The new Panorama 3 builds on the proven heritage of its two forebears. As with those models, the Panorama 3 is designed to offer great sound from a single, elegant component with no need for additional rear speakers or a subwoofer. It offers a complete, high-quality Bowers & Wilkins listening experience with both music and films, complete with all the room-filling benefits of immersive Dolby Atmos Elevation sound.
World-class Dolby Atmos Sound
Panorama 3 is designed to be a completely integrated solution that does not require an external subwoofer or rear speakers to deliver high-performance sound — based on the pedigrees of the Bowers & Wilkins’ acoustic platform — Panorama 3 takes minimalism and immersion to new heights.
Discreet, Elegant Design
Designed to easily integrate with today’s low-height TV stands, Panorama 3 has everything needed for a more immersive, and expandable sound from one premium component. A single eARC HDMI connection to your TV is all you need for great sound & effortless control over everything you are watching.
Based on a similar scalable platform as the Zeppelin smart speaker, the Bowers & Wilkins Music app integrates Panorama 3 with their multi-room system — allowing you to share content room-to-room with multiple B&W products — including Formation-enabled products, the new Zeppelin, & Panorama 3 to completely cover your home with premium sound.
Company & Product Overview
Bowers & Wilkins is one of those great companies that uses everything they learn from making 30K+ loudspeakers. Much of that same high-performance tech trickles down into less expensive gear like its Panorama & Formation series and even their Zeppelin wireless smart speaker.
For almost 40 years, their loudspeakers have been the choice monitor speaker in world-class studios to help create the soundtracks for some of the biggest blockbuster movies of all time. These are the same speakers used at Abbey Road Studios, and we think this is what sets the standalone Panorama 3 Dolby Atmos soundbar apart.
When B&W launched the original Panorama back in 2009, Dolby Atmos had not been invented yet. Designed to be completely standalone, the original Panorama didn’t require any extra speakers or components to sound good — and yet it out-performed many of the larger soundbars available at the time.
In 2013, B&W followed up with the Panorama 2 — built on a similar acoustic platform — but with even higher quality driver units and updated features. Today, surround sound tech & TV design have both moved on, considerably.
Designed to easily integrate with today’s low-height TV stands, Panorama 3 is a totally integrated solution that doesn’t require an external subwoofer or rear speakers to deliver high-performance Dolby Atmos sound — built on the pedigrees of B&W’s original Panorama surround sound products — Panorama 3 combines minimalistic design with cool tech to deliver Dolby Atmos in rooms where space is limited.
Bowers & Wilkins sent us a sample to test before the official launch. In this review, we’ll cover the new design, the coolest features, and finally, the immersive performance you get in various room sizes.
Design & Build Quality
For those unfamiliar with the original Panoramas, the design required a substantial cabinet with enough room to house the high-performance drive units — including sizeable low-frequency drivers to produce powerful low-end — but packaged in an enclosure that would still easily integrate with the TVs of the time.
The first thing you will notice about the new Panorama 3 is the low-profile hexagonal shape. Standing just 2.5-inches tall, and spanning about 47.5-inches wide with 5.5-inches of depth across, the Panorama 3 will easily fit under most modern flat-panel TVs. The enclosure’s unique shape is covered in grille cloth with strong, well-defined edges that resemble a diamond — visually, this bar will look great sitting on top of a piece of furniture with TVs that are 55-inches or wider.
As a Bowers & Wilkins product, the build quality is what we would expect from a high-end brand. The bar itself weighs just 14 lbs, so this will be very easy to wall-mount if you are going for a nice clean look.
If placing it under a TV, it’s a good idea to position the bar away from your TV so the upward-firing drivers have enough clearance to direct the sound towards your ceiling. If wall-mounting, give it about 4-5-inches of clearance from the bottom of your TV panel for the most effective spread.
A wall-mounting template is included that will help you position the bar far enough away from the TV, plus the brackets to mount it to your wall for a nice clean look. Because of the convenience and sleek design of this bar, we think most people will place it under their TV on a piece of furniture and be done.
