Some Of The Biggest Brands In The World Had Their Products (Part 7) - Pioneer HTZ-828BD, Sharp BD-AMS10A, Samsung NX1000

12/10/2012 3:45:51 PM

Pioneer HTZ-828BD - Gentle Boom

When it comes to a line of home theatre systems, Pioneer is always on the top of the list of brands to consider. Offering users with a diverse range of products in a variety of price points, it is obvious the company does have a lot under its belt. Let's take a look at one of its latest home theatre sound systems that came into PC.com Labs, the HTZ-828BD. I had the opportunity to review its predecessor, 818BD, so let's see what else is new with this new version.

Blackest night

It seems that home theatre rarely use other colours but no complaints from me here.

Black will never go out of style and the HTZ- 828BD still exudes class. What I like about this home theatre is that it looks old school and the manufacturer made it slimmer than its predecessor. Everything else remains almost the same. However, I am not fond of the plastic build the speakers use but that's all I have to work with. Plastic everywhere!

Screw it

When it comes to setting up the whole unit, it is always good to keep things simple. Thankfully, Pioneer makes it that way and it offer no problems during the unboxing and set up. Oddly enough, the HTZ-828BD seems to require a lot of screws. From the stand right up to the speakers, my colleague and I had to use screwdrivers throughout the assembly process. Thankfully, the wiring work is easier than to deal with as everything is colour coded. No confusion and no need for references.

Tiny update

The only feature that truly differentiates this and the other models in its class is the virtual 3D Surround Sound. While the name is lacking in creativity, it goes above and beyond the rest of the pack in terms of sound-staging and creating a proper surround sound setting. During the review, I could literally feel the virtual sound field around me that it freaked me out a little. Complementing that is the access to a variety of web apps that HTZ- 828BD offers such as YouTube and Picasa. Even so, I expected more, especially in the audio performance as I had expected to hear new enhancement to its bass and perhaps encounter more audio modes. Additionally, a dock is also provided for their iPods or iPhones to connect into.

Tough job

There is one particular problem that had the office, especially our audiophile designers questioning the performance of the HTZ- 828BD, which is the soft sound performance. Even turning the audio knob higher didn't really do any favours for it. The audio volumes just seem serene while the bass lacks its usual punch. Let's just say on the day we hook it up, the atmosphere in the office feels less rock-ish and had too much Zen.


·         Price: $622

·         Channels: 5.1

·         Network: Built-in Wi-fi, dlnA certified (1.5), YouTube/Picasa, PC file playback

·         Output sound: 1100W

·         Power requirements: 110-240 V 50/60 Hz


·         Decent home theatre that is filled with many

·         Value: 8/10

·         Features: 7/10

·         Performance: 6/10

·         Design: 9/10

·         Usability: 8/10

·         Score: 7.6/10


Sharp BD-AMS10A Blu-Ray player - Traditionally Retro

Sharp BD-AMS10A Blu-Ray player - Traditionally Retro

This particular Sharp Blu-Ray player showed up accompanied by their Aquous 80-inch TV, which may indicate that they're meant to be used together. However, what's the point in putting something to the test under ideal conditions? We separated the two and left the BD-AMS10A to fend for itself.

Old school style

There's something about Blu-Ray players which feel very old school. Like something out of the 90s. For the younger generation it might be an anachronism, but for the older people it is obviously aimed at, it might just be a comfort to be confronted with technology that they can understand. The black box with the button on the front and flashing timer is very much similar to the VCR players of yesteryear. Even with the retro look, there are elements of the 21st century present on the device. The build is very light, due mostly to its use of a plastic chassis. The Blu-Ray tray is also quite flimsy and probably won't last after encountering more than one accident.

