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Philips BDP7300 review

Philips's first Blu-ray player lacks the crispness of the very best, but it's got a great and makes a good budget buy Tested at £250.00

Our Verdict

Affordable, versatile and easy to use? The Philips BDP7300 will deservedly tempt people to forgive its weaknesses

For

  • Full spec despite competitive price
  • imaginative styling and big, clear interface
  • good black levels, healthy colours

Against

  • Picture could be sharper and cleaner
  • not the sonic detail of very best

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Affordable, versatile and easy to use? The Philips BDP7300 will deservedly tempt people to forgive its weaknesses

Pros

  • + Full spec despite competitive price
  • + imaginative styling and big, clear interface
  • + good black levels, healthy colours

Cons

  • - Picture could be sharper and cleaner
  • - not the sonic detail of very best

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.

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 specification
The 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.

See all our Blu-ray player Best Buys

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 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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