Sony UBP-X700 review

The Sony UBP-X700 brings your 4K TV to life, without draining your savings

Sony’s UBP-X700 is an affordable way to squeeze every last drop out of your 4K Ultra HD TV.
Sony’s UBP-X700 is an affordable way to squeeze every last drop out of your 4K Ultra HD TV.
Sony’s UBP-X700 is an affordable way to squeeze every last drop out of your 4K Ultra HD TV.

Highs

  • Compact form factor
  • HDR 10 and Dolby Vision support
  • Great audio processing
  • Easy to use remote

Lows

  • Feels a little chintzy
  • Not great for streaming compared to dedicated boxes

We love streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video as much as anyone, but if you’re serious about getting the maximum possible image quality from that brand new 4K TV, you’re still going to need a disc. It may seem like a throwback to last decade, but the fact is, the only way to get the maximum fidelity out of your favorite films and TV shows at present is to watch them on Ultra HD Blu-ray.

And for that, there are few players that offer the same level of quality from a footprint as minimal as Sony’s UBP-X700. With fantastic image and audio processing and support for both HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR formats, this affordable Sony player is a great option for those looking to take their home theater to the next level.

Out of the box

For how well it renders the picture and sound of your favorite content, the X700 is a remarkably non-descript device to look at. A simple black box with an angled lower section and a silver Sony logo on the front, the player is designed to blend in among all your other home theater components.

Dan Baker/Digital Trends

As you’d expect, the device comes with only a power cable and a small remote (plus two AAA batteries), leaving you to supply and HDMI cable to connect it to your TV, projector, or A/V receiver. The remote has big buttons that are easy to see, and we like its compact form factor and reliance on a style of batteries we typically have around — some other players use large watch batteries, and that’s just annoying.

Features and functions

The biggest reasons to buy the X700 are its great video and audio processing. As mentioned above, the player support both major formats of HDR (high dynamic range) — HDR10 and Dolby Vision — making it a versatile option that enhances virtually any modern 4K TV. It’s worth noting that, though HDR10 is supported by most modern TVs and projectors, Dolby Vision support is rarer, so you’ll want to check to make sure your TV is compatible if you want the more dynamic contrast afforded by Dolby Vision, and/or whether you even need it in the first place.

The X700’s also a built-in streaming player with apps for Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, among others.

Like all Ultra HD Blu-ray players, the X700 also supports HD Blu-ray, DVD, CD, and SACD formats, meaning it will play back virtually any disc in your collection. It’s also a built-in streaming player with apps for Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, among others. We still prefer the streaming interface of most modern TVs and, even better, outboard streaming devices like the Roku Ultra or Amazon Fire TV Cube  — both because of their better interfaces and voice search capabilities — but it is nice to have streaming onboard if you don’t want to switch sources.

In terms of inputs and outputs, the player has everything we’d want: There’s two HDMI output ports on the back panel, a coaxial audio output, Ethernet port (there’s also built-in Wi-Fi), and a USB input on the front panel.

sony ubp x700 ports
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

The overall build quality of the X700 is high, but we couldn’t help but feel a bit disconcerted at how light it is. The drawer that holds discs feels a bit flimsy when opened, too — the plastic cover in front of it feels more precarious in operation than we’d like. Still, it’s not like anyone will be lugging this with them on the go, and as a piece of hardware to stick on a shelf, it does the job just fine.

The same goes for the utter lack of any display on the device. Frankly, we don’t really need one on a simple disc player, especially given that the built-in interface on your TV screen is very simple to use.

Performance

The first time we turned on the player, we used this interface to navigate to the onboard settings menu, where we found everything we needed was already set to “Auto” — indicating that the player would automatically detect the format and quality of a disc and do its best with whatever we threw at it. This may be less than ideal for those who love to have full control over the settings, but for novices it’s an easy, plug-and-play solution that works quite well. If you do find yourself wanting to, say, let your TV upscale a 1080p Blu-ray instead of utilizing the X700’s upscaling engine, you can simply turn upscaling off.

The UBP-X700 offers fantastic image quality without any hassles.

Regardless what you’re playing, the UBP-X700 offers fantastic image quality without any hassles. We tested the X700 with the BenQ HT2550, using an assortment of Ultra HD Blu-ray, standard Blu-Ray, and DVD sources. In all instances, we were impressed with the image processing offered by the lightweight player, which brought outstanding picture regardless of whether we were playing 4K or upscaled content.

When watching The Martian via Ultra HD Blu-ray, we were particularly impressed with the HDR10 performance, which offered bright highlights and excellent contrast when rendering images from the Martian landscape. We also loved the way that the player upscaled our standard Blu-ray copy of The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. The bright greens were particularly well rendered, standing out amidst darker backgrounds in the film. Heck, even our trusty old DVD copy of Space Jam looked better when spun inside the X700, appearing a bit less grainy on our massive 100-inch projection screen than we’ve seen it before (though still very clearly upscaled from standard definition).

sony ubp x700 top
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

It didn’t come as a surprise that the audio quality offered by this player was equally impressive; Sony has long made some of our favorite audio processors on the market, and is currently the manufacturer of our favorite headphones. Especially when watching via our 4K projector, the massive soundstage offered by the X700 fooled us into thinking we were back at the theater. Films we typically watch on streaming services via our Roku Ultra had much more vibrant sound when listened to on disc through the Sony player, with surround sound audio and voices becoming even more vivid. This is typically the case with any comparison between Ultra HD Blu-ray and streaming video, but it was clear the player itself was a big part of the improvement.

