If you just want a user-friendly system then look no further.
- Remarkably simple and easy to use
- Not very powerful, USB input is flawed (as usual)
As a basic CD, MP3 and radio player the XL-UH25H does its job admirably. If you’re looking for thrilling sound quality or advanced functionality, though, you’d best look elsewhere.
Price$ 179.00 (AUD)
The XL-UH25H sits in the lower end of Sharp’s mini hi-fi line-up, with little separating it from more expensive models. It’s simple to set up and simple to use, but its more advanced features are just a gimmick. If you just want a user-friendly system then look no further, but sound quality isn’t one of the system’s strong features.
Like Sharp’s other models, the XL-UH25H is a series of small, unimposing enclosures. The control unit isn’t particularly tall — measuring a mere 13cm — and seems to be designed to stack on top of the system’s speakers. The speakers themselves have been thoughtfully designed to be placed either horizontally — with a similar height to the central unit — or vertically. The signature high gloss black finish can be seen on the fascia of the control unit, but the speakers themselves are finished in a matte black finish.
Rated at a measly 10 Watts RMS per channel, this micro system doesn’t have very much power hidden away. The speakers themselves might be perfectly capable, but the hi-fi deck itself isn’t able to drive them to particularly loud volumes — no louder than is sufficient to fill a small room — before significant distortion sets in and starts causing problems.
Three main playback modes predominate, just like its older brother the XL-UH2080H. The system’s AM/FM radio works like any other; reception is good and tracking through frequencies happens quickly and accurately. The same can be said for CD playback, with the XL-UH25H quickly tracking to start playback and seek through audio CDs.
USB playback isn’t spectacular, however. This is the main failing of the device: its inability to handle complex folder structures and complicated artist, album or filenames. Our test music was inordinately difficult to navigate through, enough so that we abandoned using the USB port altogether. In all fairness this problem is symptomatic to almost all budget mini hi-fi systems — perhaps some good advice would be to think of the USB port as a novelty, rather than feature you'll use every day.
You can boost the system’s sound with one of five settings: Rock, Classical, Jazz, Pop and Flat. There's also the ubiquitous ‘X-Bass’ bass boost setting, although this really doesn’t do much for bass response except to increase distortion levels. While the speaker equalisation might boost bass and treble levels, it doesn’t hide the fact that the XL-UH25H has small speakers and not much grunt to power them with.
The speaker enclosures are quite light, exposing their budget components and build quality. While this has its upsides — the speakers could easily be mounted on a wall — the downside is sound quality that’s best suited to radio broadcasts or low-quality music.
Treble isn’t too bad, with a 2in tweeter driver in each speaker. We’re not sure whether this was a shortcoming of the speakers or the amplification, but treble response became incredibly harsh and ringing at higher volumes. This made music very fatiguing and difficult to listen to for extended periods.
Mid-range isn’t too terrible but certainly plays second fiddle to higher frequency sounds. This is a product of small speakers in a small enclosure and can’t really be avoided — apart from special situations like the complicated enclosure of the JohnBlue JB4 Mk2.
A similar situation can be found (or heard) with bass response. Even with the Rock equaliser setting and X-Bass enabled, bass response was very poor. You simply shouldn’t expect any kind of decent low frequency enhancement from these speakers.
Don’t get us wrong — the sound quality is more than acceptable for radio, casual CD listening or compressed music playback. If you just want a simple system that sounds passable, does what it’s expected to do with few unnecessary frills and is decently priced, consider Sharp’s XL-UH25H.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- 2 Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- 3 LG G6 phone: full, in-depth review
- 4 Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- 5 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Plex Cloud is now open to all paid users
- YouTube launches streaming TV service with 40 channels and unlimited cloud DVR storage
- 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
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- TPSolution Architect - Integration - Bespoke ProjectQLD
- FTSenior Security SpecialistNSW
- FTCRM Technical Specialist (Oracle Eloqua)SA
- FTSenior Project Manager - Digital / MediaNSW
- TPPMO LeadNSW
- TPBI AnalystQLD
- TPSenior SQL Database AdministratorNSW
- CCNetwork EngineerQLD
- TPBusiness AnalystNSW
- FTChange ManagerNSW
- CCTechnical Requirements Architect - NV1ACT
- FTPayroll Systems AnalystQLD
- CCProject Scheduler/CoordinatorVIC
- CCSecurity Specialist - NV1ACT
- CCSOE Business AnalystACT
- FTBI BA Consultant l Microstrategy, Business ObjectsNSW
- FTSenior / Lead iOS DeveloperNSW
- CCLead SAP SRM DeveloperACT
- CCData Warehouse SpecialistQLD
- CCProject Manager - Security - TelcoVIC
- FTMobile Studio Manager/ Mobile UX Manager - GAME CHANGER!NSW
- FTICT Program Manager- Transformation - Gov backgroundNSW
- CCProject AnalystVIC
- CCPerl Developer l Port Macquarie or QueanbeyanQLD
- FTCRM Technical Specialist (Oracle Eloqua)QLD