Samsung BD-J5500 review

Well-rounded Blu-ray player, but it won’t quite top your shortlist Tested at £90

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Our Verdict

Not ahead of the curve performance-wise, but a decent disc spinner

For

  • Sharp, clean picture
  • Motion well controlled
  • Good with 3D
  • Decent remote
  • Interesting design

Against

  • Rivals have more picture subtlety
  • A little noisy

Samsung has got curve fever. Just over a third of the company’s TVs are curved this year, and that ratio is similar for its Blu-ray players. But while bendy panels are designed to offer a more immersive experience, for disc spinners it’s simply a quirky aesthetic.

In the case of the entry-level BD-J5500 though, it’s not the curved shape that steals the design limelight. The entire body, available in black or white, is so deeply ribbed it could be played like a Guiro if you had a stick.

Features

The absence of a display is becoming the norm at the budget end, but Samsung has taken things further by having no power light either. We miss the reassurance of one, but at least there are no distractions during movie watching.

The remote is more matter-of-fact, a proper-sized tool similar to the traditional one offered with the company’s TVs in recent years.

It makes a nice change from the pokey handsets offered with rival players, and while the space-hogging numerical keys mean its face is fairly busy, big, well-labelled buttons make it easy to get along with.

The BD-J5500 is the lowest 2015 model with smart features, and to access them you’ll need an internet connection via ethernet. Once hooked up, you’ll have access to Amazon Instant Video, YouTube and Netflix, among others. Three choices can be conveniently pinned to a tab on the home menu.

MORE: Best streaming video services

Although we find the multi-panel, graphic-heavy interface a little busy, it does allow for quick and direct access to apps and media on your network over DLNA, on a disc or from a connected USB key.

The USB input is at the front of the unit, hidden under a well-camouflaged removable rubber flap which although gives the player’s front a cleaner look, is a little fiddly to remove. The rest of the sockets – an HDMI and a coaxial output – are around the back.

Like the Sony BDP-S4500, the menu flashes up instantly on start-up. The disc tray is very quiet and has an aura of sophistication about it as it smoothly slides back home.

Blu-rays load in a pretty standard ten seconds, but the operational whirr during disc playing is a few decibels noisier than usual, so you wouldn’t want it right next to your ear.

MORE: Ultra HD Blu-ray - everything you need to know

Performance

Feed the player The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Blu-ray and the image is spick and span. Edges are cutting and detail delicately, but not overly, etched.

As Spidey swings through the city and action comes thick and fast, motion is well-controlled – an asset that makes it a tempting option for 3D playback too.

The Samsung’s palette is invitingly radiant, and turning down colour levels a notch in the ‘user’ picture mode gives it a more preferable balance. It doesn’t quite have the natural colour delivery of Samsung’s TVs though.

MORE: 10 of the best Blu-ray discs to test your system

Contrast is generally good, the suit’s black web of lines is solid and inky deep. That takes a small hit when we drop down to DVD (as does crispness), but there’s more than enough definition and detail to call the Samsung a decent upscaler.

Sonically, it isn’t too shabby either. It appears on its toes in fast, action-packed scenes, with soundtracks pulling through with clarity, speed and agility.

We’d like a bit more weight though, and the presentation feels a little restrained compared to the class leaders.

Verdict

You might find the BD-J5500 an aesthetic pull. You might not. Either way there’s more to like than just the design. Picture quality is pleasing with both Blu-rays and DVDs, and the sound has its merits.

It might not have the picture subtlety and precision to top your shortlist, but it does deserve a place on it.

MORE: Best Blu-ray players 2015

Read all our Samsung reviews

Specifications

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General Information

Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Brand NameSamsung
Product TypeBlu-ray Disc Player
ManufacturerSamsung
Manufacturer Part NumberBD_J5500XU
Product NameSamsung BD-J5500
Product ModelBD-J5500

Miscellaneous

Package Contents
  • BD-J5500 3D Blu-ray & DVD Player with BBC iPlayer and Netflix
  • Battery
  • User Manual
DLNA CertifiedYes

Interfaces-Ports

HDMIYes
USBYes

Audio

Audio FormatsCD-DA, MKA, AAC, WMA, FLAC
Sound SystemDolby Digital, DTS, Dolby TrueHD, DTS 2.0 Digital out

Technical Information

FeaturesBD Wise
3D Type3D
Number of Discs1
Media FormatsDVD+RW, DVD-RW, CD-RW, BD-R

Network and Communication

EthernetYes
Streaming ServiceNetflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, BBC Sport, Amazon Instant Video, YuppTV
Wireless LANNo

Physical Characteristics

Width29 cm
Depth22.1 cm
Weight Approximate1 kg
Height3.9 cm
ColourBlack
Dimensions3.9 cm (H): 29 cm (W): 22.1 cm (D)

Video

Video FormatsBD Video, DVD Video, Video CD, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, DivX HD, WMV, MKV, AVCHD, XviD

Warranty

Limited Warranty1 Year