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Sony BDV-E870 review

Once again a Sony system proves that it's capable of stunning pictures, but in the case of the '870, the sound doesn't match up Tested at £410

Our Verdict

Capable of top-drawer picture quality, but sound can’t match the best

For

  • Bold, exciting sound
  • crisp, well defined images
  • great online content

Against

  • Speakers lack subtlety
  • sub struggles to integrate
  • no built-in wi-fi

There’s nothing more convenient than having someone else do all the work for you.

When it comes to home cinema systems, this ‘someone else’ usually takes the form of a speaker auto-calibration system. Of course, some systems do it with varying degrees of success, and this Sony wasn’t quite up to scratch.

But, a quick spot of tweakage brought things into line.

This system produces a punchy and exciting sound. As The Rock and Samuel L Jackson pursue the bad guys during the opening sequence of The Other Guys, the Sony conveys a great sense of drama and dynamism.

Gunfire rattles around your listening position around while the rear speakers are more than willing to make their presence felt.

More understated soundtracks
The Sony BDV-E870 could handle the switch from all-out action to more understated soundtracks with greater style.

It isn’t the most subtle-sounding system, nor does the speaker arrangement produce quite the same cohesion as others – the sub sounds a little disjointed, for example.

Picture quality, though, is exemplary. In keeping with the stellar quality of the company’s 3D Blu-ray players, the E870 produces one of the sharpest, most pristine pictures in its class. It’s also wonderfully adept at tracking fast motion and keeping edges intact.

A spin of Avatar shows that 3D images are rendered superbly too. Colours are judged to perfection, as are contrast and low-light detail.

Impressive online services
Feature-wise, Sony can’t find space for a few features offered by rivals. For example, an iPod dock costs extra, as does the wi-fi dongle – and surprisingly, there are no HDMI inputs for PS3 owners.

On the plus side, Bravia Internet Video offers one of the most enjoyable online experiences of the bunch, with ultra-quick access to services such as BBC iPlayer, Five Demand and Sony’s own Qriocity service.

If you’ve a large room to fill the Sony will do it without any problems, although rival systems have a sonic edge. Picture quality is mightily impressive and it’s competitively priced. All-in-all, it’s a worthwhile audition.

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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, New York 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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