Pros: Smooth progressive-scan, excellent quality, reads CD/DVD, CDR/CDRW And MP3
Cons: No Zoom... not much else. A player with all the features for less$$
Finally - Sony has answered all our wishes and has stepped up to the plate adding some extremely nice features into a player that is actually priced cheaper than the one it replaces, the NS700P, which I reviewed earlier:
Clearly, now that the 715 is out, prices should be driven down on the 700 - which makes for some great clearance buys for you bargain-basement shoppers if you're looking for a good deal on a fairly feature-filled DVD player. However the 715 is really a great example of Sony upping the ante and FINALLY giving us what we really wanted - CDR/CDRW playback PLUS an excellent MP3 interface which includes progressive scan read AND 3:2 pulldown for those of you with newer HDTV-ready TV's with the ability to capitalize on progressive scan output - but more on that later.
THe 715 is built on a tried-and-true slim-body chassis design that Sony has used on this intermeidate line of players for quite some time - it is also my choice for a replacement for my broken DVD-S363!!! Picture quality is fantastic - a significant improvement from the older S363 days and in fact slightly smoother than the 700 too! Whether in interlaced or progressive scan, there is a good chance that this player will outperform more almost-new generation players and a very high probability that the 715 will blow away older-generation players on picture quslity alone. However Don't count out all the other flexibility this unit will afford you either:
* CD-R and CDRW playback plus MP3 handling.
FInally I can do everything from one darned unit in my den instead of relying on a playstation and/or my portable CD/CDr/MP3 player (506 unit by Sony - AWESOME by the way - check out its review here:
Sony seems to always find a way to not catch up to everyone out there -- A prime example is the MP3 and CDR(w) playback...Don't get me wrong - I LOVE IT - and it is truly about time..but now there are other finer-features to pick on such as scan speeds. On the Sony you get 3 fast and 2 slow...this is plenty for me, however other comparably priced players have more (check JVC, Panasonic etc). The Sony also will not play WMA - however I could really care less about this - I'm pretty content now having the ability to spin up all my MP3 and home-burned CD's!!! You can of course play VCDs as well.
The 715 also has a few nice advance features not present on earlier versions, like the slideshow capture feature. I'm a little overwhelmed right now myself catching up to all the things this player can do - but I'll say this much; I'm impressed, and considering that this thing actually cost me LESS than the S363 I'm very happy with everything built into this unit, though of course most please with the aforementioned MP3/CDR handling.
The remote is the typical fairly-ergonomic Sony chassis - nothing exotic here, but it'll most likely control your TV and is pretty comprehensively designed to work with Sony receivers among other brands. Since I'm already used to the Sony DVD remote layout I can't complain too much, but buttons are kind of jumbled as opposed to the more common-sense oriented remotes from other comparable brands - I guess I've just been so used to dealing with the layout all along I'm not bothered.
Output wise this player has all the flexibility I need, including 2 A/V outs, 2 composites, 2 S-vids and 1 component PLUS a digital optical and a digital-coax. Playback wise the thing is just gorgeous with twin-laser pickup and the now-proven precision Drive 2 system. The only criticism I can really cite in summary is that I NOW wish players in this price range would begin to be multi-region compatible... I know I never quit - I'm nust never satisfied huh??!!! I only says this because my fiancee is Polish and I WISH I could watch some of here movies just to brush up on my Polish!!! Not to mention the ever-growing catalog of region 2 and 3 DVDs that just aren't available in region 1` yet (believe it or not) despite the fact that region 1 cathces up to all of them, it seems like sometime they miss some for quite some time (example all 3 of the "Three COlors" movies, which are fantastic!). Lastly, the other way Sony saves money on this unit is it builds in a DTS and Dolby 5.1 pass through which obviously makes it compatible with DTS/Dolby 5.1 geared receivers - BUT, unlike some other comparably priced DVD players in this range, it DOES NOT DECODE DTS, it merely passes on the signal to the receiver...Again, this one I could care less about - but for those with a slightly older receiver, te DTS decoding could be invaluable, as some receivers has 5.1 inputs but no decoding!
In summary, this is really the unit that put Sony back on the map and kept them competitive...Lately ALOT of manufacturers are coming out with some really impressive little feature-packed offerings, and they're doing it cheaper and faster than Sony (A La JVC and Panasonic) However Sony is back, and apparently they're willing to build in the compatibility we want AND keep the prices reasonable. At about 185.00 this player will be tough to beat - Highly recomended, WELL DONE, ONCE AGAIN, Sony!!!