The Panasonic SC-HTB490 boasts a super slim build that's designed to fit under most TVs – though specifically the new 2021 Panasonic LED models – and it can also be wall-mounted if you want to save even more space.
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According to the company, the HTB490 produces "a powerful sound that belies its compact form". That's thanks to two full-range, forward-facing speaker units, that can deliver 160W of power alone, and are supported by two bass reflex ports that should enhance the lower frequencies of your music, films, and TV shows.
Add to that a wireless subwoofer, and that power output is bumped up to a total 320W – and without annoying cables, you can place it anywhere in your room. Panasonic says that the use of a small circuit board inside the subwoofer allows for more space inside the speaker's body for sound to reverberate and add "truly epic tones" to the audio output.
Is it worth the money?
Wirelessly connectivity comes courtesy of Bluetooth, which means you can stream music from your device without the need for wires.
As well as that, you're getting an HDMI ARC port, and optical input, and a USB port so you can plug in your USB stick and play your music. It's not the most comprehensive list of connection options we've seen from a soundbar, but the HTB490 is also cheaper than more high-spec rivals like the Sonos Arc.
Will availability still to be confirmed, the Panasonic HTB490 will set you back £349 when it goes on sale. That works out at around $480 / AU$630, though global pricing is yet to be announced.
If a compact design and simple connectivity options are on the top of your soundbar wishlist, that price may well be justified – though you can buy soundbars with extra features like Dolby Atmos spatial audio for less, with models like the Sony HT-X8500 potentially offering better value for your money.