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In action the BD300 is a very slick and co-operative machine, boasting stunning onscreen menu presentation imbued with snazzy colours and modern fonts. The focal point for the operating system is the Home menu, which shows you the different types of media available using sharp graphics. The setup menu allows you to make tweaks with consummate ease, but we're especially impressed by the CD/MP3 playback menus, which display a graphic equaliser during playback.
It's backed up by a terrific remote that might be big and dull to look at, but the core controls are arranged in a convenient manner and everything is clearly labelled.
The BD300 boots up in less than 20 seconds, and demonstrates the huge strides that have been made in disc loading times since the BD100 was launched. It gets the first menu on the Hellboy 2 disc up and running in 32 seconds (slightly slower than the 25 seconds quoted on the LG website but still impressive). Spider-Man 3's first menu took around 35 seconds to appear.
After a run-through of Hellboy 2 on Blu-ray on the Toshiba 46ZV555D (running at 24fps), it becomes clear that the LG can deliver some impressive hi-def pictures with movie discs, even if it doesn't have the prowess to topple the best players in this price range. The difference is apparent from the Troll Market scene, or shots of Prince Nuada working out in the subway towards the beginning - these gloomy scenes aren't as distinct and well contrasted as we've seen them on other players, with some of the background detail getting lost among the shadows. Likewise the scene where Hellboy and the gang battle a swarm of Tooth Fairies, which gets a bit hard to follow at times amid the darkness.
We compared the LG with a few rival Blu-ray decks including the Samsung BD-P1500 and its level of performance is similar, but it's worth noting that the slightly pricier Panasonic DMP-BD55 and Denon DVD-1800BD handle this disc a lot more convincingly.
But everything else is absolutely on the money. The deck's detail reproduction really stands out, making the movie's intricately-crafted sets, costumes and characters look blisteringly sharp and textured - you can even make out the tiny pockmarks on Hellboy's latex make-up. Its colour handling is also impressive, reproducing Hellboy's red skin with convincing depth while maintaining a natural tone, plus it conveys the Forest God's shades of green with irresistible vibrancy.
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