With its 40 cm width, Fidelio B1 will never look obtrusive, regardless of which TV it is placed below. The subwoofer is flat enough to slip under the couch, but wide and deep enough to accommodate a fine cabinet volume. This gives you a rather awesome bass after all. And with the bass directly under your butt, the bass experience becomes more physical.
A front display provides a good overview during everyday use. However, the HDMI input does not support 4K-video from Blu-ray (missing HDCP 2.2). The player must then be connected directly to the TV and send the sound to the soundbar via HDMI output’s audio return channel.
The dialogue on film is clearer than with Panasonic and Creative. Alien: Covenant has a larger soundscape than the small size would imply. However, there is no great sense of surround. The sub-woofer is somewhat uncontrolled if it is set too high and needs to be muted to get a balanced sound.
Voice audio function can be enabled for clearer dialogues, which is at the expense of the feel of the room in the soundscape. It can also sound a little crackly. This feature is likely intended for people with impaired hearing in the upper frequency range.
Otherwise, the soundbar plays powerful enough to provide a great movie experience. It also works well on games, as we could formerly feel the action in the racing game Forza Horizon 3 on Xbox One S.
For music, the bass zone is somewhat disconnected from the rest of the sound, and the subwoofer isn’t quite rhythmical enough. There is also no diction upwards. Singing voices are not quite clear enough.
Philips Fidelio B1 is user-friendly, and many will find its discreet appearance appealing. The sound is bigger than its physical size and it works well enough on TV and film. However, it’s not our favourite for music, and there are better soundbars at approximately the same size. For example, Sony HT-MT500.
That the HDMI input does not support 4K Blu-ray is a big minus.
Also in this test
Does not follow up
A masculine expression and rugged sound does not have the power to follow up, and Klipsch lands at the bottom.
JBL Bar 3.1
No one in the class provide this sense of home cinema. JBL crushes everyone on sheer force, and the sound quality is good enough for it to take the lead.
Let the sound flow
The soundbar from LG is one of the most affordable with built-in network features and streaming of music services. It also sounds good.
The soundbar from Samsung has a beautiful coherence in the tones, which makes both movies and music a pleasant experience.
Small and half-hearted
The small soundbar from Panasonic sounds bigger and more powerful than you might think. But it has a few issues.
Creative Sound BlasterX Katana
Creative’s soundbar is for gamers and the only one in the test with USB inputs that replaces the sound card in PCs and Macs.
Surprisingly huge sound
Yamaha was first on the market with active soundbars. This is their first with DTS Virtual:X surround sound.
Extra dimension in height
Sony’s soundbar simulates both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X in height, thus giving an extra dimension to the soundscape. Yes, it works.