Recommending that a portable DVD player should be used as part of a permanent home cinema set-up may seem odd, but with this many features packed into this model it really is possible.
The 9in screen is the most obvious weapon against competitor models, although it is edging towards a laptop in both size and price. Still, there's far too much on board to compare the two, with this Shinco's star features including progressive scan, an optical audio output and playback of almost any discs.
Some regular DVD players don't have all that. The 7in SDP-1731A, a model which had composite output and playback of Region1 DVDs, got rave reviews. Aside from adding region-free playback and progressive scan, the main difference here - except for an extra two inches of widescreen TFT LCD - is DiVX capability, a feature unique to this model.
For the uninitiated, DiVX (strictly speaking an MP4 file) is to video what MP3 is to music. It squeezes an entire film onto a CD-R: all you need is a broadband internet connection to download from the internet and a CD burner. This is the first portable DVD player in the UK to include support for variants DiVX4 and DiVX5.
Slipping a CD-R containing a DiVX movie into this unit reveals, after a quick reading, a simple Windows-like file menu. Simply select the file - all DiVX files end with .avi - and the film plays in whatever quality the original download was in. This unit is even certified by DivX Networks (www.divx.com).
Don't blame this Shinco if it is bad quality, because its playback of manufactured discs shows that this is a top performer. With combination of a 720 x 576 pixels LCD screen with 370:1 contrast, multi-aspect ratios (4:3, 4:3 letterbox and 16:9) and progressive scan, the pictures are far more detailed and smoother than should be expected on a portable.
Yes, this is an enviable model in terms of performance, and could quite happily be part of an existing home cinema set-up.
Which is possible via its impressive array of sockets including an S-video output, an optical audio output, component video progressive scan output and a composite video output. The speakers are actually of decent standard, but as with all portables, it's better to use headphones to get the best out of Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks - this Shinco is more about picture quality.
The battery pack is slightly unwieldy and does cause the player to lean forward unnecessarily, although the easily adjustable screen makes up for this.
Regular users of portable DVD players will no doubt be waiting to read if the anti-shock system actually works. For the most part it does, but sadly we can't report that it's foolproof - there were some over-sensitive reactions to slight movements during our test which meant starting all over again.
Which is a shame, because apart from that one niggle, this model really ups the ante in the world of portable DVD players and we have no hesitation in totally recommending it.