- Written by Stephen Hornbrook
- Published on 30 June 2011
The Sony felt a bit chunky and cheap compared to some of the other players I have used. The buttons on the front panel are small cubes that kind of poke into the skin of your finger when you press them. Also, and maybe this is not a big issue for some, but the BD-ROM drive inside the Sony was quite loud when loading up movies. No noise was present when actually watching a movie, just when major data seeking was taking place. The player is very slim and light, but sometimes you want a piece of electronic equipment to feel solid and well put together. Compared to last year’s model, the S570, the S580 is noticeably slower, especially when navigating discs.
I checked out the Disney Visions Blu-ray disc to test out color and image performance on the 580. Since the benchmarking had been done prior to this, the Sony was certainly at a disadvantage because I knew for sure it was not properly handling the color decoding. I made sure to go back and forth, comparing a shot of a red flower on both the Sony and the Pioneer 430. I honestly could not see much of a difference. The Pioneer might have had what appeared to be slightly more detail, but looking closer it was just the player’s “detail enhancement”, or ugly edge enhancement at work. Otherwise, it was extremely hard to tell the two apart. If anything, the Sony had a more pleasing image to my eyes.
I made sure to check out Toy Story on the Sony, as I find the “simple” CG animation style a good test for color banding and gradients. Once again, I could not detect any serious banding, or loss of color. The images produced by the Sony were very good. Without two identical displays setup next to each other, I don’t think most people would detect a problem with the Sony when viewing most content.
There is no doubt in my mind that this kind of “real-world” performance is what has made Sony players easy to recommend in the past. On the surface they seem to look and perform like most other quality Blu-ray players, but this just isn’t the whole story. We at Secrets feel it necessary to go the extra mile in order to provide our readers with our best possible recommendations.