Although it lacks the prowess of more expensive players and 3D peers like the Panasonic DMP-BDT100, the BDX3100 still delivers an impressive picture performance. The sharpness and stability of its pictures paves the way for crisp, focused 3D layering. With Monsters Vs Aliens, the foreground figures are relayed with pin-sharp clarity, while finely detailed background objects and CG scenery boast a convincing sense of perspective, making the image seem deep and absorbing. Artefacts like ghosting and stepping are kept to a minimum.
As for 2D, the fine detail contained in the Iron Man 2 Blu-ray disc is conveyed with the sharpness it deserves, complete with the transfer’s inherent grain. The intricacies of the image are clearly visible, from the pinstripes on Tony’s jacket at the Stark Expo to wrinkles, pockmarks and strands of hair during facial close-ups. Text on computer screens is similarly well resolved and edges are emphatically defined. In fact, the factory sharpness setting is too much, making the picture seem slightly forced and false, so we recommend toning it down to take the edge off.
Colours are also perfectly pitched and consistently natural. Flesh tones are convincing, from Mickey Rourke’s leathery, bronzed face to Scarlett Johansson’s pale visage, while the light and shade on background walls are subtly blended. This excellent colour and detail reproduction also makes aerial shots of Monaco look spectacular, lending richness to the blue sea and the verdant green hillsides. Subsequent shots of brightly coloured race suits and F1 cars also pass muster.
From a more objective standpoint however, the Silicon Optix HQV disc reveals that its video processing isn’t completely flawless. With the Film Resolution Loss test, there’s some strobing in the centre and corner boxes – a sign that the deck isn’t processing the video cadence in the correct way – and there’s some moire noise and judder during the pan across the stadium. That said, the Video Resolution Loss pattern reveals faultless conversion of the video cadence, while both jaggies tests are handled without any artefacts – the white bars move smoothly with pristine edges.
It’s also worth noting that the BDX3100 loads Blu-ray discs quickly. Terminator Salvation loaded up in just over 40 seconds, which is much better than many players on the market, while other discs like Hellboy II and Iron Man 2 took around 30 seconds.
DVD playback is decent enough. Upscaled to 1080p Iron Man 2 looks clean and crisp, with very few artefacts to speak of and the deck’s CD playback is also enjoyable. HD audio piped to an AV receiver via HDMI sounds sensational.
The BDX3100 is a respectable 3D Blu-ray player in its own right, offering solid picture quality, unusually generous video adjustments, a smart operating system and an attractive design. But its Achilles' heel is the feature list, which lacks increasingly common stuff like Wi-Fi support, Internet content and DLNA streaming, plus format compatibility is limited. These features can be found on similarly priced players like the Panasonic DMP-BDT100, Samsung BD-C6900, Sony BDP-S570 and LG BX580, making them more sophisticated and therefore much better value for money.