Outstanding quality and features, gorgeous HD images, rich sound, convenient swivel/flip screen, and long battery life. Comes w/ample accessories to fit all your viewing needs. 12-month warranty; responsive customer support.
Pricey. A few minor tech issues reported.
A mid-priced model w/standard features: remote, various ports, and a swivel/flip design. Headrest mount is durable and easy to set up.
Confusing instructions. Customer support has received some criticisms.
It's got both video inputs and outputs, so you can connect it to your TV or play any of your own digital content. The 9.5" screen is gorgeous, and it's also designed to reduce eye strain.
It's got games on board, but you need to buy the controller separately. It can struggle to play scratched DVDs, and some users complain that the speakers aren't loud enough.
Stable build and crisp image quality in a mid-priced model. Swivel/flip screen. Straightforward to use.
Not headrest mountable. Skimpy on accessories. Sound could be stronger and volume could be louder.
When it comes to enjoying movies and TV shows, streaming video and Blu-rays get a lot of the glory, but if you travel a lot, or you’re often in places without WiFi, there’s a better option: a portable DVD player.
Portable DVD players are designed to be one-stop shops for watching movies: they have built-in screens that can swivel in any direction for the best viewing angles, and onboard controls for pausing or skipping around. They also take portability seriously – most models have a built-in battery that can last anywhere from four to six hours, which can make all the difference on a long trip.
If you’re getting ready for a vacation with your kids, or you’re a frequent traveler looking for your best entertainment options, you’re in the right place. Here’s everything you need to know about portable DVD players, as well as a few of our favorites.
Before you start comparing features and specifications, start by answering these questions. They’ll help you narrow your search from the get-go.
Portable DVD player screens range anywhere from 6 to 15 inches, so there are a lot of options. Just remember that the bigger the screen, the heavier the player. If you don’t want to carry around a lot of extra weight, you might want to opt for a smaller model. Thankfully, screen size doesn’t have a big impact on price in this instance, so you can find the right size no matter what your budget is.
Portable DVD players can also work with audio CDs, so if you ever want to take a break from video and listen to music, it’s easy.
If you’re thinking of buying a portable DVD player specifically for use in the car, there are a lot of good options. Players made for car trips often include special mounts for attaching the screen to your car’s headrest, as well as car power adapters so you never have to worry about running out of battery.
Some portable DVD players are made with sharing in mind, so they include multiple headphone jacks and, in some cases, multiple screens. They’re a little pricier, but if you’ve got multiple kids (who are still learning how to share), the money’s worth it.
Sometimes bigger is better
This NAVISKAUTO portable DVD player is one of the biggest kids on the block – with its vibrant 14-inch screen, it’s bigger than a lot of laptops. That’s a good thing. The giant display makes movies look fantastic, and the included 4,000 mAh battery lasts for hours longer than other models. If you want the best and the brightest, look no further.
Portable DVD players are all good at playing movies, but some models go above and beyond. Here are the additional features that can turn any normal player into an entertainment center.
If you’ve got your own digital movie collection, get a portable DVD player that’s got a USB port so you can watch them along with your DVDs. While you won’t be able to play any copy-protected content, you can use your portable DVD player to watch your personal videos (and most will play MP3 files, too, if you just need a music player).
Some portable DVD players include games, so you can take a break from your movies and enjoy a little interactivity. In most cases, only one controller is provided, so if you’ve got multiple players, they’ll need to take turns.
Most DVD players in the United States are designed to only play “Region A” discs, so if you’ve got movies from other countries, you’ll need a DVD player that ignores region restrictions.
Most remote controls are pretty confusing, but they’re useful for controlling the player when kids are misbehaving. Teach your kids how to use the portable DVD player’s onboard controls and keep the remote control handy for when you need to force them to turn it off.
Inexpensive: In the $30 to $50 range, you’ll find entry-level DVD players, but we recommend avoiding them. Portable DVD players in this price range are often poorly made, and they lack extra features like a remote control or USB-drive compatibility.
Mid-range: The best values in portable DVD players are between $50 and $70. Models in this price range offer dazzling screens, easy-to-use menus, and handy extras like multiple headphone ports. If you just need a basic DVD player that will last several years, you don’t need to spend more than this.
Expensive: Portable DVD players that cost between $70 and $130 pull out all the stops. If you’re willing to spend this much, you can find one that’s got USB ports, built-in games, and even multiple screens. If you need a portable DVD player that can keep you entertained for hours with all kinds of media, plan on spending closer to a hundred bucks.
Be careful when checking product pages for portable DVD players. They often include both the size of the player and the screen size, and it’s easy to confuse the two. The larger measurement is always the DVD player, and the smaller one is the screen. Read carefully and make sure you’re getting the one you really want!
The Swiss Army knife of DVD players
The ieGeek DVD player does everything you need it to, and then some. It’s a solid device that comes in multiple colors, it’s got a USB port for playing video files, and it comes with more than 180 games on board. The 9.5-inch screen strikes the perfect balance between size and portability, and at this price point, it’s one of the best values available.
If you need a portable DVD player with multiple screens, we recommend the NAVISKAUTO Dual Screen Portable DVD Player . It has two separate 10.1-inch screens, each with its own headrest mount, so both of your backseat passengers get their own, and it’s even got a USB port so you can bring your own content on a flash drive. It’s so entertaining that it might just be the best antidote for the dreaded, “Are we there yet?” One of our favorite big-screen models is the Pyle Portable DVD Player. If you’re into big screens, this is the one to get. Its 15-inch screen is among the biggest available, and it rotates a full 270°. It’s also got plenty of extras, like USB support, a car charger, and a pair of speakers that do a good job of providing quality stereo audio.
Q. Why do different portable DVD players have different screen resolutions?
A. Portable DVD player screens come in different screen resolutions, but the difference isn’t as important as you might expect. All DVD content has a resolution of 720 x 480, which is low by modern standards, so any DVD player you buy should be able to show off every pixel. Some players have screens with higher resolutions, which can be useful if you have personal video files. If you have a lot of personal high-resolution content, you might want to check out models with higher resolutions (like 1366 x 768), but otherwise, any model you pick will display your DVDs just fine.
Q. Some DVD players come with video games installed. What are those games like?
A. Built-in games on portable DVD players are closer to mobile games than they are console games, so expect games more along the lines of Tetris than Call of Duty. While you probably won’t go for marathon gaming sessions with your portable DVD player, you can find unique games that are good enough to keep you or your kids entertained for a half hour at a time.
Q. If I want to put movies on a USB drive for my portable DVD player, what format should my files be in?
A. Format support will vary between models, but in general, MP4 is the most widely accepted video format. If you have digital movies in other formats that aren’t copy protected, you can find software on the web (like HandBrake) to convert them to MP4 or whatever format your portable DVD player requires.
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