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For starters, it comes with a nice set of accessories, including a car adapter/charger and a protective carrying case. It's also the only portable DVD player we've seen that has a special jack for an optional DPT100 TV tuner accessory ($59 list) that allows you to turn this player into--you guessed it--a mini TV. The included credit card-style remote has numbers on it to change channels in the event you purchase the TV tuner.
Otherwise, the GoVideo is your standard portable DVD player, with an attractive enough, mini-laptop-style design. Our gripes--and they're fairly minor--are that it weighs a somewhat hefty 3.1 pounds (with battery), and we didn't like the glossy sheen on some of the buttons, which made them look a little cheap.
You get a reasonable amount of connectivity, with two headphone jacks to share the unit with another viewer and a set of jacks that can be either A/V inputs or outputs with the slide of a button. The unit allegedly offers progressive-scan output in case you'd want to connect the player to an HD-capable TV, but we were unable to test the feature because GoVideo does not include a component-video--or even an S-Video--adapter/cable. A digital coaxial output is available for digital surround-sound output, but again, the adapter/cable is not provided.
The DP8440 supported a wide variety of formats in our compatibility tests, including CDs and CD-Rs filled with MP3 and JPEG files, DVD-R/-RW and DVD+R/+RW. Some skip protection is also provided, and we were able to jostle the unit a fair amount (our simulation of a bumpy road) without having the audio or picture cut out.
Picture quality was about average for a portable DVD player, which is to say, fine. We reduced the brightness setting a notch to make blacks look darker and shaved the color setting a little to keep Ben Stiller and Philip Seymour Hoffman's faces from looking sunburned in the Along Came Polly DVD. Reducing the color setting did make the color appear a little muted, so you'll have to decide how much you mind flesh tones being on the pink side.
On the sound front, the DP8440 played loudly enough through the headphone jacks to overcome airplane and car noise, and while the speakers are mounted toward the front of the unit and point up instead of at you, they dispersed the sound well enough. Battery life was OK: the player is rated for 2.5 hours of battery life, but we managed to get an additional 15 minutes of movie watching in before the screen went dark. In a cost-cutting move the DP8440, like its smaller sibling, the DP7240, uses a detachable nickel-metal-hydride battery instead of a lithium-ion one.
In the final analysis, the GoVideo DP8440 may be a fairly generic portable DVD player, but it does offer a decent feature set, and there is that TV tuner option. In short, we have no problem recommending it, especially if you can pick it up for closer to $250 than $300.