The BDP-S5100 delivers superlative high-definition picture quality. With Django Unchained on Blu-ray, the exquisite cinematography during the title sequence is rendered with stunning clarity – the barren landscapes are bursting with scalpel-sharp texture and detail.
Edges are crisply defined, and there isn’t a single trace of noise to be seen. During darker scenes, like Dr Schultz’ night-time acquisition of Django, none of the detail goes missing – the Sony acutely picks out the different layers blackness and creates a dramatic contrast with the few chinks of light.
These utterly gob-smacking images also boast rich contrast levels and a sumptuous colour palette that makes the earthy tones of the Tennessee towns and luscious green woodlands look gorgeous, despite the horrific events happening within them.
Switch it up to the jollier subject matter of The Hobbit in 3D and the images reach new levels of wonder and enthralment. As the camera smoothly zooms its way through Goblin Town, the rock walls and rickety wooden bridges are superbly layered, rendered with the same levels of detail and colour fidelity as 2D pictures.
A workout with the Silicon Optix HQV backs up our positive impressions of the Sony’s pictures. It locks onto both the Film and Video Resolution Loss tests immediately with no flicker, and resolves moving diagonal lines in the Jaggies test with no stepping.
Other sources, such as DVDs and web-streamed video, also look terrific when upscaled to 1080p. Detail is sharp and jaggies are kept to a minimum. The only niggle was that our AVCHD clips stuttered during playback.
The BDP-S5100 also loads discs quickly, taking just 30 seconds to reach Terminator Salvation’s Sony logo and 25 seconds to fire up Django Unchained.
The BDP-S5100 does a great job as a music player, whether it’s MP3, CD or SACD. Blu-ray players aren’t usually designed for audiophile-grade playback but there’s a pleasant balance and openness here that makes it more engaging and enjoyable than many budget decks we’ve clapped ears on.
In a word, yes. Its £140 price tag is relatively high, but it’s hard to resist pulling out the debit card when you get so much for your money.
Generous internet content, 3D support, smooth DLNA file streaming, eye-catching looks and jaw-dropping picture quality are just some of the reasons why the BDP-S5100 is one of the best Blu-ray decks on the market.
The only minor blips are the single HDMI, lack of DivX support and limited catch-up TV content (compared with Samsung’s latest decks) but these aren’t deal-breakers.
The Sony BDP-S5100 is a slick, versatile 3D Blu-ray player with killer web content and sumptuous HD pictures.