Sony S380 Blu Ray Player Review
Review: We go hands on with the Sony S380
The Sony S380 Blu Ray Player has been on the market since January of last year, so it’s still pretty recent. Buying a product just as it drops down in price (but before it becomes obsolete) is an art form unto itself. You have to time it just right, so, if you bought this shiny black box of marvels, would you be on the winning team or would you just be wasting your time? Let’s find out.
At a lightweight, almost dainty 1.6 kg, the S380 won’t cripple your entertainment unit. In fact, it is one of the smaller player’s we’ve encountered. It’ll also take up less space than an average player, as officially, the dimensions are 19.9 x 43 x 3.6 cm, which it pretty tiny. People like smaller technology these days, as even the most frugal movie fan must be space conscious, so it is very nice to see that preference being accounted for.
Like all Blu Ray players, the Sony S380 comes equipped with high-resolution picture and sound, although it is worth noting that a 1080P HD TV and a Surround Sound Stereo system will be required to truly make the most of this.
The S380 is Wireless LAN enabled, meaning that it will connect readily and easily with your HomeHub (or whatever Internet connection method you use). Due to this, the S380 grants access to the Internet, including online services like BBC iPlayer, Netflix and Lovefilm. When using the Internet, you’ll even get a bonus IP noise reduction function.
The S380 is equipped with two USB slots, meaning that this player can connect with memory devices (great if you want to watch downloaded content) or, depending on the product, other external devices as well (this model is especially camera-friendly).
The Sony S380 Blu Ray player can be yours for just £80 (even less on Amazon’s ‘Used & New’) section.
The biggest complaint regarding Blu Ray players is their booting up time. As a rule, these things can take ages to load. Not being especially technically minded myself, I’m not sure why this is (answers on a postcard, all you techies out there!), but I’m told it has something to do with the amount of memory stored on the disc. In any case, loading times will not be a problem if you have an S380, which boasts ‘Super Fast Operation’ and delivers. In spades.
With great visuals and sound, as well as the ability to boost the quality of your DVDs to almost HD level, this Blu Ray player is (for the moment at least) bang up to date.
When it comes to extra features, the options are seemingly limitless, you get music and film powered by the (rather tragically named) ‘Qriocity’ system, which gives you access to the hottest new flicks, tunes and shows, at the touch of a button.
As an extra feature, you can even use your iPhone, iPod or Android device as a remote control. How cool is that?
Amazon users who praised this model, did so for its speed and high picture quality. They also praised the extremely simple setup and the quality of Youtube clips. User ‘Edd209’ posted that (s)he felt it was “the best Blue-ray player on the market for the price” and many other users expressed similar sentiment.
Critical reviews talk about the player being incorrectly labelled on some sites as being ‘Region Free’ when this is in fact not the case. They also complained that certain types of AVI files and home-burned DVDs were unplayable on this device. The main complaint seems to concern the streaming of the online content, which is not always high quality. This, however, has less to do with the player than it does with the quality of the original video upload (many of which are actually quite low resolution files) and the size of the television they’re viewed on. Spreading online content over a 1080p can distort the image significantly.
Generally, however, the reviews are positive, placing special emphasis on good value for money and high quality images/sound. A couple of users mentioned that they found a high-pitched squeal emitting from the player, but that this only lasted for thirty seconds or so before the movie played and did not interfere with their entertainment.
Despite being on the market for over a year, this product is still pretty close to the top of the range. It is available at an astonishingly low price and provides high performance as well as user friendliness and efficiency, the complete package. I don’t see this getting replaced for at least a couple of years yet, so buy away to your heart’s content!