After a couple of years off our radar, Harman Kardon has launched a flotilla of new AV kit. The first product to land at our door is the HS 250BQ 2.1 home cinema in a box.
And what a box. It's large enough to live in, and harbours the main DVD receiver, speakers and speaker stands, and a huge subwoofer. Also included is Harman Kardon's iPod dock, The Bridge.
The fascia of the receiver is clutter-free apart from the DVD slot and rubberised volume control, and even that is flush with the fascia. The subwoofer isn't exactly subtle, but the glossy finish adds class.
It's a shame we can't say the same for the remote control. The buttons are cramped, the layout overcomplicated and the main control buttons are tiny. And the system's menus are long-winded and a pain to navigate.
As for connections, the main unit offers 1080i upscaling over HDMI, and progressive scan via component video. There's a USB input round the back together with sturdy terminals for the speakers.
Impressive all-round performer
And the speakers and subwoofer integrate without a hitch. No aspect of sound is uncomfortable, though we'd like more refinement.
Picture quality at 720p over HDMI is god. Images are stable and it does a good job with blacks and low-light detail. It handles the action of Rambo without any real trace of smearing.
If you fancy a 2.1 system, this is worth a look. Only the shortfall in sonic refinement and the menus stand in the way of a fifth star.