Pioneer's new SBX-N700 speaker bar and Bluetooth player gets the hands-on treatment

At first glance Pioneer's new SBX-700N speaker bar looks like any other. Well those indented valves at either end are attractive and there's a lot going on with the front panel, but other than that it's standard - right?

Wrong. This sound bar is a Bluetooth speaker too. Done with enjoying the 2.1 sound of your movie? Stream Spotify tracks from your phone to take advantage of the punchy bass and balanced treble. And as if that wash't enough for your buck it will transmit Bluetooth too - meaning you can output to yet another speaker or headphones from it. And thanks to DLNA you can stream movies, photos and music via the sound bar or mirror direct to your TV with Miracast – even with YouTube videos - although we didn't get to see these in action at IFA.

The sound was clear with a great balance between the bass and vocal levels. Ideal for watching action films where the shouting voices are often lost amid sound effects when listening through the TV speakers alone. We'd imagine this ideal for first-person shooter gaming too. And with that wireless 150W subwoofer you won't be short of chest rumbling action.

The SBX-N700 features two optical inputs, a stereo mini-jack, HDMI with ARC, and a front USB. We'd imagine this won't be needed much, with all the streaming options. but it could be a useful charging port when streaming from your mobile.

The unit is long enough to look well matched under a 40-inch plus screen and can even be wall mounted. We like the look but hope the USB port has some sort of cover on the final release model, just to perfect it. Expect the SBX-N700, with its lower specced SBX-N500 and SBX-300 speaker bar systems to be available from November.



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