Samsung’s new top-end all-in-one system gives you a 3D Blu-ray player, 1330W amplifier and tallboy speaker system in one fell swoop. It’s the ideal solution if you fancy full-scale home cinema but don’t have the patience or budget to shop around for separates.
Samsung likes to push the boat out with its one-box systems and this new package is no exception. It sticks to the same blueprint as its predecessor, last year’s HT-H7750W, making only a couple of changes to its extensive feature list. Otherwise you get the same heady concoction of cutting-edge tricks, wireless connectivity, jazzy sound modes and swanky styling.
It comes with four tallboy speakers for the front and rear channels, but if you want something less imposing the compact HT-J7500W might be more up your street.
SEE ALSO: Best Soundbars
At the heart of the system is the stylish SWA-7000 main unit, which houses the Blu-ray player and amplifier. It’s identical to the HT-H7750W’s main unit, sharing the distinctive curved right-hand corner, touch-sensitive front controls and fingerprint-baiting gloss-black finish. It’s slim and minimal, with sheer edges and no seams.
A large porthole on top offers a glimpse of the glowing valve amplifiers, now a regular feature of Samsung’s home cinema systems. The front LED display shows inputs, volume levels and other pertinent information.
Samsung includes two HDMI inputs on the back, which allow you to listen to other sources through the unit while passing video to your TV (including 3D and 4K), plus the ARC-compatible output can receive audio signals from your TV.
The HDMIs are joined by optical and analogue stereo inputs, plus an FM antenna input and Ethernet port. For many the latter will remain redundant thanks to the built-in Wi-Fi connection, which is your gateway to a wealth of online and network content – more on that later.
The 1.2 metre-high tallboy speakers also share last year’s design. They come in three parts – the main speaker at the top, a plastic bottom section and a heavy hexagonal base. The top speaker boasts surprisingly good build quality, with a robust aluminium mesh encasing the two midrange drivers, tweeter and top driver. The latter can be angled upwards using a rather clunky switch on the back, which helps evoke a sense of height when the DTS Neo:Fusion II processing is engaged.
However, the lower section’s build quality isn’t up to the same standard. The hollow plastic casing lacks the solidity of regular floorstanders and makes the structure wobbly when it’s all screwed together. That said, a little corner-cutting is inevitable given how much the system crams in for the money, and at least the gleaming gloss-black finish looks nice.
The passive subwoofer keeps things simple with a cuboid shape and a gloss-black finish that matches the speakers, although it’s a little bulky and the plasticky enclosure doesn’t inspire confidence. The centre speaker is compact and stylish, using the same mesh enclosure as the towers. When placed on a flat surface it points upwards and projects dialogue into the room.
SEE ALSO: Best Wireless Speakers
As per usual, Samsung’s flagship system is teeming with all the latest features. There’s 4K upscaling, which drags Blu-ray discs up to match the resolution of UHD TVs – something the TV does anyway, but we won’t dwell on that – plus 3D Blu-ray playback, screen mirroring and Bluetooth.
You can stream music, video and photo content from DLNA servers on your network or from USB devices. The system supports a wide range of music and video formats, including AVI, MKV, DivX, WMV, ASF, MP4, 3GP, MOV and FLV on the video side, plus MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, ALAC, AIFF, FLAC and OGG audio files. Hi-res music playback is also supported.
A combination of digital and valve amplifiers kicks out 1330W of power, while HD audio format decoding includes DTS HD Master Audio and Dolby True HD.
The HT-J7750W also boasts a typically wide range of internet content, downloadable from the Samsung Apps menu. Highlights include BBC iPlayer, 4OD, ITV Player and Demand 5 (Samsung is still the only company offering all four of these), plus Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Blinkbox. There’s a wealth of other games, puzzles and entertainment apps to keep you amused.
One of the most appealing features is multiroom support. Using Samsung’s multiroom app, you can beam music to the system from your smartphone and play the same track on M3, M5 or M7 speakers in other rooms.
And this wouldn’t be a Samsung system without an array of weird and wonderful sound modes to play with. Chief among these is DTS Neo:Fusion II, the result of a collaboration between Samsung and DTS that you’ll only find on the Korean brand’s systems. It attempts to add extra width and height to the soundstage using the front speakers’ top swivel drivers. They are discreet channels, which is why it’s described as a 7.1 system.
Elsewhere, you’ll find a bunch of DSP modes (MP3 Enhancer, Power Bass, Virtual 7.1), Virtual Surround and SFE presets with weird names such as Philharmonic Hall in Bratislava.
Before installing the HT-J7750W, clear your diary and notify your next of kin. With so many bits and pieces in the box to put together, you’ll be busy for a good few hours.
Speaker assembly involves feeding the pre-attached cable through the hole in the base, screwing on the mid section and threading the cable through the groove on the bottom, which allows the cable to emerge neatly from the back of the base. The speaker slots into the top without the need for screws.
Colour-coded plugs at the end of the cables correspond to the terminals on the back of the main unit – it’s worth checking you have the left and right speakers the correct way round before you start rigging it all up.
You’ll also need to rig up the wireless receiver at the back of the room and connect the rear speakers to it. This eliminates long cable runs across your living room, but the clutter-busting benefits are negated somewhat by the extra box and power lead you need to accommodate.
Once that’s complete you can move to onscreen setup. The Settings menu is accessed from the Home screen and uses Samsung’s familiar layout, with categories listed on the left and the corresponding options in a blue box on the right.
