Samsung has a habit of making its gear look the absolute business, no matter how well it actually performs. Splash the cash on some Samsung AV gubbins and you can be sure it'll draw admiring glances, whether you choose to switch it on or not. The HT-BD7200 Blu-ray home cinema package is no exception.
Designed to complement Samsung's 'Crystal' range of flatscreens, it sports a semi-translucent outer shell on the main unit and the two semi-tallboy speakers and passive subwoofer.
Sure, it's a tad plasticky and attracts dust, but if you're looking for something to sit in front of your new ultra-skinny Samsung LED then it's the perfect choice – visually, at least.
Despite an abundance of bells and whistles (touch sensitive controls; USB port; Ethernet jack for BD Live and media streaming; separate iPod dock cradle; and Bluetooth connectivity) the main draw of this system is its Blu-ray compatibility, and these are considerable.
While its 2.1 channel audio setup is never going to convey the format's sonic arsenal, on the picture front you get the whole shebang: 1080p pictures bursting with razor-sharp detail and vibrant colours that simply pop out of the screen.
Whack on the likes of Danny Boyle's Sunshine and you'll see glorious reds and oranges bursting off the screen during the (many) shots of the sun, while the blackness of space surrounding it remains, well, nicely black.
Characters' faces are detailed, with stubble, pores and lines clearly visible. Things get even more crisp and clear with CGI movies like The Wild, where edges look sharp enough to slice through granite.
STANDING TALL: As usual, Samsung's tall speakers and Blu-ray player certainly look great, but the audio leaves a little to be desired
Motion is also smooth, whether you opt for the standard 60Hz speed or film-like 24fps. These things are par for the course for a decent Blu-ray deck, but it's good to know Samsung's HT-BD7200 can handle the essentials properly. Standard-definition DVDs are upscaled efficiently, too.
Things aren't so tip top when it comes to audio. While the passive sub can generate an antisocial rumble – the twin tallboys aren't able to convey the rest of the soundscape. This system simply doesn't have any muscle.
Despite claims of a 'thumping 1,000W', the reality is closer to 25W a channel: good by TV standards, thin by hi-fi separates. You get more clarity and power than you'd get from any set of built-in television speakers, but with Blu-ray or DVD movies you'll struggle to get a satisfying sound.
Not only is the system's output limited, the HT-BD7200's V-Sound mode – designed to produce a more expansive audio effect with movie content – doesn't do the job: it merely widens the soundfield, rather than wrapping it round the viewer.
Despite this, I can see the appeal of this system. In return for a reasonable outlay it delivers a capable BD player and useful extras. It's just not full-fat home cinema.
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