In the Panasonic SC-BT222 a slimline main unit is joined by dinky, PC-style speakers and a diminutive subwoofer.
Sadly, what it lacks in size it also lacks in style, with touches such as the unfinished chipboard rear to the subwoofer, flimsy speakers and clunky menu system struggling to inspire.
In terms of technology there's what nowadays counts for a fairly standard set of features and functions. Playing your DVDs, CDs and Blu-rays is a given, while you will also find an integrated iPod dock, an FM tuner and inputs for SD cards and USB sticks.
While there are digital audio inputs, there are no HDMI inputs – just a solitary HDMI output. Full HD 1080p/24fps video is handled happily enough, as is decoding of high-definition audio.
Ninja Assassin packs punchIt's certainly an upfront presentation. The opening scene in Ninja Assassin is anything but stealthy, providing a rapid-fire assault to eyes and ears, and while the compact speakers are fast, clear and punchy, the system could do with a little more refinement in the treble and power and weight in the bass.
More after the break
There's a ‘7.1' pseudo-surround audio presentation on offer, but the extra scale comes at the cost of organisation and solidity.
Visually, it's easier to digest, with good detail, bright colours and a clean presentation. Black levels lack a little insight and solidity and there are occasional hints of noise, but it's more than competent.
Full control of your iPodThe iPod dock gives you on-screen menus for full remote control of your tunes, even if sound quality leaves a little to be desired, again sounding bright and lightweight – also true of the FM tuner.
But this is still a remarkably cheap system. Neither style nor substance abound, and there's a comparative lack of features – though a decent performance.
If you're tight on space and money, this could do the job.