It’s nearly impossible to find a new desktop computer or laptop that has a built-in DVD player. Thanks to the inevitable rise of streaming video on sites like Netflix and Hulu, the idea of buying or renting a physical DVD disk and plopping it into some kind of antiquated drive seems out of the question—if you can even find a drive for your computer to begin with. But what about all of those DVDs you purchased before streaming services became popular? And what about those movies and TV show collections that still aren’t available online due to pesky copyright laws and hesitant movie studios?
If you’re one of the millions of people who still has a trove of DVDs that you just can’t part with, you may be interested in one of the many great portable DVD players that are now available for astonishingly low prices. Whether you’re looking to relive some of your classic films in the comfort of your own home, or you’re prepping for a road trip in which you need to supply the kids with much-needed entertainment, these portable DVD players are a far more practical and inexpensive alternative to purchasing an external DVD drive for your computer.
In the constantly-evolving world of tech, some companies have managed to find their footing and stay there. As a manufacturer of some of the best portable entertainment centers in the world, APEMAN is one such company. This 9.5 inch portable DVD player packs an incredible amount of power into a surprisingly affordable package, and features a five-hour, 3000mAh rechargeable battery life that’s more than capable of powering the longer leg of a serious road trip.
This unit’s swivel screen is capable of rotating 270 degrees for easy visibility, and it’s also perfectly shock resistant—meaning you won’t have to worry about your video cutting out when you hit some bumps on the road. The display resolution on this player is also unique in that it offers a realistic image while still managing to eliminate glare, which can come in handy on the road when your position relative to the sun is constantly changing.
You have a wide range of input and output options—including an AV in, SD card, USB, DVD, and SVCD—and two 5.9-foot power adapters allow you to take this device anywhere your DVD-loving heart wants to go. This player also features a breakpoint memory function that lets you pick up exactly where you left off when you pop in a recently-played DVD—meaning you won’t have to waste precious viewing time pressing fast-forward and rewind in order to find your entry point.
- Fantastic port selection
- Good price
- Image quality could be better
Claiming our runner-up spot is this stupendously sleek DBPOWER 11.5 inch player. Although it’s a bit more expensive than the APEMAN unit above, this player more than makes up for its price differential with a notably sharper screen. The only reason why this player didn’t boot the APEMAN from our leading position is that we doubt most users will notice this difference with DVDs that weren’t released in perhaps the past eight years—since most of the technology needed to produce the content that inhabits these discs is relatively recent.
Still, if you’re more of a recent DVD collector who cares more about image quality than cost, we highly recommend this player, which features a battery life of four hours and can be easily powered by your car charger or AC adapter. You’ll be able to play CDs, DVDs, CD-Rs, SVCDs and more, and this player even supports 32GB USB and SD cards for select material (although it’s not compatible with blu-ray).
Much like the APEMAN unit, this player comes with a swivel display that makes it easy for the entire back seat to enjoy entertainment on the road, and an AV output allows it to be connected to a TV if you wanted to enjoy your favorite movies on a larger screen. Available in a variety of colors including black, blue, and red, this player also includes a breakpoint memory function, so you’ll always begin where you left off with any disc.
- Supports SD cards
- Larger screen
- More expensive
- Smaller battery
With a screen that’s the same size as the DBPOWER player above (and a similar price tag to boot), at first glance it seems as though there’s little difference to be found between this player and our runner-up selection. But upon closer inspection, this player offers slightly better resolution and features a lighter enclosure. The reason why this player was bumped to our third spot despite these features is because it lacks the battery life that’s generally required of a truly road-ready and portable device.
With a rechargeable battery that lasts for only three hours, this player isn’t ideal for longer road trips. If, however, you value quality over battery life and perhaps are looking more for an external DVD player that’s going to spend most of its time in the house, this may in fact be the device for you. It supports all the go-to formats including MPEG2, and its screen boasts an impressive rotation of 270 degrees with a flip span of 180 degrees—making it one of the more flexible portable DVD players on our list.
This unit also comes with a USB port and SD card reader for added functionality, and of course comes with that all-important breakpoint memory function as well. TENKER is also known for its unparalleled customer service, so on the off chance something goes wrong you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that you’re in good hands.
- Huge screen
- 720p display
- Some may not like the size
- Weak battery life
As with most tech gadgets, you can almost always find a piece of gear that has it all in terms of functionality and quality—the only question is if you’re willing to dish out the cash. This NaviSkauto portable DVD player is one such perfect device. Sporting a massive, 7-hour battery life and a pristine swivel display that brings even dated movies to life in brilliant color, this display is one of the best there is. But it will cost you significantly more than the other players on our list. But if you have the cash on hand, look no further for the ultimate portable DVD player. In addition to boasting an unparalleled battery life for a player this size, this device features a 15.6-inch screen along with 270-degree rotation that allows you to watch your movie from any angle.
This player also leads the pack when it comes to sound—thanks to loud dual speakers that deliver surprisingly robust bass and clear treble (which is critically important when it comes to movie dialogue). You’ll be able to connect this device to your TV or other large screen if you’re using this more as an external DVD drive, and your order comes with a very helpful remote control that can be used to manipulate virtually every aspect of the player from afar.
- Great sound
- Huge display
- Very expensive
Bringing things back down to a more reasonable price point, we find the Spacekey Portable DVD Player, which features a battery life of up to four hours on a single charge along with a 270-degree swivel screen. Although very similar in both form and function to several of the other players on our list, this device seems just a tad more durable than most—thanks to a rigid enclosure that can survive more than its fair share of bumps and drops (a major plus if you plan on handing it over to small kids for long-term entertainment). We were also impressed with the volume of the unit, which seemed to be noticeably louder and more pronounced than that of similar devices in the same price range.
The only reason why we ranked this player lower down on our list is that it seems to lack a truly pristine screen resolution. But if you’re concerned more with durability and less with perfect recreations of color and imagery, we would highly recommend giving this player a try.
- Speedy loading
- Lower screen resolution
- Might not be as good of a buy as other listings
Rounding out our list is this extremely compact and capable DVD player, which boasts a 1024 x 600 resolution along with a high capacity rechargeable lithium battery. The sound is rich and clear, and you’ll be able to plug it directly into your wall or car via the included wall and cigarette lighter cables. The player is also supremely easy to use (another plus for potential buyers with kids in mind), and both the power indicator and remote sensor are wisely placed on the front of the unit for easy access and use. You have the option to listen to your movie via headphones, and if you’re craving a larger screen you always have the option to connect to your TV through a variety of ports.
The only reason this player didn’t rank higher on our list is because it costs about $20 more than similar players that can do most of the same things. In fact at this point, it’s really about style and personal preference—not distinct differences in functionality.
- Good resolution
- Easy to use
- Somewhat expensive
- Bulky design