Sony BDP-S380 review

Jim Martin
25 Mar 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

Improvements over the S370 are few and far between, and it's disappointing not to see iPlayer in HD. DivX support has gone, and start-up is slower.


We were seriously impressed with Sony's 2010 range of Blu-ray players, giving the BDP-S370 a Best Buy award. The sheer number of features packed into the tiny player combined with a surprisingly low price made it the obvious choice for most people.

That player has now been discontinued and is replaced by, logically enough, the BDP-S380. Like the S370, the newcomer doesn't support 3D Blu-ray: for that you'll need the BDP-S480, which costs around £180.

Visually, it's almost impossible to tell the S370 and S380 apart, the only cue being the curved - rather than angular - button ledge at the bottom of the front panel. A slight update to the installation wizard means you can get up and running quickly, setting your language and the type of cable you've used to connect the player. Oddly, there was no prompt to set the HDMI resolution to 1080p, so it remained at 576p until we changed it in the System menu.

Sony BDP-S380 display

The Sony XMB interface is as easy to navigate as ever, letting you get to your videos, photos and music quickly. As well as playing Blu-ray and DVD discs, the S380 can also play Super Audio CDs. This is unlikely to interest users as much as the USB media playback. You can attach a FAT32 or NFTS-formatted disk or flash drive and play JPEG slideshows and MP3, AAC, WMA and WAV files.

Video support includes MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4, plus WMV 9, AVCHD (intended for direct playback from camcorders) and Xvid. This may sound no different from the S370's support, but DivX is now missing, so your collection of AVI files may or may not play depending on whether they were encoded using DivX or Xvid. All the other test files we tried, including high definition MKV and Xvid clips, played smoothly. As with the S370, the S380 handles video superbly, fast-forwarding and rewinding with no hiccups or delays. Our only complaint was that no thumbnails were shown for videos, album art wasn't displayed for MP3s and the occasional JPEG thumbnail was missing.

Sony BDP-S380

The new remote control is stumpier than the old one. This feels slightly crameped, even though it has less buttons than the S370's remote, lacking the frame skip and Theatre buttons.

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