Here you can tell the system to output in UHD resolution, tweak the 3D settings or use the Sound Customiser to create a sonic profile for the room you’re in. You can also set the volume and distance settings for each speaker, using test tones to check the results. Wi-Fi setup is easy thanks to Samsung’s clear and welcoming menus.
In fact, onscreen presentation is excellent across the board. Samsung is never shy about using graphics to get the point across and that’s certainly the case here. The Home screen’s stylised graphics are bold and eye-catching, while the uncluttered layout makes it easy to explore.
Samsung has simplified the Home screen since last year by removing its ‘Movies & TV Shows’ section – a good move considering Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Blinkbox are already available in the app menu. It also means there’s more room to play with on the Home screen.
There are some nice touches, such as the still image from the loaded Blu-ray disc and artwork for recently played music files. A mixture of recommended and downloaded apps lines up along the bottom, next to Screen Mirroring, Source and Settings.
When browsing network devices or USB storage, folders and files are accompanied by colourful icons and thumbnails. The menus are logically sequenced, and when you play your desired track cover art is displayed in a big box next to the rest of the album tracks.
The Samsung Apps menu is equally eye-catching. Downloaded content is displayed in a grid, with recommended apps along the top. New apps can be explored by visiting the three menus at the bottom – Most Popular, What’s New and Categories.
The menus look great, but sadly they’re a bit sluggish in places, particularly when entering text into password boxes or exploring the Samsung Apps menu. Thankfully we encountered no problems when streaming video from services such as BBC iPlayer or via DLNA.
The HT-J7750W’s compact remote sits comfortably in the hand. The buttons have been stripped right down to the essentials, making it easy to find any function.
The button layout is excellent, with direction keys in the middle and stylised buttons at the top. You can easily toggle through the various sound modes using the dedicated buttons (your selections also appear onscreen). Our only bugbear is the lack of scan buttons – instead you have to hold down the chapter skip keys to search through a movie.
Hit the Tools button a useful menu pops up on screen offering disc playback options, picture presets, equaliser setting and more.
SEE ALSO: Best 4K TVs
Although it falls some way short of audiophile standard, the HT-J7750W certainly delivers an exciting and engaging sound that brings movies to life. If you’re stepping up to this system from TV speakers it’s likely to blow your socks off.
We chose the training scene from RoboCop to test the Samsung’s credentials and it does many things well. Firstly, it’s powerful enough to fill a large living room and brings a terrific sense of scale to the soundtrack.
Maddox’s rifle rattles aggressively from the front channels and is underpinned by thudding bass, while the EM-208s’ gunshots pop and fizz from every speaker. Staging is excellent – effects emerge from the surround speakers with terrific precision and bite, putting you right in the middle of the abandoned warehouse. Its energetic reproduction of the prog-rock soundtrack – Hocus Pocus by Focus – drives the scene forward nicely.
This spirited performance is further enhanced by DTS Neo:Fusion II, which makes the action fuller and more intense. Dolby Atmos it ain’t, but the gunshots are louder, dialogue gains extra clarity and we can detect greater height in the gunshots and echoes from above. It does, however, also introduce a touch of brightness into treble and makes speech more sibilant.
We also like the system’s attacking tone, the overall feeling of immersion and its ability to go loud with the volume turned barely half way. There’s also a decent amount of detail, such as the little metallic chink every time a shot is fired.
But inevitably with an integrated system, there are compromises to be found. Firstly there’s a touch of midrange colouration, particularly with the volume up loud, while the passive sub’s limited control and agility results in tubby, imprecise low frequencies. Bass notes linger too long after gunshots and explosions and they lack punch and detail.
We also think the sound could be more open and detailed. You can make out most high-frequency elements but the speakers gloss over the finer nuances and textures that you’d hear through better-quality speakers.
As for music, the system is fine for day-to-day listening, offering a lively and enjoyable performance despite the above drawbacks.
On the visual side, the HT-J7750W’s picture quality is superb. RoboCop’s gleaming silver bodywork looks pristine and shots of downtown Detroit look amazingly punchy and detailed on our 55in 4K screen. During the shoot-out between Robo and the ED-209s, its ability to track the fast-moving objects without judder makes it easy to keep up with what’s going on. Colour fidelity, tonal gradation and edge definition are first class.
If you’ve decided to opt for an all-in-one system over separates, then the HT-J7750W is a fine example of the genre. Like all one-box systems, the need to cut costs inevitably leads to some performance compromises, but Samsung makes up for it with a terrific feature list, snazzy styling and energetic, room-filling sound.
The £800 price tag might not sound cheap, but you’re getting an awful lot for your money. Not only does it pack a Blu-ray deck, amp, floorstanding speakers and wireless receiver into the box (which you’d be hard pressed to buy separately at this price) but also an extensive range of features, including DLNA streaming, 3D, 4K upscaling, DTS Neo:Fusion II and the widest range of catch-up TV apps on the market. Its attractive design and smart onscreen presentation are further strings to its bow.
On the downside, its design and spec are practically identical to its predecessor, speaker build quality is questionable and the sound lacks conviction in the bass department. Top-end detail could be better and there’s some colouration when you push the volume up high.
But that’s par for the course with all-in-one systems. If you’re stepping up from puny TV speakers we reckon you’ll be more than happy with its sound, and given how much the Samsung offers elsewhere we’re willing to give it the thumbs up despite its shortcomings.
SEE ALSO: Best Surround Sound Systems
The HT-J7750W is a fine example of the one-box system genre, boasting a plethora of features, sleek styling and vibrant, room-filling sound – as long as you’re willing to overlook the lightweight speaker construction and so-so bass performance.