Best home cinema system up to £500, Awards 2011. Panasonic has produced yet another highly polished all-in-one systemWrite your own review
- Solid build
- integrated iPod dock
- HDMI inputs
- clear, immaculate Blu-ray images
- excellent DVD upscaler
- bold, rich sound
- Awkward to set-up
Panasonic’s all-in-one systems have fared consistently well over the past year or two, with various models netting four or five-star reviews. The odd system has even been deemed worthy of an Award.
This doesn’t mean Panasonic’s one-box wonders have been immune from criticism. One of our pet peeves going back a couple of generations has been the absence of HDMI inputs.
If there’s one feature that could be a potential a deal-breaker, especially for a keen gamer or Sky+ HD owner, it’s the absence of these slimline sockets. Thankfully, the BTT370 has two.
Smart-looking, discreet unit
The main unit is thin and discreet. The fascia has a mere sprinkling of buttons – for power, volume, and for opening and closing the disc drawer. When the drawer slides out it knocks down the front panel to reveal a USB input and SD card slot.
Over on the right-hand side at the front is a pop-out iPod dock.
You’ll want to take care when you push your iPod or iPhone onto the 30-pin connector – it feels a bit flimsy – but being integrated makes for a tidier arrangement than having to find space for a separate dock and needing to hide its umbilical cord out of sight.
The centre and surround satellite speakers feel weighty and solid, despite their petite proportions. The front left and right speakers are around 40cm tall and each perches on a small pedestal stand attached with a single screw.
Underneath each speaker is a small groove, which helps to secure the speaker cable in place.
Terrific Blu-ray performance
Panasonic’s Blu-ray players have been stealing the limelight in recent months so it comes as no surprise that the player at the heart of this system serves up a scorcher of a picture.
Spin The Expendables on Blu-ray and the only blemishes you’ll see are the natural ones on Dolph Lundgren’s heavily weathered face. The rest of the picture is pristine and virtually noise-free.
Movement is handled impeccably during the immersive 3D rollercoaster scene
in Despicable Me.
Faced with the task of upscaling The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the BTT370 presents a composed and stable picture, rich in detail and texture.
Like the LG, there’s no automatic set-up system to speak of. Unlike the LG, it’s a tougher task setting this up. With the BTT370, the distance set for the centre channel must also be the distance for the front L/R channels and subwoofer.
A rich, full-bodied sound
Consequently, it takes a little more fiddling to balance all the speakers. But, once distances have been keyed in and levels set, you’re presented with a rich, full-bodied sound.
High frequencies sound spirited but not splashy, and satellites and subwoofer put up a united front, creating a dramatic and involving surround sound experience.
Both large-scale and small-scale effects are treated with equal aplomb, and the system is just as at home communicating the delicate soundtrack of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo as it is with the gung-ho efforts of The Expendables.
So here we have yet another strong performer from the Panasonic stable. Its all-round abilities will be tough to beat.