We've come to know Coby for the company's always-affordable line of products--not necessarily delivering the top-of-the-line innovation. So when the company's TF-DVD7307 showed up, we were hoping for a decent, no-frills portable DVD player that wouldn't put a big dent in our wallet. The 2007 model is equipped with a 7-inch wide screen and is widely available for under $100.
Inside the box you'll find a mounting bag, a car adapter, an RCA A/V breakout cable (for connecting to a TV), a pair of CV-230 stereo headphones, an AC adapter, and a remote control. The remote is thin and silver; slightly bigger than a credit card, and has all the necessary functions on it except for one--a volume control button.
The TF-7307 weighs a somewhat hefty two pounds, four ounces with its detachable battery clipped on--it attaches to the bottom of the unit. On the right side of the unit is an AV input/output jack that can be used in combination with the included composite AV cables. Input and output is controlled with an adjacent toggle switch--input would be for when using the player's screen as a monitor for another video source, such as a game system. Also, here you'll find a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack and a volume slider, while the power switch is found on the left side. With all that extra room, we would've liked to have seen at least a USB port or memory card slot option as seen on other portable DVD players, such as the Audiovox D8000XP or the Sony DVP-FX810 ($179).
The 7-inch matte (non-reflective) wide-screen display screen rotates 180 degrees and folds closed screen-side up for those who prefer tablet-style viewing. Coupled with the mounting bag, it can be attached to the back of the headrest of a car seat for road trip leisure.
The TF-DVD7307 allows you to program the onscreen menus and can zoom to as much as 4x. Other features include a rudimentary aspect ratio mode (for changing between 16:9 wide-screen and standard 4:3 display), and parental control settings.
While testing the TF-DVD7307, we did notice a noise while the disc is loading or moving between chapters--although not as loud as the unit's tactile buttons. In addition to playing DVDs, the Coby TF-7307 plays audio CDs, MP3 CDs, and even VCDs. As far as DVD playback was concerned, we tried numerous combinations of home-burned +R/RW and -R/RW media--all of which worked without a hitch. But anyone with a large digital media collection will be disappointed with the limited file format compatibility as the TF-3707 can play only MPEG movies, MP3 music, and JPEG image files. We would have really liked to have at least seen DivX compatibility.
Even more surprising, the TF-DVD3707 doesn't have dual headphone jacks (a seemingly standard feature on most portable DVD players), nor does it have fast-forward, rewind, or subtitle buttons on the unit itself (you'll need to use the included remote for that). In order to fast-forward or rewind on the unit itself, the next or previous buttons need to be pushed down for a number of seconds to initiate, only then allowing you to cycle through the multiple speeds (from 2x to 32x).
There are two evenly spaced stereo speakers located directly below its 7-inch screen. Audio quality is average--on a par with that of generic laptop speakers--so don't expect to experience a noteworthy sound presence, with or without a pair of headphones.
Image quality is subpar. The 7-inch screen needs a long warm-up time before the colors can properly adjust. That said, the color is a bit washed out--creating a lackluster look, despite adjusting brightness and contrast levels. The low 480x234 resolution doesn't help matters, either.
On the upside, the Coby TF-DVD7307 manages to integrate its battery pack into the player's body as opposed to the aforementioned Audiovox D8000XP ($130), which has a bulky snap-on battery pack. Segueing into the battery life--which was good for watching one movie at best--lasted for two hours and 35 minutes at default settings--but that includes the fact that the screen went dark after an hour and fifty minutes of movie play, while the audio was still playing, making it a glorified CD player at that point. Furthermore, the unit gets extremely hot on both the bottom of the base and the outside lid of the screen for the duration of the battery life, so overheating may become an issue in the long run. Overheating aside, it would've been more convenient (as well as less annoying) to see a battery meter indicator on the right or left side of the screen instead of an onscreen display text warning--large and in bold--with no indication of when the unit would automatically shut itself down.
Coby offers several other portable DVD players, such as the TF-DVD7377 (priced around $110 to $150), which does support DivX formats, and includes a USB port and memory card slot. There's also the TF-DVD7060 (priced around $135 to $200), which has dual headphone jacks along with an integrated FM transmitter and wireless headphones. We just hope those models perform better than this lemon. In the final analysis, the Coby TF-DVD7307 isn't even suitable for recommending as a kid's DVD player for the back seat of the car.