LG HB45E review

Bulky is certainly one word we'd use to describe this 2.1 system from LG, but style aside, there's much to like here despite some holes Tested at £500.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

A fine effort from LG, but there are holes to be picked with overall performance


  • +

    Super-smooth interface

  • +

    features aplenty

  • +

    good picture


  • -

    Bulky for a 2.1 system

  • -

    sound could be cleaner

  • -

    motion issues

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The design of this LG 2.1 system is something of a paradox. Taking the two speakers (standing nearly 50cm tall) and the subwoofer, this system is, well, pretty darn bulky full stop.

We can't help thinking that this detracts from part of the central appeal of a 2.1 cinema system, and makes the much more petite, PS3-shaped main unit – which, like the PS3, is happy standing vertically or horizontally – something of a busted flush.

Still, everything is finished to a high standard and there's an exhaustive specification to match.

A clean and clear interface – which, frankly, puts other systems to shame – makes it easy to access all the functions: Blu-ray, DVD and CD playback are all present and correct, of course, and you also get an external iPod dock, DLNA media streaming, LG's Netcast internet-enabled apps, an FM/AM radio tuner and even USB recording, to highlight some key features.

Subtle? No. Enjoyable? Yup!
In action the LG is something of a blunt instrument, but it still delivers a largely enjoyable level of performance.

Watching the excellent Blu-ray transfer of Green Zone, there's a decent amount of detail in the picture, though colours lack a little subtlety. Dialogue can sound a little closed and muffled, but there's plenty of power thanks to that big sub.

As we test the DVD performance, the subwoofer does start to get a little boomy, and fast motion sees the LG struggle to keep a firm grip on passing objects.

Nevertheless there's still much to like, but we do notice (in quieter moments) that the system's disc-spinner is a little noisier than others in action.

There's some variation in prices to be found in this genre, but this LG will sit somewhere in the middle, and while you get plenty of box for your buck, we're not sure the sound justifies the expense.

The HB45E is a doddle to use and packed with features – that's two crucial ticks for a system of this type – but with question marks over aspects of performance – and the size of the thing – it's not quite the all-star all-rounder.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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