AV receivers are typically big black boxes, so I welcome units that stand a little shorter. They can squeeze into tighter shelves and, if nothing else, look a little sleeker on your AV rack.
, but other brands have also proffered half-size units in the last year or two. The slim-line RX-S601 was one of back in 2015 and so a follow-up has been a long time coming.
The new Yamaha RX-S602 will be available in August for $649 or £599. Australian pricing is yet to be confirmed but expect it to be the same as the RX-S601 at AU$899.
The Yamaha's smaller size does mean some compromises. It's rated at a fairly low 55 watts per each of its five channels (plus subwoofer out), and also offers fewer inputs. But if you want the missing link between a sound bar and an AV receiver, slimline units come as close as anything.
From the outside the 602 looks identical to the 601, and it's also the same price at $649.95. The biggest change is a reduction in HDMI ports from six to four, but at least those four are now compatible with 4K sources, including.
The RX-S602 works with MusicCast Surround, new in 2018, which lets you connect a wireless set of rears. It can also accept a limited selection of Alexa voice commands for users of an Amazon Echo ($100 at Amazon) or similar Alexa speaker.
The Yamaha wireless connections include Wi-Fi (Apple AirPlay and ) and Bluetooth. The onboard MusicCast supports numerous streaming services, including Pandora, SiriusXM, Tidal, Deezer and Napster. Yamaha is not an official partner for and has made no announcements about compatibility yet.
The receiver also includes Zone 2 audio, but since it uses the rears of the 5.1 channels, you're limited to a 3.1-channel setup in one room and a two-channel configuration in a second room.
At this price choosing the slim-linelooks like a better deal due to those models having more HDMI ports, along with more channels and capability.