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Sony BDP-S380 - Performance and Verdict

By Daniel Phillips



Our Score:


Just as Sony claims, the BDP-S380 boots up incredibly quickly (the Home menu appears almost instantly after hitting On) and disc loading is also super-quick. It reached the first video segment on the tricky Terminator Salvation platter in 43 seconds, and Avatar loaded up in just 35 seconds.

We kept James Cameron’s sci-fi spectacular in the tray for picture evaluation, and the results are extremely pleasing. The deck stays faithful to the disc’s extraordinarily bright and challenging colour palette, rendering everything from neon plants and bright blue skin to subtle human hues without making any of it look garish or unnatural, which is the first step towards an impressive picture. It also picks up subtle variations in tone and shade and blends them without any banding or ugly block noise. Sony BDP-S380 Angle

Detail is Blu-ray’s killer selling point and on that score Sony’s doesn’t let the side down. This is as sharp and vibrant an HD picture as you’re likely to see at this price, apart from the Panasonic DMP-BDT110 perhaps, with the deck bringing the movie’s eye-popping array of textures, patterns and complex scenery to life. But there’s also a solidity and clarity to the picture, anchored by dense blacks and excellent shadow detail during dark scenes.

The Silicon Optix HQV disc provides a more rigorous test for the player, but it has no trouble tackling its tricky test patterns. Both the Video and Film Resolution Loss tests are expertly reproduced, with no strobing in the striped boxes and a smoothly rotating bar. The pan across Raymond James stadium suffers a little judder but the seats look crisp and stable. The Jaggies tests show no signs or stepping or feathering along the diagonal lines.

The deck also does a nice job with CDs and SACDs, digging out plenty of detail and generally making music sound enjoyable without coming close to the audiophile refinement of more expensive players.


If you can live with the lack of 3D support and media streaming from PCs, the Sony BDP-S380 makes a very tidy choice. Picture quality is excellent and it looks great but the inclusion of BRAVIA Internet Video is the real clincher here – its unrivalled range of content trumps Viera Cast or Samsung’s Smart Hub, adding real value to the overall package. Also pleasing is the top-notch operating system, quickish loading times, two USB ports and unusual features like Gracenote and SACD playback. On the downside it won’t play DivX and apart from Smartphone Control there’s nothing here that wasn’t already found on the BDP-S370, and this dearth of exciting new features could end up pushing buyers toward the better-specified BDP-S480.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Performance 8
  • Value 8


May 20, 2011, 6:06 pm

Are you sure it doesn't support DLNA? I have a S370 and it quite happily plays media files through DLNA. In fact from what you've described there is no difference with the S370 except LACK of DLNA.... If so grab a bargain quick before they go. See for a demo of how the S370 handles DLNA. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNOxg_MZfr0


May 22, 2011, 2:26 pm

I'm in the market for a new Blu-ray player and the ability to stream divx/xvid from networked PCs and provide an iPlayer client are must-haves. Looking at the new players for 2011, it strikes me that the LG bd660/670 products look very interesting. Are TR planning on reviewing either of these soon?


September 6, 2011, 7:52 pm

I've been considering getting the sony s380 bluray player after reading a review on best-bluray-player.com, but after reading Daniels review I'm thinking twice about it! I think I might go for the
panasonic dmp-bd75eb-k blu-ray player instead. I haven't checked out the LG products yet, so before making up my mind I'll check them out.

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