Disc loading times are relatively quick. It took 45 seconds to load up ”I Am Legend”, from pressing Close on the tray to the first appearance of the Warner logo.
Not only is the NX-BD3 packed with features but it also delivers top-notch performance. Viewed on the Pioneer KRP-600A plasma (set to the processing-free ‘Pure’ mode) in 1080/24p, ”I Am Legend” looks stunning, particularly the opening shots of a deserted New York. The system picks out every scrap of detail, such as the wispy, overgrown weeds poking through the tarmac, the pattern of bricks on the buildings and the small text on posters.
Then as Will Smith shatters the silence in his red sports car, the pin-sharp detail rendering is in evidence again, with the NX-BD3 resolving Smith’s stubble and his dog’s fur with entrancing clarity. The other thing that jumps out is how smoothly it conveys camera pans and moving objects, tracking the red car as it screeches round corners without a hint of judder or blurring.
Its excellent black level not only make colours look deep and rich, but also gives the image an instantly gratifying punchiness and three-dimensionality that draws you right into the action. Add a lack of jaggies and other artefacts into the mix and you’ve got yourself one superb hi-def player. In a direct comparison with the Pioneer BD-LX71, the BD3 can’t quite match the levels of extreme crispness and lucidity of its standalone competitor, but this remains a solid hi-def picture performance by anyone’s standards.
The system’s upscaled DVD playback is also impressive, offering a natural, filmic presentation of ”Apocalypto”. The bronzed skin tones and verdant jungle surroundings look utterly convincing, while the crisp edges, deep blacks and lack of upscaling artefacts make for a clean, punchy picture performance. Test patterns also reveal good suppression of jaggies on moving diagonal lines and acceptable fine detail handling.