05-24 Onwah Tsang

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