Hardware and Design
This Blu-ray player's design may be stylish and practical, but its compact dimensions mean that there's no room to house the power transformer block inside the casing. It also means that you don't get many connections—just an HDMI port and an optical audio out.
In addition, there's a USB port on the back of the BD-ES6000 which links straight to the built-in media player. The good news is that this is the same media player as seen in Samsung's TV. It's therefore compatible with a huge range of video container formats (AVI, MP4, MKV, Mov, MTS and M2TS) and codecs (AVC-HD, H.264, X.264, WMV, DivX and XviD).
The BD-ES6000 offers access to Samsung's online services via Ethernet or Wi-Fi (built-in). There are plenty of apps (YouTube, Facebook, Picassa, etc.), as well as VOD services and catch-up TV. However, you may need to be quite patient when using this platform—it can take a while to load up and the various apps often take a few minutes to update themselves. It can all prove a bit tiresome!
There's an onboard web browser too, but this is just as slow. Entering a web address is a painful experience. The cursor speed is set to "Standard" by default, but "Really Slow" would have been a more appropriate description of its responsiveness. We tried changing it to "Very Fast" but it still wasn't speedy enough for our liking. It took us over two minutes to enter a standard URL like www.digitalversus.com. What's more, once we actually managed to enter a URL and make a page load up, we noticed that the 1920 horizontal pixels aren't used in full here. In fact, pages are under 1280 pixels wide. That's very disappointing!
Otherwise, Samsung has had the very good idea of using a slot-in optical drive in the BD-ES6000 to help keep the device's dimensions nice and trim. And, unlike some of this Blu-ray player's other functions, the optical drive works very quickly. It only takes 10 seconds to start up, then a further 16 seconds to start playing a film from the moment you insert a disc.
Once connected to our test TV (Sony Bravia 32CX520), the Samsung BD-ES6000 did just as good a job as any other Blu-ray player.
There are no major defects in image quality. Colour fidelity is fine and the greyscale is even and consistently reproduced. There are no problems to report with 3D either.
Note that this Blu-ray player doesn't have a 2D-to-3D conversion function, but that's not a problem as far as we're concerned, as these modes are usually pretty poor.
Similarly, it's no surprise to see that the SD-to-HD upscaling function is no match for the kind of quality seen in latest-gen consoles. Although this can always be a handy function, the result does suffer from some slight aliasing effects. As you can see from the pictures above, The Sony PlayStation 3 does a better job of upscaling.
When running, the ES6000 uses just 11 watts of power, which is well within average for a Blu-ray player. On standby, power use drops under 1 W.