Our Verdict 
Affordable, versatile and easy to use? The Philips BDP7300 will deservedly tempt people to forgive its weaknesses
Full spec despite competitive price
imaginative styling and big, clear interface
good black levels, healthy colours
Picture could be sharper and cleaner
not the sonic detail of very best
Reviewed on

Despite our day-to-day interaction with Blu-ray we know the average BD player will see plenty of DVDs, so it's worth pointing out that in nigh-on every case performance from the two formats will sink or swim based on the same characteristics.

The BDP7300, the first Philips Blu-ray player we've seen, is a case in point.

Once we've finished admiring the unit's rounded edges and running our fingers over the touch-sensitive buttons, we kick off by looking at the 1080p upscaling of DVD images.

Not as sharp as the very best Classic DVD tester Training Day shows that while black levels are handled competently and motion is fairly smooth, if not entirely unshakeable, we do clock some softness to the picture.

Detailed, wide-angle shots lack the crispness and sharpness of the best in class, as highlighted by building edges and facial features, which lack the same definition.

More after the break

Sure enough, these issues are still apparent when we switch to the Blu-ray of Doubt. Yes, the image is a little sharper and colours more vibrant, while the enhanced black-level mode does a decent job of delivering solid low-light scenes, but there remains a comparative softness to proceedings.

No holes in the specificationThe Philips BDP7300 is one of the cheapest machines out there, so our gripes with performance are tempered by the knowledge of the price-tag and the fact that there are certainly no holes in the specification: a Profile 2.0, BD-Live-capable, USB and Ethernet sporting player, you'll also find the elusive multichannel analogue audio outputs round the back of this unit.

We've mentioned the attention to detail given to the design and, as we've come to expect from Philips, the menus demonstrate some outside-the-box thinking, too.

The menu icons will please too, taking up as they do a hefty chunk of the screen – such clarity is a good thing.

Sonically, this machine is capable of decoding all the HD formats, and listening to the powerful soundtrack of Knowing, there's much to admire.

There isn't the same level of insight or punch as some of the more expensive players available, but at the budget end of the market the '7300 certainly holds its own.

You get what you pay for to an extent, but if you're on a budget there remains a great HD experience to enjoy here.

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