Unlike Panasonic, Samsung or Sony, Toshiba has never been at the forefront of Blu-ray player innovation, instead focusing on decks that do the basics for a very affordable price. But this year the company has upped its game with a four-strong range of players, two of which are equipped with Wi-Fi and smart features. Its big name rivals have been doing this for a while but better late than never – and Toshiba’s big advantage is that it offers all this smart goodness at a much, much lower price.
The BDX3300 is one step down from the range-topping BDX5300, which offers Wi-Fi, online content and 3D Blu-ray playback. The BDX3300 lacks 3D, but in all other respects the two players are the same. Completing the line-up are the 3D-ready BDX4300 and entry-level non-3D BDX1300, both of which lack Wi-Fi and smart features.
This year’s models have been given a subtle but very welcome cosmetic revamp. You get the same gloss black fascia of previous models but Toshiba has added a fetching silver triangle at the bottom, which makes it much more eye catching. The deck is also much smaller than regular players, with a width of 360mm as opposed to the usual 430mm. That could make it easier to fit into your AV rack, and certainly makes it more appropriate for bedroom use.
Sadly it’s not all good news. The LED display is tiny and attempts to spell words using the seven-segment display, which always looks awkward, plus the row of five buttons next to it have a cheap clicky feel when pressed. In fact the whole thing feels light and flimsy, no doubt a symptom of its budget price tag.
As for connections, there are slim pickings on the rear panel, which only sports HDMI, coaxial digital audio output and an Ethernet port. That’s almost the bare minimum Toshiba could have provided, but to be fair HDMI has rendered old-school analogue sockets like composite, stereo audio, component and multichannel analogue pretty much redundant – more so on a budget player like this.
However, you do get a USB port on the front, which allows you to play music, video and photos from storage devices, as well as providing the memory needed to access BD Live, which isn’t built-in.