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★★★★★

“I thought this Bush PDVD1000 portable dvd player was...”

Written on: 12/12/2003 by whistler (1 review written)

Good Points
£299 from Argos.

Plays DVDs, VCDs, MP3 CDs. Multi-aspect-ratio (widescreen, 2.35, 16:9, 4:3), digital sound output for dolby surround-sound systems.

Bad Points
Lid catches feel very 'breakable'..there's no button to open the main lid as on a laptop; you feel as though you're forcing the lid open and closed against its will.
No volume control on remote.

General Comments
I thought this Bush PDVD1000 portable dvd player was superb value for money until it literally blew up in the middle of LOTR The Two Towers extended edition! There was a flash, a crackle, a fizz, and it died before my eyes!



Argos replaced it immediately and I've (touch wood) had no problems with the replacement unit. Argos said this was 'the first time they'd had one go like that', but then they would, wouldn't they?



Picture quality on the 7" TFT screen is crystal-clear, though there is one annoyance: Clearly the housing was designed for a screen about half an inch wider than the 7" production model fitted. This means there's a blank black strip of plastic at the left hand side of the viewing area, which although a minor gripe does make the picture look "out of balance" or off-set to the right of the main housing when you're watching from a distance (unit on the coffee-table, for example).



Two screen controls are mounted directly under the 7" TFT; one for brightness, one for colour. Frankly I found that viewing angle had an affect on perceived screen brightness and I haven't had to fiddle with those knobs since.



Supplied in Region 2, the PDVD1000 is easily rendered multi-region using the remote provided.



For the price, this really can't be beat. Aside from the strange "force that baby open" catches on the lid, it's well-made and sturdy, although the battery unit is more like a mini laptop docking-station and does add a fair bit of weight when attached to the rear of the unit.



The battery does what it says: you do get 2.5 hours continuous use out of it before it conks out. The mains psu, however, does get rather warm to the touch when in use, which can be a tad alarming until you get used to it. Oh, and you can charge the battery without the DVD player being attached...not that it matters but it's a neat touch if you happen to have a spare PSU laying around that matches the battery's specs!



Another minor annoyance is the lack of a volume control on the remote - volume is instead effectively "preset" using a small recessed knob on the right-hand side of the unit. Granted the PDVD 1000 is a portable, but having the volume (or at least a mute function) on the remote would be a nice-to-have for those of us lazy goits who prefer not to have to get out of bed to turn it down when the other half whinges about the Helm's Deep battle sequence again...



Sound quality is about what you'd expect from a unit of this size, though it does have an interesting 'wide-stereo' sound and the tiddly speakers aren't as tinny as you might think. There's an AC-3 digital audio output though for those who wish to plumb it in to surround-sound digital amp, and it can also be plumbed into a TV for big-screen viewing via the supplied mini-jack to RCA cable.



There are push-button controls on the main deck of the unit next to the disk tray in case you lose the tiny remote, though 'stopping' the DVD on a menu or during the copyright blah requires that you either power the unit off or open the lid.



The disk tray lid is quite flimsy, in my opinion the handbook gives quite precise instructions on how to open (and more specifically how to close) the lid without damaging it...if you do it properly you shouldn't have a problem. You might not want to let the kids monkey with it though!



VCDs (home-made, 'professional' and others bought from eBay) played without any problems at all, and so did MP3 CDs. Personally, I wouldn't use this machine for MP3 playback since I have dedicated MP3 players, but I guess it's a nice touch - you can burn quite a collection of MP3s onto a 4.6gig DVD!



Also, the player had no trouble recognising DVD +R, -R, and -RW disks (didn't try any +RW). Mind you, I only use Ritek and Bulkpaq DVD blanks, so I can't speak for other brands.



At £299, the Bush with its 7" wide screen is cool as a cool thing and apart from my unfortunate experience (which I suspect was a dodgy power input socket on the player - I was running it off mains without battery fitted) I'm still well pleased with the purchase.



It's considerably cheaper than the Panasonic 5" I looked at first, and a heck of a lot cheaper than any other unit on the market with the same specs that I know of. If I'd had a spare 1200 notes I might've gone for the new Panasonic 9", but I didn't...so I didn't...obviously.



The laptop form-factor is a definite plus, as is the build quality; this unit definitely does not feel like a cheapy plastic toy, it's solid.



I can't give it 10's though, because it could be better (my minor gripes are valid gripes in my humble opinion). And the first unit shouldn't have blown up after only a couple of weeks' use! That said, I'm happy to give it a big 9.