NU CineTrek WDR041
- Very well suited for in car DVD playback
- Poor image quality, serious audio problems with high end headphones
This is a perfectly average device as it does what it’s designed to do, but fails to go any further. Learn its faults, work around them, and it will prove to be a decidedly useful device.
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
This portable DVD player from NU is an excellent option for those looking for an affordable device for in-car DVD playback, provided that they don't mind substandard image and audio quality. We're not being facetious either; quality is what we look for in massive LCD and plasma television sets, not seven inch portable DVD players. While image quality does suffer on the Cinetrek, it is in fact a very viable choice for in car entertainment.
At 200mm x 148mm x 26mm, and weighing under a kilogram without its battery, the Cinetrek is one of the more portable 7" screens we've seen. It doesn't utilise the folding form factor of other players, such as the Shinco MDP-1770, but is instead a single flat panel, much like the VOXSON SL-77. This is a pretty welcome change in our opinion, giving the player a lot more portability, at the cost of a few controls which are replicated on the remote anyway! A fold out stand is available for sitting the Cinetrek on a desk, or similar surface. Overall, we were quite impressed with the WDR041's design, our only complaint being that the buttons located below the screen were quite difficult to press, but they're on the remote as well anyway, so it wasn't a major issue.
Operating the player is really quite simple - provided you don't lose the remote. The minimal buttons on the thing itself aren't really sufficient for watching DVDs. The remote itself is incredibly thin, no more than two centimeters, and very lightweight - so much so that it was actually uncomfortable to use for the first few hours, it just didn't sit in the hand properly. With over fifty buttons, however, the remote packs plenty of power, and actually delivers more functionality than a lot of home entertainment DVD players we've reviewed.
Up to this point, the Cinetrek had really impressed us. This changed when we inserted a DVD. The image quality was utterly appalling. A poor contrast ratio made several movies (for example, the darkly atmospheric The Crow) unwatchable, while others were simply poorly defined. A 480x234 resolution exacerbated image quality problems, as did relatively weak colour support (fleshtones were quite unrealistic). To its credit though, the screen was exceptionally bright, and provided several image adjustment options which lessened (although far from combated) the display problems. An exceptional horizontal viewing angle (we noticed almost no colour shift even at the most extreme possible angle) makes the Cinetrek suitable for multiple viewers, although even a few degrees shift vertically renders the already struggling image quality into an unwatchable mess. Finally, a decent response rate made action movies quite easy to watch, with surprisingly low levels of ghosting.
Audio quality from the supplied speakers was reasonable, and the volume range quite adequate - perhaps lacking a little at the higher end, but audio remained audible throughout. Since the player doesn't actually come with its own headphones, we plugged our own Audio-Technica A900s into them, and experienced what is quite possibly the worst quality audio we've ever heard. A consistent buzzing noise drowned out most of the other imperfections in the audio, and made prolonged use essentially impossible. This sound was replicated with other headphones we tested with the device, although the fact that they were all rather high-end, expensive headphones led us to the belief that an inability to drive the headphones due to insufficient power was the ultimate cause of the problem, which wasn't present on lower end earphones.
Despite its problems, the bottom line is that the WDR041 is designed for in-car entertainment. It even comes with a pouch that can be hung on the back of front seat headrests. For this purpose, it's pretty adequate. Keep it at eye level, don't lose the remote, and avoid dark movies, and the Cinetrek will be a welcome addition for your passengers.
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Now that the home entertainment market has moved towards streaming video services and Blu-ray content, there has never been a better time to convert DVD collections to digital.
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