I bought this as I was looking for a relatively cheap home cinema system to use in my games room. I received it last week and having sat and thoroughly tested it, the Samsung BD-1252 gets two thumbs up - I seriously doubt you will find anything offering the same performance/features at this price. The sound quality is very good on both PS3 and DVD/Blu-ray, I can hear things I didn't know were there before. The player does a particularly good job of upscaling DVDs, I was amazed at the difference it made when switching from standard definition to high definition using a HDMI cable - it actually looks as if your not using the same disc!
I have tested both a 8gb iPod touch and 16gb iPhone 3GS and the iPod cradle works very well - I did get a message on my iPhone stating the device was not supported and I should switch to flight mode to reduce interference but I ignored this and it worked fine. The cradle charges your iPod/iPhone which is quite handy and I was also able to play movies. The person who said it only plays through the front speakers needs to read the manual as there is an option on the remote which allows you to switch to 5.1 and add a limited number of acoustic effects (hall, church etc).
Connecting my external hard drive was very easy and I tested a number of DivX movies which played faultlessly.
I have a couple of small gripes.. You cannot adjust the sound settings whilst you are playing a movie or music, so you find yourself going into the menu, making changes and seeing if you like it of not.
Secondly, when using the iPod cradle, you are not able to change playlists/artists/albums whilst leaving the current track playing in the background as you need to press back on the remote control which brings everything to stand-still until you find the song you wish to play, and press play!
Other than that, it is a fantastic system, but remember.. You get what you pay for, and there are better, more expensive systems out there.. but, If you're after an introduction to high definition sound, or on a budget - this comes highly recommended!