All the connections are tucked away on the back of the unit where they are completely out of view. On the back, there is a push-button labeled “Reset” for a quick reset back to factory settings, a digital optical Toslink input, a USB-C port for updating the firmware & servicing the unit, a power connection, an ethernet port for integration with control systems like Control 4, plus one HDMI eARC input that will let you access true Dolby Atmos without compression.
Watch Dolby Atmos Streaming Services & learn how to transmit full Dolby Atmos without compression
Another cool thing about the HDMI eARC connection is how it simplifies the way you control your TV. HDMI ARC allows you to narrow down your remote control options by letting you access all of the Dolby Atmos & Spatial Audio content with just your TV’s remote control.
Interestingly, there is not a separate remote control included in the box. Since most people will simply use the remote that came with their ARC-enabled TV, the Panorama 3 really takes minimalistic design seriously. If your TV has the ARC or eARC HDMI connection, all you’ll have to do is connect an HDMI cable from your TV to the Panorama 3, and you are done — although if you have a much older TV that does not have either ARC connection type, having the IR remote control capabilities using the optical input is a bonus.
One of our favorite ways to interact with the Panorama 3 is on top of the bar where there is a cool touch capacitive screen that remains dimmed until it detects your motion and lights up. At Audio Advice, we like how the touch screen automatically dims once you walk away as this allowed our eyes to always focus on the TV screen — not on distracting lights.
When lit up, the touch panel reveals simple controls for raising or lowering the volume, muting the sound, controlling playback & a multi-room button. There’s also an Amazon Alexa indicator LED that lights up on the front panel whenever it detects you are speaking the commands to access any content you want.
Features & Technology
Next, let’s take a look under the hood to see the high-performance tech hiding behind the Panorama 3’s discreet design.
Premium Bowers & Wilkins Sound
For four decades, world-class recording studios and mastering engineers have trusted Bowers & Wilkins loudspeakers to create some of the biggest blockbuster movie titles & soundtracks loved by so many. The new Panorama 3 is Bowers & Wilkins’ first Dolby Atmos soundbar — letting you experience all the movies, TV shows, and music in high-resolution Dolby True HD quality — as they were meant to be heard.
True 3.1.2 Dolby Atmos Immersion
Behind the grille cloth, there are an impressive thirteen speaker drivers that present room-filling sound. Mounted to the face of the bar, there are six 2-inch front-facing full-range drivers made from a woven glass fiber cone material all arranged into three pairs to give you the dedicated left, center, and right channels — and each pairing is mated with a single 0.75-inch titanium-dome tweeter that is decoupled from the rest of the system for good top-extension up to 48Khz and a soundstage that is spacious, accurate and natural.
On top of the bar, two premium Bowers & Wilkins 2-inch woven glass fiber Atmos speakers fire sound upward for that top-to-bottom sense of elevation — each one specifically designed & angled for the best possible performance with Spatial Audio & Dolby Atmos soundtracks. To ensure deep bass, there are two 4-inch woofers mounted centrally in a dedicated enclosure that forms the majority portion of the whole cabinet to deliver the Panorama’s impressive 43Hz bass response with good impact — covering you in a true 3.1.4 “bubble” of premium, high-quality Dolby Atmos sound.
The whole system is driven by 400 watts of total power — pretty powerful for its category — providing enough power to completely fill a small to medium-sized living room or a master bedroom with high-quality, detailed Dolby Atmos sound.
Watch What Is Dolby Atmos? to learn everything about this cool immersive tech.
Quick, Convenient, Effortless Connectivity
When it comes to interacting with your TV and controlling the sound coming out of your soundbar, having more than one way to control the entire experience is fantastic. The Bowers & Wilkins app gives a quick effortless network setup, ensuring Panorama 3 is painless to install and simple to use. A single eARC HDMI connection to your TV is all you will need for great sound and effortless control over everything you want to watch.
