Panasonic SC-BT222 review

We like this system from Panasonic, but despite it's plus points, there are niggling issues which need to be addressed for it to gain that fifth star Tested at £400.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Build, features and performance could be better, but the price is right


  • +

    Compact system

  • +

    integrated iPod dock

  • +

    decent video pictures


  • -

    Sound is bright and lightweight

  • -

    average build quality

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

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 punch
It'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.

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 iPod
The 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.

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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.

Read more about how we test