Sony BDP S380 Review: Better than S370?

Sony BDP-S380 replaces the popular BDP-S370 model from 2010. The BDP-S370 was a solid entry level Blu ray player. Sony introduced the BD-S370 at 2010 CES and it quickly became a great performer at a modest price. As with 2010 models, Sony upgraded all their Blu ray players from entry level to high end models. The BDP-S380 is the direct successor to the BDP-S370. As with BDP-S370, the BDP-S380 model is not compatible with 3D contents. This is somewhat disappointing as other manufacturers have decided to include 3D playback on their entry level models as well as their high end models.

Features

Even as an entry level model, the BDP-S380 boasts impressive amount of features. In the past, Sony lacked some of the extra features found on other players. Even as a driving force behind the Blu ray technology, Sony lagged behind other manufacturers in terms of features. However, Sony always delivered quality video and audio playback functions. While older Sony models lacked the internet streaming contents, the 2010 and 2011 models all come with internet streaming features. The BDP-S380 is able to stream Neflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus, Pandora and other internet streaming contents. On top of the streaming contents, Sony has added iPhone and Android remote application. The remote application allows you to control the Blu ray player as well as displaying movie information. Also, Gracenote metadata service is included to provide full information on the movie you are watching. At first, I didn’t think it was useful tool. However, you can instantly look up all the information about the movie without having to go to your computer to look up the information. As expected, the BDP-S380 is fully compliant with Profile 2.0 and BD-LIVE contents. The BDP-S370 has onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. Also, it is capable of decoding the standard Dolby and DTS audio formats. It is also capable of playing the standard MP3 files as well as SACD format discs. While the player is capable on audio options, it does not have any 5.1 or 7.1 analog audio outputs.

Sony BDP-S380 Blu-ray Disc Player (Black)
Sale Price: $87.44

Design

The overall design is fairly similar to the BDP-S370. The front of the player is finished in glossy material. The LCD is located on the right side with few playback function buttons right below it. It also houses a USB port on the right side of the player. The left side of the player houses the loading tray for the disc. The overall dimension and weight is very close to the BDP-S370 as well. The connectivity option is identical to the BDP-S370. The player includes basic analog audio output as well as coaxial audio digital output. For the standard definition television owners, you can connect the player via component or composite outputs. You also have Ethernet and another USB port. It is lacking the second HDMI output. Sony includes a basic remote control. It is fairly functional unit and most users shouldn’t have problem operating it. The buttons are large enough with good layout. Nothing seems to be out of place and few dedicated function buttons are convenient as well.

Performance and Video

Sony has once again delivered a very fast player. The average load time is significantly faster than the older generation models. The BDP-S370 was light years ahead of first and second generation models in terms of loading speed. The BDP-S380 is no exception. It delivers a very fast performance in terms of loading times. The video processing showed no processing defects like moiré, jaggieness, or motion blur. Most of today’s Blu ray player will deliver flawless video processing. I’ve yet to see any significant video processing errors in 2010 or 2011 models from major manufacturers. Spot tested with an action movie, the BDP-S380 handled the movie without any problem. The aspect ratio problem seen on BDP-S370 in DVD playback is corrected. I’ve yet to see any defects when playing DVD in the BDP-S380. The BRAVIA internet streaming contents were acceptable at best. Compared to Blu ray quality, the streaming quality is not as crisp. This is same on other player as well. Unlike some of its competitors, the BDP-S380 had problem playing some of the file formats like MKV and Divx encoded files.

Audio

As with BDP-S370, audio processing had no hiccups. All the audio formats were tested via Blu ray discs and they all played without any hitch. Even the MP3 formats played without any problem. I could not test the SACD compatibility as I didn’t have a disc on hand to test them. However, I don’t expect any problem playing the disc if you have a collection of SACDs. The lack of 5.1 or 7.1 channel shouldn’t be a big problem for most users.

Overall

As of this review, the player can be bought for under $150. While this represents fairly decent deal for a fast Blu ray player, the lack of 3D support makes it hard to justify buying this model. For $150 or little more, you can easily purchase a Blu ray player with all these features and 3D compatibility. Also, the lack of WiFi means you’ll need to buy an adapter for extra money. If you want a quality non 3D Blu ray player, this is definitely a great buy. However, you’ll definitely want to avoid this player if you intend to purchase a 3D television set in the near future.

Buy Sony BDP S380 Now!

Sony BDP-S380 Blu-ray Disc Player (Black)
Sale Price: $87.44
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Description

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