The SD-P1400's black casing provides a strong contrast point against its 7" TFT screen; similar to the way that many Plasma and LCD TVs use black framing (always with the word "Piano" in front of it, so you can really impress your friends) to provide a stronger contrast point. Having said that, and while the Toshiba's screen did display something of a screen door effect as seen in the Shinco player, it was much less noticeable in the Toshiba's case. The unit also offered a better range of viewing angles -- important if you're going to be watching the unit while it's sitting on someone else's lap.
Inputs and outputs run down the right hand side of the player, while the left hand side houses just the unit's AC input and the on/off switch. A supplied Lithium Ion battery clips easily onto the back of the unit, although, as with most battery-enabled portable DVD players, this adds significantly to the bulk of the player.
The SD-P1400's remote is slimline and pleasant enough to use, although like much cheaper Shinco unit, the most prominently used buttons (usually Play/Stop/Enter and so on) aren't shaped differently than any of the other buttons, meaning until you've mentally worked out where the buttons are, you've got to look every time -- you can't 'cheat' by using just your sense of touch.
It helps for a portable player to include just about every portable accessory, and the SP-P1400 doesn't skimp, including power cables, AV cables, the aforementioned remote and even a slim carrying case to heft the whole thing around in. At 830g it's light enough to just chuck into a bag itself without making too much of a dent. With the clip-on battery in place, the SD-P1400 is a much larger unit than the Shinco SDP-1720A, although it doesn't approach the sheer mass of Sony MV-65ST DVD Station.
The SD-P1400 supports DVD Video, DVD-R discs, VCD, and CD-Audio. Despite a clear region four marking on the box, the unit we tested with worked flawlessly with discs from other regions.
The SD-P1400's 7" LCD screen is clear and enjoyable to watch from a variety of angles, and the unit supports DTS and Dolby Digital output. The inbuilt speakers are less impressive -- you could certainly annoy fellow train passengers with them, but in a noisy car environment some passengers may end up straining to hear the ongoing action.
There's not too much that can be done to make onscreen menus interesting, but at least the SD-P1400's menus were clear and easy to navigate, either with the remote or from the selection buttons on the right hand side of the disc tray.
The biggest strike we suspect many consumers will hit with a unit like the SD-P1400 is the price; at AU$899, for a portable unit, we suspect many consumers may be tempted by cheaper units, like the Shinco SDP-1720A. Given its feature set and build quality, it's a fair price to ask -- but it's still a fairly large price.