From the outsideUnfortunately, Toshiba hasn't only trimmed the feature list, and also seems to have cut some corners on the finish. The buttons are the front are too stiff, given the size of the player, which will slide back across your TV cabinet every time you press one. The only solution is to hold it with one hand and press the buttons with the other.
It's five centimetres wider than the Sony S185, but the BDX1250 is still slimmer than the majority of other Blu-ray players.
We would have liked the grey trim at the front, but the visual effect is ruined by the fact that the rest of the outside is a big metal box that looks more like a VHS player than something from the current century. The old-school seven segment display does nothing to help bring it up to date, either.
A more welcome innovation sees the USB port switched to the back of the device. That's much better if you want to leave something to store BD-live content on the whole time, as there isn't any internal memory, or if you want to keep your media centre connected to your Blu-ray player. Then again, adding a second USB port to the front wouldn't have been a ridiculous idea either.
The USB port is compatible with self-powered hard drives as well those formatted using NTFS.
Finally, a piece of bad news for users who like using BD-Live services: you'll need an Ethernet cable to connect to the outside world, as there's no WiFi.
Given the lack of bells and whistles, the energy consumption is understandably low: 9 W when playing a DVD, making it second only to our overall favourite, the Sony S185, which only uses 6 W. In general, we're glad to see manufacturers making an effort to keep energy consumption down.
SoftwareWhat can we say? Toshiba has made absolutely no attempt with the user interface. The menus are rough and ready, with 8-bit colours and icons that look like they've been borrowed from Windows 98. A single screenshot should give you a good idea:
There's never any help for users, so when you plug in a USB device, it won't start playing automatically. It might not sound like much, but until you realise that the 'MC' button on the remote launches the media player, you won't be able to use that. Ploughing through Toshiba's ancient interface will finally get you to your files. The BDX1250 supports DivX video, as well as HD AVC files, but not the VC-1 format (.wmv fiels). Different audio tracks, subtitles and chapters are all supported. The BDX1250 also has a very handy feature which allows you to pick up playback where you left off with the last five discs, even if you unplug it from the power.
Having such a basic interface means that the BDX1250 can get going in just 20 seconds, and it's another 20 seconds before you see the first frames of your movie, making it perfect for anybody in a hurry.
Image QualityA little while back, we changed our testing procedure for DVD and Blu-ray players, and now rely on the Sony KDL-32CX520 TV for our lab figures because it does such a great job of colour reproduction. That means that any remaining problems are very easy to spot.
The BDX1250 reproduces colours accurately
This Blu-ray player accurately reproduces colours and we don't have any criticisms of the image quality. Video upscaled from DVD to HD look acceptable for a device of this type. But remember that a dedicated device will do a much better job!
- Small footprint
- USB port supports self-powered devices
- Reproduces Blu-ray content accurately
- Ugly design
- Poor build quality
- No WiFi
- Confusing menus
The Toshiba BDX1250 offers the bare minimum. That's one way forward, of course, but manufacturers also need to think about their users (see what we had to say about the remote for instance). The interface is a nightmare, and the build quality isn't up to scratch. Fortunately, the picture produced is an accurate representation of what's on the Blu-ray disc, and you should enjoy the media player. But Toshiba's rivals offer more than this for the same price.