In my earlier post this week about tips for road trips with kids, I made a list of some items that we found necessary in our recent drive out to Winnipeg. Among those items was a portable DVD player.
At times during our vacation, this was a life saver for us. This was our first long road trip for our youngest daughter, and although it was the second for our oldest, she would not have remembered the other because she was also just a baby at the time. We started out right at nap time and both girls slept for about an hour in the car. Once they woke up, that was it. We were in new territory. Gone were their schedules, along with their freedom. They were strapped in to their seats and we were in for a long drive.
We received a Philips Portable DVD Player with dual 7″ widescreens to review and we took it along on our trip. The girls loved watching some shows and it definitely helped to pass the time for them, and us. We also brought along Zen Baby which was a disc that my girls enjoy and it is really relaxing. We ended up playing it when we could tell they were getting tired and it helped to put them to sleep. Then, when they were out, I simply turned off the DVD player and all was quiet in our car once again.
Since I was the passenger for most of the trip, I can tell you that working the system was easy to do from my seat. We placed the player that had the DVD spot behind the driver’s seat so I could easily reach over and turn the unit on and off and eject the DVD so I could switch discs. The play buttons on the front were a little harder to manage as they were small, but I was able to play a disc about 90% of the time without removing my seat belt to see what I had done.
The player that was attached behind my seat was harder to work. The controls were on the bottom of the screen. I was able to reach around without taking off my seat belt, but I didn’t know what knob did what so at times when I was trying to turn down the volume, I could have been darkening the screen.
I liked that both players had separate controls so if my youngest fell asleep, I was able to turn her screen off to make it more quiet on her side while my oldest was still able to enjoy her movie.
The DVD player was a little sensitive at times. Before playing a disc, we had to make sure that it was really clean with nothing on it, or the picture froze periodically. It didn’t freeze often, but it is still worth mentioning because it did happen. The picture was sharp and great quality.
My husband mentioned that he loved that they were really easy to remove from the seats. We stopped in Regina overnight and he was able to quickly undo the clasp and drop them to the floor and cover them to get them out of sight. Then the next morning, he just attached their straps and we were off.
The player played a wide range of video formats such as DVD, DVD+/-R, DVD+/-RW, (S)VCD and CD. It also plays MP3 and JPEGs. There was one option that we would have loved to have that wasn’t included and it was the ability to plug a USB in to it to play more programs. Since we were driving to our hometown for a visit, we thought it would be fun to load some of our home movies of our families on to the USB so we could play them for the girls to remind them of everyone in the family (from past visits together) and we only had them on a USB at the time we left.
Another feature I liked was the built-in memory. When we turned the car off, or just turned the DVD player off, when it was turned back on, it started up at the place where it left off.
As with anything, I recommend reading the instructions before using the product. I read some reviews where people mentioned having problems with the second screen not working. There is something in the instructions about what to do when the second screen doesn’t work, so taking the time to know the product and read the manual will save you time and frustration down the road.
We really enjoy using the Philips Portable DVD Player. At the end of our trip, I was becoming really good at managing the screens without looking. We love this player and it will be in our car for all of our future road trips. We had some amazing times without the player on, but there were times that everyone in the car was thankful that we had it.
The Philips Portable DVD Player is sold at London Drugs locations for a price of $139.99, but starting today (July 13, 2012) and for the next five days only (to July 17, 2012), it is on sale at London Drugs for $99.99. It is a good time to pick one up.
Disclosure: I received a Philips Portable DVD Player from London Drugs for free in order to facilitate this feature. The opinions expressed in this post are mine only and are in no way influenced by any outside factors.