- Great sound, avoids hassle of cross-room cables, looks good
- Not properly wireless, poor functionality
A great sounding system that won't break the budget. With the transmitter and freestanding speakers, it would be a worthwhile addition to many homes, but look elsewhere if you seek a fully functional, totally wireless system.
Price$ 1,299.00 (AUD)
We were really excited about getting the Panasonic SC-HT880W out of the box to see what it could do. After weeks of assembling and dismantling wired home theatre systems, we were looking forward to the chance to test a wireless setup, something we could open up and have running in a matter of minutes. Thus it came as a disappointment when we broken open the seal to reveal nothing less than a tangle of wires.
Upon inspecting the manual, we discovered that the wireless connectivity referred to on the box merely meant the back speakers were not wired to the front speakers. Instead they connect to a wireless transmitter, which sends the signal to the receiver. While this does avoid some hassles with running cables across your room, the fact remains that it has no less wires than a fully wired system, and it actually takes up more space, as you must find somewhere to put the rather bulky wireless rear speaker receiver.
Once we got it going, the SC-HT880W performed quite well. We fired up Desperado to be greeted by an incredibly powerful, resonating surround experience. The bass in particular was fantastic, rumbling across the test centre, and prompting more than one "Shhhh!" from our colleagues. We did notice a tendency for the bass to overshadow the treble a little, making it difficult to hear some of the vocals, but overall it was quite impressive--definitely a system suited to action movies.
The system also looks very sleek. Styled in brushed silver, all four main speakers are on stands, with optional wall mounting. We found this look appealing, but it would be less attractive for more space-conscious people. The receiver is a different story. Panasonic has managed to incorporate a DVD player into it and still shrink it to a size that beats most competing models that utilise external players. We loved how it took up so little space in our test setup.
There is a price to pay for the small build of the receiver in that Panasonic has taken a very minimalist approach to inputs. The SC-HT800W comes with some basic audio and video inputs, a single set of component connections and a single S-Video input port. We would have liked to see a second set of component connections, a digital audio connection, DVI and probably an additional set of composite inputs. As the system already has a DVD drive, the lack of inputs won't bother many users, but it could be a problem for hard-core AV users who may have VCRs, set-top boxes, games consoles and other systems they wish to channel together.
The SC-HT880W offers basic Dolby, Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS surround options, as well as six preset surround modes including soft, heavy, live and hall. However, these did not seem to make much of a difference to the sound field, and several sounded virtually identical in our tests. We were excited about the voice-boosting function, which purported to increase the volume of people talking, but all it seemed to do was increase the volume of noises at a certain pitch, and so was as ineffective as the preset sound options.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 2016 Ford Mustang EcoBoost review
- 2 Synology DS216+ Review
- 3 Huawei female watch review: Bringing out your inner fashionista
- 4 Review: TCL C1 series 4K TV
- 5 Sony 75-inch UHD TV (X9400C) review: Sony and Android are a winning duo
Best Deals on Good Gear Guide
Latest News Articles
- Google quietly kills its Nexus Player as Chromecast overshadows Android TV
- How to customize the Apple TV (fourth-generation) home screen
- YouTube's Content ID program finally provides for ad revenue during disputes
- Sony cranks up optical disc storage to 3.3TB
- Hands-on with Surface Hub: Microsoft's huge tablet has some productivity holes
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- FTSocial Media AssistantQLD
- FTProduct Owner - MarketingNSW
- FTSQL DATA AnalyticsNSW
- CCField Engineer - POSTAS
- CCIP & Fixed Process Improvement SpecialistVIC
- FTAndroid Technical Lead (Work From Home 2-3 Days)NSW
- CCChange Analysts - multiple rolesNSW
- CCVendor ManagerVIC
- CCNetwork ArchitectNSW
- FTSystems Engineer | Defence | NV1 / NV2 clearanceACT
- CCBusiness Analyst - Logistic and TransportVIC
- CCTrainer - Windows 10 / Office 2016ACT
- CCFMW DevelopersACT
- FTAgile Coach / Training & Support ManagerNSW
- CCData Integration specialistACT
- CCIT/Telco Graduate | 12mth ContractVIC
- CCProject CoordinatorACT
- CCAgile Scrum MasterACT
- CCProject Manager - Change/Transformation/Project DeliveryNSW
- CCTest ManagerNSW
- CCAgile Performance Tester- Bamboo, Jenkins, Confluence, JiraNSW
- CC.NET DeveloperQLD
- FTSAP FS-PM/FS-PQM SpecialistVIC
- CCPortfolio ManagerVIC
- FTGraduate IT supportNSW