There must be a secret R&D division, deep within Samsung HQ, entirely devoted to downsizing technology. Its only mission: to make smaller what it made smaller the day before.
This is the only possible explanation for the Samsung BD-D7500. Hailed as the world's smallest Blu-ray player, it's only marginally larger than a couple of taped-together Blu-ray cases. Yet it manages to pack in an enormous amount of leading edge Blu-ray tech, including 3D, Internet and streaming capability.
The BD-D7500 is available now for around £240.
Tiny and glowing
The BD-D7500 is tiny, measuring 380x158x23 mm. It also sports a large, touch-sensitive control panel and copious glowing, pulsating lights. Dangle one over Nevada and there would be a UFO flap.
The severe size constraints have implications of course. There's no room for rear-ward connections on this deck. Instead you'll find a shallow cavity on the undercarriage which offers HDMI, digital optical audio and AV mini-jack outputs, plus Ethernet.
It's at this point you'll probably need to abandon any heavy-duty HDMI cables you may have planned on using. Only a cheapo flexible HDMI lead is going to fit. There's no room for a component output alternative.
A player for poseurs?
The BD-D7500 isn't designed to be racked conventionally. A little pedestal stand is supplied to prop the player on its side at a jaunty angle. This allows easy access to the slot loading disc mechanism, which is located on one edge (there's a USB slot on the other).
Also supplied in the box is a wall mounting kit, should you really want to impress the neighbours.
Thankfully, you'll not need to use that USB slot for a Wi-Fi dongle as the player has that built-in. Following the simple-to-use wizard, we had the diddy deck networked in just a few minutes.
Smarter than a ten year old
When it comes to downloadable/streaming content, Samsung's Smart Hub portal is steaming ahead of the rest. Like most wall-garden manufacturers sites, it features a mix of Video on Demand services and miscellaneous apps.
While there is a nod to social media on the Smart Hub portal, the Facebook and Twitter clients are not integrated into the TV experience, and you have to negotiate Samsung's own account creation and login hurdles to use them.
You can also browse pictures from Picasa, amuse yourself with casual games or download apps to help you with your yoga technique.
Should you have music, movies or TV shows you want to stream, the BD-D7500 is generally helpful. Play them via USB or from a networked PC and the BD-D7500 happily complies, even MKV files are unspooled. If you're using a NAS to store your stuff (as indeed you should be), the chances of such full-on support are rather less. The BD-D7500 can be a little pedantic about media servers.
Pretty as a picture
While the player may be a featherweight, its HD picture quality is undeniably punchy. Movie playback bristles with detail. When Benicio Del Toro bounds off across the dark Victorian skyline in The Wolfman (Blu-ray), Peelers in pursuit, you can peer into the smog and find plenty of period detail.
3D picture playback is similarly fine.
Should you be so inclined, you can also depth convert regular 2D Blu-rays and DVDs into 3D. While I'm not convinced there's any compelling reason to wear 3D glasses for material never designed to be seen in the format, I will concede that Samsung offers the best 2D-to-fauxD out there. So if you positively, absolutely have to do it, then the BD-D7500 is as good a way as any to experience fake 3D.
DVD playback is good enough, although you will find more precise upscaling on some of this deck's more conventional rivals.
We wouldn't advocate this unit as a dedicated CD player, its music playing abilities are strictly functional. However, this caveat probably doesn't matter. We doubt the BD-D7500 will be plumbed into many AVRs -- it's clearly conceived to connect directly to a TV.
Of course, if you do want to hook it up to a home cinema amp, the player will bitstream out Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio. It doesn't have any persistent memory though, so that single USB slot may have to be stuffed with a spare 1GB if you want to download something via BD Live.
Samsung has produced an eye-catching 3D Blu-ray player with the BD-D750. It may not be a high-end power deck, but those who hanker after a designer disc spinner with above average net connectivity will flock to it like bees to honey. Just looking at it makes us feel posh.
Edited by Jennifer Whitehead