Bowers & Wilkins Music App
The Bowers & Wilkins Music App combines your chosen music-streaming services into one easy-to-use interface. You just find your favorite music by artist, album, or playlist and stream it directly from each provider for hi-res music up to 24-bit quality from a wide range of streaming services, podcasts, and radio stations — including Deezer, Qobuz, Tidal, Spotify Connect, TuneIn, LastFM and more being added soon.
Based on a similar scalable platform as the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin, the app can also update Panorama 3 with new features once available — including plans for adding Amazon Music, Pandora, Tidal Masters with MQA certification, and Spotify Hi-Fi in the works.
There’s also Airplay 2, Bluetooth aptX Adaptive onboard plus integration with control systems like Control 4 via the ethernet port on the back of the unit — maximizing flexibility and ease of connectivity.
Amazon Alexa Voice Assistant Built-in
The app will guide you through setting up the Amazon Alexa voice assistant. No additional hardware is required. Amazon Alexa Built-in means you can easily play your favorite song, call up your favorite channel, or playlist just by saying the commands. The dedicated Alexa LED lights up on the front panel whenever it detects you are speaking the commands to access any content you want to play.
Similar to the B&W Zeppelin Music Streamer, Panorama 3 will integrate with Bowers & Wilkins’ multi-room system — allowing you to share content with multiple Bowers & Wilkins products — including Formation-enabled products, the new Zeppelin, and the Panorama 3.
With this, you could have a Panorama 3 in one space, a Zeppelin Bluetooth streamer in another space, and a pair of Formation Duo speakers in another room. You just tap the multi-room button a few times to quickly toggle between multiple streams of music from other audio Bowers & Wilkins audio sources. Tap it once to pull an incoming stream of music from another room to the room you are in — and tap it multiple times to cycle through all of the other streams of music going on throughout the home. Super cool!
It’s important to note that Panorama 3 will not have the ability to partner with other Formation-enabled products within the same room or space. So, it cannot be partnered with a Formation Bass to create a 2.1 system.
If you’re just getting started with Dolby Atmos, a quick google search is usually all it takes to see a list of all the great Dolby Atmos content available. However, we have another video that shows you how to get an uncompressed Dolby Atmos signal plus all the Best Movie Platforms to Experience Dolby Atmos. Be sure to check that out if you want to know how to squeeze every drop of performance from a high-performance soundbar.
The room where we tested Panorama 3 was a typical open floor living room with a listening space of about 12 feet wide by 16 feet deep and a 9-foot tall ceiling. At Audio Advice, we are big fans of room calibration and correction, so it would have been nice to calibrate the Panorama 3 to the specific acoustics of our room, however, Bowers & Wilkins confirmed there are no plans to add this as an update in the future.
Interestingly, there is no remote control included. We really liked the minimalism baked into the design overall as this narrowed down the remote controls at play. Since most people shopping for a premium soundbar probably own a TV with an HDMI eARC connection, this narrowed down the remote controls that could eventually become lost to just the one that came with our TV. It also meant the engineers had to spend a lot of time developing better hands-free technologies for interacting and controlling the soundbar — and we have to hand it to B&W for producing an elegant solution with such a seamless setup.
After we plugged in the power supply, made the necessary connections with our Sony Masters Series OLED, the Panorama’s multifunction button on the top panel greeted us with a blinking yellow LED light. The Bowers & Wilkins Music app also provided helpful steps that finalized the connection with Bluetooth and our WIFI network.
In the app, you can search for the music you want to play by artist, album, or playlist and then stream it directly to your Panorama or any of the other compatible Bowers & Wilkins smart speakers you have available. There are also some pretty powerful more personalized recommendations that help you discover new artists and genres based on your music tastes and it learns this from your use of the app over time.
Since this is a Bowers & Wilkins soundbar, one of the first things we knew we had to demo was music! We used Qobuz to stream hi-res music over Bluetooth aptX from our smartphone and played a lot of different genres — and while everything sounded really good, we were the most impressed with genres that had more natural instrumentation like classical orchestras, jazz, and classic rock. One of the tracks that stood out was a song called “Pretty Pimpin,” recorded in 2015 by the American indie rock musician, Kurt Vile.
