The BD-P4600 also delivers some rewarding hi-def pictures, demonstrated by its handling of ”Wall-E”. From the opening frames, the deck’s impressive detail reproduction is clear to see, with the minute pieces of litter and textures within the tall piles of rubbish looking pin-sharp and punchy. The scuff marks and scratches on Wall-E’s battered body and tyre tracks on the ground are also rendered with pleasing clarity.
The Samsung handles colours with a deft hand, conveying shading and gentle tones (such as EVE’s glossy white bodywork) smoothly and without banding artefacts, but it’s also able to imbue stronger colours with deep, strong saturation that lends a warmth and vibrancy to the overall picture.
That said, the overall depth and sharpness of the image isn’t quite as impressive as some other players on the market, and movement isn’t particularly smooth – the camera pans across the landscapes at the start of chapter 2 reveal some fairly intrusive juddering with the output set to 24fps and viewed on a TV with 5:5 pulldown – but it also occurs with 24fps turned off.
We also checked out ”The Dark Knight”, and the scene in which the Joker blows up Gotham City Hospital doesn’t knock you for six as it does on the best players, but it still offers a clean, radiant presentation. Onto the Silicon Optix HQV disc, and it instantly detects the correct cadences on the Film and Video Resolution Loss tests, and reproduces the rotating bar patterns with minimal feathering and stepping along the edges – it’s not flawless but smoother than some budget decks. The shot of the stadium again judders slightly and shows some minor flickering.
DVD playback is fine, with high levels of colour and detail and solid blacks, plus it keeps noise to a minimum. Sonically there are no qualms either, as the player’s glitch-free HDMI Dolby TrueHD bitstream output results in an engaging and highly detailed sound, while with stereo CDs it makes up for its lack of refinement with sheer gusto.
With the BD-P4600, Samsung has created the most distinctive-looking Blu-ray player to date, with a gorgeous wall-mountable design that will please those who like their players to look as good as the pictures they provide.
There’s much to admire on the inside too, such as WiFi support and built-in memory, which makes it easier than ever to experience Blu-ray’s interactive extras, while the swift disc loading times and wide-ranging format support are added bonuses (although video-on-demand would have been the icing on the cake).
And although its picture quality isn’t quite up there with the best, it’s good enough to make the Samsung seem like money well spent – but it might be worth waiting to see what else LG and Panasonic have up their sleeves before making your decision.
Score in detail