Sony ubp-x800m2 Review After testing the product

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Features and Functionality

Sony ubp-x800m2 Review After Testing Product

Sony ubp-x800m2 Review 

The last time we reviewed Blu-ray players over 6 years ago. These devices have become niche, during this period 4K UHD Blu-ray discs have appeared and ceased to be a novelty. And some companies like Oppo were among the first to release new devices and have already left the market. 
Recently, we gave tips on how to “choose a Blu-ray player” and we believe that now it makes sense to purchase not just a player to replace the old one, but the most universal device. Of course, it’s all about the budget, and “versatility” is highly dependent on the price tag. That is why the hero of the review was the “popular” player Sony UBP-X800M2

Design, assembly, interfaces

The UHD player Sony UBP-X800M2 entered the market in May 2019 and continues the X800 business, which had many flaws. In the new model, Sony tried to fix the main weaknesses of its predecessor. The device comes in classic packaging for Sonya made of thick white cardboard with an image of the player itself and a bunch of logos to emphasize important technologies. In the kit, depending on the country, you can find not only a remote control and an HDMI cable but also a UHD Blu-ray disc.
 
Sony ubp-x800m2 Review After testing product
 
A good solution for the Sony X800 was the design of a steel chassis with a frame and beam to minimize vibration from the drive and provide additional electrical shielding. All this in the new product – a minimalistic square design, which combines a black top made of rough matte plastic and a bottom with a smooth gloss in the middle. Thanks to Sony for not talking about the “fashion” and forsaking the solid black gloss, which is covered with dust, easily scratches, and collects fingerprints.
The player has a full-width deck (overall dimensions 430 x 50 x 265 mm), but it weighs almost 4 kg, which is much more than budget models. The power stabilizer block has been improved. For some, the lack of a display will be a minus, but now you can do without it. Everything is assembled very well, without backlash, it gives the impression of a good thing.
Almost the entire glossy front insert is a hinged door (opens when the disc tray is pulled out). Only in the right corner is there a pair of physical buttons and a miniature shutter, behind which there is a USB port. Unfortunately, this is the only USB port for multimedia playback.
 
Sony ubp-x800m2 Review After testing product
 
This player cannot boast of a large set of interfaces. If you compare it with the flagship Sony UBP-X1100ES, you will see the loss of half the ports. Everything superfluous has been thrown out and there is no relationship with the installation systems (RS232 or IP Control). There is only one HDMI 2.0 port with HDCP 2.2 support, a dedicated HDMI 1.4 port (for audio only), an S / PDIF coaxial output, and a 10/100 LAN network port. Network communications are also represented by built-in WiFi 802.11a / b / g / n (MIMO 2.4 / 5 GHz) and Bluetooth 4.1 (LDAC support, you can directly connect to the soundbar). It also supports Miracast Screen Mirroring from smartphones.
 
A player’s blues, you rarely see beautiful remote controls, but this one is embarrassing with its outdated appearance (it was similar to Sony’s players and TVs in 2009-2013) and the lack of a backlight. At the same time, it contains all the necessary buttons for control, lies well in the hand, and the distances between the keys are sufficient to avoid false clicks.
 
Sony ubp-x800m2 remote
 

Features and Functionality

Support for any physical disks – a strong point of X800M2 It can work with CD, SACD, DVD-Audio, DVD, Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, and Ultra HD Blu-ray. From a USB stick or through your home network, the player supports the most popular audio and video formats, including DSD and HEVC audio (.mkv, .mp4, .m4v, .m2ts, .mts). As for the audio part, it is guaranteed to work with Dolby Atmos, DTS: X, and earlier HD audio formats.
 
UBP-X800M2 understands the three most popular HDR formats (HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision), which is the main update compared to the X800. At the same time, there is no HDR10 +, and its support in already released Sony devices is unrealistic due to “political” decisions. However, this format has so far lit up on three dozen disks and it is unclear what will happen in the future.
 
The basis of the technical stuffing is the CXD90049GG chip (rebranded Mediatek MT8581). The player is equipped with a 4K Upscale zoom function (up to 60p), and proprietary solutions like BRAVIA Mode. Sony is also focusing on the fact that the UBP-X800M2 is currently the cheapest UHD Blu-ray player that supports HDR-to-SDR tone mapping. This is good news for outdated display owners who want to see at least some of the benefits of Ultra HD Blu-ray.
 

In work. Testing disc playback of Sony ubp-x800m2

The initial setup of this UHD Blu-ray player is simple and straightforward. The user interface is extremely concise, but it works very quickly. When you turn on the device for the first time, select the language, connect to the WiFi network, and can update the firmware. The main menu includes direct access to the drive, USB port, streaming applications, and settings menu.
 
Sony ubp-x800m2 Review After testing product
 
Sony ubp-x800m2 Review After testing product
 
Just note that the player is more stable over Wi-Fi on the 5 GHz band. We specifically checked in conjunction with 3 routers: an older one from Xiaomi and Linksys, a newer one from Asus. on two routers, the 2.4 GHz speed was one and a half times slower than on the third and less stable, but at 5 GHz the indicators were plus or minus the same. In any case, on a wired or wireless network, this player is not enough for quiet work with heavy 4K files. It is strange that Sony did not install the latest generation Wi-Fi module in 2019.
 
When working with disks, the download speed is impressive. We did not have the opportunity to compare with the UHD models of 2017-2019, but the Sony UBP-X800 M2 loads a Blu-ray or 4K Blu-ray disc at least a third faster than ordinary Samsung or LG models. Even blues with heavy Java menus load in 30-40 seconds. In addition, there is almost no noise during disk rotation, which may be the result of a reinforced player design.
 
