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Samsung HW-C700 review

This is one of the latest generation of AV receivers from Samsung, but despite its 1.4a ability, its sonic abilities are simply woeful Tested at £300.00

Our Verdict

This Samsung just can’t cut the mustard in the most crucial area of sound quality

For

  • Looks the part
  • promising spec
  • iPod dock
  • sound won’t offend

Against

  • Lacks in every sonic area compared with best
  • gaps in functionality despite spec

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

This Samsung just can’t cut the mustard in the most crucial area of sound quality

Pros

  • + Looks the part
  • + promising spec
  • + iPod dock
  • + sound won’t offend

Cons

  • - Lacks in every sonic area compared with best
  • - gaps in functionality despite spec

Here's an interesting piece of kit: a latest-generation AV receiver, sporting HDMI 1.4 connections, from Samsung.

We know the Korean company makes a hell of a lot of kit, but we don't tend to get much in the way of AV amplification through our doors.

Firstly, it's a 7.2-channel receiver. Should you have, or want, two subwoofers this Samsung is suitably equipped.

Then there's an iPod dock as standard; a neat touch, although the cable is extraordinarily short and the 'C700 only seems capable of playing tunes in alphabetical order. You can skip tracks and change the volume but nothing more, which seems ludicrously restrictive.

3D pass through via HDMI
The four HDMI inputs and one output will pass through 3D content, and this seems the only key concern here as the other main benefit of 1.4 – using your HDMI cable as an ethernet bridge between two network devices – is an irrelevance with this non-network cable machine.

So it's down to the sound quality to redeem this admittedly nice-looking slab of electronics. Samsung's auto-set-up proves accurate, even if the lack of any on-screen menus makes navigation a touch fiddly.

Rivals still lead the way
Watching the Blu-ray of Pelham 123, with the Samsung doing the HD decoding, the tonal balance makes for easy listening and effects are steered accurately as part of a cohesive surround sound, but otherwise we're largely left non-plussed by what we hear.

Switch to the class-leading, same-priced Sony STR-DH800, and the greater detail, clarity and dynamics are instantly apparent.

Which leaves us? Well, with an AV amp that simply doesn't justify the initial excitement.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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