Last year, we took a look at the Insignia NS-PDVD10. While it didn't blow us away, we found it to be a decent bare-bones portable DVD player for the price. Now we're taking a look at another model in the series, the PDVD8.
Apart from its remote control, the Insignia NS-PDVD8 is covered in an all-black rubberized finished. The control buttons are completely flat and apparently splash-resistant and have a strange spring-loaded click to them. Also, that rubberized finish is a real magnet for fingerprints and other greasy residue that's hard to clean off.
The main control buttons are front and center just below the screen, which lets you pause/play and skip chapters forward/back, and (often curiously missing from many players nowadays) fast forward and reverse when you have the screen folded down in tablet mode. This model has an 8.5-inch wide-screen display that swivels 180 degrees and folds flat on top of the unit much like a tablet PC.
While the swivel feature has become more prevalent in portable DVD players, it does offer a degree of flexibility when it comes to viewing options, especially when it comes to in-car viewing. However, Insignia doesn't include a cheap canvas carrying case that could double as a headrest mount for backseat viewing when the player's in tablet mode. Some inexpensive tablet-style portable DVD players (namely, the Mustek MP100) ship with just such an accessory.
Fortunately, the battery doesn't bulge out from the bottom (like the PDVD10 did) nor does it protrude from the rear of the player, an annoyance we've seen on many smaller competing models we've recently looked at.
The included remote control is way too large for practical needs, plus it doesn't have volume control functionality. At least with the step-up model, there was a place to store it away when not in use.