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NextBase 2 MDV 1 review: NextBase 2 MDV 1

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The Good Inexpensive; solid, compact design; compatible with a lot of disc formats; plays MP3 and JPEG files.

The Bad No battery or LCD screen; skips occasionally; can get hot; skimpy controls on main unit.

The Bottom Line This is a low-cost alternative to standard portable DVD players, but you'll need a screen for on-the-go viewing.

7.0 Overall

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Smaller than two DVD cases stacked atop one another, the NextBase 2 MDV 1 lives up to the Handy printed on its lid. Unlike most portables, it lacks an LCD screen, a battery, and a hefty price tag. Despite the low price, the silver metal-and-plastic housing seemed quite solid, and the device played for 24 hours straight during our torture test.

The MDV 1 comes with a button-heavy, credit card-style remote. While mastering it requires some study, the remote provides access to plenty of functions, including a convenient zoom and volume/mute adjustment. The player's body lacks all but the most rudimentary controls, so don't lose the remote.

A quick look at the MDV 1 reveals a standard S-Video output, an optical digital output that passes Dolby Digital and DTS, and a headphone jack with a volume control, as well as a minijack that delivers composite video and stereo audio via an included breakout cable. The DC power jack takes a 12-volt power source, such as the provided AC wall wart or a car's cigarette-lighter adapter.

The MDV 1 easily handled all of our DVD+R/RWs, MP3 and JPEG discs, and VCDs, as well as most of our DVD-R/RWs; one DVD-R and one older DVD-RW were the only exceptions. Inserting an MP3 or JPEG disc calls up a basic file-tree system, and selecting a JPEG file launches the slide-show mode. Even our larger images came up fairly quickly.

Video quality was at the same very good level we've come to expect from low-buck players. We found one performance flaw, however: the antiskip buffer didn't seem to be doing its job. The MDV 1 handled minor jolts, but sudden shocks (think potholes) caused it to hiccup briefly. Also, the bottom got quite hot during playback.

If you're looking for an affordable, compact DVD player that can handle lots of discs, the MDV 1 is a charming little device that does the job well. With 5-inch LCDs available for less than $200, you can put together a decent car system on the cheap. Just don't leave the hot-running unit on your lap.

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