Harman Kardon HS 100
- Looks great, sounds great, good feature set
- A few more inputs/outputs would be nice
An excellent home cinema system that performs well in every aspect
Price$ 1,499.00 (AUD)
It's amazing how much impact a set of decent speakers can have. It's the difference between simply watching a movie and feeling immersed in its atmosphere. There are plenty of mediocre home cinema sets around that don't really do the job, with poor surround and weak bass. Thankfully Harman Kardon's HS100 overcomes both these problems. The surround effect sweeps round the room in breathtaking fashion and the bass is so earth-shatteringly powerful that you may need to fasten down loose ornaments.
The HS100 is billed as a total home cinema kit, replete with both a 5.1 speaker setup and an AV receiver with DVD player. It represents an ideal system for those who are new to home cinema. Every aspect of the system feels fine tuned. Setting up the system is made as simple as possible through a useful set of colour coded labels. The HS100's on screen setup is also incredibly simple to follow. Audiovisual adjustments can easily be made using Harman Kardon's built in test screens and other settings can all be altered from a system of self explanatory menus. From unpacking the box to using the system took us no longer than 15 minutes.
Complementing the HS100's ease of use is its beautiful aesthetics. The petite yet powerful speakers will unobtrusively fit into any living room. All five speakers are finished in an attractive silver colour with hard wearing metallic gauze. Harman Kardon has provided enough wiring to enable the satellites to be placed pretty much anywhere and wall mounts are provided for extra flexibility. The subwoofer is a bit of a leviathan at nearly 50cm tall, but its minimalist design means it won't look too out of place in the living room. The great thing about bass frequencies is that they are non-directional; if you don't like the look of the subwoofer you can hide it behind the sofa and it will be just as effective; we can attest to that!
The second part of the system is the AV receiver. Though it has a different colour scheme it is another pinnacle of design. The front of the receiver boasts a DVD tray, a snazzy glowing volume control dial, the LCD display and nothing more. To make things prettier the buttons have all been placed on the top of the unit. This may be more aesthetically pleasing but if you like to stack your AV units you may find accessing the buttons a bit of a nuisance. With a fully featured remote control this shouldn't be too much of a gripe. The receiver has a good range of output options including Composite, S-Video, SCART and Component, but we would have liked to see a few more. Coaxial and Optical digital inputs are also provided. Another nice feature is the inclusion of an FM radio.
We found the performance of the DVD player to be about average for this kind of system, the display is good and pretty much every feature is covered. As we would expect, support for HD displays is provided through the component output and Dolby Digital and DTS are also catered for. Navigating the player's various commands using either the on screen display or the remote control is easy. One nice feature is the ability to play audio files and view photos. On inserting a disc with MP3, WMA or JPEG files the HS100 will scan the disc and start playing any audio files while simultaneously scrolling through the images. We did encounter a few problems when attempting to play WMA files, but MP3s and JPEGs worked flawlessly.
Perhaps the most important aspect of any home cinema system is its acoustic performance. The HS100 does not disappoint with a powerful yet complete sound. The subwoofer is a floor design, meaning that the 10 inch speaker is pointing directly in to the ground. This means that the bass frequencies travel even further than usual, creating an almost earthquake-like effect. During testing we had most of the office up in arms about the noise; at only 40% volume the sound could be heard four rooms away. Yet despite this immense power the sound is far from brutal, beautifully complementing the output from the satellite speakers. The bass is never overpowering and fits the overall tone perfectly. The satellites themselves are correspondingly good, with excellent frequency range and crisp, lifelike sound. Combined with the subwoofer they produce an outstanding sound-scape and the surround effect is perfect.
There is very little to dislike about the HS100. It produces incredible sound, has good DVD playback and it looks good too. Enthusiasts may complain about the lack of inputs but for anyone looking to step in the world of home cinema the HS100 is an ideal package.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Kogan Atlas UltraSlim Pro laptop: full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
Latest News Articles
- Plex Cloud is now open to all paid users
- Google eyes remote content controls for parents in YouTube Kids app
- Up next for Apple TV: 4K streaming reportedly in the works
- Apple’s original TV shows are almost ready for prime time
- Apple snags Amazon Fire TV exec to lead Apple TV efforts
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- TPEOI - Developer/Tester/Software EngineerACT
- CCBusiness Analyst (Mid-level)VIC
- CCVMware AdministratorNSW
- TPBusiness Intelligence DeveloperSA
- TPIteration Lead - .NetQLD
- FTSystems EngineerNSW
- FTSnr Technical Salesforce Consultant Global IT Managed Services - SydneyNSW
- FTDeveloper - Python, Ruby, or PerlQLD
- FTService Delivery ManagerNSW
- FTHTML DeveloperNSW
- FTSystems Administrator - TelecommunicationsNSW
- FTSenior Project Manager (Wealth)NSW
- CCEngineer/Developer - Splunk - TelcoVIC
- FTMid-Level .NET DeveloperVIC
- TPProject Support AnalystNSW
- TPSenior Project Officer HSQQLD
- FTSAP SD/MM ConsultantNSW
- CCSAP CRM Functional AnalystQLD
- FTBusiness AnalystACT
- FTBusiness Intelligence Analyst - Microsoft BI Stack - NewcastleNSW
- FTContracts ManagerNSW
- FTSenior Desktop Engineer - SCCM / AD / 2012 ServerNSW
- TPIT Service ManagerNSW
- TPSoftware Licensing SpecialistNSW