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August DTV700B review

Is the portable TV dead at the hands of tablets, or is there life in the old set yet?

Our Verdict

For

  • Decent screen
  • Fair price
  • Easy to use

Against

  • Clunky and scratch-prone
  • File playback didn't work
  • Limited compared to a tablet

The idea of watching live TV on the move has taken a back-seat recently, with on-demand services on tablets such as the new iPad and big smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Note being the more popular way to catch up with your favourite TV shows.

But some people still want to watch TV as it happens, either because they're old fashioned, or because there's something that's worth watching live - big sports events in particular.

With 3G mobile broadband still not good enough to stream TV live in many areas, something like the August DTV700B might be the answer. In fact, the first thing that'll catch your eye is how much cheaper than a tablet this is - it's less than £80!

Of course, you don't get a lot for that - it's just a digital TV tuner and a screen, pretty much, though it does have the ability to play back videos from an SD card or USB drive. Handily, it can also record TV to these types of storage, and you can even activate a timeshifting feature.

August DTV700B

Our review unit had already been used a fair bit by the time we saw it, so we noted with a tut that the screen had picked up a lot of scratches, but it turned out not to be that big a deal. The display is bright and clear, and you couldn't see the scratches once it was on.

The screen is actually one of the most impressive parts of the DTV700B. It's nicely detailed, it's got natural colours, and it's even got good viewing angles, with only a small colour cast as you go off-centre.

August DTV700B

Similarly, the menu system is rather basic, but it's better than many budget Freeview set-top boxes, and it's easy to read the text. It's not very fun trying to go through the menus with the controls on the unit itself beyond basic channel changes, partly because they aren't very responsive, but they're fine for changing channels, and it comes with a remote control for the more complicated actions.

August DTV700B

For standing it up when in use, there's a pop-out stand on the back, but it's not very sturdy, and the unit fell over a lot. The speakers were adequate, though, even if they didn't blow us away. Similarly, the battery life wasn't far off its quoted 3.5 hours, which again isn't brilliant, but isn't too bad either.

August DTV700B

We were even surprised at how well the tiny portable aerial it came with works - it's nothing compared to a rooftop aerial, but it picked up some stations even in really difficult areas. The recording function also worked well, though the video playback of MP4 files wasn't as good, with it refusing to recognise many resolutions, and screwing up the sound when we finally got the video working.

Verdict

Whether you would actually buy a portable TV these days depends on what use you think you might have for it. If you think they're a waste of time when you've got CatchUp TV, iPlayer, 4oD and Netflix on your tablet, then fair enough.

But if you do want to watch digital TV on the go, we think the August DTV700B is a well-made, bargain priced unit, even if its design and menu operation are a little clunky.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeLCD TV
Digital TunerDVB-T
EU Energy LabelB
Brand NameAugust
Screen Size17.8 cm (7")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Memory Card ReaderYes
USBYes
Operating Power Consumption2.80 W
RMS Output Power3 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
HeadphoneYes
Energy Consumption per Year4 kWh
Media PlayerYes
Memory Card SupportedMultiMediaCard (MMC), Secure Digital (SD)
Height136 mm
Width202 mm
Depth20.4 mm
Brightness220 cd/m²
Maximum Resolution800 x 480
FeaturesAuto Program, Sleep Timer
ManufacturerAugust International Ltd
Product ModelDTV700B
Product NameDTV700B Digital TV & Media Player with Built-in Battery
Manufacturer Part NumberDTV700B
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.augustint.com
Marketing Information
  • Enjoy up to 70 Freeview TV and Radio channels on a high resolution LCD screen with clear sound provided by 2x1.5W speakers.
  • Built-in SD/MMC card reader and USB port for playing videos, music and photos from memory cards and USB sticks
  • Record Freeview TV to a USB stick or SD card. 7 day EPG to plan a weeks worth of viewing. Subtitles where available and timer functions
  • Approximately 3.5 hours use from internal rechargeable battery, telescopic aerial and coaxial connection for external aerials
  • Supplied with AC/DC power adaptor with UK/European plugs, user manual in 5 languages, a mini external aerial, remote control and earphones
Package Contents
  • DTV700B Digital TV & Media Player with Built-in Battery
  • AC Power Adaptor
  • Portable Antenna
  • Magnetic Base
  • Remote Control
  • Battery
  • Earphones
  • User's Manual
SpeakersYes
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)440 g