A Review of the Axion Portable DVD Player

Me. Gadget Lover. Computer Literate, yet still not technologically inclined. When the CD was introduced, I still swore by the cassette tape. In the age of the iPod, I still carry my portable CD Discman. And I dipped my toe into the waters of digital age, years after the VHS went way of the holy DVD. At this very moment my movie collection swells with thrice as many VHS tapes as DVDs. Enter my latest acquisition, the portable DVD player. Like other useful gadgets I’ve garnered from my mother’s kindness, the portable DVD player was a welcomed gift.

The brand is Axion-not that I’d ever heard of any electronic brand other than Sony or Phillips. The device itself is rather inconspicuous, resembling more of an antiquated walkman, than a complete portable center for visual and auditory stimulation. The screen, approximately 7″ in width is just large enough to appreciate the cinematography, but tiny enough to ensure the feel of a private “mini-theatre.” The Axion is equipped with a rechargeable battery pack, and AC adapter. The left side of the player houses the brightness and volume controls, and a jack for headphones, in addition to the on/off power switch. Though the DVD player has a small set of built-in speakers, the Dolby Surround Sound is much more appreciated with the use of headphones. This too, enhances the private “theatre effect.” If I were even more technologically inclined, I would probably find use for the A/V jack, which supports the use of a camcorder. Instead, I’ll simply settle for the much appreciated anti-shock/ anti-vibration mechanism that keeps the DVDs from skipping during “turbulent” conditions.

The Axion’s actual set of controls is fairly uncomplicated for someone like me, with the features not extending much past PLAY, STOP, and PAUSE. One point of contention I have with the Axion is that I can only jump from scene to scene (NEXT/ PREVIOUS), instead of frame to frame; there is no Rewind or Fast-Forward button on the actual device. These buttons are surrounded by arrow navigation buttons which form a circle. There is also a button for toggling between the wide screen, and full screen viewing options. The more complex features for the Axion are actually found on the DVD player’s “credit card” sized remote control. As a courtesy to those who like to watch their players in the dark, the buttons on the remote have been raised into tiny “bubbles”. Other than that, there are no other visual indicators to single out the controls in a darkened environment. A fluorescent, or glow-in-the-dark function would be extremely helpful in these instances. However, the remote control contains the subtitle, zoom, audio, repeat, and slow motion features, and more. Furthermore, they are very easy to figure out. It is also on this handy little device that the Rewind and Fast Forward buttons are found.

The clarity of the picture is surprisingly crisp considering the size of the screen. On occasion, I do wish that there was a feature to adjust the color or contrast. Movies with darker cinematography often have to be viewed from odd angles so as to reduce the glare on the TFT LCD screen. As if the feature-filled remote wasn’t “Bell & Whistle” worthy enough, the Axion also packs a car charger. This means that whenever I get the urge, I can pull over to the side of the road to pop in one my favorite episodes of “Sex & the City.” Clearly, it’s a great addition to have. But since I’m often in the car alone, I don’t know how much use that adapter will get. If I were even more technologically inclined, (or if I lacked a home DVD player), I could rather easily connect the accompanying audio/video converter cords to my television at home for a cinematic treat.

All of these items: cords, remote, and charger, are all nestled into a handy carrying case. The case has an exterior pocket for the accessories, while the main compartment houses the machine itself, with the attached battery tucked along the side. The bag is closed from the top with a zipper and when carried, resembles a sophisticated camera case. (On a day while I was “slumming it”, I was actually mistaken for a professional photographer.) Ironically, I have actually found more use for the machine seated in cozy nooks at home, than I have out in the exciting public. As most players do, it also plays MP3’s and CD’s, and costs less than $150.00 total. Not a bad price for such a handy little machine. On the few occasions I have found use for it outside of the home, I have thoroughly enjoyed the intimate feel of enjoying one of my favorite movies in the privacy of my very own lap. As a faithful member of the Technologically Challenged, I will more than likely enjoy the Axion well into the next wave of audio-visual Heaven.

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