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Review: The Toshiba SDP93S Portable DVD Player

Design, Features Make Toshiba SDP93S a Solid Device

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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Review: The Toshiba SDP93S Portable DVD Player

The Toshiba SDP93S portable DVD player.

Photo by Jason Hidalgo

The Toshiba SDP93S is a portable DVD player that's bound to surprise people. The moment you unbox it, you just have a feeling that Toshiba may be on to something with this device. Here's a closer look.

PROS

Great design: Looks may not be everything but it's the first thing you'll notice when you take the Toshiba SDP93S out of its packaging. The SDP93S' rounded edges and silver-and-white color scheme look sharp and doesn't give off the cheap vibe that you see in some portable DVD players out there. The monitor also swivels around 180 degrees for more viewing options.

Video quality: Videos on the SDP93S' 9-inch LCD screen look nice for standard definition. The larger size can make video artifacts such as grain or pixels more noticeable. But video quality looks good overall, especially compared to other players that sport lower resolutions.

Battery life: Toshiba rates battery life at five hours, which is excellent. I got about four-and-a-half hours on my first charge, but your mileage can vary based on how bright your screen is and whether you use headphones or the built-in speakers. Charging takes about four hours.

Nice feature set: The Toshiba SDP93S comes with several extra features, including the ability to play DIVX files. The player also has a slot for an SD card, which you can use for songs, JPEG-format pictures and DIVX files that aren't copy-protected. The SDP93S can play video CDs as well. Other features include a remote control, car plug adapter, and TV connector. Besides two headphone slots, the device also has a Bitstream/PSM slot so you can connect it to an amplifier.

Good anti-skip: The device withstands shaking and run-ins with potholes without movies skipping a beat. The device also remembers where you stop watching a movie even if you open the DVD tray.

CONS

Photo by Jason Hidalgo

Design quirks: As nice as the SDP93S looks, it still has a few design quirks. The connector that covers the battery slot can be easy to lose. Some DVD's are also tricky to put on the tray and require some force to get in there. You have to make sure these discs snap completely into place or the player won't be able to read them. Taking out a DVD can also be unwieldy since you basically only have a recessed spot for your thumbs. And the volume controls on the actual player can be hard to work since they need to be held down before they register.

No in-car charging: You actually have to take out the battery pack when you're using the car plug adapter because leaving it can cause it to overheat. That means no charging via the car's power port. The device also doesn't come with a car strap for mounting inside a vehicle.

No USB: USB just seems natural for a player that has capabilities such as DIVX. Alas, the SDP93S does not have a USB slot. You're limited to using the memory card or burning your files to disc.

Finicky remote: While the remote has nice range, you have to point it exactly at the player or it won't register sometimes.

DIVX issue: DIVX movies seem to have issues with jagged lines. The same movie file burned as a DVD movie for example, seems to have smoother edge detail compared to when it's played as a DIVX file. This is particularly noticeable with 2-D animated movies, especially on details (e.g. character's heads) that are zoomed out.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

The Toshiba SDP93S is a great all-around performer that should satisfy most consumers.

Sound with the built-in speakers isn't bad but also not great — just about what you'd expect with normal portable DVD speakers. The device does sound better when using either good headphones or your own portable speakers, though not quite as good as a rival player, the Sony DVP-FX930. Then again, the Toshiba also throws in DIVX, which has been taken out of the aforementioned Sony player's U.S. version.

Factoring in its sleek design, long battery life, good video quality and its overall feature set, it isn't a stretch to say that the SDP93S is one of the best portable DVD players out there.

Photo by Jason Hidalgo
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