Samsung BD-J7500 review
|Review: September 2015|
In a nutshell: If you've bought one of Samsung's new UHD televisions, you'll want a Blu-Ray player that truly does it justice. The Samsung BD-J7500 wants to be that player. The J7500 offers UHD upscaling, as well as good connectivity, including 2 HDMI connections and built-in Wi-Fi. It also has a good range of Smart TV services. But it's expensive, and not strictly necessary to get the most out of your UHD TV.
Design & looks
The BD-J7500 is Samsung's flagship Blu-Ray player for 2015 and seeks to differentiate itself from cheaper models right from its initial appearance. While the core of the player is made of lightweight gloss black plastic, a brushed aluminium band wraps around the device, lifting its looks towards premium. It's quite a dark, brooding presence sitting beneath, or alongside your TV, but very compact.
To the front is a tray deck, LED display and a concealed USB port, with touch-sensitive buttons arranged along the top edge. A standard remote control accompanies the player.
One thing that impresses is the fast boot time of the player, which can start in not far off a second. The device is driven by a dual-core processor and although most actions are quick, we wouldn't say it's necessarily lightning-fast.
The main reason for buying a J7500 is that it can upscale content to UHD, so it will get the very best out of that new Samsung UHD TV you just bought. Whether this really makes a difference in practice is a matter of debate. Most UHD TVs already contain their own sophisticated upscaling hardware, so the J7500 doesn't appear to add much, if any real benefit.
In addition to the 4K upscaling feature, this is a full-featured Blu-Ray player that can play both 2D and 3D Blu-Ray disks, plus DVDs including DVD+/-R and DVD+/-RW format, and CDs, including CD-R and CD-RW.
A wide range of video and audio formats are supported, including 7.1 surround sound (DTS and Dolby decoding supported).
Samsung seems to always be updating its Smart TV services. The BD-J7500 has a system driven by an easy-to-use graphical user interface with a useful array of apps. Catch-up TV includes the BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5 and ITV, and you'll also find Netflix and YouTube. The system works well, although the web browser is nearly impossible to use with the supplied remote control.
The player connects to a HD or UHD TV via a HDMI port at the rear. A second audio-only HDMI port enables connection to a second device such as a speaker system. You can also connect to an older speaker system via an optical digital audio output.
A USB 2.0 port on the front of the player lets you plug in a USB or external hard drive and access music, photos or videos on your TV. A CD ripping button lets you easily convert audio CDs into MP3 format.
You can connect to the internet via built-in Wi-Fi or an ethernet cable.
The Allshare screen sharing technology lets you display content from a Samsung smartphone on a compatible TV so you can view photos and videos and play games using your handset as a controller. You can also use this to stream video, music and photos from your home PC and other DLNA devices on your home network.
If your TV is a Samsung, the Anynet+ feature lets you use just one remote control to control both devices. You can also use a compatible smartphone to control the TV.
Conclusion - nice features but expensive
Samsung obviously sees UHD as the present, not the future, and the BD-J7500 is designed to accompany the company's 2015 range of UHD TVs. At a price of over £150 it's not at all cheap as far as Blu-Ray players go, and it's not necessary to enjoy UHD TV.
On the plus side, this is a well-featured model with 3D playback and support for a wide range of audio and video formats. Connectivity is high-end, thanks to the second HDMI output. The Smart TV features can be useful, although we'd bet that you probably already have those available on your TV.
In short, this is the Blu-Ray player to choose to maximise your experience of owning a Samsung UHD TV, but it's not necessary if money is tight. One of Samsung's cheaper models will do the job.
Samsung BD-J7500 features include:
- Playable disks: Blu-Ray (including 3D), DVD, CD, VCD 1.1
- UHD upscaling
- Video decoding: MPEG 2/4, DivX, DivX HD, AVCHD, MKV, WMV, JPEG, MPO formats
- Audio: 7.1 channel DTS, 7.1 channel Dolby
- Catch up on BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5 and ITV
- YouTube, Netflix, web browser and other Smart TV services
- Dual core processor
- CD ripping
- BD Wise
- Connectivity: HDMI x2, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, ethernet, USB 2.0, optical digital audio output, AnyNet+ (HDMI-CEC), AllShare streaming & mirroring, DLNA
- Remote Controller
- Power consumption: 22W (0.4W in standby)
- Size: 430 x 46 x 201 mm
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