Pioneer BCS-SB626 review

A desirable option with great features, but faces stiff competition from cheaper rivals Tested at £400

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Our Verdict

A desirable option with great features, but faces stiff competition from cheaper rivals

For

  • Bags of features
  • 3D Blu-ray player
  • Well balanced
  • Engaging sound

Against

  • Fiddly controls
  • Inconsistant responsiveness
  • Sound could be more spacious and subtle
  • Pricey compared to rivals

At £400, this Pioneer BCS-SB626 is one of the more expensive soundbars, but the extra cash buys you the only unit packing an integrated 3D Blu-ray player.

As an introductory upgrade to your TV, this neat all-in-one is a great option. The Pioneer is a tripartite system consisting of a sleek and subtle soundbar, a combined amplifier and 3D Blu-ray player, and a 250W passive subwoofer.

Pioneer BCS-SB626: Connections and features
There’s a wealth of connections here, too: two HDMI ins; analogue and digital optical inputs; HDMI and composite video outputs; and two USB ports on the front panel.

To play media from portable devices, you can use the 3.5mm input, stream wirelessly via Bluetooth, or use the separate iPod/iPhone cradle (30-pin connectors only).

There’s also an FM tuner, and a mic input for, erm, karaoke. The features don’t end there, either, with the Pioneer boasting internet connectivity too.

Pioneer BCS-SB626: Performance
But it’s not all just bells and whistles – the performance more than matches the feature count. The sound is well balanced, with confident dynamics filling a good-sized room with engaging sound. There’s bags of detail, with dialogue in particular being delivered with plenty of expression and character.

There’s also ample punch and weight when it comes to demanding action scenes, and a good dispersion of sound.

To test the integrated Blu-ray, we played the BBC’s visually stunning Sherlock, and the Pioneer confidently renders images with dynamic colours and crisp detail. HD videos on YouTube look good and fairly noise-free. But it could do with more clarity to match class-leading separate Blu-ray players.

On the downside, the Pioneer system can be fiddly, with the control buttons and disc-loading tray operating with inconsistent responsiveness. Plus the LG NB3520A offers that extra ounce of subtlety and spacious sound – and at almost half the cost, too.

Pioneer BCS-SB626: Verdict
So while the Pioneer’s a desirable player with some great features, it falls short ergonomically, and faces stiff competition from budget alternatives for outright performance.

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Specifications

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Physical Characteristics

Total System Weight Approximate11.60 kg
Subwoofer Height42 cm
Front Speaker Width80 cm
Front Speaker Depth8.8 cm
Weight Approximate1.90 kg - Front Speaker, 4.40 kg - Subwoofer, 3.40 kg - Main Unit
Subwoofer Width13.1 cm
Subwoofer Depth37.5 cm
Front Speaker Height10 cm
Width43 cm
Depth34.5 cm
Height6.3 cm
Dimensions6.3 cm (H): 43 cm (W): 34.5 cm (D)

Interfaces-Ports

HDMIYes
Number of HDMI Outputs1
HDMI Version1.4a
Number of Analog Audio Inputs1
Number of HDMI Inputs2
Number of Digital Optical Inputs2
iPod SupportedYes
USBYes

Network and Communication

EthernetYes
Wireless LANYes

Audio

RMS Output Power590 W
Sound SystemDTS, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio Essential, DTS-HD High Resolution, Dolby Pro Logic II, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS Neo:6, DTS-ES, DTS 96/24, Virtual Surround
Speaker Configuration2.1

Video

Upscale Scan Format1080p
Scanning ModesProgressive Scan
Video FormatsBD Video, DVD Video, DivX Plus HD, FLV, AVCREC, AVCHD, MKV, MPEG, TS, M2TS, M4V, MOV, 3GP, MPEG4-AAC, MPEG-2

General Information

Product NamePioneer BCS-SB626
Product ModelBCS-SB626
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.eu.onkyo.com
Brand NamePioneer
Product TypeHome Theater System
ManufacturerOnkyo & Pioneer Corporation
Manufacturer Part NumberBCS-SB626

Technical Information

3D Type3D
Player-Recorder TypeBlu-ray Disc Player
Internet StreamingYes
Media FormatsBD-RE, DVD+RW, DVD-RW, CD-RW

Miscellaneous

DLNA CertifiedYes
Package Contents
  • BCS-SB626 Home Theater System
  • Remote Control

Warranty

Limited Warranty1 Year