There are no major weaknesses to report. If we’re being picky, you do need to turn up the system’s volume close to maximum to get the full impact, which you wouldn’t find with many other all-in-one systems. But otherwise what Sony has achieved here is a revelation, striking a perfect balance between performance and living room friendliness.
The system backs up this classy sonic performance with solid picture quality, helped along by some top-notch upscaling. Our detail-packed ”Lord of the Rings” disc looks sharp and clean, free from any block noise and other artefacts that can blight DVD pictures. Shots of Peter Jackson’s CG landscapes (Rivendell in particular) are exquisitely rendered while Middle Earth’s organic colours look rich and natural. The addition of 1080p upscaling could potentially have made pictures look even better, as it would have taken deinterlacing responsibilities away from our flat-panel TV, but the difference probably would have been minimal.
As a digital media player the DAV-IS10 also excels, particularly with DivX files, which play back smoothly and look fine on a big screen (depending, of course, on how they’re encoded). MP3 files also sound great, with the Portable Audio player sound mode boosting the quality of compressed music to great effect.
After first whipping it out of the box, we were sceptical about the DAV-IS10’s ability to produce the sort of power needed for an awesome home cinema experience. But after hearing the loud and sophisticated sound bursting from these diminutive speakers, our cynicism proved unfounded. It’s a remarkable achievement that will have clutter-hating home cinema fans jumping for joy.
What’s more, it’s a highly attractive solution with plenty of features, and picture quality is up there with the very best systems. You could argue that the price is a little high given the lack of 1080p upscaling and SACD playback – but for the sake of domestic harmony, we think it might just be worth forking out for.
Score in detail