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Ostensibly a dual screen, in-car DVD player, the NEC NDP-71D is pretty standard as portable DVD players go, with a look that unfortunately doesn’t scream quality, but makes it cheap and portable.


Click to enlarge
Two minor problems hit us straight away; one is that there are too many pieces (14 listed pieces), so it’s a mess and confusing – and you have to read the instructions carefully, which doesn’t make it as user-friendly as it could be. T

he second point is that there is one game controller, but two screens – this could cause friction between kids sitting in the back both wanting to play games. We soon figured out that the one controller used the secondary screen jacks, so only one screen can play games, one or two screens can play DVDs, and there’s no two player option for the game controller.


The games themselves are old-school, with most mobile phones having better game play and graphics than the generous (but low-tech) 30 on-board games in the controller (which doesn’t get power from the device, and requires 3xAA batteries). It looks to me like they have been taken from an old Atari 2500 console and bundled together as one multi-faceted package.

 



But if your child has even seen a Gameboy or PSP then this will not hold their interest for long enough to even try all 30. The dinky keyboard tones of the soundtrack are again sub-par when compared to modern polyphonic phones. Games only of interest to history buffs, reclusive kids with Luddite parents (who would never buy this in the first place), or ones who are well under the school age and not been exposed to real video games.

The units are easily mounted on the back seat of a car. As a back set DVD player, the two-screen concept is great, the power derived from the cigarette lighter (car companies should re-think the name of that to “auxiliary power” or something else these days) and the secondary screen is slaved off the primary one. Solid straps and harness arrangements take care of holding it down and wires do abide.

On a long car trip if you can get the kids to agree to watch the same thing (only the master unit has the disc tray, the slave is a screen only), then it can hold their attention as long as the movie(s) does. So as a solution for entertainment from DVDs, it’s a great idea, looks good and works well. It also seemed to handle the few bumps in the road we encountered along the way, with no complaints about skipping coming from the back seat.

Other portable devices like the PSP, the Ipod or MP4 players do screen resolution much better, which kind of surprised us, as we expected portable DVD players to offer more. However this screen is no better and no worse than the last portable DVD player we bought for our 3 year old, and ended up using it to watch movies in bed!

Overall the younger your kids the more they will enjoy and rate this as a device, the older they get the more discerning they become in screen quality and game playing. If you strap little kids in to their car seats, strap the screens in place and push play on “the Wiggles” – then all you should have to do is drive in relative peace. 

See page over for product specifications and final rating.

 


NEC NDP-71D Portable DVD Player Specifications

Supported Disc Formats: DVD, SVCD, VCD, CD, HDCD, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD+/-R, DVD+/-RW
Supported File Formats: MPEG, MP3, WMA, JPEG, Kodak Picture CD
DVD Regional Code: 4
AV input/output: Composite x 1
Power requirement: DC 12V (power adapter bundled)
Power consumption: <8.5W (main unit)
   <4W (monitor unit)
Operating temperature: 5 degrees Celsius to 35 degrees Celsius
Operating humidity: 5% to 90% (no condensation)
Size (main unit) 210(W) x 160(D) x 41(H) mm
      (monitor unit) 210(W) x 160(D) x 28(H) mm
Weight (main unit) 690g
        (monitor unit) 380g

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NEC NDP-71D Portable DVD Player | $499   | www.nec.com.au
For: Handy, two screen DVD player keep kids amused for long back seat journeys.
Against: Children with any gaming experience will lose interest in the game console. No two player option.
Verdict: If you have young kids, or movie-friendly kids – great to distract them in the back seat.

 

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