The HTB520 sadly lacks the features and sound quality of its peers
3D and ARC compatibility
sounds better than a flatscreen
sounds hard at the top and woolly in the bass
This unit is an affordable, disc-less affair, yet it still boasts a wireless subwoofer and a compact, slick-looking main unit with so-called ‘invisible’ speakers.
Corners have been cut to meet that price, though, so the Panasonic HTB520 has just two inputs – one HDMI and one optical.
The HDMI output is ARC-enabled, so you could run your sources into your TV and then back to the soundbar, but it isn’t too elegant a solution.
There’s no display, either, which can make operation a bit of fiddle, especially with the overly simple remote.
There’s no support for HD audio here, but the HTB520 is still a vast improvement over any flatscreen’s sound, especially where scale and volume are concerned.
More after the break
Wide, punchy soundstagePlay Sucker Punch and while the soundbar doesn’t deliver any real sense of surround sound, it does produce a big, wide soundstage, plenty of punch to action scenes, and clear dialogue.
However, it also brings a fair amount of hardness to proceedings, while the less said about the subwoofer the better; it just seems to rumble along, doing its own thing, regardless of on-screen action.
The fact that the Samsung HW-D570 offers greater sound, more inputs, better usability and a wireless iPod dock really leaves the Panasonic with little to recommend it.