Sony BDP-S5200

Score

Pros

  • Attractive compact design
  • Good range of online content
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Lightweight build quality
  • No 4OD or ITV Player

Key Features

  • Review Price: £109.00
  • 3D Blu-ray playback
  • Built-in super Wi-Fi
  • DLNA file streaming
  • Sony Entertainment Network
  • Screen Mirroring

What is the Sony BDP-S5200?

It’s a Blu-ray player positioned right in the middle of Sony’s new five-strong range – above the entry-level BDP-S1200 (£69) and BDP-S4200 (£89) but below the £199 BDP-S6200 and top-end BDP-S7200 (£249).

It’s compact in size but big on features, equipped with built-in ‘super’ Wi-Fi, DLNA streaming and access to the Sony Entertainment Network – oh, and 3D Blu-ray playback of course.

SEE ALSO: Sony BDP-S4100 review
Sony BDP-S5200

Sony BDP-S5200 – Design and Connections

The BDP-S5200 continues Sony’s ‘Sense of Quartz’ design theme of previous ranges, which looks immensely stylish. It’s mostly gloss-black with a series of several sloping triangular panels on top, but this time the front panel is mirrored, giving it a more glamorous appearance than its predecessors.

In the corner of the mirrored panel are power and open/close buttons, while the front of the player sports a USB port and a skinny disc tray. Interestingly there’s no readout on the front, so you’ll have to rely on the onscreen displays.

The other distinctive aspect of the BDP-S5200 is its size – at just 265mm it’s half the width of most Blu-ray players, making it ideal for placing in the bedroom where space is limited. Sadly, like most budget Blu-ray players, build quality is a let-down – the light, insubstantial plastic casing doesn’t inspire confidence in its long term durability.

SEE ALSO: Samsung BD-H6500 review

Sony BDP-S5200

On the back is a typically sparse selection of sockets, but that’s par for the course on a budget deck. You get an HDMI output, a coaxial digital audio output and an Ethernet port for hooking up to the internet. That should suffice for most people, but if you want dual HDMI output or analogue audio ports then you’ll need to invest in a more expensive player.

Sony BDP-S5200 – Features

The BDP-S5200 is a 3D-capable player, but doesn’t feature 4K upscaling – that’s only found on the BDP-S6200 and 7200.

It also features what Sony calls ‘super Wi-Fi’, which means it’s been engineered to have a stronger signal than conventional Wi-Fi, hopefully resulting in smoother streaming and more responsive web browsing.

SEE ALSO: Pioneer BDP-160 review

Sony BDP-S5200

Hook it up to the internet and you can access the Sony Entertainment Network, which includes a wealth of video, music and on-demand movie apps. The line-up is excellent – on the video side, there’s Amazon Instant Video, Netflix and Sony’s Video Unlimited service, plus You Tube, BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, BBC News, BBC Sport, Sky News and lots of niche services. It’s a shame ITV Player and 4OD haven’t made their way onto Sony’s players – if you want those you’ll need to check out the Samsung BD-H6500.

The music line-up comprises Music Unlimited, Berliner Philharmoniker, National Public Radio and – most useful of all – vTuner internet radio. Other online services include Facebook, Opera TV Store and a web browser.

You can also stream your own music, video and photos from PCs and other devices on your home network. Supported formats include MKV, AVI, XviD, WMV, AVCHD, MP3, WMA and LPCM, but no DivX. You can’t stream FLAC or AAC over a network but you can play them via USB. JPEG, PNG and GIF photos can also be streamed.

The deck also supports Miracast screen mirroring technology, which allows you to display the screen of a compatible mobile device on your TV over a peer-to-peer Wi-Fi connection. Gracenote automatically downloads data about movies and songs.

Sony BDP-S5200Sony BDP-S5200 – Operation

The BDP-S5200 employs the same Xross

Media Bar home menu used by last year’s players and several generations

before it. We love this slick, intuitive interface but we were hoping

for a new look just to freshen things up and bring it more in line with

Sony’s flashy BRAVIA TV menus.

