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For as long as there have been Blu-ray players, there have been oversized, slow, bulky lumps of utter cack. Now, however, Samsung has decided to up its game, by releasing a player that is neither slow, bulky or utter cack. A clever move, we're sure you'll agree. The BD-P4600 is designed to complement Samsung's tasty TVs, and a very good job it does of it too.

It's one of the flattest players on the market at 38mm thick, and that means it's ideally suited to be bolted in place beneath your wall-mounted television, so you just pop a Blu-ray disc in its slot-loading drive. If that doesn't suit you, there's a stand provided that will prop it up on a flat surface. We like the options, although clearly it won't suit everyone.

The DB-P4600 is a profile 2.0 machine, which means you'll get access to all of profile 1.1's features, such as picture-in-picture, plus enhanced services via an internet connection. There's an Ethernet socket to connect to your home network, or you can use an optional wireless dongle. The 4600 also boasts 1GB of internal storage, so you can keep the content you download.

All the standard connections are present and correct. You get an HDMI connector for 1080p video and HD audio output. There's a pair of USB sockets too, one of which is located underneath the player, to better deal with the optional wireless dongle. You also get digital audio out via an optical connection, and there are composite video and stereo audio RCA jacks.

Interestingly, DivX playback is included, and Samsung promises there will even be support for HD video too. We pretty sure that the company won't support the new MKV container though, which will be a problem for new video encoded with DivX 7.

We've saved the best for last, though: our standard speed test revealed this player is faster at loading our test disc, Vantage Point, than any other player we've tested -- including the mighty PlayStation 3. From the disc being inserted to the Sony logo appearing on screen took just 43.5 seconds. A new record for load times has been set, and the gauntlet thrown down to all the other Blu-ray manufacturers.

The Samsung BD-P4600 will be available in late April, and will cost around £270, depending on the retailer.

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The control buttons are all touch-sensitive, and are invisible until the machine is turned on. They beep when pressed, so you know you've done something.
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The end-mounted slot-loading disc tray is an interesting design decision. It does mean it won't suit some locations, but for mounting beneath your TV, on a wall, it's ideal.
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The P4600's skinniness is especially striking in this profile shot. You can see how small the player is, and given how large last year's players were, it's quite an advance.
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The display itself is simple, but has enough information to keep you informed about what the player is up to.
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Outputs are limited by the size and design of the player. There's no 7.1 or 5.1 analogue audio out option, and there's no component video either.
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The supplied table stand simply screws into place, and raises the player slightly, which should be good for tables.
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The remote is a standard, plastic affair. We're perfectly happy with it, but we're not planning a letter home to extol its merits.
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