I have now had a couple days of playtime with the s350. It is a nice Blu-ray unit and like many have said seems like a mini PS3. Of course I mainly mean the GUI. I really was expecting more of a blue colored unit and was more shocked it ended up looking more darker and nearly black. The remote is nicely laid out. It reminds me a lot of the blue tooth remote for the PS3. Load times as mentioned before were not bad at all. I am not going to go to deep here since many before have already done so... I feel like 5 years to late for the prom since they screwed up my shipping time.
For comparisons I used the s350, BD30, P1500 and of course PS3. I do plan to compare them with the new Pioneer 51FD in about 2 weeks. I used my Sony VPL VW200 PJ, Panasonic 1080p 42" plasma and Toshiba 32" 1080p LCD (just got that one for our bedroom)... It was a lot of hard work running these units all over the house yesterday but it was also a lot of fun. I made score cards (more like notes) that I would use to indicate how each was performing. I will jump right into the most important category... PIC Q-
Picture Q wise anyone would be thrilled with any of these units doing Blu-ray. They are all putting out an exceptional image. Especially at 1080p/24. As I mentioned before we have reached the true pinnacle of pic Q and it is definitely like splitting hairs to find any difference between these units. Now there are some slight pic Q differences with SD dvds but still as I already mentioned most would be more than happy with any of them. The days of having to spend over a $1,000.00 are certainly over. I would even go as far to say $800.00!
I still think the PS3 and S350 performed better than the BD30 with SD dvds. The P1500 was right below the s350 but not by much. In fact I will say in my Master Bedroom I am keeping the P1500. I liked it that much. Of course it helps that the Toshiba 32" RV530u accepts 1080p/24.
Now I have also posted a few screen shots from the s350 since this is its thread. I really was impressed with the amount of detail I can see. And that was on all of the displays.
Sound Q wise I really do not have much to comment on. I was bitstreaming to my 885 PRO and letting it do all the work (except for the PS3). The sound was awesome in my theater. I really liked what I heard and it did not make a difference which player was doing it and that also goes for the PS3. The only gripe I have with the PS3 is every time I start a Blu-ray title is it always makes my 885 PRO default to MULTI which then I have to find my favorite sound mode (Ultra2 Cinema).. It is not a big deal but it is much nicer having it bitstreamed and go there automatically for Dolby TrueHD titles. DTS-HD I leave alone because it sounds that good!
Other notes... I really liked the s350 but to be perfectly frank I think I personally like the PS3 better. It almost feels like second string just because the Menu is not as nice (or involved) and the load times are still behind it. I know we will probably never get a PS3/standalone ideal unit and the s350 does come close. Still though, I am planning to use the PS3 until the Pioneer comes out. I will see if it can dethrone it in my set up. I also want to point out that the BD30 and s350 are nearly one in the same. I remember a couple of times thinking one was the other when I had the lights down!
Some pics... These are from National Treasure 2. The last one shows how nice the Display button is. It shows excellent info. That was one of the coolest features the s350 has. I like knowing everything with just one touch of a button. Overall the s350 is great value for its price. Again though, if I were going to have to pick one the PS3 still beats it. Especially for value. Now if they moved it to $299.99 of even $329.99 I would have to take a second look. For the money the PS3 is still the best value on the market.