Another day, another Samsung Blu-ray all-in-one system, but this time it’s a 3.1-channel affair aimed at those who don’t fancy a full-on surround setup but want to avoid the ignominy of listening to movies through TV speakers. Just because the speaker count is lower, that doesn’t mean the feature count is too – a glance at the spec sheet reveals that the HT-C7300 boasts all of the tricks found on the company’s larger systems.
And as ever, this system is a stunner. Never one to rest on its laurels, Samsung has dreamed up yet another funky new design for the HT-C7300’s Blu-ray player/receiver unit, this time a futuristic-looking table-top console that slopes downwards towards the front. The front panel is mostly decorated in Samsung’s time-honoured black finish, and shining through the transparent strip at the bottom is a row of illuminated icons for the touch sensitive controls just above them, alongside a dot matrix display on the left. But the real wow factor comes when you hit the open/close button, as the entire front panel slides across to reveal the disc tray. Not as exuberant as the HT-C9950W perhaps, but a very modern and distinctive design that’ll be a talking point wherever it’s placed.
Tucked down the right-hand side is a USB port, while on the back is a surprisingly generous amount of sockets for plugging in external sources. Joining the HDMI output are two inputs that make it possible to switch between HD devices using a single HDMI input on your TV – not to mention boosting the sound quality of games consoles or TV programmes. Non HDMI sources can be connected to the optical digital audio input or the analogue stereo ports, while component and composite video outs provide connection methods for old-school displays. On the networking side, you get an Ethernet port and a second USB port designed to house a Samsung Wi-Fi dongle, which is included in the box (but not with our review sample, sadly).
The HT-C7300 also allows you to plug an iPod dock into the dedicated port on the rear and enjoy music and video from iPods and iPhones. An FM radio is also on board so you’ll find an aerial input for that too, as well as a bank of terminals for the colour coded speaker cable plugs, which makes the system a cinch to install.
The system’s bookshelf front speakers look rather classy with their gloss-black façade, exposed brush-effect cones and silver stands, but pick them up and they’re fairly light and plasticky, which may be par for the course with systems at this sort of price but doesn’t fill us with confidence. As well as these front speakers you get a slim, similarly-styled centre speaker and a compact passive subwoofer. All of the speakers sport springclip terminals on the back.