A good-looking two-channel alternative to surround sound, with picture quality that’s highly impressive for the money
fine picture performance
Sound lacks body
not enough picture detail in blacks
This 2.1 channel system is a highly glossed, attractive, piano-black sliver of home cinema sexiness. Samsung is so proud of its looks that it provides a cloth to keep it fingerprint-free.
The main unit can stand proud or lay on its belly, in which state it has more than a hint of the PS3 about it. However, while this makes it easier to slip into an equipment rack, you won't be able to check the otherwise-clear but over-sized display.
Wiring up is quick and simple, with colour-coding to point the way. Connectivity is good, too, and a USB input – suitable for playing files from an MP3 player or PC – supplements the HDMI output.
From the HDMI out you can send upscaled DVD pictures at 720p or 1080i to good effect. The picture is very impressive for the cash, and is never less than bold, colourful and solid with the deep, dark blacks of the second Pirates of the Caribbean romp. However, it doesn't give up the detail from the shadowy depths as more expensive kit would.
Two speakers can't envelope you in soundThe loudspeakers, including the passive subwoofer, are just as shiny and well finished as the main unit, and for such slender flowers they're highly capable. The X200 sounds poised and collected, and is capable of some serious oomph, without straining or sounding harsh.
More after the break
Unfortunately, the system lacks the ability to truly envelope you in the action. To attain a wide soundstage the speakers need to be positioned quite a way from the edge of the screen, at which point you lose the solidity in the centre needed for the intense dialogue of The Departed.
These shortcomings aren't enough to dampen our spirits, though, and for the money the Samsung HT-X200 package is a highly appealing alternative to a budget surround sound system.