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Best Portable DVD Players In The UK For 2018

A portable DVD player, in this day and age? Yes! Even though many of us use our phones for watching on-the-go, there are still some excellent use-cases for the best portable DVD players, especially for TV cord cutters.

For one, if you still have a large DVD collection, you still need a way to watch all those movies. And there are great bargains, with movies and TV series to be had for ONE pound sometimes – no streaming video service can beat that price. You don’t need any monthly subscriptions and contracts, or expensive one-time purchases – you get the DVD, and know exactly what you’re going to watch.

And unlike smartphones, portable DVD players have large screens – even up to 15” – which is great for watching in the car, or on holiday – and especially good for kids who might want to watch together. And while it’s true that an iPad (or similar tablet) can do the job just fine – tablets are, usually, much more expensive, and a lot more fragile. Try giving your kids in the backseat a £339 iPad… it’s scary notion.

So yes, portable DVD players are not exactly “the way of the future” (which is why most of the big-name companies have stopped making them) – but for now, they’re still an excellent tool for watching movies or shows on the go. (And as an added bonus, you can also connect them to your TV at home, so you get a DVD player without needing to buy an extra one for your living room.)

RankPortable DVDOur RatingPrice
1DBPOWER 9.5 DVD
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐CHECK PRICES
2ieGeek 11.5 (9.5) DVD⭐⭐⭐⭐CHECK PRICES
3Naviskauto Waterproof⭐⭐⭐⭐CHECK PRICES
4FUNAVO 9" Kids⭐⭐⭐⭐CHECK PRICES
5Apeman 9.5"⭐⭐⭐CHECK PRICES

Portable DVD Players collage

Buying The Best Portable DVD Player: What Do I Need To Know?

Most of the portable DVD players sold today are manufactured by Chinese companies – the big-name brands like Sony and Toshiba have all but stopped selling them. (You can look for a used one on Amazon if you really want to.) As with all Chinese technology products, it can be a hit-or-miss.

But if you check the reviews carefully, and with Amazon’s excellent customer service, you’ll be fine in most cases – and even if there’s a fault, you have someone to talk to.

All the players we recommend in this article are considered to be of high quality, with good reactions from buyers – so basically, the choice comes down to the features you’re interested in, and the price.

These are the main things to consider when deciding on a portable DVD player:

1. Size and Weight

The players come in varying sizes. You should pay attention to the total size of the player as well – even a smaller sized screen might have a bulky device around it, which will make it a daunting task to carry around.

Keep in mind that portable DVD screens usually don’t support an HD, 1080p resolution – so a bigger screen isn’t always better. You should also consider the weight, of course – no one wants to carry around a 2kg device. And the bigger the screen – the heavier the player is going to be.

Mainly, you should consider where you’re going to take the player to and who’s going to watch it – if you’re going to take it around with you everywhere you go, it might be better to get a smaller screen. If you have two kids who are going to watch it together, get a bigger screen.

Portable dvd player outside

2. Regular player or Headrest-mounted?

Portable DVD players come in two distinct form factors – the regular, two-parts one (with a screen on top and the player/controls on the bottom), and the one aimed at car headrests. The headrest one looks more like a tablet (albeit a lot thicker), and while you can definitely use it outside of a car (by holding it in your hands or putting it on a table), its main attraction is how easy it is to mount on the back of your headrest, for easy backseat watching.

Most of the regular players, however, have a swivelling screen, and you can position the two parts in a way that also fits car headrests, usually with a separate case. It won’t be as pretty, and might not fit every type of headrest – but it works.

If you’re MAINLY going to use the DVD player in your car, our recommendation would be to buy a headrest-mounted one. But if you’re going to use it in a variety of locations, AND possibly in your car occasionally – you can get one of the regular ones, with a swivelling screen.

3. Battery Life

Portable players are meant to be, well, portable. If you keep running out of juice in the middle of a movie, and need to start looking for a power outlet, they aren’t very portable.

Don’t expect too much, of course – the manufacturers try to find a balance between the device being easy-to-carry, and the battery holding up for a decent amount of time.

Five hours of use is typical of most good DVD players today, usually with a 2,500mAh battery. The good ones also come with a car charger in the box, so you can save on battery (and charge it) while on the go.

