Samsung's mini systems used to limp home in disgrace, but from the off I had a funny feeling about its HT-TXQ120. It cuts an impressive profile.
Standing almost to the shoulder, it has some of the panache of B&O, but packs more technology and carries significantly less of a premium. The floorstanding speakers are plastic, but finished in a sophisticated gloss black, while the main unit has a vibrant scrolling blue LED display.
The excited claims on the box of this being the first ever 'Full HD' system are a bit misleading. For a start, it's not genuine Full HD insofar that the disc player doesn't spin any of the new hi-def disc formats - in Samsung's case, that would mean Blu-ray. As far as this system is concerned, Full HD simply means upscaling DVD to 1080p.
There's no internal HDD this time, but the HT-TXQ120 can read picture, music and movie files from the USB port. The deck can also spin multichannel Super Audio CDs and DVD-A discs. An HDMI input is great news for anyone that wants to hook up a hi-def player or console.
Connecting to a projector lays bare the Samsung's picture performance, and it certainly stands up to scrutiny with our Saving Private Ryan DVD. Standalone DVD players generally achieve more vivid and consistent colours, but there's not much blocking or background fizz to spoil the party here.
Upscaling to 1080p brings a marked improvement, snapping edges into sharper focus. Thumbs up for the internal scaler, then.
The Samsung also gets to grips with the 5.1 mix on Saving Private Ryan well. With all of the speakers on matching stands, it's easy to position them in the ideal formation and although they lack the bass refinement of traditional wooden cabinets, they can deliver accurate mid and treble subtleties. The chunky subwoofer fills in the LFE to complete a coherent soundstage.
This is an excellent system - delivering real surround sound and excellent visuals.