In comparison to the Toshiba HD-A1, the player is about an inch slimmer in height. When I took it out of the box I noticed it is noticably lighter, and doesn't have the high quality feel that the Toshiba does. The remote is the same as many other Samsung units, and again the edge goes to the Toshiba in remote feel.
I hooked it up to a Pioneer 4261 plasma, and threw in the sd-dvd version of Batman Begins. This DVD looked awesome upconverted, as good as I have seen a sd-dvd look on any HDTV. Right on par with the Toshiba, if not a little bit better. I have them stacked on top of eachother, so I will do some more direct comparisons when I have time.
I opened up The Fifth Element BD and put it in, and the player spit it back out saying "Unable to Read Disc." I tried about 3 times to put the disc back in, and each time with the same result. I will open up another disc later to find out if it's just a defective disc. Next I tried Terminator. The load time from disc insertion to playback is ~ 25-30 seconds. A bit faster than the Toshiba player. The main difference is the Samsung actually takes a break between the announcement of copyright laws and the start of the movie. There is an hourglass that appears in the center of the screen to let you know the movie is loading.
disc insertion > progress meter on screen for about 10 seconds > hour glass in center of screen for another 10 seconds > disc menu appears.
press play movie > copyright screens appear > hour glass appears on screen for about 10 seconds > movie begins playing. Overall it is much faster than the Toshiba, but there is still a noticable difference between it and a regular DVD player.
Back to PQ, Terminator looks AMAZING. I can honestly say from what I have seen, this is as close to a film reproduction on home media as I have ever seen. No macroblocking, compression artifacts, nothing. I put House of Flying Daggers in next, and while it looks very good, Terminator was straight up amazing.
An my internet access is limited here at work, the best pictures I can provide are from my Motorola Q cell phone. PM me a cell number and I'll happily send you some picture messages that you can upload here until I get home.