Akihabara News: Back in February Panasonic released a new Slim Stereo, the SC-HC40. It not only offers a clean and sleek design but also the possibility to get full control of your iPod touch or iPhone without cables or any other clutters. Now, several months later Panasonic finally have put its SC-HC40 on the market and we had the chance to secure one of them for a test.
- iPod Dock / CD Player / AM/FM Radio
- Plays CDs, CD-R/RW, and MP3 CDs
- 40 watts
- 2 – 1/2″ bamboo cone speakers
- Wireless Bluetooth feature means you can connect your iPhone to this dock wirelessly
- Motorized sliding door that conceals CD tray and iPod/iPhone dock
- Additional 1/8″ Mini input
- Charges iPod or iPhone while playing
- 4 EQ presets
- Treble/Bass control
- Programmable timer / sleep button (to use as alarm clock)
- Dimensions (HxWxD) = 7-29/32 x 19-11/16 x 4-1/32
- Weight = 6.6 lbs
Simple, minimalistic, “Bose” or “B&O”-like, the Panasonic SC-HC40 design is just what we have been looking for quite a long time now. Obviously entirely made of plastic, the SC-HC40 does not feel cheap or fragile, and Panasonic ’s subtle “Chrome”-like effect and usage of blue LED give the user a warming sensation of using a High-end product rather than your average “Boom-Box”.
iPod and other DAP functions
Besides its elegant design, the SC-HC40’s main selling point is its incredibly well implemented iPod support. With cleverly integrated docking station accessible thanks to a sliding door, you will easily be able to plug your iPhone or iPod to your SC-HC40. It not only givies you the possibility to charge your iPhone, but also to have full access to your Phone’s basic functions including its audio contents, your alarms but also your phone.
Although I am sure you will easily understand how the SC-HC40 can take full control of your Audio files sorted on your phone, the part that is about having control over your iPhone communication, however needs some explanation.
Thanks to the basic support of Bluetooth 2.1+EDR with A2DP, AVRCP and HFP or Hands-Free Profile, you can, in fact either receive calls or place calls from the comfort of your sofa without the need of touching your iPhone. As you may have seen on the video we published alongside this article, the SC-HC40 will fully use your iPhone’s Hands-Free capacity and let you talk to anyone freely as you do with any other conference call system.
While in fact for us the reproduction quality was impeccable, we could clearly hear the person who was calling us, this very same person, however had a nasty “echo” giving a rather annoying experience whenever you would use your SC-HC40 Hands-Free mode.
Now we are not sure if this was due to our test unit that was, in fact not a final product version but rather a pre-release one, or if this “echo” will affect most people calling an iPhone dock on a SC-HC40.
Not only limited to the iPhone you could potentially use the Bluetooth mode of your SH-HC40 with different DAPs or Phones… Also thanks to its additional 1/8″ Mini input, you can plug any external audio sources to use your SC-HC40 speakers and “unleash” the sound stored on your Zune HD or your PC for example.
So what about the Sound?
Well, this should be in fact the most important aspect of our stereo and to be honest the SC-HC40 performs just fine. Made to be mainly used in a small room rather than a loft, the sound coming of our SC-HC40 2x 1/2″ cone speakers were noticeably clearer thanks to Panasonic’s unique usage of bamboo in speakers.
The addition of Bamboo not only gives a sharper voice reproduction but it also helps Panasonic to get the best sound possible in the slimmest package ever.
Now it is always difficult to evaluate the quality of sound reproduction of one product when you do not compare it to another one but, as I said earlier, the SC-HC40 gave us good, or above average sound quality that will please most of us. And if you feel the need to tweak things a little for your own pleasure, you can always play with the SC-HC40 EQ to get the most of your sound.
Being above all a Slim Stereo, the SC-HC40 comes with a CD player and an SD, SDHC and SDXC card reader, meaning that you will not only be able to listen to CDs, Rip CDs to a memory card but also be able to listen to music stored on any compatible SD Card, a little plus always welcome if you happen to get a few SD cards lying around.
Well-built, nice design, overall good iPhone integration and above average sound quality the SC-HC40 is a Slim Stereo that we can recommend without hesitation. Unfortunately giving a “weak” audio experience for people calling you directly on the SC-HC40 on our test sample, just make me either wish for a fix or hope that the product available on the market is exempt from this problem. But once again if you are looking for a nice Stereo with clutter-less iPhone integration, the SC-HC40 is what you are looking for!