The BDX5300 is Toshiba’s top of the range Blu-ray player, equipped with the company’s most generous line-up of features to date and a sleek new look for 2012. You get 3D support and Wi-Fi into the bargain, plus a smattering of smart services, but despite its spec the BDX5300 won’t greatly trouble your bank balance with a very tempting sub-£100 price tag. That sounds like a recipe for great value to us – let’s hope it’s not too good to be true.
The BDX5300 doesn’t get off to a great start with an inspection of the deck’s build quality. It’s better than that of the BDX3300, but the light, hollow-sounding aluminium casing and plasticky fascia don’t scream high quality. To be fair though, that’s par for the course at this price – rigid, vibration-quelling bodywork doesn’t come cheap. For all intents and purposes it’s solid enough and looks rather sexy with its sleek black finish and wafer-thin height (36mm).
The front panel’s uncluttered arrangement will please fans of the minimal look, while the silver panel on the bottom half adds a touch of pizzazz. The tiny display panel looks naff, particularly when it tries to spell out words, but we do like the touch-sensitive controls on the right, which light up in blue and offer open/close, play/pause and stop – these aren’t found on the cheaper BDX3300. Next to these you’ll find a USB port that lets you play music, video and photos from storage devices.
The rear panel sports HDMI, coaxial digital audio output and an Ethernet port, a predictably skeletal selection but HDMI takes care of most needs. There’s Wi-Fi on board, but the Ethernet port could come in handy if you prefer the security of a wired connection.
As mentioned the BDX5300 is Toshiba’s most feature-rich Blu-ray deck to date. Not only does it boast built-in Wi-Fi (a real boon at this price) but also provides access to a selection of internet sites (hence Toshiba billing this as a ‘Smart’ Blu-ray player). The sites on offer include BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Picasa and Acetrax – clearly a quality not quantity approach, although on both counts it still pales in comparison Sony’s Entertainment Network and Samsung’s Smart Hub.
The built-in network connection also lets you dabble in the deck’s DLNA functionality (try saying that after a few pints). You can stream music, videos and photos from PCs and laptops, plus you can control the player with an Apple or Android device with the relevant free app.
The BDX5300’s file support is OK but it’s not the ‘come one, come all’ policy adopted by some rivals. It won’t play hi-def AVI files even though they appear in the list and it shuns DivX, WMV and WMA completely. But it handles MKV with no trouble (our file contained 1080p video with DTS audio) and also plays AVCHD, MPEG-1, FLAC, MP3, WAV, M4A and JPEG.
Within the setup menu is a Video Process menu that allows you to adjust the levels of Brightness, Contrast, Hue and Saturation in the picture, plus Sharpness presets (High, Middle and Low). It’s also worth noting that the BDX5300 decodes Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio, feeding them as a bitstream or decoded PCM.