4. Video Formats

If you buy a DVD from a store, you’re not going to have a lot of issues – you slide them into the device, and they’ll play.

But if you want to use DVDs you burned at home (home movies from a camcorder, clips you took with your phone, etcc’), you need to make sure the portable player supports their video format.

The most common video formats (for DVD players) are MPEG-2/AVI/DIVX/XVID – and if you player supports these, you’ll be OK in most cases. (MPEG-4, unfortunately, is a bit sketchy on most portable players.)

Some players also support MP3 discs and regular music CDs, so you can use them to play music. And while the built-in speakers are usually pretty weak, you can connect the device to your headphones, or to an external speaker, and use it to play songs.

5. Shock Resistance

Remember, DVD players have moving parts – it’s a disc spinning around inside, with a laser beam reading from it. If you subject the player to a lot of shaking and rattling, the playing might get interrupted. Some players address this with anti-shock mechanisms, either by securing the disc better, or by using caching to read-ahead, and keep playing even if there’s a short physical interruption.

6. USB Sticks And SD Cards

Even though we’re talking about portable DVD players, they’re also – first and foremost – a portable screen, so you don’t have to limit yourself to a DVD. Some players let you connect external USB sticks, or insert an SD card, and play movies/photos/songs from those sources.

That way, instead of burning DVDs, you can use USB sticks and SD cards to transfer movies and photos from your computer, and watch them on-the-go.

Father and daughter watch portable DVD player

7. Additional Features

Some portable DVD players come with more features you might want to consider – while some of them seem a bit gimmicky, they can be useful, depending on your use-case. For example:

  • Gaming: Some players come with a simple gaming remote, and a collection of games (either on a CD or downloadable from the internet). Don’t expect any console-level gaming, or even modern smartphone-gaming, but these can give you some nostalgic fun, or give the kids something extra to do while you’re enjoying the holiday Jacuzzi.
  • TV Output: If you want to use the portable player as a “regular” player that connects to your telly, check the TV output on the device – most come with a simple AV connection and cable.
  • Remote Control: If you’re going to mount the player on the headrest, or put it on a table (and even more so if you’re connecting it to your TV), a remote control can come in handy.
  • Last Played Memory: If you stop watching a film in the middle, the next time you turn on the device, it will remember where you stopped.

What About Blu-Ray? You might wonder how to get a portable Blu-Ray player. Well… it’s near impossible these days. Perhaps because of pricing, or the fact that there wasn’t much demand, it’s very hard to find portable blu-ray players these days.

Tip: For extra portability and protection, consider getting a case/carrying bag for your portable DVD player. They’re not expensive, and come in a variety of colours and use-cases. Click to Check the selection on Amazon.

Cord Busters’ Best Portable DVD Players 2018

RankPortable DVDOur RatingPrice
1DBPOWER 9.5 DVD
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐CHECK PRICES
2ieGeek 11.5 (9.5) DVD⭐⭐⭐⭐CHECK PRICES
3Naviskauto Waterproof⭐⭐⭐⭐CHECK PRICES
4FUNAVO 9" Kids⭐⭐⭐⭐CHECK PRICES
5Apeman 9.5"⭐⭐⭐CHECK PRICES

Price

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Quality

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Overall

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Pros

  • Large screen (without being too bulky)
  • Screen swivels (into tablet-form)
  • Supports most major video formats
  • Shock Resistance

Cons

  • Light weight means it’s a bit flimsy
  • Games need to be downloaded
  • Car headset mounting requires additional case

Extra Features:

  • Screen Resolution: 800*480
  • 2500mA Battery (~5 hours)
  • USB and SD Card connections
  • AV Cable and Car Charger included
  • Remote Control included
  • Gaming Pad included
  • Last Played Memory
  • Sync two devices
  • Need a case? Get one here

Bottom Line

One of the best all-around portable DVD players you can find: It does everything you would expect, with all the important features, and a few extra ones – such as the ability to connect two devices and sync the same movie on both (so you can show two kids the same movie, for example.)

The screen resolution is not top-notch, but at this price it’s not bad. We like the fact that it’s light-weight and easy to carry (despite the 9.5″ screen), though that also means you should be careful not to toss it around too much or it’ll break.

