Thanks to a friend sending me a few PAL format DVD’s earlier this year and my old laptop’s universal media player dying with the old laptop, I needed an inexpensive player of decent quality I could keep next to the console setup that wouldn’t take up a load of room and was a multi-tasker of some sort. While poking around at a few options (there’s a nice Samsung player under $30 that was my initial choice), I stumbled across the QFX VP-113, a budget DVD player that only caught my eye because it not only played DVD, VCD, SVCD, CD, CD-R, and CD-RW formats, it also had a built-in karaoke function, a USB stick reader and much to my surprise, played “games” of some sort. What sort of games, I had zero idea. But the price was right (under $35 where I found it) and my curious collector side was curious about those GAMES. Because, you know that’s what I like (and like writing about).
Anyway, a unit was procured and arrived a few days faster than the shipper noted (always a good thing). I was surprised that the VP-113 was smaller and lighter than it looked in the photo I’d seen, but that was a benefit with space by the TV a premium these days. At 10.25″ x.7.75″ x1.75″, it’s a definite winner if you’re crammed into a small room. I was also thrilled to see an HDMI slot on the back, as the description didn’t suggest there was one. The unit comes with a plain RCA cable (red, white yellow), but also supports S-Video. Setup took maybe two minutes of studying the remote control and messing around, but the manual came in handy later on. As it’s made to be a universal player, you can choose your TV type, region and resolution (480p to 1080p), adjust for 4:3, 16:9 or 16:10 screens and a bunch of other video and audio tweaks. Making a mistake at any point isn’t a big deal as there’s a handy Reset button that clears everything back to the default settings.
As for how it works… so far, so good. Everything I threw at it played without a hitch save for one Mill Creek double-sided DVD from one of that company’s many box sets of public domain movies. This was weird because it was the only disc from that one set that failed to make it past the menu screen. I haven’t figured out what the issue was yet, as the disc ran fine on my PlayStation 3 once inserted. Then again, the disc never booted properly on the old laptop, so perhaps it’s the awfulness of the films on said disc that made two players not want to even read it past that menu? Eh, whatever. In terms of video quality, it’s hit or miss a this isn’t a videophile’s dream piece of kit at all, but works as a straight up backup player. If you’re wondering why I didn’t go for a more expensive standalone Blu-Ray player or streaming device it because of cost in terms of the former and the fact that streaming stinks when you have a crap connection like I do in the case of the latter. The VP-113 also comes with a microphone for that karaoke function, but my dirty little secret is I despise karaoke but needed a microphone to try out for future evil villain world domination recordings or something like that.
The amusing thing in all this were those games, which I initially thought would be pre-installed inside the unit. QFX also makes a few game players that I’d seen in a few discount shops in the area and had been curious about but never tried out or read about online. While the unit comes with two wired USB controllers of dubious quality (short cables that plug into two side ports, mushy buttons that work fine but tend to get stuck down in the controller so both pads will be replaced shortly with better controllers), I couldn’t for the life of me find any GAMES or anyway to access them if they were installed. That manual (remember kids, ALWAYS read the #*&%ing manual!) noted that I needed to pop in a GAME DISC, which had me scouring both the box and shipping box that box was packed in for one. Nope. Not there. Boo.
A quick note to the seller and QFX was sent asking about the whereabouts of the disc and both got responses, the more positive being from QFX where a rep said he’d be sending that game disc over via Priority Mail. Two days later, I get an envelope with a game disc inside (and yes, GAME DISC was printed on it), popped it into the player and was surprisingly greeted by a (easy to decipher ciper alert!) nostalgically entertaining selection, featuring a mostly interesting collection of memories. Although a bulk of the titles were known, but there were a few I’d never played along with some remixed seemingly homebrew versions of stuff. As I like variants like these and it’s always fun to see how games turn up in the strangest places, I have to say that overall I’m pleased with my purchase.
The funnier thing is I was expecting THIS set of games (see photo above if your click hand is pooped from your own online holiday shopping spree) from one of QFX’s consoles and got something else entirely, always a good thing in my book. As for whether or not this is a glowing recommendation, I’ll leave that to you. I’m just pleased that I got something for myself that works as advertised with a side order of surprise at a function that got me more than I expected.