Bowers & Wilkins is releasing the first Dolby Atmos soundbar today. The Panorama 3 is the company’s response to the Sonos Arc and other high-end Atmos speakers, and it costs $999 to match.
According to Bowers & Wilkins, the Panorama 3 doesn’t require an external subwoofer or other components. The soundbar is 2.5 inches tall and has 13 drivers, including twin built-in subwoofers, with a total power output of 400 watts. (The wattage of Sonos’ Arc speaker is kept a secret.) up-firing speakers are included because this is an Atmos soundbar. The Panorama 3 was tuned by the same engineering team that tuned the loudspeakers at the legendary Abbey Road Studios, according to Bowers & Wilkins.
The Panorama 3 has a single HDMI input, similar to the Arc, for easy networking. (If you need to, you can also use the optical jack.) Both the Arc and the Panorama 3 feature built-in voice assistants, however, the B&W only has Alexa, whilst Sonos gives you the option of using either Amazon’s or Google Assistant.
Bowers & Wilkins supports AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, and high-resolution audio streaming from services like Tidal, Qobuz, and others (through the company’s mobile app). Multi-room audio, on the other hand, will have to wait for a software upgrade after the device is released. Unlike Sonos, Bowers & Wilkins includes a wall mount with their latest soundbar, the Panorama 3, right in the box.
The difference between Sonos and Bowers & Wilkins is that the latter also sells its own premium surround sound systems. While the Panorama 3 can outperform any “one-box opponent” — i.e., Sonos, Vizio, and other Atmos soundbar producers — it’s no substitute for a complete surround setup, according to the company. The Panorama 3 goes on sale today if all you need is a high-end soundbar.
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