Technology

Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3: is this the Dolby Atmos soundbar to beat in 2022?

Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3 soundbar in a living room setting

Bowers & Wilkins has unveiled a premium Dolby Atmos soundbar, the Panorama 3. With designer good looks, smart control and dedicated Dolby Atmos height drivers, this could well be the soundbar to beat in 2022.

The first Bowers & Wilkins Panorama soundbar was launched in 2009. Referencing Panavision and Cinerama, it was always intended as a premium TV audio upgrade. A second iteration followed in 2013, adding HDMI connectivity.

This third model adds 3D audio to the feature mix, and will doubtless excite movie fans, as the brand has enjoyed a long-standing involvement with movie sound, its speakers a familiar sight at recording studios where some of the most iconic music scores have been recorded.

The same acoustic engineers behind those speakers have been working on this home speaker.

As with its forebears, the Panorama 3 is a single piece, there’s no additional subwoofer. It’s quite the unit though, measuring 1210 x 65 x140mm (w/h/d). It features 13 individual drive units arranged in a 3.1.2 configuration. 

The Panorama 3 is the first Bowers & Wilkins sound bar to feature Dolby Atmos upwards-firing drive units. Specifically engineered by Bowers & Wilkins to work with spatial audio soundtracks, these 50mm drive units are carefully angled to deliver optimal immersion.

The Panorama 3 is suitable for spatial audio soundtracks from TV, film, game and music streams.  

The model will doubtless excite movie fans, as the brand has enjoyed a long-standing involvement with movie sound…

Build quality looks to be high. The forward-firing array of drive units are arranged in a standard left, centre, right (LCR) configuration, each with twin 50mm midrange drivers partnered by fully decoupled 19mm titanium-dome tweeters. 

There are twin 100mm subwoofers mounted in an acoustic volume that forms the majority portion of the enclosure. 

Total power output is rated at 400W: 40W to each tweeter, 40W to each pair of midrange drive units, 40W to each subwoofer and 40W to each Dolby Atmos Elevation drive unit. 

When it comes to installation, buyers can opt to place it in front of their telly or wall mount using the metal bracket included in the box.

The Panorama 3 offers a single HDMI with ARC/eARC, and an optical digital input for legacy connection. The soundbar can also learn key TV remote control commands.

Wireless support covers AirPlay 2 and aptX Adaptive Bluetooth. There’s also Spotify Connect, for convenient, easy streaming. For high-resolution listening, and the most seamless user experience, the new soundbar also supports the Bowers & Wilkins Music App, giving instant access to a host of streaming services including Deezer, Last.fm, Qobuz, Soundcloud, TIDAL and TuneIn.

User luxuries include simple capacitive-touch ‘hidden until lit’ buttons on its top surface. You want voice control? Amazon Alexa is built-in. 

The brand is promising a firmware upgrade which will bequeath multiroom support, allowing it to integrate with wireless Zeppelin speakers from the brand, or Bowers & Wilkins Formation speakers products.

Available now, the Panorama 3 is priced £899.

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About Steve May

Creator of Home Cinema Choice magazine, and editor of The Luxe Review, Steve muses and reviews for Trusted Reviews, T3, Yahoo UK, Home Cinema Choice, Games Radar, Ideal Home, Louder Sounds, Channel News and Boat International. He’s also the editor of professional home cinema website Inside CI. He's on Twitter and Instagram as @SteveMay_UK

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