This song features layers of clean electric guitar-picking and vocal harmonies all played and sung by Kurt. The first thing we noticed was the Panorama 3’s clear top-end extension. It never sounded like it was straining — guitar strings resonated naturally and stood out with fantastic clarity. Kurt's vocals were also very easy to pick out, and we could even hear some details in the presentation we hadn’t noticed before like orchestral string sections hiding in the chorus which stood out effortlessly.
As a great reference track that lets you hear the subtle dynamics hiding in the lower frequencies, Panorama 3 presented good musical bass with a tuneful sense of timing and a rhythm and pacing that made us want to tap our feet on the floor. For such a slim design, we were genuinely surprised by how well the Panorama 3 performed musically across a pretty wide range of frequencies.
Panorama’s clear mid-range and top-end extension also translated well on movies. One of the first clips we tried out with true Dolby Atmos encoding was from 6 Underground on Netflix. At about 3 minutes into the movie, there’s a really cool 16-minute long car chase where the main characters are being followed by the Italian mafia.
Right at the 5:50 mark, one of the cars crashes, sending shards of glass into the air — you can very briefly hear them raining down on the street and shattering onto the pavement. The effect is very brief, but we were impressed by how effortless the Atmos effects sounded coming out of just the Panorama 3.
The top-end extension where a lot of these types of Atmos sound effects live were realistic without ever sounding “harsh” — overall, this is a signature of the Bowers & Wilkins sound profile, and Panorama 3 did a nice job immersing us deeper into this 15-minute long car chase without any of the ear fatigue sometimes found with other high-end systems presenting a pretty high level of detail retrieval. Very cool!
The sound of engines revving and cars exploding was also impressive. If you really want to feel immersed in a car chase scene with explosive details plus a very musical soundtrack, then you have to check out a movie called “Baby Driver” and turn the Panorama 3 all the way up. With 400 watts of total system output, Panorama 3 is powerful for its category — enough power that completely filled our medium-sized living room and a master bedroom with high-quality, detailed Dolby Atmos sound.
One of the coolest things about this cult classic is all the great music in the soundtrack and the smart, quick punny dialog exchanges between characters. The soundtrack in this film sounds fantastic on this soundbar, but the dialog is often difficult to hear or understand on other systems without the subtitles turned on.
For example, one of the main characters speaks with a little bit of a Southern twang and a slightly lazy speech pattern similar to Elvis Presley, which makes it harder to hear and understand the character’s speech. However, on Panorama 3, the dialogue was clear right out of the box without having to adjust the EQ or use special modes that try to enhance the dialog. During high-speed car chase scenes where there are a lot of sound effects with quick exchanges of dialog plus music all fighting for space in the mix, we were very impressed with how well Bowers & Wilkins balanced all of this cinematic information in Panorama 3’s presentation.
Do explosions have the kind of bass that created the immersive experience of being right there in the movie scene with all the slam and deep impact of a dedicated subwoofer that knocks you back in your chair? No. But, for its slim design, the deep 43Hz bass coming out of this bar was rich and musical.
It’s important to note the Panorama 3 is not a replacement for a full-sized home theater system. The Panorama 3 is a totally self-contained Dolby Atmos solution for someone who wants to replace the sound coming out of their TV with something that sounds substantially better.
For someone who wants to replace the sound coming out of their TV with something that will sound substantially better, the Panorama 3 is impressive as a totally self-contained Dolby Atmos solution. The performance benefits you get from having a dedicated subwoofer and surround speakers all around the room will deliver better immersion compared to a totally self-contained solution like this — but in a small to medium-sized room, this bar throws out fantastic cinematic sound quality with detailed Atmos effects.
In a master bedroom where space is tighter, or in a medium-sized living room where you might have a shared wall with a neighbor or even someone else in your home, you really don’t want the truly immersive slam and impact that you would get from a dedicated sub in these types of space constrained situations.
