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Pioneer BDP-320 review

With the BDP-320 Pioneer really has set a high standard, which bodes well for the other players in its range Tested at £400.00

Our Verdict

Premium looks and premium performance, this Pioneer player continues to impress

For

  • Superb styling and build quality
  • looks and sounds great with BD and DVD
  • slick interface and on-screen menus

Against

  • No light on remote
  • no multichannel outs

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Premium looks and premium performance, this Pioneer player continues to impress

Pros

  • + Superb styling and build quality
  • + looks and sounds great with BD and DVD
  • + slick interface and on-screen menus

Cons

  • - No light on remote
  • - no multichannel outs

Regular readers will recognise the Pioneer BDP-320 from previous tests this year.

Back then it weighed in as the most expensive player on the roster, but it managed to comfortably justify the extra outlay with a level of performance that left most of the competition trailing in its wake.

Certainly this Pioneer machine makes plenty of friends given the once-over in the cold light of day. It looks like a product that you'd happily pay a few quid extra for, with its svelte profile and serious-looking, substantial remote control.

Sonic ability still impresses
Switch off the lights and it becomes an altogether more fumble-filled affair, however, with no light on the remote and the tiniest of eject buttons on the front of the display. Still, we know the BDP-320 is worth perservering with.

It was the sonic ability of the machine that really had us on our toes earlier in the year, and watching Rocky Balboa on Blu-ray, it's clear this Pioneer still has plenty to sing about.

It packs in some serious scale and authority, filling our room with powerful, dynamic sound. Visually there's plenty to like, too, with good insight, smooth motion and deep blacks combining.

Only the brightest hues show the BDP-320 looking perhaps a little over-exuberant.

Comprehensive specification
Naturally the deck is fully specified. There's onboard decoding of all HD audio codecs, BD-Live support via Ethernet, 1080p/24fps playback and x.v.Colour support.

You won't find any sign of multichannel analogue outputs or indeed a digital coaxial output, should that be a key concern for you.

The GUI looks smart and is effective enough, if comparatively a little sluggish.

Upscaled DVDs look and sound good, with Fast & Furious delivering insight to pictures, sharp edges and natural skin tones.

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Soundtracks are crisp and clean, too, if lacking the extra sparkle delivered by other players. And you certainly won't find reason to gripe should you be asking your player to do the upscaling.

Flick on a CD and the Pioneer does the job, sounding as confident as any Blu-ray player around this price-point.

We were curious to see how this Pioneer fared against fresh, more competitively priced products. We're happy to report the BDP-320 more than holds its own for simple sound and vision performance.

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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 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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