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LG BD650 Blu Ray Player Review

Feb. 5th 2013

LG BD650 Blu Ray Player Review

Review: We go hands on with the LG BD650

Introduction

Clearly some very worthy soul (albeit a globally short sighted one) knelt against the bed one night and prayed to the heavens for a Blu Ray player that cost £57 with free delivery. It seems that this selfish and morally dubious prayer was answered, because the LG BD650 2D Blu-ray player is just that. But is it a gift from above or some sort of infernal jest? We put a rusty old bear trap outside our reviewer’s office, then knocked on the door and ran like hell. Somehow he remained conscious long enough to let us know which it was…

THE SPECS

The LG BD650 is small and compact, weighing in at a standard (maybe slightly chunky) 2.3 kg. It has a quiet, innocuous presence under any TV and doesn’t draw unnecessary attention to itself. The design is perfunctory, not flashy in any way but still manages to look modern and streamlined.

Blu Ray offers high quality picture and sound, around six times higher than the average DVD, but it is worthless without an HD TV (1080p screen resolution) and up to date speaker system. For those of you considering a Blu Ray player for an older TV, you’re wasting your time, it will connect, but with no discernible increase in quality.

This is a standard, ‘vanilla’ Blu Ray player. It won’t do 3D, it won’t connect to the Internet in any way (so no apps, downloads or streaming) and it has no extras worth writing about. It does, however, have two USB ports that will play media from external hard drives, memory sticks and cameras, which is a nice addition, but pretty standard nonetheless.

THE PRICE

Less than £60 (and some even list it as low as £40) for a Blu Ray player is a bargain, (even if it’s not top of the range) and the free delivery is a real pound saver. Because it only costs £57, we won’t judge this model too harshly. The LG BD650 is an entry-level Blu Ray, nothing more, so let’s judge it on its merits, rather than its drawbacks.

THE PERFORMANCE

The first thing you’ll notice is that the LG BD650 boots up fast, really fast. This is a wonderful surprise, as most budget models take an absolute age just to recognize that there’s a disc in there somewhere. It also doesn’t make much noise during operation, there’s the odd ‘clunk!’ (Something you can expect from even the most expensive models), but other than that, its calmer than a pig in a Synagogue. Of course, there are better players, but hey, this one only cost you £50.

The sound and picture playback is nice and the upscaling is generally good as well. Annoyingly it doesn’t come with an HDMI cable, which is maybe one budget cut too many.

WHAT OTHER USERS SAY

‘M.Tidd’ on Amazon gave this player a glittering 5/5 review, one that is very worth reading in its entirety if you do want to buy this player. (S)he posits that many of the 3/5 (and lower) reviews are mainly concerned with the lack of Internet connectivity or 3D playback, which is actually an accurate assessment of quite a few of them. (S)he then goes on to say that as a budget Blu Ray, this is a really impressive product.

‘M. Kearney’ from Northern Ireland praises the generally silent running and fast boot up in a thoughtful and considered 4/5 review.

‘Nigel Mc’ offered a detailed 5/5 review, again commenting upon the quiet, smooth running of this player. He also said that it was “a breeze” to set up and use. ‘HarshLee’ was not so harsh when (s)he gave the BD650 a perfect 5/5 score, making a point of saying that it easily played all USB media (s)he could find.

On the negative side, user ‘Chris’ (no, not me!) stated that he bought one for his mother, only to find it freezing up completely at regular intervals. When he bought a replacement, the exact same thing happened. ‘Andy B’ said that the sound cuts out on his player for 5-second intervals; he replaced it only to find the exact same problem occurring. Reading between the lines, I would suggest that the HDMI connection in the LG BD650 is extremely sensitive (much more than most other devices) and this could be the reason for these faults.


Our Verdict

This is a damn good player for the price. It has its flaws (possibly a very over sensitive HDMI port), but they are rather minor when you consider the combination of bargain price, silent running, quality playback and speedy start up time. This is an excellent budget model Blu Ray player and a great choice if all you want to do is plug it in and watch HD movies in peace.

Features:

7/10

Performance:

8/10

Design:

7/10

Value:

8/10

Was: £79.99
Now: £69.99

Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.co.uk.

Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 business days

Posted by Player Bluray | in Dolby Digital, HD, Internet, LG, Multi Region, Product Reviews | Comments Off

LG BD550 Blu Ray Player Review

Dec. 26th 2012

LG BD550 Blu Ray Player Review

Review: We go hands on with the LG BD550

Introduction

The LG BD 550 Blu Ray player is what we like to call a ‘Ronseal’ model. Don’t make us tell you why. As simple as Forrest Gump watching Saturday morning cartoons, this Blu Ray is easy, user-friendly and hassle free – or so the makers claim. But is it cheap and cheerful or is it just cheap? We sent our intrepid reviewer in to find out.

THE SPECS

2.7 kg is rather weighty for a Blu Ray player; most of the newer models seem to be a good kilogram (or more) lighter. However, this model is a little greyer around the temples than most newer models. Released at the tail end of 2010, the LG550 was designed to be a ‘budget’ model and seems to have performed its task well in that time.

Blu Ray’s main selling point is superior visuals and sound quality, something which this model accomplishes pretty well. It even boosts the quality of your existing DVD collection. It is worth noting at this conjuncture that you won’t get much from a Blu Ray player until you hook it up to a 1080p HD TV and a surround sound speaker system. Connecting this, or any other Blu Ray player to an older TV is a waste of money.

This Blu Ray player is neither WiFi enabled nor WiFi compatible, which does impede it somewhat. It does, however, utilize two USB ports, meaning that you can view downloaded content, holiday photos or home movies directly from the devices. Despite the lack of Internet connectivity, the player itself boasts high playback performance and exceptionally clear audio.

THE PRICE

With an original RRP of around £250, this player was always a little easier on your wallet than its competitors. Today, despite being reduced to just over £60 (and as low as £40 on the Amazon marketplace), it is no longer the best value Blu Ray player out there. With other, initially more expensive, models now down to the same price, the LG BD550 Blu-Ray player is competing with models it was never designed to go up against: competing and (in the value for money stakes, at least) losing.

THE PERFORMANCE

The LG BD550 Blu-Ray player is a solid little run around that will play your movies and not much else. It does, however, do its job very well. Painful loading times are a common complaint of Blu Ray users and this little black box loads up quickly and easily and is usually playing the disc by the time you land on the couch (this does, however, greatly depend on where your couch is positioned at the time, so you can forget any silly lawsuits you may have up your sleeve).

Crystal clear sound and excellent picture are, by now, de-rigueur when it comes to Blu Ray and although the performance is excellent, this player has suffered from the influx of newer, better and much more useful models into its price range.

WHAT OTHER USERS SAY

The reviews for this project (many of them a couple of years old now) are almost unanimously positive, praising the LG BD550 Blu-Ray player as good value for money or a tremendous purchase. Amazon user ‘Geekzilla’ praises it to the hilt, but mentions that the disc insertion/reading speed “isn’t exactly blistering” which is another drawback of buying an older model.

Elsewhere ‘CD Don’ described it as ‘wonderful’ and praised the device for its simplicity and ease to set up. ‘Mike’ says that it plays almost all media file types without any problem at all.

Interestingly, on the negative side, ‘TW’ (who I’ll assume is not, in actuality, Tim Wonnacott without further proof) slams the sound output, describing drop outs and, at times, complete, lasting silences. Another user, ‘Durmson’ states that (s)he “usually swears by LG products” and that the one (s)he purchased (itself a replacement for a faulty model) died after a paltry 8 months of use.

Clearly, the LG BD550 Blu-Ray player is a budget model and clearly, this was very much in its favour upon the initial release, but those nagging problems that you expect from cheaper models can now be avoided for the same cost. I just don’t see any reason to buy this one.

Our Verdict

Sadly, this perfectly serviceable and reliable Blu Ray seems to be heading down the same dark path that claimed Neanderthal Man, The Dodo and The Moa before it. Competition brought on by new appearances in its natural habitat has rendered it looking clumsy, outdated and overpriced. There is nothing wrong with this player except that you can get much better versions at the same price. It hasn’t done anything wrong and is still a generally good buy, but you can get so much more for your £60 that it just isn’t worth it.

Features:

6/10

Performance:

6/10

Design:

6/10

Value:

5/10

Was: £99.99
Now: £79.00

Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.co.uk.

Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 business days

Posted by Player Bluray | in Dolby Digital, HD, LG, Upscaling, Wireless | Comments Off

LG BP120 Blu Ray Player Review

Dec. 13th 2012

LG BP120 Blu Ray Player Review

Review: We go hands on with the LG BP120

Introduction

There’s nothing fancy about this one, it’s just a Blu Ray player, plain and simple. Don’t expect Internet, extra features or any bells and whistles and you won’t be disappointed. But is the LG BP120 Blu-ray Player basic and affordable, or is it simply limited and overpriced? We pelted our reviewer with rotten eggs and curdled milk until he found out for us…

THE SPECS

This Player is small and slim, although it’s not the lightest player in the world (quite where it hides 2.3 kg of weight is a mystery to me). Smaller Blu Ray players are better for the environment, in manufacturing terms, because less harmful chemicals are used to make them. Also, the smaller the player, the less space it takes up.

It is worth noting at this point that although it is tempting to get a Blu Ray upgrade to your home entertainment system, this will be completely futile without a decent sound system and an HD TV with 1080p resolution. Without these things, your Blu Ray discs will look/sound exactly the same as your DVDs do and you’ll be out of pocket.

This Blu Ray player is very, how can I put this? ‘Vanilla’. There aren’t any extra functions, there’s no Internet to speak of and the LG BP120 is actually very limited. It looks good and it plays nicely, but for the price, we can expect a little better.

THE PRICE

The LG BP120 Blu-ray Player will set you back the best part of £80 and therein lays the problem. This is simply too limited a player to command that sort of asking price. There is nothing wrong with it in terms of functionality, but there are players that offer so much more and actually cost about £20 less.

THE PERFORMANCE

The LG BP120 works very well, it is generally quiet, it loads really quickly and provides awesome picture and sound quality. The DVD upscaling is marvellous as well.  Because it was only released a couple of months ago, the BP120 makes use of modern trappings (such as noise reduction and increased speed), but sadly not all of them (quite why this player has neither Ethernet or WiFi compatibility is something of a minor mystery).

The lack of any modern extras on this player is the real let down.

WHAT OTHER USERS SAY

It’s a veritable ghost town out there. I’m sure that someone, somewhere has reviewed the LG BP120 Blu-ray Player, but Amazon, Youtube and even the official LG website all fail to offer any customer comment at all. Even the Google searches I did came up dry.

Although I could search some more, that defeats the point entirely. We need to see proof that a lot of people are buying this product and whether they like it or don’t like it. I can only deduce from the complete lack of feedback (even from the LG BP120’s official page!) that very few people are actually buying it, which is hardly a recommendation. Those who are buying it are clearly not compelled to share their experiences with the world, at any rate.

Still, it is early days yet. This player has been on the market for all of two months, so you may find that the reviews start to trickle in some time soon. However, I have to say that I don’t think they will. This player was outdated the moment it hit shops, which would be fine if it was the cheapest option out there, but it isn’t.

Our Verdict

This is a decent entry level Blu Ray player. It offers great quality visuals/sound with minimum fuss and won’t let you down on any playback-related front. However, the complete lack of Internet, extras of any kind and peer comments/feedback severely hamper its chances of getting a good review here, while the inflated £80 price tag destroys them completely.

You can get Internet ready players with built-in WiFi, multiple connection ports and much more besides for as low as about £60 – £70. I can’t help but recommend that you do that instead.

Very few people are buying this product and it doesn’t look like any of those who have are tripping over themselves to give it a good review. It is a standard player with slightly above average playback and is available at an above average price. You really are getting less for more, something I’ve never been one to condone.

Buy this if you want an efficient Blu Ray player that does nothing more than efficiently play Blu Rays. However, remember that by doing so, you are cutting yourself off from a great many more up-to-date Blu ray players (most of which, ironically, are a year or so older than this one). There are better players out there, and cheaper, too.

Features:

8/10

Performance:

8/10

Design:

8/10

Value:

7/10

Was: £99.99
Now: £67.95

Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.co.uk.

Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 business days

Posted by Player Bluray | in Dolby Digital, HD, Internet, LG, Upscaling | Comments Off

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Tags: blu ray player