In the growing field of portable video players that use the fifth-generation (5G) iPod as a source of video, the Philips DCP750’s appearance is both unique and striking: the outside of the clamshell-style video player is white, while the inside, including the screen housing, is black.
These two colours reflect the DCP750’s versatility. Not only can the 211 x 173 x 41mm player – about the size of a paperback – dock, charge, and display videos from 5G iPods, it can also play standard DVDs, video CDs (VCD), DivX, DVD+/-R, and MPEG4 discs. And if that’s not versatile enough for you, there’s a slot for a SD/MMC card to view photos or videos directly from your camera.
This feast of features seems appropriate for an iPod accessory that, like all iPod video viewers, is much larger than the iPod itself. The fact that it’s also a superb portable DVD player adds great value. The DCP750 more than carries its weight, so to speak.
Philips managed to pack many user-controlled features into the DCP750 while keeping the housing elegant and uncluttered. The unit needs to be charged for a few hours when first taken out of the box, but within a few minutes of unplugging it from the AC adaptor we had successfully docked a 30GB 5G iPod and were watching video on its 7in screen. The picture, both from DVDs and the iPod, is much sharper than the screen’s 480 x 234-pixel resolution would suggest – Philips touts its Zero Bright Dot technology, which eliminates bright dots on the LCD screen, as the contributing factor. We also liked the non-glossy screen surface because it provided glare-free viewing. On the other hand, the display seemed a bit muted, suggesting there could be some improvement in colour saturation, although this is a relatively minor quibble.
The DCP750 has too many features to review each in detail, but it’s worth discussing what sets it apart from other iPod video-viewing devices. After ease of use, in which it outshines other viewers we’ve tested, such as the iLuv i1055 and the Sonic Impact V55, what’s most striking about the Philips unit is that the screen swivels 180 degrees and flips down on top of the DVD player and iPod, which lets you lay the system flat. The convenience and utility of being able to easily move between tablet and clamshell configurations turns out to be a truly indispensable feature.
The unit comes with an auto power adaptor but no car mounting/attachment kit, which is unfortunate as the swivel/tablet feature would be quite useful in a car, where the player could be attached to a seatback.
The DCP750’s DVD player is well-designed, with the most important controls (play/pause, eject, menu, forward, back) conveniently placed at the top-front of the open clamshell. Lesser-used controls, such as for subtitles, are relegated to the clean and elegant remote control. This fits neatly into the system’s iPod space when an iPod is not docked – handy for travel and storage.
We’ve never had an easier time linking an external device to a TV. Philips provides a single AV cable that requires no instructions. We found the quality of the DCP750’s DVD-to-TV output comparable to that of a standard DVD player and the iPod video-output to be near-VHS quality.
The DCP750 also includes a screen brightness control, two headphone jacks, and an AV-in jack (for example, to connect a video game system). we were able to easily switch between 16:9 and 4:3 screen aspect ratios when watching videos from an iPod. The matte-black case resists smudges – important for a device designed for in-hand use and fingertip button pushing.
Of the four players we’ve tested that enable you to dock your 5G iPod and view its contents –?the others being Memorex’s iFlip 8.4, iLuv’s i1055, and Sonic Impact’s Video-55 –?the Philips DCP750 is by far the most thoughtfully designed unit. The top-loading DVD player appears to have been a primary consideration, rather than an afterthought, and it shows in the unit’s ease of use and output quality. Philips seems to have got everything spot on, including the price point.