On paper at least, the Samsung (opens in new tab) is comfortably better specified than the Panasonic SC-HTB520, thanks to twin HDMI and twin optical inputs, a wireless iPod cradle and even a greater power rating (310W to 240W).
It looks the part, too, and even has a discreet display.
One thing well worth bearing in mind, though, is that the HDMI connections are of the mini variety.
You get one mini-HDMI-to-HDMI cable in the box, which can handle the ARC connection to your telly, but you’ll need to add cables or adaptors for each of your sources.
Well defined and easy to listen to
Do that, though, and the Samsung can sound very impressive. Like the HTB520, it attacks action scenes with punch, and the soundstage is far bigger and wider than that from your TV.
Unlike the Panasonic, the sound from the Samsung is never hard to listen to, and bass from the wireless sub is well integrated and well defined.
The standard pass through provides the best performance, but try the 3D Sound mode, as this can add extra fullness at the expense of a little clarity.
Plug an iPod or iPhone into the cradle and while the Samsung is never going to outdo a dedicated dock, it is clear and pretty punchy.
All-in-all, then, a the Samsung is very reasonable all-rounder in a very svelte, affordable package.