Come council clean-up day, you'll often see empty Soniq cardboard boxes awaiting kerbside collection. The brand's plasma and LCD TVs are notoriously inexpensive and popular as a result, primarily sold through JB Hi-Fi stores and occasionally online. Its product range is rapidly expanding and definitely price-driven as this Blu-ray player (one of two current models) clearly demonstrates.
Design and features
Unpacking the QPB302B, the player certainly looks the part and has some weight behind it, well 2.3kg to be precise, which for a slimline unit is respectably substantial. It's quite solid and feels well made compared to the usual standard of other "no-name" brands. Power up time was quick — the drawer opened and closed smoothly and generally the Soniq makes a favourable first impression.
At the time of writing this, JB was offering the Soniq for the "hot" price of just AU$99. We sauntered in to our local store and were even able to squeeze a few more bucks off this low price. So, it's definitely affordable, but like super-inexpensive DVD players, are you simply getting what you pay for?
The Soniq will play a decent variety of disc types and formats including DivX Plus HD, MP3, WMA and CD Audio playback, and will upscale DVD to 1080p. At this bargain basement level, it's one thing to claim what it'll play (MP3, WMA and CD Audio playbacks), but actually doing so can be a different story. We'd heard reports that this player can struggle with certain discs, mainly flatly refusing to play some DVDs, so we ran through plenty of discs to see how it would cope.
A standard remote handset is supplied, it's nothing flash and isn't backlit, but does the job.
Outputs are also standard fare comprising a single HDMI (1.3a), component, S-Video and composite. There are both optical and coaxial digital outs and the player's on-board decoding handles DTS-HD Master Audio as well as the usual Dolby flavours. It'll also do BD-Live (2.0) via Ethernet and has a handy front USB port.
First up was taking stock of power-up and load times. After pressing the power button, there is a short delay with just a solitary LED alight, and it appears not much is going on. Over in a flash, the player gets straight down to business. The drawer can be immediately ejected/loaded and it doesn't dawdle getting BDs to play — we timed your average disc to take around 20 seconds from no to go. Comparatively, this is on par with much dearer players and left our two-year-old resident Samsung BD-P1500 for dead, loading in around half the time.