Despite its budget price tag, the Toshiba BDX3200 delivers excellent hi-def pictures across the board. It pulls every last pixel from the disc and throws it on screen, resulting in detailed, well-defined 1080p images with virtually no artefacts to speak of. We tried our usual gamut of test discs and the deck makes each one really sparkle – from the grainy futuristic landscapes and battered metal of Terminator Salvation to the lush, organic textures of Pandora in Avatar, this is a deck that really knows how to wring every last drop of detail out of a disc.
It also makes colours look natural and doesn’t shy away from tricky tonal blends or shadow detail during Terminator Salvation’s darker scenes, or night-time shots in the Pandoran jungle. If pushed, we’d say that Panasonic’s new players have the edge when it comes to super-fine textures and detail, like the melee of colours covering the ground in Avatar, but in general the Toshiba produces superb pictures.
The BDX3200 also had no trouble handling the test patterns on our Silicon Optix evaluation disc. The Video Resolution Loss test is stable and cleanly resolved, the diagonal filter tests show no signs of stepping artefacts, and it locks onto the cadence of the Film Resolution Loss test immediately. As the camera pans across Raymond James stadium, the rows of seats are stable and crisply resolved.
Switch over to 3D content and the BDX3200 continues to dazzle. Much of the quality depends on the sort of 3DTV you’re rocking in your living room, but pair it with a decent one and you’re rewarded with luxuriously deep and immersive images that draw you in from the very first frame. Panasonic’s promotional 3D Blu-ray of Avatar looks fantastic, particularly shots of the forest that seem to stretch back deep inside the TV. We couldn’t spot any artefacts, such as motion blur or crosstalk, while the deck’s superb detail reproduction and well-judged colours keep the picture looking crisp and natural at all times through dimmed active shutter glasses.
With most of Toshiba’s Blu-ray rivals offering such eye-catching features as media streaming from PCs, cloud-based internet content and 2D to 3D conversion, the BDX3200 looks rather rudimentary by comparison. But that’s all thrown into context by the price tag – this is a deck aimed at budget buyers who are willing to sacrifice such cutting-edge luxuries for some good old fashioned disc-based entertainment at an affordable price.
And on that score the BDX3200 does a terrific job, offering crisp and natural 2D and 3D Blu-ray pictures, backed up by a decent operating system, solid format support from USB drives and a surprisingly comprehensive set of image adjustments. It would be remiss of us to point out, however, that you can find some of last year’s best Blu-ray players (such as the Sony BDP-S570) still knocking around for a similar price, and in Sony’s case you’re getting a more advanced player despite its age.