Apex AD-1200 review: Apex AD-1200

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CNET Editors' Rating

2 stars Mediocre
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Very inexpensive; reads JPEGs, Picture CDs, and MP3 CDs.

The Bad Visible lines in picture using composite-video connection; lacks a display; has a difficult-to-use remote; noisy during playback.

The Bottom Line In the global electronics marketplace, there is such a thing as too inexpensive.

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If you're considering a $70 DVD player, you probably don't mind that it's missing a display, has an unresponsive remote, and offers only bare-bones connectivity. However, you do at least want the device to work as well as a $120 DVD player from a major brand. Unfortunately, while it does have some nice extra features, the Apex AD-1200 doesn't perform very well. If you're considering a $70 DVD player, you probably don't mind that it's missing a display, has an unresponsive remote, and offers only bare-bones connectivity. However, you do at least want the device to work as well as a $120 DVD player from a major brand. Unfortunately, while it does have some nice extra features, the Apex AD-1200 doesn't perform very well.

Design
The AD-1200 certainly looks the part of an off-brand player. Its case is narrower and deeper than usual, forming a square that's 12.5 inches on each side when seen from above. This deck is also missing a display; in place of the standard front-panel readout, you'll find three lonely indicator lights, one each for DVD, CD/VCD, and Picture CD.

The plain, black face has only four buttons and a combination door/drawer that jerks open with a loud noise. Not much in the AD-1200's build inspires confidence; a circuit board is visible when the drawer is open, and the ultralight case seems hollow. This Apex often made unhealthy-sounding rattles during playback, but to its credit, the player did survive 48 straight hours of Ben Hur on Repeat during a vicious New York heat wave.

The remote incorporates a few controls that you've probably never heard of, such as the VCD-specific PBC Off and L/R for messing with the stereo mix. While the buttons are all crammed too tightly onto its small surface, their different shapes and sizes make navigating by feel a little easier. In practice, we found the remote slow to respond and often had to press keys repeatedly. The simple system menus lack frills such as icons and explanatory text, but nothing major goes missing.

Features
Under the hood, there's more going on than you might expect. The AD-1200 handles MP3 CDs and comes complete with a menu that displays 10 characters of each filename, although it can't play MP3s at random. It handled DVD-Rs, DVD+Rs, and DVD+RWs--but not DVD-RWs. It even played one problematic DVD-R that many other decks wouldn't read. Other extras include a picture zoom and three levels of simulated surround sound. An Enhance menu offers two settings for brightness and three for sharpness.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Media Type CD
    CD-R
    CD-RW
    DVD
    Kodak Picture CD
    SVCD
  • Type DVD player
  • Sound Output Mode stereo