The SDP-1720A's design is functional, but it's not what you could call pretty. The unit has a matte silver finish that, while not unpleasant to look at, is hardly all that inspired either. One design element that we did like was that almost all the player's controls are placed on the face of the unit, so that if you do lose the remote (although that would be tricky) you can view pretty much any content you like. A battery clips onto the back of the unit, increasing its weight a tad, but that's par for the course for any portable DVD player.
On the design front, the SDP-1720A wins a particular award from us - it's got the ugliest remote control we've seen for about twenty years. It's stubby, it's thick, the buttons are poorly laid out and even the casing for the remote doesn't colour match the player, being encased in a very pale beige plastic.
Out of the box you get the player itself, the aforementioned ugly remote, a car charger and a standard RCA-ended connector for external playback. Like Sony's MV-65ST DVD Station and Toshiba's SD-P1400, the SDP-1720A has two headphone connectors, although no headphones are included in the packaging.
From a playback point of view, the SDP-1720A supports all standard DVD formats (+/-), MP3 CDs and Kodak Picture CDs, all of which display on the unit's 7" 16:9 TFT screen (with black bars as appropriate). The Shinco SDP-1720A sports stereo speakers, but we'd suggest using headphones regardless.
One thing that did initially throw us was that the SDP-1720A's external playback doesn't work if the 7" TFT screen is switched on -- and vice versa. This will save a bit if you're running on batteries, but we suspect anyone plugging this unit into a TV will have a power point nearby, so we just found it annoying.
Our major gripe with the SDP-1720A is that it tends to make a rather loud grinding sound when first accessing a disc -- hardly the thing you want if you're entrusting a precious film for playback to it. This happened with pretty much every disc we put into the unit, and we suspect it's down to a rather over-enthusiastic motor within the unit. It's also not terribly good at calmly slowing down discs when you've stopped them -- and it's a very bad idea to give into temptation and try to stop a spinning disc with your fingers.
The unit's 7" TFT screen did a serviceable job of playback with our test films, but we did notice a rather strong screen-door-like effect during intense action scenes. You're unlikely to be sitting all that far away from the unit at any one time -- it does only have a 7" TFT, after all -- and so this is something that could grate all too easily.
Ultimately we suspect whether or not you'll pick up a unit like the Shinco is purely down to budgetary considerations. If you can afford it, the costlier options from Sony or Toshiba are better built and more pleasant to interact with, but if you're strapped for cash and just want simple (albeit noisy) DVD playback, then you might want to settle for the Shinco.