First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
- Funky design, strong mid-range, easy to use
- Poor bass performance, limited calibration options
While it's a good entry-level home theatre system, the Samsung HT-XQ100 isn't ideal for bass-hungry users.
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
Samsung's HT-XQ100 is a reliable and all-inclusive home theatre package. Including a DVD player/receiver, five speakers and a subwoofer, the package is a great introduction to home theatre for beginners; however, advanced users may want to look elsewhere.
The system's sound quality is reasonable, with a dominant mid-range and a relatively high level of clarity. Vocals in music are distinct and well-defined, even at high volumes. Unfortunately, the dominant mid-range tends to slightly overpower treble and, at times, bass frequencies. Treble tends to be slightly weak and struggles to distinguish itself from the more dominant mid-range. Bass actually becomes relatively distorted at high volume levels, while at lower levels it's weak and unimpressive. This isn't a bass-heavy unit, and users who want wall-shaking bass will have to sacrifice sound quality for it. The speakers handle slow and heavy bass well enough, but fail to deliver the same performance with sharper, punchier bass.
This can be partially attributed to the lack of controls on the HT-XQ100. Subwoofer volume is adjustable via thirteen preset volume levels, as are each of the five surround speakers. We found the bass to be enjoyable, but users who prefer massive bass output won't find it on this system. Nevertheless, the simple individual speaker volume adjustment allowed us to quickly and easily calibrate the speakers to achieve a good surround sound listening environment. The settings aren't quite specific enough to satisfy advanced users, but beginners will be able to configure their system easily. Samsung also includes nine preset equaliser options, which create surprisingly distinct listening environments, and when properly used, greatly improve the quality of the audio.
DVD playback is perfectly good, supporting all the standard features one would expect when watching a DVD. The DVD player also supports a standard range of other discs and formats, including CDs, MP3 CDs, and the DivX video format.
As for its design, the entire setup is aesthetically pleasing, but perhaps a little on the tacky side. Black plastic dominates, with a smattering of purple on the subwoofer. The vertical DVD player will enchant some users and discourage others; it comes down to personal taste. Setup is simple thanks to colour-coded cables and a simple array of ports on the back and side of the DVD player. We had the entire system positioned and plugged in within ten minutes, and calibrated to our liking after another five minutes.
The DVD player itself also acts as a receiver, with RCA and optical audio inputs on the side, allowing you to connect additional devices, such as a set-top box or VCR to the surround sound speakers. Video output is supported through HDMI, Component and Composite ports.
Overall, the Samsung HT-XQ100 is a decent system. It doesn't have extensive calibration options and its sound quality isn't good enough to satisfy high-end users, but it's easy to use and is an all-in-one package that's a perfect choice for new entrants to the home theatre market.
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