Aside from the underwhelming array of supported formats, streaming music from your computer will be a piece of cake for slightly more advanced users. But by far the largest selling point is the ease with which the wireless speakers can stream music from the main system -- you need no existing home network, and setup may be easy enough even for Big Brother contestants to manage without a tantrum.
Up to this point we've experienced a system aimed at casual music lovers and, to some extent, tech geeks, too. But not the ever-critical audiophile. And sound quality reaffirms this feeling. With the bundled speakers, sound quality didn't impress. It's acceptable for sure, but it's a fairly cold, boxed-in sound, with tonal qualities we'd expect from a sub-£200 setup.
It's a shame, because when we hooked up our hi-fi reference speakers (a pair of which cost as much as the entire Giga Juke package itself), we were blown away. The main system has heaps of power and superb audio. It's the speakers here that let it down, although they're still probably fine for the average ear, with adequate bass and clarity.
Sound from the wireless speakers is ideal for bedrooms and kitchens. It's fairly loud, with a decent voice for the size. We've got no reason to whine here. Up to five of these wireless speakers can simultaneously stream music to different rooms in the house. Sadly we only had one of these to test, but it did work extremely well.
For just over £600 (or around £750 if you look at Sony's own store), the NAS-SC55 package offers a solid balance of features, usability and value, packaged in a stylish and functional design.
We wouldn't recommend the NAS-S55HDE -- the 'main system' in our review -- as a stand-alone purchase over the Philips MCi500, which offers twice the HDD capacity, better sound quality and comparable features. But as a complete multi-room package in one box, the NAS-SC55 package delivers great value and function that we wouldn't kick out of bed.
If you own a decent hi-fi already and just want an unthinkably capable networked music streamer, check out the Logitech Squeezebox Duet and Squeezebox Boom. And for an all-round different streaming experience, be sure to look up the Sonos Music System.
Edited by Marian Smith