Long journeys aren't fun, especially if you're a parent. Fortunately, portable DVD players offer some respite for all involved. If you're an adult, pop in your favourite movie and ignore everyone around you -- unless you're driving, of course. If you're a child, nag your parents silly until they relent and buy you one.
The Toshiba SD-P91S is a large, widescreen DVD player with support for DivX and XviD files either played from disc or USB memory stick. For its £150 price tag, it even has the ability to be connected to a TV when you're away from home.
The first thing that will strike you about the P91 is how big the screen is. The bigger the viewing area on a portable DVD player, the better, we say, and 9 inches is reasonable. Of course, this does mean that the whole unit is fairly large. That said, our criteria for judging size on these devices is how easily they'll fit on the seat-back of a short-haul aeroplane. We don't think the P91 will present any problems in this area, especially given the flexibility of the screen.
You can twist the screen and even flip the display, so you can have it mounted upside down. The idea of having such a manoeuvrable screen is that wherever you are, no matter how non-existent the leg room is in cattle class, you'll somehow be able to bend the screen into a position where you can watch it.
In every other regard, the P91 is a nice-looking machine, finished in smart black with silver trim. It feels sturdy and well made and could possibly last for some time before your children manage to break it. The only aesthetic criticism we can level at it is that once the battery is connected, the unit is very deep and heavy.
On the right-hand side of the machine, you get a volume control, two headphone outputs -- trust us, this can really help with train/plane spousal arguments -- plus digital audio output and AV in and out. The AV connections are the headphone-style, mini-jack connectors, but a cable is supplied. There is also a DC input for connecting the supplied power adaptor.
The P91S is certainly a flexible little beast in more ways than just its twisty-turny screen. It can play quite a number of files; in addition to the obvious DVD support, it can handle MPEG-4 video such as DivX and XviD.
Even better, the P91 can happily read video files, photos and MP3s from a memory stick. This is a great feature if you have a lot of video you want to watch and can't face burning it all to DVD. It should also help to extend the battery life, as the player doesn't have to spin a disc constantly.
With AV in, you can hook up a camcorder or other device and watch its output on the P91's built-in screen. This is handy if you're an amateur filmmaker on location who needs to see the last scene played back.
The P91 might also interest you as a regular DVD player too. It can be connected to a TV via a supplied cable, which would enable you to use it on holiday in a hotel room or -- if you're one of those people who likes sitting in a fibreglass box -- your caravan.
The P91 supports all the main audio codecs, including DTS and Dolby Digital. You even get a digital bitstream output for connecting this machine to a home cinema system, if you so desire.