Sony BDP-S5000ES review

The Sony BDP-S5000ES produces one of the finest Blu-ray images money can buy and it sounds fabulous to boot Tested at £1100

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Here’s a player that’s easy to live with, priced favourably and a real stunner with movies and music


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    A joy to use

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    comprehensive spec

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    stunning Blu-ray images

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    fine DVD upscaling

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    produces a solid, detailed dynamic sound


  • -

    The far pricier Pioneer just pips it for picture quality

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

The Sony BDP-S5000ES carries the cheapest price tag in the test (although no player is immune from a price hike given the volatility of the market), yet it doesn't look or feel like an inferior product.

Build quality is on a par with the Denon DVD-3800BD, Marantz BD8002 and the Pioneer BDP-LX91. The solid, partly slanted, aluminium fascia gives the player a serious look – the number of buttons on the front is kept to a minimum to help preserve the solid, chunky appearance.

The player's FB (Frame and Beam) chassis uses metal of varied thickness to reduce unwanted vibrations. Even the player's feet have been off-set in an effort to minimize outside interference.

BD Live and high-def audio
The Sony isn't outdone with features either. Specification is thorough and ranges from full Profile 2.0 and BD-Live status to onboard decoding of all high-definition audio formats. There aren't many players that are as easy to operate as the 'S5000ES.

The XMB (XrossMedia Bar) menu system derived from the PlayStation 3 games console enhances the appeal. The menu system and remote control combine to give a smooth user experience.

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This also extends to the speed at which the Sony loads Blu-ray discs – The World is Not Enough loaded over 20 seconds faster than the Denon DVD-3800BD, Marantz BD8002 and the Pioneer BDP-LX91. Using a variety of discs, the Sony was consistently the quickest loader here.

Of course, all these niceties count for nothing if the player dishes out a pig of a picture; the 'S5000ES has no such issues. The Blu-ray of James Bond's Quantum Of Solace looks wonderfully three-dimensional.

Movement is handled smoothly

As Bond's Aston Martin is being chased, and pummelled with gunfire, the edges of the car a look crisp and pin sharp. As he drives through the construction site, movement is handled smoothly. DVD upscaling is accomplished, too.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall is detailed and colourful but never ventures into being overly vivid. Only the Pioneer could claim to have the edge with regards image quality.

The Sony really stakes its claim on the test win by complementing its pictures with awesome sound. The 'S5000ES perfectly layers the surround effects, dialogue and score of Quantum Of Solace, keeping the viewer entertained despite the puzzling storyline.

Explosions hit you with a fine sense of solidity, with the edges of bass notes expertly defined. With CD playback, music is well-marshalled, with vocals and instruments all having their own place.

Dynamically, the player hits every high and low – by Blu-ray player standards, the Sony has a seriously rhythmic and musical side to its character, and is one of the best we've seen.

Such is the Sony's all-round ability that we're left searching for holes, caveats, and provisos that simply aren't there. For the money, it can't be faulted.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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