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Pioneer X-SMC5-K review

Do-it-all AirPlay micro system is a good second-room proposition Tested at £300

Our Verdict

As complete a jack-of-all-trades as we’ve seen for some time only let down by fair-to-middling performance

For

  • Exhaustive spec
  • AirPlay, Bluetooth and DLNA wireless streaming
  • intuitive to use

Against

  • Sound is so-so, likewise DVD pictures

The Pioneer X-SMC5-K is hard to pin down. It's an all-in-one, alright: there's CD and DVD playback, an iPod/iPhone dock and a USB input, wireless AirPlay, Bluetooth
and DLNA streaming, and FM and internet radio.

For £300 we can't help thinking it only needs to be switched on to seem half-decent value already...

Its layout is a little different to what you might be used to, with the dock on one side and the display on the other.

The menu could be bigger, as it's hard to read from a distance, remote in hand.

The CD/DVD drive is a top slot-loader, with the HDMI output on the back. USB, audio in and headphone connections are on the front.

Intuitive to set up and use
Listening to music it's perfectly decent. The best docks or micros for this money deliver a little more detail, but the SMC5-K goes loud and offers decent weight.

And, of course, all those extra features. Connecting to our network is easy enough and streaming from a NAS (WAV and FLAC are fine but there's no high-res support), iOS device over AirPlay or just using Bluetooth, works fine - albeit with the familiar slight drop in quality.

DVD playback struggles with black levels and is a little noisy, but would hold its own against most budget players.

Where to put it in relation to your TV is another question. We might not be floored by its ability, but we are wowed by the Pioneer's versatility. It could be an ideal second-room micro.

See all our micro system reviews

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