The useful connections

The BD-AMS10A is packed with ports that are can mostly be found on TVs. There's a single HDMI output (do you really more?), an ethernet port and a pair of USBs, aside from the usual audio jacks. To be fair, it doesn't really need more than that. The ports are also located in places that make setting it up easy enough. The front USB port is designed to allow for easy connections with portable hard disk drives. Interestingly, there's a notable lack of WiFi for this device, in an age of smart devices. Physical ethernet connections are fine but wireless is becoming the norm so it doesn't make sense to put an ethernet port in but not include a wireless option.

Novel remote

The accompanying remote is a strange thing as it doesn't quite comform to the conventions of what a remote should look like. In fact, it looks more like a Klingon Bird of Prey with no wings. The build quality doesn't share the same feel though and the casing feels very much like the plastic it's built out of. Oddly enough, our review unit didn't include batteries. Something that's highly suspicious considering how these things are usually packed.


·         Dimensions (H x W x D): 49x430x178mm

·         Weight: 1.5kg

·         Ports: HDMI out, Ehternet, USB x 2, Optical digital audio output


·         Old school functionality

·         Value: 7/10

·         Features: 7/10

·         Performance: 9/10

·         Design: 8/10

·         Usability: 9/10

·         Score: 8.0/10

Samsung NX1000 - Leader of the starters

Samsung NX1000 - Leader of the starters

Take a look at camera shops and you can tell that mirror-less cameras are the 'in' thing now. It takes pictures like a DSLR yet it manages to maintain a compact form factor. This is definitely the camera world putting a convenient yet fun spin into the new category. Not wanting to be left behind Samsung, too, joined the fray. They send us their entry level mirror-less camera so let's take it to the shooting range.

Same gene

Keeping in line with its other siblings, it shares the same clean lines and rounded corners making it easy to recognise the NX series. The design is nice and feels midrange but the plastic material it uses kind of ruin the mood. On another note, the review unit comes in pink. Being a guy who uses a pink camera to take pictures during an event, the NX1000 does attract a lot of attention. Definitely great for starting a conversation.

Basic and More

Although the NX1000 is the starter from the pack, Samsung doesn't skimp on the features. It retains the 8fps burst shooting, full manual control and WiFi connectivity. There is certainly a lot of controls to use despite using a compact body. I really have to praise the quality of features I get from this compared to its competitors. Just a slight irritation: there is no internal flash so you got to buy one or use existing speed light.

Easy transition

For those who are looking to move from point and shoot to a more professional level, the NX1000 is a good start. It is pretty straightforward and the learning curve isn't steep at all. The physical mode dial emulates DSLR and the click sounds convincing. What's more is the i-function button on the lens. It makes accessing and selecting modes very easy. Yet, I find the preview shown before each mode as a very annoying function. I don't need to know the description of each mode all the time.

Sharp edges

Image quality is king when it comes to photography and thankfully, the NX1000 does not disappoint. Noise starts to show from ISO3200 onwards but that is still bearable. I will say that the sharpness is this camera's main selling point because every picture looks crisp. It is too bad the colour accuracy isn't that good. Don't get me wrong, it is vibrant but a bit off. While visible to someone who knows where to look, at the very least, it will not impact picture quality too severely.


·         Price: $819

·         Dimensions: 114.0 x 62.5 x 37.5mm

·         Weight: 222g

·         Color filter: RGB primary colour filter

·         Image stabilization: Lens Shift (depends on Lens)

·         Display: 3-inch TFT LCD, VGA (640 x 480)

·         Shutter speed: Electronically controlled vertical-run focal plane shutter

·         Mode: Single, Continuous, Burst, Self-timer, Bracket (AE, WB, PW)

·         White balance: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluo¬rescent (W, N, D), Tungsten, Flash, Custom, K (Manual)

·         Image size: RAW - 20.0M (5472 x 3648 pixels)

·         Movie format: MP4 (H.264)

·         Movie size: 1920 x 1080, 1920 x 810, 1280 x 720, 640 x 480, 320 x 240


·         A great camera for those who wants to move to serious photography

·         Value: 7/10

·         Features: 9/10

·         Performance: 8/10

·         Design: 8/10

·         Usability: 8/10

·         Score: 8.0/10


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