Thursday, July 12, 2012

Samsung BD-ES6000 Blu-ray player gets an 'F'

A week ago we bought a Samsung BD-ES6000 Blu-ray player with built-in WiFi.

Here's why we're returning it for a refund:

  • Blu-ray and DVD discs played well. No complaints about picture or sound.
  • Pandora (when it was working) sounded great.
  • User Interface
    • The user interface is SLOW. You click the remote to select a function, and there's no response for two or three seconds for some options, or twenty seconds or more for others. If everything else worked great, I doubt I'd be willing to put up with such a slow user interface.
    • The front panel is minimalistic, offering controls only for Power, Stop, Play/Pause, and Eject. They are not backlit, and hard to read without good lighting. You're stuck doing almost everything via the sad remote.
    • Setting up the WiFi and account information for Pandora, Hulu Plus, and other services is very tedious because You have to use the remote control to hunt-and-peck letters on Samsung's on-screen keyboard. This is slow, clumsy, and unforgiving. I tried connecting a mouse to the USB port, and was happy at first to see that I could navigate and click the keyboard a little faster than with the remote, but then frustrated to find that only part of the keyboard would respond to the mouse! No character along the right edge of the menu would respond to the mouse.
    • The crummy on-screen keyboard is implemented differently in different apps. Not dramatically differently, but enough to suggest sloppy execution of the user interface. Again, the mouse works with a portion of one keyboard, but not at all with at least one other keyboard.
    • Some of the on-screen messages invite laughter. Samsung needs to hire some better English translators.
    • Probably the last straw was connecting my Blackberry phone to the Samsung player via USB, and viewing photos. I was able to view a few photos and part of a video. Then I disconnected the cable, and immediately my phone gave a message saying that my 16GB micro-SD card was damaged. As it turns out, the SD card is totally destroyed, and even the phone is damaged, too! Even after replacing the SD card, the phone daily reports a 'USB memory error'.
      Yes, the Samsung manual advises You to select the 'Safely Remove USB' function, and no, I did not obey this. But in many years of using USB memory devices and not always using the 'Eject' function, this is the only time I've ever had a SD memory card damaged by any USB host device. A pox on You, Samsung!
  • Streaming
    • Persistent "connection problems" would cause Hulu Plus or Pandora to not start properly, or to fail after working for a little while. Hulu Plus repeatedly would get stuck while trying to load commercials. Both apps were slow to load, and often would not successfully log in with the credentials we had already set up. It frequently asked us to log in again. Thinking the problem might be our WiFi coverage, I connected the Samsung directly to our router via cable... no improvement.
    • I find the internet browser practically useless because of the awful on-screen keyboard. Can You add a USB keyboard and mouse with the browser? I don't know, but based my poor success using a mouse with the keyboard, I'm not optimistic an external keyboard would work at all.

In summary: two thumbs down on this thing. It's going back for a refund this weekend, and we'll be scratching Samsung off our list of candidates when we look again for a Blu-ray player.

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