The Panasonic DMP-BDT320 builds on the superb performance of its lower-priced brother, the Panasonic DMP-BDT220 (*Est. $115), but adds a touchpad-style remote and a slot-loading optical drive. While the DMP-BDT320's pedigree means its general performance is excellent, it also suffers from the DMP-BDT220's streaming flaws.
Wonderful image quality. The Panasonic DMP-BDT320 doesn't cancel noise introduced during the conversion process, but critics nevertheless say its DVD upscaling shines. As we've come to expect with most Blu-ray players, Blu-ray image quality is nearly flawless.
You'll almost forget you're using a Blu-ray player. Blu-ray players are known for their pokey navigation speeds and boot times almost as much as for their superb picture and sound, but reviewers say the Panasonic DMP-BDT320 is one of the quickest around. A quick start feature makes startup times especially speedy.
A new type of UI and a new type of remote. The Panasonic DMP-BDT320 changes things up in a couple of ways. First is its unique interface, which has you pushing directional buttons rather than highlighting selections. Actually, it has you swiping images of directional icons rather than pushing physical buttons; the innovative controller eschews most hard buttons in exchange for a large touch screen, whose interface adapts and changes depending on the options available onscreen. Critics report it has a fairly steep learning curve that disappears over time -- "A couple of times … our fingers were tied up in knots," the editors of What Hi-Fi? write -- though every reviewer mentions that the errant clicks remain an occasional problem even after you've gotten the hang of things.
The good, the bad and the ugly. The Panasonic DMP-BDT320 checks all the boxes, with 3D video playback, built-in Wi-Fi, a cornucopia of streaming apps, the aforementioned touchpad remote, and DLNA support for several different types of files. Furthermore, the Blu-ray player sports a unique Eco Sensor that drops the unit into low-power standby mode when nobody is in the room. It's all good, right? Not quite.
TrustedReviews.com reports that the DLNA streaming occasionally sputters when faced with high-definition .MKV and .AVI files, while dozens of Amazon.com users report running into terrible Wi-Fi woes and a Netflix app that simply doesn't work most of the time. The same problems plague the Panasonic DMP-BDT220. It's possible that these issues could be addressed in a future firmware update, but that's not the state of affairs at the time of this report.
Do you need Wi-Fi, DLNA support or Netflix? If not, the $130 Panasonic DMP-BDT320 offers a lot of value for a fairly low price. On the flip side, if any of those features are critical components of your Blu-ray player wish list, there's a decent chance the Panasonic DMP-BDT320 could wind up disappointing you.
As with the Panasonic DMP-BDT220, the few features that are problematic according to user reviews could ruin your enjoyment of the Panasonic DMP-BDT320. If you plan on using your Blu-ray player for disc-based movie-watching alone, the Panasonic DMP-BDT320 is a tremendous choice and one of the best options available, but if you want to take advantage of any of the network connectivity options, a more reliable Blu-ray player like the LG BP620 (*Est. $120), the Sony BDP-S590 (*Est. $120) or even the Sony PlayStation 3 Slim (Est. $270) would likely be a better choice.
Despite minor DLNA woes and hesitance about the quality of the touchpad remote, the Panasonic DMP-BDT320 earns a rating of 9 out of 10 and a Recommended award from TrustedReviews.com, with Danny Phillips citing the player's outstanding picture, build quality and app selection as major highlights.
Review: Panasonic DMP-BDT320 Review, Danny Phillips, March 7, 2012
Like Danny Phillips, Jamie Carter finds the Panasonic DMP-BDT320's DLNA support to be more limited than expected, but the interface and strong performance win him over to the point that he gives the Blu-ray player a rating of 4.5 out of 5.
Review: Panasonic DMP-BDT320 Review, Jamie Carter, March 21, 2012
Amazon.com is where some of this player's downsides come to the forefront: about 80 users leave feedback on the Panasonic DMP-BDT320 on Amazon.com, with a very sizeable chunk (the player receives as many 1-star reviews as it does 5-star ones) leaving scathing comments detailing troubles with the unit's Wi-Fi connection and Netflix support. To make matters worse, Panasonic's customer support is repeatedly called unhelpful (to put it nicely).
Review: Panasonic DMP-BDT320 Integrated Wi-Fi 3D Blu-ray DVD Player, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of Sept. 2012
4. What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision
Issues with the touchpad remote and stiff competition from other, albeit pricier players cause the editors of What Hi-Fi? to knock the rating for the Panasonic DMP-BDT320 down to 4 stars out of 5, but they go on to say that "for its good looks and good handling with both picture and sound, the Panasonic DMP-BDT320 is still a great player at this price."
Review: Panasonic DMP-BDT320, Editors of What Hi-Fi? magazine, Not dated
The Panasonic DMP-BDT320 is one of several Blu-ray players tested, ranked and rated by ConsumerReports.org, but the exceedingly brief discussion makes comparisons to other models difficult.
Review: Blu-ray Players, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
The Panasonic DMP-BDT320 claims the silver medal in About.com's list of the best Blu-ray players, but discussion of its high points is limited to two brief paragraphs, with Silva apparently commenting more on the player's feature list rather than hands-on experience with the device.
Review: The Best Blu-ray Players, Robert Silva, Not Dated