[Review] Sony HT-RT5 Home Cinema System

If you’re much like me (which I pray to God you’re not), you’d realise that going to the movies is a waste of time, money and energy. From having to book the tickets online or at the kiosk, to finding a parking spot in the mall and having to wait in line to get popcorn and drinks. Just the thought of the entire process makes me shudder (although I did do just that for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 mainly because you can’t find a free, high-quality, pirated version online).

This is where the Sony HT-RT5 Home Cinema System comes into play. Consisting of just a soundbar, two separate rear speakers and a subwoofer, Sony made the HT-RT5 a perfect home cinema companion so you don’t have to waste time heading to the cinema when you can just relax at home. However, whether it’s a sound system worth having is another matter entirely and that’s what we’re trying to find out.

Near-perfect Cable Management
Nobody likes having a clutter of cables surrounding the back of your TV seeing it already requires at least two or three cables to power it. What makes it worse is when you install external speakers to give some added ‘oomph’ and it comes with a whole separate mess of cables. Sony has always tackled the problem with its cables on TVs well so it seems pretty straightforward for them to have the HT-RT5 come with very minimal cable management.

Every component of the HT-RT5 comes with exactly one cable, which powers them and nothing more. Only the soundbar comes with HDMI, USB and LAN  ports that allows you to connect it to your TV but other than that, Sony has kept the HT-RT5 completely wireless. Setting it up is also pretty straightforward as you will just have to ensure the speakers are placed in its proper left and right positions while the subwoofer can be placed at just about anywhere. Sony also gives the HT-RT5 an auto-calibration setup that comes with a mic so you can run through its mandatory soundcheck before proceeding to get the best out of the soundbar system.

Designed to Please
When it comes to speakers, you can’t expect much in terms of design as radical designs are often mocked as it tries to avert your attention away from its sub-par audio quality, much like superficial ‘social media famous’ people who are all about looks without any substance whatsoever (I kid, of course). Sony keeps the design of the HT-RT5 simple and minimal, allowing you to appreciate the full depth of its audio quality without any smoke and mirrors. Draped in an all-black casing, the soundbar, speakers and subwoofer all carry the same design, keeping it classy and simple to the very end. This allows the system to blend in a lot easier with your home entertainment system without distracting your eyes away from the TV.

Great for Movies
The HT-RT5 is a great addition to your home entertainment system, especially when it comes to movies. It worked particularly well with action movies like Captain America: Civil War and especially with the Inglorious Basterds (it played the tavern scene to perfection that you can actually feel the tension right before the shootout). The soundbar was crisp and detailed while still remaining crystal clear you can even count the amount of gunshots taking place and the signature line, “Say auf widersehen to your Nazi balls.” The soundbar also did Captain America: Civil War justice as the two extra speakers played a great part in the movie during the airport fight scene, capturing even the tiniest details of the Iron Man armour’s movement.

Mediocre for Music
While the HT-RT5 is great when it comes to making your movies sound great, it doesn’t work the same way for music as the sound does tend to get lost in translation along the way. Although putting the two external speakers as well as the subwoofer closer together does somewhat help, it doesn’t do it enough justice. Unlike when watching movies where the speaker and subwoofer placement should be far enough apart but still provide more-than-adequate sound quality, using it for music is very one-dimensional as the sound travels in the direction the speakers are facing and doesn’t give it enough depth in field than you’d expect.

Added Benefits
If you want to play something from your smartphone or laptop, you can easily connect it to the soundbar as it comes built-in with Chromecast and Spotify. Simply connect the device with the soundbar and you can use your smartphone as a remote. The soundbar also comes built-in with NFC so all you have to do is tap your device onto the soundbar and gain instant connection.

Ports Galore
One thing I loved about the HT-RT5 is the amount of ports available at the back of the soundbar. It comes with three HDMI ports, a HDMI ARC output port, a LAN port, an Analog input port and a host of Optical input ports, making it that much easier to connect to my TV, PS4 and even my DVD player (I don’t know why I even own one these days as DVDs are obsolete).

Overall Verdict
Priced at RM2,399, the Sony HT-RT5 is somewhat affordable, especially if you’re looking to invest in a good quality home entertainment system that makes your movies sound a lot better than through the TV’s speakers. What makes it a worthwhile buy is its easy setup and convenience due to the limited amount of cables. The only issue would be in the placement of the two external speakers and subwoofer as you would need to have available plug points in the preferred areas for it to work.

Comment what you think!