Sitting just below the premium Sony BDP-S790 (which continues from last year) and the enthusiast-focused BDP-A6000, the BDP-S5100 is the best-specced of Sony’s budget Blu-ray players. It’s equipped with a generous range of features including 3D support (not found on the BDP-S3100) and the ability to stream media files and internet content though its built-in Wi-Fi connection.
At £140, it’s towards the upper end of the budget price bracket, but those looking for a deck that does everything could consider it money well spent.
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The Sony BDP-S5100 is one of the most eye-catching players on the market. Sony has eschewed the usual straight edges and clean lines of its rivals for a pointy top panel that’s supposed to mimic the ‘gleaming facets of rock crystal’ – all part of its Sense of Quartz design concept. Whatever – we just think it looks really cool. If you’d prefer a conventional oblong shape to match an AV receiver then go for the Sony BDP-S790 or Sony BDP-A6000.
It sports a sleek black finish and compact dimensions (360mm wide x 199mm deep) that make it easy to slip into tight spaces, perhaps in a bedroom or playroom. There’s a row of four discreet buttons along the front edge, below which is a disc tray, a small LED panel and a covered USB port.
Overall, the design is distinctive yet low-key, attractive without going OTT. The plasticky bodywork has a distinctly budget air but it’s as good as you’d expect for the money.
In terms of connections, the slender rear panel proffers the bare minimum, but modern TVs and receivers dictate that you don’t really need anything more.
There’s a single HDMI v1.4 output – two would have been nice at this price, but that’s reserved for the S790. It’s joined by a coaxial digital audio output, Ethernet port and a second USB port. On cheaper models the latter would be used to connect a wireless LAN dongle, but with built-in Wi-Fi there’s no need – instead you can use it to play media from USB devices or external HDDs without it sticking out the front.