LG J10HD home cinema system

Does this Chocolate-inspired set taste sweet or sour?

Indeed, this unit has more than its fair share of gimmicks. The main one is the touch-sensitive circular control that sits on top of the main deck and from which all the menus and functions can be reached. You tap it with your finger, sliding in different directions to navigate around and dialling round to adjust the volume, tone and so on. This is fun initially and in keeping with the Blade Runner look of the product.

LG J10HD home cinema system
LG's J10HD: gimmick central

However, functionally it doesn't really add anything. The unit actually has a really good remote, which can control all its functions much faster than the touch-sensitive dial can. Why would you want to lean over the J10HD and not operate it from the comfort of a chair? Still, it would certainly be useful if you lost the remote.

The built-in hard drive is the unit's other main technology gambit and this does work pretty well. CD ripping is straightforward - just follow the on-screen menu, which has clear and intuitive icon-based navigation. Ripping on a computer is quicker, but not by so much as to make the task on the J10HD a chore.

Tracks are stored on the hard drive, you can then make playlists and choose from the usual array of random playback options.

The hard drive can also record from the on-board FM/AM tuner - which is easy to set up - and there's also a DVR-style, three-hour pause function for live radio. The hard drive isn't huge, just 80GB, so it perhaps won't suit the digital music junkie who's thinking of copying over the musical contents of a PC's hard drive. Nor anyone who wants to use the J10HD to rip DVDs too.

The J10HD actually comes into its own when doing the simple things, in short, playing CDs and DVDs. All the speakers are rear ported to add that extra bit of oomph and the satellites have two mid-range drivers when many systems have just one. The active sub-woofer has its speaker on the side to help fill the room with bass rather than blast it out directly at the audience.

The J10HD comes well-stocked with connections: s-video, composite-video, component-video and Scart for video. There's a switch to flick the output between the Scart and the composite port. It has auxilliary and optical audio inputs, and a USB port for copying content from the hard drive to a personal music player.

An HDMI connection is also provided, but this is located on the deck unit and not the sub-woofer, which is where most of the other ports are to be found. The J10HD goes to 1080i, tops - there's no 1080p 'full HD' here.

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