Want to give your TV that audiophile-friendly Bowers & Wilkins sound, but without the high price tag its products usually carry? Then look no further than the new Panorama 3 Dolby Atmos soundbar.
By some distance B&W's most affordable soundbar to date, the Panorama 3 will cost $999 (£899 U.K. and €999 Europe). That makes it a near-price rival to the Sonos Arc and Bose Smart Soundbar 900, two of the top choices in our best soundbars list, and potentially a great partner for one of the best TVs.
Ports: Ethernet; HDMI ARC/eARC; Optical digital
Speakers: 13 drivers: 3 tweeters; 6 midrange; 2 subwoofers; 2 upward-firing surrounds
Smart assistants: Amazon Alexa
Wireless: Wi-Fi; AirPlay 2; aptX Adaptive Bluetooth
Size/weight: Not specified
The price drop is a somewhat surprising move for B&W — both the original Panorama and Panorama 2 were priced around $2,200 — but the third-gen model looks set to bring serious specs for movie and music fans.
As its first soundbar to feature true Dolby Atmos, the Panorama 3 employs twin upwards-firing drive units (called Elevation) married to a Dolby Atmos decoder and processor that can also handle Dolby Digital and Dolby TrueHD audio streams.
Bower & Wilkins has re-imagined its soundbar shape with a sleek, low-profile design that utilizes a forward-firing array of drive units in a traditional left, center, right (LCR) configuration. Each has twin 2-inch midrange drivers partnered to fully decoupled ¾-inch titanium-dome tweeters.
Bass output, meanwhile, is handled by twin 4-inch subwoofer drivers that benefit from the larger acoustic volume of the Panorama 3’s cabinet and help it achieve what Bowers & Wilkins describes as deep and extended bass.
Amplification is rated at a total of 400W of output, which breaks down to 2x 40W driving the tweeters, 40W each to the midrange drive units, 40W to both subwoofers and 40W to each Dolby Atmos Elevation drive unit.
The Panorama 3 is slender enough to sit on a table top in front of a TV without obstructing the bottom of the screen — a criticism leveled at the chunkier Panorama 2. Alternatively, it can be wall mounted via the included wall bracket.
The Panorama 3 also includes simple capacitive-touch ‘hidden until lit’ buttons on its top surface for instant control should you not have your phone immediately to hand. It also features built-in Alexa, giving you effortless voice control over your listening.
Connection is made simple thanks to ARC/eARC HDMI that links the Panorama 3 to a TV. It can share the sound from any other linked source and is controllable via a TV or satellite/cable box remote. An optical digital input is also provided and the Panorama 3 can learn key TV remote control commands.
Both Apple's AirPlay 2 and aptX Adaptive Bluetooth are on board for streaming music from mobile devices, and there's Spotify Connect, too. Support for the Bowers & Wilkins Music App gives access to streaming services including Deezer, Last.fm, Qobuz, Soundcloud, Tidal and TuneIn; the list of services is set to expanded along with the inclusion of B&W’s multi-room ecosystem via future firmware updates.
The Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3 is out now and is available direct from Bowers & Wilkins outlets in black or white color options. Look out for our review coming soon, but in the meantime, you may want to check out our roundup of the best affordable soundbars.