Samsung BD-P3600 review: Samsung BD-P3600

Blu-ray image quality from the BD-P3600 is as delightful as we hoped it would be. Our usual test discs, including xXx: State of the Union and Vantage Point, all looked super spiffy. We love the detail offered by this player, and the bright, vibrant and accurate colours make for a very pleasant movie-watching experience.

DVD playback from Jurassic Park also met our high quality-control standards. Motion was decent, and the colours were as good as we'd expect from the slightly older MPEG-2 standard-definition system. DVDs load almost instantly, and are upscaled to 1080p resolution by the player -- for what upscaling is worth.

A front-mounted USB socket is designed to reduce the need to fumble through the cobwebs at the back of your AV equipment to watch DivX video or enjoy MP3s and slideshows

Media playback from USB is much more limited than is the case with the LG BD370 and, indeed, Samsung's own TVs. There's no MKV support here, which is a great shame. The player does, however, support playback of the common file types you're likely to encounter on the Internet -- Xvid and DivX, for example.

The video playback from memory stick isn't especially smooth and, on the first occasion we played a clip, the picture was out of sync with the sound. If you're looking for flexible media playback, the BD-P3600 might not be the best choice for you.

The menus all look pretty good though, and navigating around with the supplied remote control is more of a pleasure than a chore. We think the player's very well set-up to handle interactive Blu-ray content too, proving much snappier than other players we've seen.

We're also pleased to see that Samsung has managed to make this player even faster than the BD-P4600. We inserted Vantage Point, and the player was up and running in just 41 seconds, compared to the BD-P4600's 43.5. That makes the BD-P3600 the fastest Blu-ray player we've ever tested, and the first to beat the PlayStation 3.

The Samsung BD-P3600 delivers the analogue 7.1 audio out that the BD-P4600 lacks. If the LG BD370 hadn't come along in the meantime, we might have really fallen for this machine, but the LG's excellent media-playback capability makes the BD-P3600 look like a significantly worse deal.

That said, if you buy the BD-P3600, we think you'll be very happy indeed. It's sturdy, quick to load Blu-ray discs and offers excellent picture quality. Besides adding some decent media-playback options, there's not much that we'd change.

Edited by Charles Kloet

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