It’s that time again: start voting for your nominations for the 9th Pocket-lint awards. The best home entertainment category is always fun, being full of all sort of different kit. Whether it be docks, surround sound systems or even headphones, there has been plenty to enjoy on the audio front.
So what sort of home entertainment tech have we been enjoying in 2012? See below for some of our ideas for the best home entertainment device this year.
Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 8
B&O has a reputation for design and looks, but the BeoSound 8 goes even beyond what you might expect. A real looker and one of the few docks that does justice to Apple’s industrial design, it also sounds great -which is what you want from a dock that costs nearly £500. Throw in Airport Express and Bluetooth, letting you play back music without it even being connected and you have a great device. BeoSound 8 hands-on
Samsung DA E750
Wood. We like wood. It makes things look plush and designer. Samsung recognised this and put a valve amplifier amp into a speaker dock, then wrapped it in a cherrywood finish. It looks and sounds great. Throw in AirPlay and you have a speaker dock that even Ikea would be proud of. Samsung DA E750 hands-on
Internet connected TV
We might have criticised it for its late arrival, but YouView ended up being quite the piece of kit when it did turn up. Simple, clear and every bit an IPTV player for the masses, we really enjoyed YouView in its many forms. Right now Humax looks like the box to go for, but there will naturally be more. Humax YouView box hands-on
The YouView competitor but by no means second best. Again this IPTV is all about simplicity, bringing the most content to the viewer in the simplest way. Humax crept in with another launch system and from our time spent with FreeTime, it looks like FreeSat has a top notch product. FreeSat FreeTime hands-on
Sony Internet Player with Google TV
Sony brought Google TV to the UK in 2012 with the Internet Player. Small, simple and fairly good value, it was the product to pick up for those who wanted some Google in their homes. Sony Internet Player with Google TV review
Onkyo’s pricey but near-perfect AV receiver impressed on all fronts this year. Boasting an incredibly detailed and subtle sound, which also gave out plenty of punch, it was definitely a piece of kit to put a smile on your face.
Already making waves in the audio world, Yamaha’s super feature-packed and highly accurate receiver is another piece of kit sitting on top of audiophiles’ wish lists. It sounded fantastic and for £500 threw in some top-of-the-line build quality. Add AirPlay and a special Yamaha AV controller app for iOS and Android and you have the ultimate home receiver.
Slim yet extremely powerful and packed to the brim with features, Marantz yet again rolled out a great product in 2012. It comes with everything competitors offer, including AirPlay and awesome sound quality, yet takes up half the room in your Hi-Fi setup.
Stereos & audio solutions
Onkyo’s micro system this year shipped with in-built Spotify connectivity, making it the ideal piece of kit for those who wanted a simple no-fuss approach to music that sounded great at the same time. For £450 you got a powerful and detailed Onkyo receiver as well as a set of detailed speakers that didn’t disappoint.
We weren’t really sure which category to put the Sonos Sub in as it really is a device all unto itself. Designed to beef up the bass on your Sonos system, it also acts like a control hub for your whole set-up. It certainly sounded good and impressed us when we had a play, but more importantly it filled a gap in a Sonos speaker set-up. Sonos Sub review
Well designed and coming in a variety of flavours, including a Bluetooth and noise cancelling option, Sony’s MDR headphones were a standout product for us this year. Sound good, too.
Philips Fidelio X1
It isn’t easy to score five out of five at Pocket-lint but the Philips Fidelio X1s managed it. Well built and with all the detail and clarity you would expect from a set of top-notch premium headphones, these have been jammed on our ears ever since. Philips Fidelio X1 review