• Panasonic SC-HC55DB
Our Verdict 
You can’t argue with the spec sheet and we’re suitably impressed with the sound
Form and function
wireless Bluetooth
decent sound
clever controls
Lacks a little oomph and refinement, especially with deep bass notes
Reviewed on

The ‘compact stereo system’, for that is how Panasonic refers to the SC-HC55DB, has come a long way.

Ambling in to view blessed merely with the tools to play a CD, receive FM radio or dock an iPod, just doesn’t cut it any more. So this system packs in a CD player, an iPhone/iPod dock, FM and DAB tuners, Bluetooth support, USB and auxiliary inputs, and even a headphone connection. Not bad for £240.

If you remember being left agog by a Bang & Olufsen system that could be opened with a Jedi-like motion of the hand, you’ll be pleased to hear the two sliding doors – covering the dock and CD transport – can be opened and closed in similar fashion.

CDs are pushed in to place, while the iPod dock leans forward to welcome your iPod before being nudged back in to a ‘locked’ playback position.

Full control with the remoteAn arguably unnecessarily chunky remote control affords you full control from selecting your source of choice to skipping tracks and adjusting the volume. A selection of EQ settings are programmed in – we favoured ‘clear’ or ‘flat’.

More after the break

We’re pleasantly surprised by the sound. There’s decent scale, it will go pretty loud without setting your teeth on edge, and vocals have weight and authority.

It’s a bit lacking in the bass department, the depth offered by Drake’s Over barely registering, but that’s no surprise for a device this size.

If you’re after an all-in-one for not-a-lot of cash, this is a decent solution.

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