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Not only is the BD-P3600 fast in operation, but it also produces very impressive hi-def pictures. We loaded up RocknRolla and the deck beautifully conveys the visual swagger of Guy Ritchie's decent crime caper - the opening whip pans across London's busy skyline and the grittier ground-level scenes look crisp and striking, and all the tiny details are reproduced with razor-sharp clarity by the Samsung.
Bright outdoor scenes, such as the brilliant botched robbery sequence are clean and crisp, with smooth edges, fluid motion, terrific black depth and vivid, natural-looking colours. During shots inside Johnny Quid's flat, the Samsung's excellent contrast level ensures that all of the detail is still visible.
We also loaded up the Silicon Optix HQV disc and the BD-P3600 copes well with the various torture tests, keeping rotating diagonal edges free from jaggies, displaying excellent noise reduction and reproducing the panning stadium shot without any significant video noise. A DivX HD trailer of Madagascar looks amazing too, with vibrant colours and sharp detail, and DVD playback at 1080p looks solid and free from artefacts.
And it gets better with news that the Samsung produces stunning sound from any source. The inclusion of 7.1-channel outputs will delight old-school cinephiles who prefer the analogue sound for movie playback, while the flawless on-board decoding delivers a fast, engaging experience. It also handles CDs with a smoothness not normally associated with Blu-ray decks at this price.
The BD-P3600 takes everything we loved about the BD-P4600, packs it into a different but equally attractive box and throws in a few extra frills for good measure. There's a plethora of features (Wi-Fi and 7.1 outputs being the highlights), plus loading times are fast and AV performance is excellent. But best of all its £250 price tag makes it excellent value for money, putting it right up there with the LG BD370 and Panasonic DMP-BD60 in the holy trinity of budget Blu-ray decks.
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