Fast-working and full of features, the BD-H6500 is a good value and future-proof Blu-ray player. Just don't get carried away with 4K; 4K upscaling should be a default feature, and it will probably massively increase in quality in the years to come. Think of its presence, in its first-generation, on the BD-H6500 as a bonus feature, not a reason to buy.
Inside a compact design is a concise user interface, decent 4K upscaling, excellent 2D and 3D Blu-ray images, and plenty of apps. Digital file support is also excellent; I got the BD-H6500 to play MKV, AVI, MPEG-2, MP4, AVC HD, WMV, WMV HD and MOV video alongside JPEG, PNG and GIF photos. It is also able to play a wide range of music files – MP3, M4A, FLAC, WMA, APE, OGG and AIFF formats.
Blu-ray discs load and play in about seven seconds, which isn't too shabby, while the glow-in-the-dark remote is also a practical touch. However, it's that dual core processor that keeps the BD-H6500 speedy and a joy to navigate, and that's really the key feature.
There's not much to gripe at, but the use of the phrase 'Smart 3D 4K Blu-ray disc player' has to be considered pure marketing jargon since the BD-H6500 doesn't support any kind of native 4K; the 4K pro-res MOV files and compressed 4K MP4 files I chucked at this deck weren't playable (that latter are handled competently by Samsung 4K TVs).
More disappointing is the lack of organisation in Samsung Apps. It's the only brand to have all of the UK terrestrial TV catch-up apps on offer, as well as Netflix and Amazon Instant, but it sure knows how to hide them. Plus, the BD-H6500's gloss black boxy design, along with a middling build quality, is hugely predictable.
For all the niceties of 4K upscaling, a wide choice of apps and digital file playback, it's the dual core processing inside this good value 2D and 3D Blu-ray deck that most impresses. With a decent – if oddly organised – collection of smart apps and plenty of advanced features, the BD-H6500 makes a great mid-range option if you're after a does-it-all deck that offers some future-proofing.
The 4K upscaling on the BD-H6500 is better than we've seen on the Sony BDP-S6200, but not as good as on Panasonic Blu-ray players like the Panasonic DMP-BDT460; either way, it's not one of the many reasons to buy the BD-H6500.