B&W Panorama 2

Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 2 soundbar

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"On paper, this product looks overpriced. However its when you listen to it that the truth is revealed. Bowers & Wilkins clever engineers have created a powerful beast with exceptional sound quality and presence. This is all about sound, not about gimmicks."

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Details

Bowers & Wilkins are always a little secretive about their specifications. Sometimes the bare minimum is all you can glean from them, and often when compared to other cheaper products they seem to pale in comparison. Take the B&W Panorama 2 soundbar - compared to most other soundbars it seems very high in price considering its apparent basic features. There's only 125W of power in those 5 speakers concealed within, and in actual fact it is realistically a 3.1 system not a full 5.1 soundbar.

The Yamaha range for example provides a full 7.1 emulating soundbar with a subwoofer for under £1,000...so why consider this?

Well the answer lies in one place - your ears. Bowers & Wilkins are simply experts on audio quality, and of recent years have moved from producing classic speakers into a wide range of electronic gadgets that excel in design and quality. Their iPod and iPhone compatible products in particular are amongst the finest in the UK. 

This soundbar has been built with the same idea in mind - quality and design over unecessary and sometimes unwanted features. Things are trimmed back here, but actually and argueably they are trimmed to give you what a soundbar should be - pure audio quality with simplicity. There's still a few little design quirks here - take the display which when in use stays off, but pass a hand in front and it jumps into life enabling you to control your soundbar through interactive menus. Of course you still have a remote!

However it's when you get things going that you can hear the difference. The easiest install is just to plug in into an ARC enabled TV (that's a TV which can send audio back down an HDMI lead). One lead - and all the TV sound comes straight out of the soundbar. You can however then plug other devices such as a Blu-ray player directly into the soundbar allowing you to switch between sources, and perhaps just play music without your TV being on.

And what a sound! We wouldn't by any means class this as surround, but it's a solid three channel system delivering well on front effects and soundstage. Dialog is incredibly clear and sharp, and the sound is complete. The built in subwoofers blend perfectly and the end result is a massively impressive audio track to whatever you are watching.

We think Bowers and Wilkins have got this product about 95% right. The price is a touch on the high side and it would be great to see it slide under the £1500 mark, but other than that we think this hits the mark well. It also looks fantastic too so should be an eye pleaser for your home.

Home Cinema Choice Best BuyHome Cinema Choice Best Buy

Home Cinema Choice magazine reviewed this unit and gave it their 'Best Buy' award.

"The Panorama 2 cements its place as the Rolls Royce of soundbars with a spellbinding performance. It’s a remarkably smooth and silky listen, teasing out the tiniest details and playing string-heavy movie scores with the pomp and finesse of decent floorstanders."

You can read the full review here.

Also known as: Panorama2

Tech Spec

General

Model Panorama 2
Range No
This product is collection only No

Sound

Number of channels 5
Power rating at Not specified
Power per channel 25W
Surround sound processing Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic II, DTS
Dolby Atmos No

Inputs and Outputs

HDMI connections 1 out
Supports ARC (audio return channel) Yes
Optical connections 1 in
Analog connections 1 in (minijack)

Networking

Multiroom No
Screen Mirroring No

Speakers

Curved screen or soundbar No
Screen size No
Speaker Configuration Integrated stereo speakers with centre channel and subwoofer
Speaker Type Bookshelf, Wall mounted
Frequency response 35Hz - 50kHz

Measurements

Dimensions (W x H x D) 1100 x 125 x 181 mm
Net weight 14.1 kg