Which sound bar brand?
Philips sound bars rated
By Daniel Nissenbaum
Article 5 of 8
Which? guide to Philips sound bars. Find out whether the brand is right for you.
Philips used to release a steady stream of sound bars every year, but has reduced to a trickle recently. Entry-level models comprise a single bar or come with wired subwoofer, but some come with a wireless subwoofer.
Philips sound bars tend to offer good connectivity with several different types of connection for a TV and set-top boxes and DVD players, and all offer a way to play music from a smartphone, tablet or laptop. You can do this by connecting a cable to either a USB or 3.5mm mini-jack port – also known as ‘audio-in’ or ‘MP3 link’ ports, and many include Bluetooth to let you stream music wirelessly to the sound bar. Like other brands, Philips includes a choice of several sound effect modes designed to enhance the overall sound, as well as its ‘Virtual Surround Sound’ processing.
In the table below, we've rounded up some of the key facts about the brand to help you decide whether a Philips sound bar would be right for you. Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive ratings and verdicts in the table. If you’re not yet a member, sign up for a £1 trial to get instant access.
|Philips sound bars overview table|
|Number tested in the past three years||1|
|Number of Best Buys|
|Average test score|
|Brand reliability rating|
|Customer score (%)|
|Should I buy one?|
|Table notes||Average test score based on results of models tested that are still available in shops. The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey conducted in July 2016 of 30 Philips sound bar owners. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and reliability is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated 5 June 2017.|
How much do Philips sound bars cost?
The only Philips sound bar we've tested that's currently available costs £250.
Choosing the best Philips sound bar
Philips’ entry-level sound bars are usually a single unit that don’t have a separate subwoofer speaker. Mid-range and top-end Philips sound bars usually come with a separate external subwoofer speaker which adds extra bass and links using either a cable or wireless connection. They’re generally designed for big-screen TVs, 40 to 51-inches in size, and can sit snugly alongside the TV on a surface or wall.
Philips has also launched a soundbase range – its TV Soundstage models allow small and large TVs to stand on top of a reinforced case, which has all speakers built in.
Philips surround-sound processing
Like many brands, Philips offers a choice of sound settings including a choice of stereo or a surround-sound effect, and treble and bass controls. Many models can decode Dolby Digital soundtracks commonly found on DVDs, Blu-rays and films broadcast on TV. Some models also include ‘Night Mode’ which helps you watch films quietly, reducing the volume of loud sounds and amplifying quiet sounds.
Whether you use a mode to suit what you’re watching, such as ‘Virtual Surround Sound’ for films, is down to personal preference – in our tests we find such effects sometimes sound unnatural, but you can choose ‘Stereo’ to listen without extra processing.
Some sound bars do a great job with stereo and moving horizontal sound, such as a car speeding from left to right, but it’s hard to beat a surround-sound system for hearing a pin drop behind you. To learn more, read Sound bar vs home cinema vs surround sound system: which is best?.