Apex AD-703 (code-free) (Mania.com)

Date: Sunday, March 31, 2002

What They Say

The Review!
I recently came to the decision to buy another DVD player to play my region 2 titles. As such, I searched for code-free players, but was amazed at how much they cost. Enter Apex, in particular, the AD 703 model.

The player is a newer model with a 3-disc DVD/CD changer, built-in Dolby Digital 5.1/DTS, (1) S-Video out, (1) RCA, (1) Coaxial Out. The player supports DVD (of course), CD, VCD, SVCD, XSVCD, MP3, and CD-R/RW. Last but not least, it's got built-in Karaoke features w/ a 2-Mic input for those late night friendly gatherings.

Picture & Sound I must say surprised me. I own three other DVD players and this is by far the cheapest one and as such, I figured I'd get what I paid for. But on the contrary, the Video quality was actually quite good from just an RCA jack connected to a small 17" TV. Colors were solid, the images were clear and not distorted or blurry. I used Region 1, 2 and VCD titles to test this. The DVD's played perfectly all the way through. The VCD's however varied-those that were burned to CD-R were just ok due to poor source materials at the time of creation; the store bought VCD's played fairly well though.

Sound was very good too! Using a coaxial cable connected to my Sony STR-DE945 w/ Sony Speakers, every little detail was heard, every movement felt. Sound was directed to the respective speaker(s) without a hitch. I used DVD, CD, and MP3 to test out the sound playback. Again DVD was top-notch; CD was crystal clear without any hissing or feedback present; MP3 played extremely well with or without subdirectories. MP3 combined with the Multi-Disc changer is a music lovers delight...the music can virtually never end.

Controlling the system is a breeze afters a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the basic controls. The system responds on queue without the need to cycle through menus and such to get to what you want.

Region-Free has got to be the best feature on this system though. You can select "Bypass" which acts much like region 0 or for those pesky RCE encoded discs, you can manually select the region. For those of you still making VHS tapes out there, there is also a Macrovision on/off switch to allow for copying DVD's via VCR. The thing with this is, this menu option "Loopholes" appears only after you modify the code on the chips firmware. To do this however is simple, just download a simple file (search the 'net), burn it to CD-R/RW, pop it in the player, follow the directions and viola, you have yourself a new, region-free player w/ so much more.

Now the gripes, which aren't anything really, but there's 2 of them: 1) The remote control has no on/off feature nor Eject. Both of those must be done at the player. 2) It doesn't respond well to certain types of CD-R media. i.e., I have learned through trial and error that Sony makes excellent media readable from 99% of the systems and it was read well, however, Verbatims or those cheap European ones w/out a brand, just a shiny mirrored top either don't get read completely or don't get read at all. So you need to sorta try out to see what works best for you.

Other than that I have no complaints concerning this player, only compliments. I was really surprised by this player. I only wanted something cheap to fill-in the gap there with my Region 2 DVD's, but I certainly got much more than I expected with this purchase and I would recommend it to anyone seeking out an entry level player or an inexpensive second player.


Review Equipment

Age Rating: All
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: Other
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Hardware Reviews