If you’re looking for an excellent portable DVD player that does its job well – this one should be your first choice.

Price

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Quality

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Overall

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Pros

  • Screen swivels (into tablet-form)
  • Supports most major video formats
  • Gaming joystick included

Cons

  • Games need to be downloaded manually
  • A bit flimsy – don’t let kids toss it around
  • No shock resistance

Extra Features:

  • Screen Resolution: 720*480
  • 2500mA Battery (~5 hours)
  • USB and SD Card connections
  • AV Cable and Car Charger included
  • Remote Control included
  • Last Played Memory
  • Gaming joystick included

Bottom Line

A nice looking portable player (comes in three possible colours), with a decent screen and a good price. The screen can be turned around all the way, using it as a tablet, which also makes it easy to mount in your car.

Please note the issue with the screen size – while they present it as an 11.5″ player, the effective screen size is only around 9.5″ – the 11.5″ refers to the whole upper part, INCLUDING the speakers – which is a bit misleading.

It has all the basic features you would want from a portable DVD player, without too many bells and whistles, and at a good price.

 

Price

⭐⭐⭐

Quality

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Overall

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Pros

  • Waterproof (IPX6)
  • Flat-screen design (one piece)
  • Supports most major video formats
  • 7 Second shock resistance

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Needs a separate mount for a car headrest
  • No games

Extra Features:

  • Screen Resolution: 1024x600
  • 2700mA Battery (~5 hours)
  • USB and SD Card connections
  • AV Cable and Car Charger included
  • Remote Control included
  • Last Played Memory

Bottom Line

 

A flat, single-piece design that’s different than most portable DVD players (so looks more like a fat tablet), this player is also water resistant up to IPX6 – that means it can resist splashes of water and some light rain, but you CAN’T submerge it in water so be careful.

The battery is bigger than most, but operating time remains at 5 hours due to the higher resolution screen. The waterproofing and better screen come with a price, though, and this player is more expensive than most of the other players we’ve featured here.

It’s a very good player, but at this price, it mainly comes down to whether you’re willing to pay for the waterproofing and the higher resolution.

Price

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Quality

⭐⭐⭐

Overall

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Pros

  • Comes with free headphones and a carrying bag
  • Supports most major video formats
  • Swivelling screen
  • Fun colours for kids

Cons

  • Colours not suitable for everyone (aimed at kids)
  • No games
  • No shock-resistance
  • Low screen resolution

Extra Features:

  • Screen Resolution: 800x480
  • 2500 mAh Battery (~4 Hours)
  • USB and SD Card connections
  • AV Cable and Car Charger included
  • Remote Control included
  • Last Played Memory

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a portable DVD player primarily for children, this one is a great choice, with fun Blue/Pink colours and even a cute animal sticker. At 9″, it’s not too big for a child, and a decent size even for two watching together.

The matching headphones and carrying bag are not particularly high quality, but are a nice addition, and you get them bundled for the same price.

One feature we’re missing is Games – while it’s true the games on the other devices are not much to write home about, it would have been a nice feature in a device aimed specifically at kids.

 

Price

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Quality

⭐⭐⭐

Overall

⭐⭐⭐

Pros

  • SD Card and USB slots
  • Good picture quality
  • A lot of video formats

Cons

  • Short battery life (~3 hours)
  • No shock-resistance
  • Ongoing quality – hit or miss for some

Extra Features:

  • Screen Resolution: 800*480
  • USB and SD Card connections
  • Power Cable and Car Charger included
  • Remote Control included
  • Last Played Memory

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a basic portable DVD player, that does the job well without a lot of extra features – this is a cheap, solid choice.

Picture quality is good, the player supports all the common video formats, and you can play videos and photos from USB sticks or an SD card. The built-in speaker isn’t very loud, but would be adequate in most environments.

Don’t expect any special features, though – there’s no shock resistance (so watching on a bump road might prove tricky), and battery life is a bit disappointing at around 3 hours.

Writer and news editor based in London, I cut the TV cord back in 2014 and never looked back. I watch A LOT of TV, and thankfully I can choose whatever I want to watch without depending on archaic channels.

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