Kids + cramped backseats + hours of driving = headache. Remember the day when portable in-car DVD players saved your sanity? In a world of tablets and smartphones, those systems have lost their luster. But before setting off on your next family road trip, rather than buying Advil in bulk, try the Philips dual LCD screen iOS system- TwinPlay. With it, you can play movies right from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to the screens. Worried about listening to Yo Gabba Gabba for hours? There is a headphone splitter for your sanity. This and quite a few other features make this a must have for peaceful family road-trips.
The first noticeable observation upon opening the package is just how much stuff comes with this buy. There is a convenient carrying bag with a shoulder strap. It fits nicely under a seat. The cup holder charging/ playing station is very useful, so that your iPhone isn’t sliding around everywhere. There is also a car outlet adapter, as well as an iPhone charger/connector cord. The star of the show though is the two 7″ LCD screens with mounting straps.
The two screens also have built in speakers that get fairly loud. Of course, one can’t expect surround sound or Dolby digital quality from these, but they get the job done and are more than sufficient. Included is also a headphone jack extender that connects to your iPhone. Plug in a pair of (not included) headphones and the kids will be in their own private little world. Screen quality is dismal when compared to the gleaming iPhone retina display, but for the price point, as a portable entertainment system, it is quite nice. The displays’ resolutions are each 640 x 220, which means that they also aren’t full HD displays. However, they still do a good job of handling whatever SD or HD content you have on your iPhone.
The set up involves a lot of cords which can be a bit overwhelming at first, but really isn’t that difficult to manage. Plug in the outlet charger, push the iPhone charger through the cup holder, and plug in your device. Place in cup holder. Then plug the cords into their respective screens, and strap on your screens to the back of the seat head rest. All the cords are just long enough to fit comfortably in my small SUV. As with all screens- they don’t play well with sunlight. So you may want to consider some shades for the back seat to avoid that problem. Fortunately, the iPhone and screens are all running off outlet power, so you never have to worry about a dead battery. Also, if you are interrupted when viewing by a phone call, it simply reinstates after you are done.
Overall, the Philips TwinPlay Dual-Screen In-Car Display for iPhone and iPad is a great buy and a small price to pay for a smooth ride and happy kids. The Philips PV7002i/37 model comes with dual 7″ displays and can be picked up for just $119, while the more expensive Philips PV9002i/37 model comes with dual 9″ displays for $199. Overall, the TwinPlay’s design is well thought out, resulting in ease of use, and convenience. It doesn’t take up much space either and is easy to carry around. We would highly recommend this product for your next road-trip with kids.
The Good: Great sound and pretty powerful speakers, easy to use, fair price point
The Bad: Glare can be crippling, lots of cords involved.