Samsung HT-E6500 review

5.1 system with 3D Blu-ray and streaming galore

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For all of its features and all-round treatment of 3D Blu-ray movies, the HT-E6500 is a surprisingly musical home cinema at this relatively low end of the market.

It provides further proof that Bluetooth streaming from a smartphone to a sound system is fine for everyday use – Apple AirPlay is an expensive luxury that most of us can do without.

Elsewhere the HT-E6500 leaves little to chance with an exhaustive feature list and user-friendly interface.

It's also worth noting that set-up is a cinch – just link-up the speakers, place a wired microphone in your listening position, and an auto calibration wizard takes a couple of minutes to accurately calibrate the system.

We liked

With a warm sound ideal for music and a punchy treatment of movie soundtracks, this 3D Blu-ray home cinema system is so much more than it first appears.

The convenience of Bluetooth streaming from a smartphone and that Smart Hub content – as well as a wide compatibility with digital files – make the HT-E6500 hard to resist.

We disliked

The remote control's arrow buttons and natural thumb position is way too far down the thing – almost at the bottom – and though we do like the glow-in-the-dark operation buttons for Blu-rays and digital files, it's an all-round pretty poor attempt.

Meanwhile, we couldn't stream MKV files over a network, we don't like the USB slot being stored under a flap on the front, and while the wired iPod dock works fine, it's slightly unnecessary (given Bluetooth) and should probably have been kept as an optional add-on accessory.

Audio-wise, the subwoofer isn't as responsive as it could be, and the overall build quality is certainly nothing to get excited about.

Final verdict

A fine all-in-one attempt that makes up for a flimsy build quality by chumming-up Smart Hub with fine 3D and movie sonics, though it's the nod to musos – via both Bluetooth streaming from a smartphone and a warm valve amplifier-led soundstage – that make this a standout option for a living room.

Also consider

Samsung also sells the HT-E5500, which does away with the valve amplification and uses slightly lower quality speakers.

The other three brands competing in this one-box 3D Blu-ray arena are LG, Panasonic and Sony, whose BH9420PW, SC-BTT190 and BDV-E290, respectively, are the closest in both spec and price.

At the time of writing only the HT-E6500 was available to buy, so comparisons weren't possible.