It looks unassuming but this is a confident player
FOR Excellent picture quality; good streaming services AGAINST Midrange could be more expressive; low-key design
Not everyone needs top-of-the-line kit to do the job at hand. Sometimes you just need the basics done well. Sony has become a frequent resident in the more affordable end of our Blu-ray player Awards for just that reason, and the BDPS6700 seems well-placed not to ruin that streak.
It sits in the middle of Sony’s budget player line-up, but rather than furnishing it with a long list of features or impressive specs, Sony has directed all of its efforts towards delivering excellent core performance for the money.
On the rack
Unfortunately, it wears its affordable pricetag on its sleeve. Boxy, plasticky and almost alarmingly lightweight, its design is uninspiring to say the least. Luckily it’s also small and slim enough to be tucked away on any rack with ease. There’s no display on the BDPS6700. It’s an understandable cost-saving move, but it’s one of the things we miss all the same.
Connectivity is kept simple, with single HDMI and coaxial outs and a USB port on the front. There’s also Bluetooth and dual-band wi-fi, with the wi-fi module placed centrally for the most stable connection. There’s an ethernet port too for the most stable streaming option.
Alongside regular Blu-rays and DVDS, 3D Blu-ray playback is also supported for those still interested in the format. Getting the player online is covered in a simple on-screen set-up guide. Once connected, you’ll have access to a selection of apps, including Netflix, Amazon Video and UK catch-up services via Youview, Spotify and Youtube. You can pin your favourites to the homepage for quick access.
Music playback is covered off pretty well, with support for higher quality FLAC, WAV and DSD files out of the box, as well as SACDS. It’s also DLNA compliant for playing back content from other devices on your home network, such as a PC or NAS drive.
Even better, with Sony’s Songpal smartphone app (Android and IOS) the S6700 can form part of a multi-room system, meaning you can push music from the player (including CDS or music from a USB stick) to other Sony products, including speakers and soundbars. You’ll have to download the Video & TV Sideview app to control the more standard functions of the Blu-ray player from your smartphone or tablet, but there’s a simple but effective remote included in the box as well.
Finding your way around the menus, whether playing a disc, browsing smart services, pairing Bluetooth devices or tweaking settings is easily done – the tiled homepage is easy to navigate, while the dual-core processor ensures you’re not kept waiting. Menus are quick and responsive, and discs load in good time.
Shines in the dark
Settling down to a Blu-ray of Guardians Of The Galaxy, the Sony BDPS6700 shows us exactly where the money has been spent, with a punchy picture that’s crystal clear and free from noise. Colours are vibrant, textures on faces and clothing are faithfully reproduced, and there is a sense of depth thanks to the level of detail on display.
But, as strong as the S6700 is with colour, it shines with dark scenes too. Shadow detail is excellent, and the way dark and light elements sit together without affecting one another shows real talent.
Having seen what real 4K Blu-ray has to offer though, we’re not too convinced by this player’s 4K upscaling ability. It’s a sharp, detailed picture for sure, but don’t expect it to come close to the real thing in terms of colour, contrast or subtlety.
However, its upscaling does a grand job with DVDS. Although there is an expected increase in noise and a drop in detail levels, particularly in dark scenes, it still produces a wholly watchable picture that keeps colours as punchy and motion as stable as it does with Blu-ray. The on-board streamer does a good job too. It’s a stable performer that buffers quickly and provides solid playback with much of the same character as we see elsewhere.
As for sound, the BDPS6700 doesn’t do a bad job at all. We might want a touch more warmth and expression in the midrange, but it’s a balanced performance, never sounding small or thin. Bass-heavy explosions are tackled with a surprising sense of confidence, while there's good organisation to soundtracks, and a decent understanding of dynamics too. This also translates to its musical performance. We wouldn’t use it as a day-to-day CD player – it’s not insightful enough – but for casual music playback, it has a well-organised and enthusiastic character.
With the BDPS6700, Sony proves that it knows how to play the budget market to a tee, focusing on delivering an outstanding performance at a competitive price. If you’re not ready to make the jump to 4K Blu-ray just yet, this player will make the most of your Blu-ray collection until you are. It might leave you with enough spare cash to purchase a few new discs too.
The BDP-S6700 looks like a budget player, but Sony has put its efforts into performance