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

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Contents -

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

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