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Lifewire / Tom Fiske
Solid image quality
Can easily copy music from CDs
Light and portable
Too big for close viewing
Long recharge time
Short battery life
The DR. J Professional 14.1" Portable DVD Player has decent image quality, but that doesn’t make up for poor battery life and a high price tag.
While many people rely on their tablets or smartphones for video, portable DVD players like the DR. J Professional 14.1" Portable DVD Player are still a great way to watch your favorite movies at home or on the go. You can put that DVD collection to good use, stay entertained on your next road trip without using all your phone data, and not be reliant on cell service or Wi-Fi to watch whenever you want.
We watched hours of DVDs (in this case, a Star Wars marathon) at home and on the go to see how the DR. J Professional 14.1" Portable DVD Player performed. Here’s what we found.
The DR. J Professional 14.1” portable DVD player is among the larger models available. It’s 14.75 inches wide, 9.87 inches deep, and 1.75 inches tall. When you open the screen up to 90 degrees, the top of the screen is 11.25 inches tall.
The back of the screen is crosshatched black plastic with a large “DR. J Professional” logo. Open it up, and the player is a combination of different black plastics: shiny, matte, and something like wood grain. Underneath, there are five rubbery feet that keep it from sliding around on hard surfaces. On our tester model, the back center foot was larger than the others, so the DVD player rocked back and forth whenever we touched it. Very annoying.
The controls and auxiliary inputs are on the right side, tucked under a plastic ledge. The screen is 14.1 inches and twists 180 degrees clockwise, 90 degrees counterclockwise, and flips backward, too. It also looked good when we twisted it horizontally, so it’s easy for more than one person to watch.
The 1.5 x 1.5-inch speakers are installed in the back of the base of the player.
Set up is simple, for the most part. Just open the DR. J Professional, turn it on, and put in a DVD. It works the same for all the other inputs: USB, SD/MMC memory card, and aux in/aux out. Easy enough.
It’s a good idea to adjust the screen, though. The default screen settings are really bright and make everything looked washed out. While the controls are a little cumbersome, the screen is easy to adjust. But there is one problem—the setup menu has two screen adjustment menus: “Quality” and “Panel Quality.” Only the “Panel Quality” menu actually does anything. It’s annoying, and also indicative of the quality of this device.
Also, when the screen is flipped it covers the control panel, so you have to use the remote. Then the IR sensor faces away from you, so you have to crane your arm to get the remote to work.
The DR. J Professional does a great job playing DVDs. The controls are intuitive, except for one thing—it has two directional control pads, one for sound on the left and one for navigating the video on the right. When you’re using a menu, the right pad navigates and the left pad is the “OK” button, so you can’t work the menus with just one hand. It’s a little clunky but not a big problem.
The manufacturer claims a seven-hour battery life, but our tests showed only 4.5 hours of play time.
The problems with the battery are a big deal, though. The manual claims that it has a seven-hour battery life, but our tests showed only 4.5 hours of play time. We were so surprised that we tested it twice with the same results. The battery took six hours to charge, so The DR. J professional’s charge time is longer than its play time (ouch). With a charge time this long, you need to plan ahead to take it on the road.
We inserted a USB drive to test how well it plays digital files. The menu looks like it came out of an early version of Windows, but it’s usable. The menu showed duplicate files for each of the video files we played.
We tested each of the files the manufacturer claims to support, and not all of them worked. We couldn’t get MP4 or AVI files to play, and the RMVB file didn’t even appear on the menu. When we did get video, sound, or image files to work, the DR. J Professional performed well. When we tried a JPEG slideshow, each file took just under seven seconds to load but displayed the file for only four seconds. It makes this device basically useless for a picture slideshow, but people don’t usually buy portable DVD players to show off their photos anyways.
The image quality for the DR. J Professional was surprisingly good given its low screen resolution of 720 x 576. It’s certainly not HD, but it still looked good. After we adjusted the screen settings, it had decent contrast, brightness, and color. The image quality was generally good, but there were some strange lines that appeared whenever the video contrasted bright and dark color—it was especially noticeable when there was a light or a candle onscreen. Fortunately, it became barely noticeable after a while.
The image quality for the DR. J Professional was surprisingly good given its low screen resolution of 720 x 576.
The aux out port worked really well with our TV, with better-than-expected image quality on a big TV. Even better, the DR. J has a LED on/off button so the screen can go dark while we you’re watching the TV (and you don’t have to deal with an annoying doubled screen).
We felt that the screen was a little too large for watching it on your lap, but that comes down to personal preference.
The DR. J Professional has middle-of-the-road sound quality. It’s a bit tinny, but you don’t expect amazing sound with two 1.5 x 1.5-inch speakers. Unfortunately, there isn’t an option to change the sound balance to increase the bass, and it’s disappointing that they neglected to use a simple feature that would have really improved our experience.
Most other portable DVD players install the speakers in the same direction as the screen, but the DR. J Professional has them in the base, so they’re pointing upwards. That becomes a real problem when you flip the screen because it actually blocks the speakers and muffles the sound. Also, if you want to use a headrest holder, this is not the portable DVD player for you.
The sound doesn’t get very loud, which is great if the kids are watching a movie in the back seat. But when we watched it at home, we had to turn it up all the way to be able to hear over normal household noise.
You can by the DR. J Professional portable DVD player for between $80 and $100, which is a lot of money for what you get. While the image looks good and sound is okay, there are a lot of DVD players with the same features at a lower price. Two major flaws made the price seem even higher: a wobbly base and poor battery performance.
NAVISKAUTO 12" Portable DVD Player: The Naviskauto 12” Portable DVD Player is one of the better low-cost portable DVD players we’ve tested. The size is the right balance between portability and screen size. Image quality is great, too, but sound equalization makes it stand out the most. While the DR. J has only the default sound, the Naviskauto has fully adjustable sound. You can usually find the NAVISKAUTO for less than the DR. J professional, making this one a better option.
DR. J 11.5" Portable DVD Player: The DR. J 11.5” Portable DVD Player solves a number of design problems compared to the DR. J Professional 14.1” player. It simplifies the control panel, has speakers in the screen panel for better sound, and the price is lower (it sells for around $50). If you want the image quality of a DR. J DVD player, this one would be a much better option. We also didn’t like how big the 14.1” player is, so this would be a better option for watching on your lap.
Too expensive for what you get.
The DR. J Professional 14.1” Portable DVD Player screen quality is solid, especially given its measured resolution, but the battery issues far outweigh image quality. We can’t believe that it takes hours longer to charge the battery than it plays. There are so many less expensive portable DVD players without these design flaws.