The Panorama 3 is a fantastic way to solve a common problem that many people have who are either limited on space in their main entertainment living room or in their bedroom. For anyone who simply wants to add a Dolby Atmos soundbar in a separate bedroom, the Panorama 3 is a premium bar that takes up as little space as possible. Its slim design was a perfect fit in our master bedroom just sitting on a piece of furniture under a TV. It’s also really cool that this integrates with Bowers & Wilkins multi-room platform to completely cover your whole house with premium B&W sound!
The Bar. Raised.
Introducing the Panorama 3
Panorama 3 draws on Bowers & Wilkins decades of expertise working with world-famous recording studios and is their first soundbar to feature Dolby Atmos spatial audio. Thanks to Alexa voice control, access to a wide range of music streaming services, and multiroom support, it’s as smart as it is capable. With Panorama 3, you can experience all the films, TV shows, and music you love as they were meant to be heard.
True Sound, real immersion
Panorama 3 offers true Dolby Atmos capability with upwards-firing drive units optimized to deliver the best possible immersion with spatial audio. Its single-box enclosure offers powerful bass with no need for an external subwoofer, so you get all the high-quality sound you need from just one component.
Convenient, simple, effortless
The elegant app interface gives quick, effortless network set-up, ensuring Panorama 3 is quick and simple to both install and use. A single eARC HDMI connection to your TV is all you need to ensure both great sound and effortless control over whatever you’re watching.
Connected, Smart, Intuitive
Panorama 3 offers both high-resolution playback and access to a wide range of music streaming services, thanks to the Bowers & Wilkins Music App. Spotify Connect, AirPlay 2, and Bluetooth AptX Adaptive are also included, along with multiroom support and built-in Alexa.
Discreet, elegant design
Panorama 3’s ultra-low profile makes it easy to install below modern flat-panel TVs. Its hidden-till lit user interface and premium materials designed to complement any home ensure an elegant installation. If you prefer to wall-mount your Panorama 3, a suitable bracket is included.
Powerful sound from just one component
In addition to its twin Atmos drive units, Panorama 3 has a further nine additional drive units in a left/center/right (LCR) speaker configuration, ensuring optimum clarity and detail. Bass is delivered by twin subwoofers housed in a dedicated enclosure that forms the majority portion of the whole cabinet. The whole system is driven by a mighty 400w of power, ensuring outstanding performance whatever you’re watching or listening to.
- Description: Wireless Dolby Atmos Soundbar
- Technical Features:
- HDMI eARC
- Discrete Dolby Atmos 3.1.2
- Dolby True HD
- Compatible with Bowers & Wilkins Music App
- Alexa enabled
- Spotify Connect
- AirPlay 2
- Drive Units:
- 3 x 19mm (0.75in) Titanium dome tweeter
- 6 x 50mm (2in) Woven glass fiber cone bass/midrange
- 2 x 50mm (2in) Woven glass fiber cone atmos drive unit
- 2 x 100mm (4in) Low profile bass unit
- Audio Format Support:
- Dolby Atmos
- Dolby Digital True HD
- Dolby Digital+
- 1 x HDMI eARC
- 1 x Digital Audio In (Toslink)
- 1 x RJ45 Ethernet
- 1 x USB-C (service connection only)
- Frequency Response: 43Hz- 48kHz
- Input Voltage: 100V - 240V, 50/60Hz
- Amplifier Power Output: 400W
- Standby Power Consumption: Below 2W
- Bluetooth Connections:
- Bluetooth 5, class 2
- aptX™ Adaptive
- Height: 65mm (2.5in)
- Width:1210mm (47.6in)
- Depth: 140mm (5.5in)
- Weight: 6.5kg (14.3lb)
- AirPlay 2 Compatibility: iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch with iOS 11.4 or later, Apple TV 4K or Apple TV (4th Generation) with tv OS 11.4 or later, Mac or PC with iTunes 12.8 or later.