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Overall, the Philips Nano soundbar system is tub-thumping success. It does a solid job of delivering big audio from the confines of a compact design. We particularly like its vocal clarity, and the unbridled enthusiasm of the slimline subwoofer – just don’t expect it to do pseudo-surround.
Where the B1 falls flat is with its musical presentation. A lack of cohesion between the sub and that microbeaming mainstage limits its appeal to those who want to stream tunes from their mobiles. Outside of Bluetooth, there’s no wireless multiroom expandability, either.
Still, if you want large-scale TV audio from a compact speaker, the B1 is well worth shortlisting.
There’s no doubting the real-world appeal of the cute Fidelio B1. With a turf war raging beneath the average flatscreen, adopting an ultra-compact soundbar makes a lot of sense. Remarkably, Philips has done a great job delivering a wide, dynamic soundstage from the small enclosure.
It’s perhaps odd that this modernistic soundbar isn’t ready for 4K HDCP 2.2 sources, like 4K UHD Blu-ray or even the 4K Amazon Fire TV box; it rather limits your connection opportunities. And while the B1 does a credible job with movie and TV content, it’s a good deal less successful with music.
With its compact design, space-saving subwoofer, and better-than-you-might-imagine audio clarity, the B1 provides a credible alternative to soundbar systems that occupy twice the space. It may have its limitations – we wouldn’t want to listen to music on it for any length of time – but for TV, movies and gaming, it produces an agreeable wall of sound.
Steve has been writing about AV and home cinema since the dawn of time, or more accurately, since the glory days of VHS and Betamax. He has strong opinions on the latest TV technology, Hi-Fi and Blu-ray/media players, and likes nothing better than to crank up his ludicrously powerful home theatre system to binge-watch TV shows.