Bowers & Wilkins announces its first Dolby Atmos soundbar

Bowers & Wilkins is today announcing its first Dolby Atmos soundbar. The Panorama 3 is the company’s answer to the Sonos Arc and other high-end Atmos speakers — and it’s priced accordingly at $999.

Bowers & Wilkins says that with the Panorama 3, there’s “no need for an external subwoofer” or other added components. The soundbar measures 2.5 inches high and contains 13 drivers — including twin built-in subwoofers — that can reach up to 400W of amplification. (Sonos does not disclose the wattage of its Arc speaker.) As this is an Atmos soundbar, there are also up-firing speakers. Bowers & Wilkins says the Panorama 3 was tuned by the same engineering team as the loudspeakers at the iconic Abbey Road Studios.

The Panorama 3 has up-firing speakers and capacitive touch controls.
Image: Bowers & Wilkins

Similar to the Arc, the Panorama 3 includes a single HDMI input for simple connectivity. (You’ve also got an optical jack to fall back on if need be.) Both the Arc and Panorama 3 have built-in voice assistants, but you’re only getting Alexa with the B&W, whereas Sonos lets you take your pick between Amazon’s and Google Assistant.

Image: Bowers & Wilkins

Bowers & Wilkins supports AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, and high-res audio streaming (through the company’s mobile app) from services like Tidal, Qobuz, and more. Multi-room audio won’t be available right away, however, and will have to wait for a firmware update after release. Unlike Sonos, Bowers & Wilkins is including a wall bracket for its latest soundbar right in the box with the Panorama 3.

Where Sonos and Bowers & Wilkins differ is that the latter also happens to sell its own premium surround sound systems. The company says that while the Panorama 3 can best any “one-box rival” — and by that, it’s referring to Sonos, Vizio, and other Atmos soundbar makers — it’s no replacement for a proper surround setup. But if all you need is a top-end soundbar, the Panorama 3 goes on sale today.

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