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Lifewire / Tom Fiske
Custom sound equalization
Great screen quality
Light and portable
Plastic smudges easily
Difficult to use in a car headrest mount
An impressive screen and flexible sound options make the NAVISKAUTO 12" Portable DVD a great buy.
A device like the NAVISKAUTO 12" Portable DVD Player has to compete with tablets and smartphones, which is where most people stream their video content these days. But if you don’t want to burn all your cell data on streaming—or if you just want to your DVD collection and skip those movie rental fees—a portable DVD player is the way to go.
We got the chance to dive into our old DVD collection to test the NAVISKAUTO 12" Portable DVD Player. So, we put on a Buffy: The Vampire Slayer marathon and ran it through its paces.
The NAVISKAUTO 12" Portable DVD Player is eight inches long, ten wide, and a little under two inches tall—just the right size to carry or set in your lap. When you open the screen to 90 degrees, it’s 8.75 inches tall.
Most of the device is made of matte black plastic, but the back of the screen and some details have a shiny, wood grain design. The 1 x 1-inch speakers are installed under the screen, so they move with the screen when it swivels. The screen rotates 90 degrees counterclockwise, 180 degrees clockwise, and it flips all the way around so you can set it in a car headrest mount.
The USB, AV in, AV out, headphone jack, power switch, and power inputs are on the right side of the base. There is an IR sensor and a battery indicator in the front panel. The NAVISKAUTO DVD player is light without being too small, so it’s easy to carry securely in one hand.
Like most portable DVD players, the NAVISKAUTO’s set up is simple. Once the DVD player has been charged, we opened up the clamshell screen, put in a DVD, and hit play. That’s it.
It’s almost as easy to use the AV out ports, too. We just plugged the included AV adapter into the DVD player and then to the TV and it worked right away. While not strictly necessary, it’s a good idea to adjust the screen to get the image quality you want. The NAVISKAUTO 12" Portable DVD Player also comes with both a quick-start guide, a detailed manual, and a link to online videos for additional setup help.
The NAVISKAUTO 12" Portable DVD Player is very easy to use. The control layout is intuitive without too many options. It’s just a basic DVD player, so simple is better.
You can’t expect too much from a screen with 1024 x 600 resolution, but we were surprised when it played high-quality video, even on the default settings.
The included remote control fit well in our hand and was easy to use, but the buttons are quite loud. When we were using it in a quiet space, they were loud enough to distract people around us. The battery lasted 4.5 hours of constant play time in our tests, and it took three hours for a full charge. That is about the middle of the road for portable DVD players.
When you flip the screen over, it covers up the built-in controls and forces you to rely on the remote (so you really can’t lose it). The remote control also becomes important if you want to put the NAVISKAUTO 12" Portable DVD Player in a headrest mount. Once it’s in the mount, you can only control the DVD player by the remote. The IR sensor also points straight up when the player is in this position, which means you have to crane your arm up to use the remote. It’s annoying but not a deal breaker.
When you insert an SD card or USB drive, it pulls up an awkward menu that looks like it was designed in the early ‘90s. We ran through the gamut of files the manufacturer claims to support, and all of them worked except for MP4 files or AVI files.
While USB and SD support aren’t at the top of everyone’s list for a portable DVD player, we were disappointed that this feature didn’t work smoothly.
When we tried a JPG slideshow, it took about eight seconds for each image to load, and it was only up for four seconds. While it can technically play a photo slideshow, it doesn’t work well.
You can’t expect too much from a screen with 1024 x 600 resolution, but we were surprised when it played high-quality video, even on the default settings. The blacks were pretty dark and everything was pretty sharp. After a few small adjustments, though, it looked a lot better.
There was a little screen noise when we pushed the adjustments to the limit, but otherwise, everything looked great. The range of viewing was surprisingly good. When you turn the screen side to side, it’s visible from nearly any angle, which is a big boon if you’re on a long ride with one portable DVD player and two kids.
Frustratingly, they misspelled the screen adjustment menu, “Panel Quality,” as “Pannel Quality.” But if you can get past that, the screen is great.
The NAVISKAUTO 12" Portable DVD Player’s sound makes it stand out among a crowded field of portable DVD players.
The audio menu lets you adjust the sound balance and control 3D sound processing to customize your listening experience. In the equalizer menu, it gives you seven preset options: rock, pop, live, dance, techno, classic, and soft. Each option was surprisingly different from the others, and we had a lot of fun switching back and forth. This menu also has options for bass boost, super bass, and treble boost—this was a nice option to have, but sometimes it sounded like the bass was too much for the tiny speakers.
The audio menu lets you adjust the sound balance and control 3D sound processing to customize your listening experience.
The 3D processing menu was where we really had fun. It has seven reverb options: concert, living room, hall, bathroom, cave, arena, and church. As we scrolled through the list, it sounded like the speakers actually moved (impressive for something so small). Most of the options were just silly, though. “Cave” was just a bunch of echoing reverb, worth a few laughs before moving on. “Concert” and “living room” were a nice change for watching a movie.
For home use, the speakers are quiet. We had to keep the volume almost at the maximum to hear it over normal ambient noise. Low volume is great if you’re a parent in the front seat, but we’d like a greater volume range for watching DVDs at home.
We did have a problem with the sound when we connected The NAVISKAUTO 12" Portable DVD Player to our big TV—you can’t turn the sound on the DVD player off while it plays. We run our TV through a surround-sound system, and there was a slight delay. Listening to the two sets of speakers play out of sync was so unpleasant that we had to stop watching.
The MSRP for the NAVISKAUTO 12" Portable DVD Player is $99.99, but you can usually find it for much cheaper than that. While most low-cost portable DVD players are between $50 and $80, they also tend to have weaknesses in screen, sound, or design. If you’re looking for a better experience, the NAVISKAUTO 12" Portable DVD Player is worth the extra expense.
NAVISKAUTO 10.1” Car DVD Player: The NAVISKAUTO 10.1” Car DVD Player approaches portable DVD players differently from its 12-inch counterpart. Instead of a screen and base, this combines it all in one screen, making it much better for using in the car. This player also has some more high-tech features, including support for an HDMI input, compatibility with wireless headphones, and the ability to sync two players together to play the same content simultaneously.
Retailing for $139.99, this player is definitely more expensive. But if you need a portable DVD player exclusively for the car—and want the ability to connect additional devices like a smartphone or a Kindle tablet—then the NAVISKAUTO Car DVD Player is the sleeker and more travel-friendly option.
SUNPIN 11" Portable DVD Player: Selling for around $50, the SUNPIN 11" Portable DVD Player is about half the price of the NAVISKAUTO 12” and may be a better option if money is your biggest concern. You get what you pay for, but this one will get the job done. It will be hard to get the sound options of the NAVISKAUTO 12” at this price, though.
Before you make a decision, check out our tips for choosing a portable DVD player and the options for headrest DVD players. If you’re looking specifically for in-car video options, you might look at these options, too.
A quality DVD player that’s worth the price.
The NAVISKAUTO 12" Portable DVD Player might cost a little more than its competition, but a great screen and customizable sound make it worth the price. The DVD experience was much better than similarly-priced portable players we’ve tested, making this a good buy.