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First Look: A wireless-friendly receiver that's big on value

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First Look: A wireless-friendly receiver that's big on value

2:43 /

Onkyo's TX-NR626 is a value-packed AV receiver with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and even a turntable input, but it's just short of being our our top pick.

Hey. I'm Matthew Moskovciak from CNET, and we're gonna take a look at the Onkyo TX-NR626. This is a mid-range 7.2 A/V receiver that's selling for $500. And unlike most receivers, it packs both built-in Bluetooth and WiFi. As you can see, this is a full-size A/V receiver. So, it's big, boxy, and it takes up a lot of space. The front panel has sharp edges and corners, and it's cluttered with buttons. So, it's not quite the nicest-looking A/V receiver out there. The included remote is good as far as receiver remotes go. There are white input buttons that are easier to see in the dim home theater. And the directional pad and volume rocker are at least, centrally located. The big features, like I mentioned, are built-in WiFi and Bluetooth. Bluetooth makes it easy to wirelessly stream audio from nearly every smartphone or tablet. And WiFi lets you take advantage of the Onkyo's networking features without needing an Ethernet connection in your living room. The networking features are pretty extensive, including smartphone control, DLNA compatibility, and several integrated streaming services, including Spotify, Pandora, Rhapsody, Slacker, and internet radio. The big missing feature that some competitors offer is AirPlay--although that only matters if you own other Apple devices. On the back, you'll see there are six HDMI inputs including an MHL-compatible HDMI input. There are also quite a few legacy connections, as well, including a dedicated turntable input, which is a cool extra that you don't really see very often these days. Sound quality on the Onkyo is solid, overall. We had a resident audiophile, Steve Guttenberg give it a listen, and he found that had a really powerful sound on movies. Music was also detailed, and it was able to create a really nice sound stage even on stereo CDs. When we compared it head to head with the Sony STR-DN1040, the Sony did win out overall, sounding a little more transparent, although it was pretty close. We did also run into a little trouble with Onkyo's automatic speaker calibration, which never really set the level of the [unk] right. So, you'll need to be comfortable in making some manual tweaks to get the receiver sounding its best. So overall, the Onkyo TX-NR626 is an excellent value with a great feature set that tops most A/V receivers out this year. But it's just a step behind Sony's STR-DN840, which offers most of the same features, plus AirPlay, for $50 less. I'm Matthew Moskovciak, and this is the Onkyo TX-NR626.

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