Review Price £105.02
Like the BDX3200, the BDX1200 is blissfully simple to setup. That’s mostly thanks to the clear and responsive on-screen menus, which are embellished with HD graphics and use a logical structure that sensibly groups the options into Display, Audio, General and Information sub-menus. Highlight the icons along the top and the list appears below – simples. OK, it’s not a patch on Panasonic’s latest one-touch system, but poses few operation problems.
We were impressed by the BDX3200’s comprehensive range of picture adjustments, but delve into the Display settings here and disappointingly many of them are missing. You still get the same dual-menu arrangement – Video Processing and Motion Video Processing – but the latter lacks the individual colour adjustments and the second tier of picture settings, plus you only get three picture presets (Standard, Vivid and Smooth) and not the Custom or Cinema settings of the BDX3200.
The remote control is identical to the BDX3200’s zapper, and although it won’t set your coffee table alight the uncluttered layout does make life easy when controlling the player’s menus. The neat, logical arrangement of buttons won’t take long to master and sensibly the menu controls and playback keys are conveniently placed for your thumb.
With HDMI connections ensuring a faithful digital representation of what’s on the Blu-ray disc, it’s pretty hard for players to deliver a bad picture, even budget-conscious models like this. And sure enough the BDX1200’s image quality is excellent, making our Avatar disc sparkle with razor-sharp detail reproduction, wildly vibrant colours and levels of depth and contrast that keep the picture look cinematic at all times.
The movie’s intricate CG is beautifully rendered and pin-sharp, ensuring that the textures of skin, plants and scenery never get lost in a mushy haze. That, juxtaposed with the deep, natural colours and complete absence of digital nasties like jaggies or block noise, means that you get a dazzling 2D picture, even during dark scenes when terrific shadow detailing means you never lose track of what’s going on. Motion tracking is right on the money too.
To back up our findings we took the trusty Silicon Optix HQV Blu-ray for a test drive and like the BDX3200 it passes the disc’s stern tests with flying colours. The Video Resolution Loss, Jaggies and Film Resolution Loss tests were cleanly reproduced, avoiding the sort of artefacts that constitute a fail, which isn’t bad for a £100 player.
But sonically the BDX1200 is merely ordinary. After hooking up the analogue stereo outputs to our receiver and blasting out some CDs, songs sound a little thin and don’t eke out the same levels of detail as a pricier deck would. But to be honest this isn’t aimed at audiophiles and budget buyers can have few complaints with this level of audio quality.
On paper the BDX1200 may look like an unappetising prospect – a Blu-ray player with no networking capabilities, no 3D support, no Wi-Fi, no cloud internet content and a generally basic spec. But if you accept that you’re never going to get those features at this sort of price, then the BDX1200 starts to look like a decent little deck that still has a place despite its basic nature.
It’s perfect for people who simply want to watch 2D Blu-rays and DVDs, perhaps in the bedroom, without fussing about with all those fancy features. And if that’s you, then the BDX1200 is a decent choice, thanks to its terrific pictures, user-friendly operating system and digital media support via USB.
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