Bowers & Wilkins has revealed the Panorama 3, their latest soundbar, which has its eyes set squarely on the Sonos Arc. Panorama 3 is the company’s first Dolby Atmos speaker, and it takes a different approach than practically every other soundbar available. Because the Panorama 3 isn’t meant to operate with surround speakers or a dedicated subwoofer to deliver a full surround sound experience, it won’t work with them. Instead, Bowers & Wilkins believes that its soundbar will be enough to produce immersive surround sound for your next binge-watching session, movie night, or sports night.
Bowers & Wilkins has integrated compatibility for handsfree assistant Alexa, just like the Sonos Arc. If you already have a few Amazon Echo speakers, you may use the Panorama 3 as another smart speaker, requesting songs, podcasts, radio stations, as well as the latest headlines and forecast, setting reminders and timers, and more.
The Panorama 3 features a low profile design that allows it to fit beneath your screen without impeding anything. It stands just 6.5cm tall. If you choose to install your television on the wall, Bowers & Wilkins includes a wall-mount kit in the box.
Bowers & Wilkins claims that the Panorama 3’s 121cm width will work well with displays of 55 inches or larger. If your television is smaller, the soundbar will still function properly, but it will extend beyond your screen and may even hang over the side of the furniture.
Bowers & Wilkins has added a single HDMI port on the back for ARC and eARC, as well as an optical digital input for people with older televisions (or who don’t want to lose an HDMI port on the back of their televisions for the sound system). While an HDMI ARC connection allows you to use your remote right away, because the Panorama 3 doesn’t come with one, Bowers & Wilkins has built-in new technology that learns the functionality of your TV remote so that everyone has the same unified experience.
What about the audio?
Bowers & Wilkins integrated 13 separate driver units, each powered by ten 40-watt amplifiers. Each channel group has twin five-centimetre midrange drivers and 19mm titanium-dome tweeters running across the front. The top of the speaker has two angled drivers that lend height to the sound. To give depth, two 10cm subwoofers are crammed into the enclosure.
When you’re not viewing movies or TV, you can wirelessly stream music to the Panorama 3 via Bluetooth, Spotify Connect, or AirPlay 2. The Bowers & Wilkins app gives you access to lossless streaming providers like Tidal, Deezer, and TuneIn for high-resolution audio. In the next months, the British audio company has vowed to add more platforms to the app.
Bowers & Wilkins’ newest soundbar is now available. Panorama 3 costs £899 and is the same size as the Sonos Arc. Both provide wireless audio streaming from your smartphone or tablet, Dolby Atmos sound for movies and video games, and a voice assistant that can be used hands-free.