Last summer, Sony announced the Sony UBP-X500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player. This new model has to fall just below the UBP-X700 and has to make it without features like apps and an extra HDMI output. The player is for sale at the time of writing for just under 190 euros, but is he worth the price? We’re reviewing it in this review.
Sony UBP-X500 – specifications
- What: Ultra HD Blu-ray player
- Connections: 1x HDMI ,, 1x network connection, 1x USB
- Disc formats: Ultra HD Blu -ray, 3D Blu-ray, BD-R / RE, DVD-Video, DVD + R / RW, DVD-R / RW, SACD, CD-Audio, CD-R / RW
- Extras: HDR10, USB / DLNA media player
- Dimensions: 320 x 45 x 212 mm
- Weight: 1.4 kg
- Suggested retail price: 199 euro
It is important to mention that the price of the UBP-X500 is now around 190 euro, while the price of the ‘more expensive’ UBP-X700 is about 210 euros. That is not a big difference, certainly not when we look at the differences between the players. The UBP-X700 is compared to the UBP-X500 with an extra HDMI output, support for Dolby Vision, 7.1-channel decoding for Dolby Atmos and DTS: X and WiFi with access to apps like Netflix.
Sony UBP -X500 – design
As far as the design is concerned, we do not see any differences with the UBP-X700. Yes, the player is a little less deep, but that is what has been said. It is a simplistic but sleek and compact design. Just like its more expensive brother we see a metal chassis back, which gives the player something more firmness and a premium look and feel. The finish is matte black, with a glossy black strip at the front. The Ultra HD Blu-ray player is equipped with two buttons at the front, power and eject. A tiny green LED is your only indication that the player is on. All in all, the finish is fine and we have little to complain about the design.
When we look at the connections, it is all quite simple; all you get is an HDMI output on the back, an ethernet port on the back and a USB port on the front. The player does not have WiFi nor does it have an extra audio output.
Sony UBP-X500 – ease of use
The Sony UBP-X500 is a very simple player, without many extra features or functions. We also see that immediately in the interface. These are three simple areas that give you direct access to the settings of the player, the disc in the drawer or the connected USB device.
The only slightly more advanced menu is the menu of the settings. Again, simplicity is the key word here; and as an average user you only come here once to optimize the player. Incidentally, there is an ethernet port on the player, but you can only use it for firmware updates or BD Live options.
In the audio setting you have to deactivate ‘BD Secondary audio’ if you want to send bitstream audio outside. 19659021] Remote control
Sony supplies a – again – simple remote control with the UBP-X500. The remote only comes with the most important buttons to get started immediately. The layout is self-evident, the small remote is easy to handle and even with less light, the player with this remote control (by feeling) is fine to operate.
With the ‘Display’ key you show information about the played video, but unlike the Samsung and Panasonic players, the Sony is scanty with its information. An indication of the resolution, framerate and whether or not it is an HDR signal, are the only details you will find out. We also find an ‘audio’ and ‘subtitle’ button on the remote, with which you quickly adjust the audio track or subtitle track. On many other players you have to use the menus, those two buttons we find very useful.
Sony UBP-X500 – features
In terms of features we can be quite short about the UBP-X500. It is a player who swallows all kinds of discs and formats (also high resolution to CD quality and Super Audio CD) but in terms of extra possibilities as apps and interactive content you have to look elsewhere. Netflix, YouTube and similar apps are therefore not available.
If we look at the supported digital files we can say with quite certainty that all everyday formats can be played without problems, including XVID, Flac, Alac and DSD. In addition, the player supports the bitstream transmission of Dolby Atmos, DTS: X and all audio formats below. However, decoding can only be a 2-channel audio output, so you better leave it to a receiver.
Sony UBP-X500 – Image quality
With so few features and functions you can focus on just one thing, and that’s also the most important part; the image quality. As far as this part is concerned, the Sony just does what it has to do. If you have optimized everything in the settings for your system, it is a matter of playing and enjoying. That makes the UBP-X500 absolutely possible.
Is it the best player we have ever seen? No, but you can not get much better in this price segment. The image quality is almost comparable to that of the UBP-X700 that we tested before. The X500 provides a sleek, detailed and high-contrast image, with here and there more noise than the real top models. The noise can be suppressed by the player, preferably we let this do the television. We prefer to let TV do everything and so we do not adjust the image display on the player; everything goes directly from the source to the TV. De-interlacing is neatly picked up, all frame rates are well recognized and the player provides a smooth and smooth display.
In the area of HDR, the possibilities are also limited. The UBP-X500 only supports HDR10, unlike the UBP-X700 which also supports Dolby Vision. There is very little content with Dolby Vision, but if you have streaming or on disc in the house it is good to know that you can not play with this player again. HDR10+ is not supported either.
When we turn on an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with HDR10, the Sony also shows great performance with this content. Light parts of the screen come forward with sufficient clarity and retention of detail, while dark parts of the screen (shadows for example) still contain many color gradations and thus details. We are also very satisfied in this area.
Sony UBP-X500 – Conclusion
The Sony UBP-X500 is a compact, simple and all-round and universal media player. There are no extra features such as apps and the internet, but what the player has to do – providing a good image – he does well. But, this model is for sale at the time of writing for about 190 euros, while the UBP-X700 can be bought for two decades. That model does come with important extras such as Dolby Vision, two HDMI outputs, WiFi and access to apps like Netflix and YouTube. Unless you really do not need these options and do not want to spend 20 euros extra absolutely, we still recommend to go for the UBP-X700. The UBP-X500 is a great player, but there is simply a better (more extensive) option for sale in Sony’s own line-up, for not much more money.