Image and video processing quality – at the level of competitors in the price range. When outputting DVD and Blu-ray, all the smallest details are preserved, accurate color reproduction, there are no artifacts. The player scales all types of content well to 4K resolution, although you can see bad DVDs with small artifacts.
 
Then we wanted to watch Fast and Furious 8, The Great Gatsby, Lucy, and Planet Earth 2 in 4K UHD. A separate item on the program was the disc “Alita: Battle Angel”, where there is support immediately for Dolby Atmos and HDR10, HDR10 +, Dolby Vision. All films have a different increase in detail compared to ordinary blues, different shooting conditions, and other nuances. But on all Ultra HD Blu-ray discs with Dolby Vision, we saw an improvement in video quality over standard HDR10. This is more detail in the shadows, the best transmission of glare, and small nuances when viewing visual effects. At the same time, it seemed that the DV content looks a little lighter than when watching the same discs on the Oppo player.
 
The Dolby Atmos tracks that came with the movie sounded amazingly good. All audio formats can be output via HDMI as bitstream (for this you need to disable Secondary Audio in the sound menu) or decode as PCM. Dolby Atmos and DTS-X are output when you transfer the player to Bitstream.
 
Surprises were not waiting for us in terms of video quality. It turns out that the player does not automatically detect Dolby Vision when playing discs and does not correctly transmit information to the TV. Dolby Vision is not activated by default and you have to turn it on manually to play discs that support this format and turn it off again when playing HDR10 discs. If you do not do this in the settings menu, then the player will use the basic HDR10 by default.
 
Sony ubp-x800m2
 
This is an extremely strange decision from Sony – everything works automatically on competitors’ players. It is unlikely that someone will like to constantly turn this option on and off. In addition, the DV question came up again when working with 3D Blu-ray. Yes, these discs also play very well, but you will need to switch Dolby Vision to “Off”.
 
Sony UBP-X800M2 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc Player allows you to convert content from HDR to SDR if you own a TV that does not support HDR. This does not have to be a 4K wave TV of the first wave and is well suited for 1080p LCD TVs. The player automatically recognizes that it is connected to the old SDR display and makes it possible to manually adjust the tone map to better match the brightness, color, and dynamic range of the connected display. Lowering the slider makes the image brighter, and a higher value makes the image darker. Do not wait for a miracle from the end result. In general, all this works well, but inferior to the capabilities of Panasonic’s HDR Optimizer.

Additional functions of Sony ubp-x800m2

Are you a real music fan and do you have several discs in niche SACD or DVD-Audio formats in your collection? Then you will be satisfied with the X800M2 – it can reproduce them and does it very well for its money. Everything is read with a bang, and the problem will arise only with SACD-R – the player does not support SACD images, which are popular among content lovers from file hosting and torrents.
 
The player offers support for Hi-Res (high-resolution audio) via a USB port or from a local network. Supports FLAC, ALAC, DSD 11.2 MHz, and so on. If your library does not contain Hi-Res Audio audio files, then the proprietary DSEE HX scaling technology will come to the rescue. All of your low-resolution compressed audio files are scaled to near-high resolution. You should not expect a miracle from this decision, but the dynamic range of recordings can really surprise you.
 
Sony’s third bonus is Bluetooth audio streaming (to the soundbar or headphones). All settings and connections are implemented very simply and conveniently, and in addition, there is the possibility of simultaneous streaming via Bluetooth and HDMI (dual output option). Thanks to proprietary LDAC technology, you can transfer higher-quality audio over conventional Bluetooth connections without loss.
 
Already from the main menu of the player, you can understand that with streaming services everything is very sad. Only three popular services are offered: Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Youtube. If you want additional online cinemas, then just forget about it. Sony not only offers nothing of her own, but also forgot about Hulu, HBO, and, especially, about some local services like IVI or Megogo. I’m glad that Netflix and Amazon Prime offer a lot of content in Dolby Vision, but even here you have to manually enable DV in the settings. Plus, the speed of the Netflix or Amazon menu is inferior to that of the 2018 LG TV – here, the difference in processor performance apparently affects. On the other hand, any flagship smart TV is now simply stuffed with video services, and only owners of projectors can be very worried about their absence in the player.
 

Pros and Cons of Sony ubp-x800m2

Pros:

    1. A strong case, classic design;
    1. Versatility (including Hi-Res, DVD-A, and SACD);
    2. Fast boot drives and the fast user interface;
    3. Excellent picture quality;
    4. High-quality conversion of “HDR to SDR”;
    5. Support for streaming via Bluetooth;
    6. Great price

Cons:

    1. No automatic detection/switching Dolby Vision;
    1. No support for HDR10 + format;
    2. A limited set of interfaces;
    3. The minimum set of online services.

Conclusion 

Sony UBP-X800M2 does not strive for the heights of a reference player like Oppo UDP-203 (both visually and according to the sensations at work). But thanks to a reasonable price tag, perhaps we have the most balanced Ultra HD Blu-ray player on the market. It can be bought in the USA and Europe for 300 US dollars (euros), and at the time of sales, it can be bought for 250. But this is a model with a regional reference, and the multi-region can be found on Amazon or eBay with a mark-up of 100 ye or purchased from local farms.
If you are ready to put up with the oddities in working with Dolby Vision content, then you can completely close your eyes to the remaining shortcomings. Even with an eye on Panasonic or LG players, this model simply does not have a clear competitor for its price.

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