Our Take

With great sound and image quality and a small footprint that will fit alongside even the sleekest setups, the UBP-X700 is a great option for those who are looking to make the most of their home theater without breaking the bank.

Is there a better alternative?

If you’re after a player that supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10 formats, there aren’t any obvious alternatives to the UBP-X700. But if you’re after something that simply plays Ultra HD Blu-Ray discs, the more-affordable LG UP870 is a good option – though it does not include any streaming capabilities. If you’re also a gamer, it may be worth taking a look at the Xbox One S, which can play Ultra HD Blu-ray discs with HDR10, and costs just a touch more than the UBP-X700.

How long will it last?

Sony has a history of building long-lasting products, and we don’t expect this one to be any different. If you purchase a UBP-X700, we’d expect it to last for years of steady use.

Should you buy it?

Yes. If you’re looking for a great player that supports all your HDR content — and won’t force you to cut into your vacation fund — the UBP-X700 is among the best options you’ll find.

Home Theater

There isn’t a single good reason to buy Apple’s new AirPods

After nearly a three-year wait, Apple has finally announced a new version of its popular true wireless headphones, the AirPods. We had high hopes for vast improvements, but that's not what we got.
Home Theater

Dish TV customers can access up to 13 NCAA March Madness games in 4K

If you're a basketball fan looking to get your fix of NCAA Championship action in 4K, Dish TV will be airing up to 13 of the tournament games in the ultra high-def format, starting on Tuesday.
Computing

Great PC speakers don't need to break the bank. These are our favorites

Not sure which PC speakers work best with your computer? Here are the best computer speakers on the market, whether you're working with a tight budget or looking to rattle your workstation with top-of-the-line audio components.
Home Theater

The best Dolby Atmos movies for your home theater sound as good as they look

If you've got your hands on some sweet Dolby Atmos gear, the next step is to find films that take advantage of it. These are our picks in several genres for the best Dolby Atmos movies currently available on Blu-ray and streaming services.
Computing

Need more from your conference white board? The Surface Hub 2 should have it

The Surface Hub 2 could be the most expensive whiteboard ever made, but it should be a powerful and capable one. With the ability to connect several of the 50-inch displays together, the picture at least, should be gorgeous.
Deals

Amazon slashes prices on UE Boom and MegaBoom 3 Bluetooth speakers

With just the right combination of great sound, a rugged design, and an overall sleek aesthetic, the UE MegaBoom 3 is our favorite Bluetooth speaker. And Amazon is offering a rare discount on it right now.
Home Theater

Tipping point? Streaming subscribers outnumbered cable in 2018 for first time

2018 was a very good year for the entertainment business as a whole, but it was especially good for streaming companies like Netflix and Amazon, says a new report by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Movies & TV

Stranger Things season 3 is coming! Here’s everything we know so far

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season, premiering in July 2019.
Home Theater

Here’s what’s new on HBO and what’s leaving in April 2019

Whether you're a cable lifer or a staunch cord cutter, there's never been a better time to get down with premium TV. April 2019 brings Game of Thrones season 8, BlacKkKlansman, and Crazy Rich Asians to HBO.
Home Theater

TCL drops the price of its 75-inch 6-Series 4K Roku TV to $1,500

March is a great time for TV deals, and we've got a whopper: TCL has taken $300 off the price of its superb 75-inch 6-Series 4K HDR Roku TV, making it $1,500. That's the lowest price ever on this affordable TV.
Movies & TV

Comcast launches Xfinity Flex, a $5-a-month service aimed at cord cutters

For $5 a month, Xfinity Flex gives existing Xfinity internet subscribers a 4K- and HDR-ready set-top box that can stream video from YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, as well as free TV from apps like Cheddar and ESPN3.
Home Theater

Here’s how to watch Apple’s March 25 product reveal event live

It's almost here: Apple's much anticipated March 25 event, where it is widely expected to announce several streaming services, including on-demand and live TV with original programming. Here's how to watch it live.
Movies & TV

HBO’s Deadwood movie rustles up a trailer and a release date

This spring, HBO's long-awaited Deadwood movie will explore what happened 10 years after the events of HBO's award-winning drama, giving the series a finale 13 years after the show was canceled.
Movies & TV

Apple’s next big event is set for March 25: Here’s what you can expect

Apple's next big event takes place on March 25 in Cupertino, California. The company is expected to make several announcements related to its services, including Apple TV, so follow our guide to get ready for the big event.