Still,

you can understand Sony’s reluctance to change it. It’s instantly

useable and makes it easy to find the option you need. The menu features

two intersecting axes, with the categories running horizontally and the

corresponding options listed vertically. Press the direction keys and

it skates between options quickly. Every app is illustrated by an icon,

which makes it easy on the eye. The setup menu is found at the far end

of the bar and covers every angle.

Sony BDP-S5200The same style of menu is used

when exploring networked devices or USB drives. It slides from left to

right and when you find your content it’s listed alongside artwork and

file details. We had no trouble using it. What’s more, the Wi-Fi

connection is strong and stable, ensuring smooth, uninterrupted video

streaming as promised.

During

disc playback you can access the Options menu, which slides in from the

right of the screen. As well as a range of disc playback options,

there’s a range of video settings, including three presets – Standard,

Brighter Room and Theatre Room, plus block and mosquito noise reduction.

The

remote is standard Sony fare, with a compact size and good quality

rubber buttons. The large direction pad is perfectly placed for the

thumb, with buttons for the Home menu, SEN and Netflix below it. All the

keys are clearly marked too.

Alternatively you can control the

BDP-S5200 using Sony’s superb TV SideView app, available for iOS and

Android devices. It offers a virtual remote, a swipe pad and a Free

Cursor screen for controlling the onscreen web browser, plus you can

launch Sony Entertainment Network apps and use the keyboard to type text

onscreen.

Sony BDP-S5200 – Performance

In terms of picture

performance, the BDP-S5200 does a fine job. It pulls all the pixels off

the Blu-ray disc and puts them onscreen, and you can’t ask for more than

that. The resulting images are crisp, vibrant and devoid of noise,

whether you’re watching in 2D or 3D.

We loaded up Children of Men

and its super-detailed visuals look stunning. As Theo walks down Oxford

Street in the opening scene, the signs and shop fronts are sharply

rendered. It’s a busy shot, with lots of small moving objects moving

across the screen, and the player tracks them all smoothly.

The

movie’s gloomy, muted colours are expertly judged, picking out and

blending all the subtle shades of grey. The few bursts of bright colour,

such as the browns and greens of the woodland surrounding Jasper’s

home, are richly saturated but stay the right side of lurid.

We

also ran the Silicon Optix HQV disc and the Sony aced practically every

test. On the Jaggies test, diagonal moving lines are crisp and free from

feathering, while the SMPTE pattern of the Video Resolution Loss test

looks sharp and steady. The Film Resolution Loss test is the one that

usually catches out lesser Blu-ray decks but to its credit the S5200

displays it with minimal strobing. The camera pan across a football

stadium is remarkably smooth and stable.

Disc loading is fairly

quick too. It took 33 seconds to load up our trusty Terminator Salvation

disc, and just 15 for Children of Men.

Sony BDP-S5200

Should I buy the Sony BDP-S5200?

The

BDP-S5200 is a highly impressive budget Blu-ray player, which delivers a

knockout combo of stylish design, generous features and striking

pictures – all for an attractive price.

The deck’s lightweight

build quality and the absence of catch-up TV apps found on Samsung’s

players are the only real negatives – in every other respect the

BDP-S5200 is a Blu-ray deck you can buy with absolute confidence.

Verdict

Despite its budget build quality, Sony’s midrange Blu-ray deck impresses with terrific features, performance and styling.

Next, read our Best Blu-Ray player roundup.

Overall Score

Score in detail

  • Performance 9
  • Design 8
  • Features 9
  • Value 9

Features

3D Ready Yes
BD Player Profile 5.0
1080/24p Playback Yes

On-Board Decoders

Dolby TrueHD Yes
DTS Master Audio Yes
Dolby Digital 5.1 Yes
Bitstream Audio Out Yes

A/V Ports

HDMI 1
Digital Audio Out 1
Ethernet 1
WiFi Yes

USB Playback

MP3 Yes
JPEG Yes
DivX / DivX HD No
MKV Yes

Physical Specifications

Height (Millimeter) 43mm
Width (Millimeter) 265mm
Depth (Millimeter) 199mm
Weight (Gram) 0.9kg

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