What Hi-Fi? March 2020

What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home cinema products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the best equipment for your cash, with the magazine's advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies.

United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd
13 Issues

in this issue

1 min
ces shindig shines a light

The first week of January isn’t the best time for most people. Post ‘festive season’ hangovers abound, the nights are long and the days dank. For technology journalists, however, the enormous Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held in Las Vegas every year, adds a healthy dose of the bizarre and inspirational into the mix. CES is the biggest electronics show there is, and this year, as usual, there were launches and reveals aplenty – especially where TV is concerned. Our feature on the future of TV (p46) highlights the next big things to come from the main manufacturers – and there’s plenty to be excited about. And there’s plenty in this issue too, for the music enthusiast. We have two Group Tests, one of high-quality music-streaming services (p32), one of £350 turntables (p62),…

1 min
how we test

EXPERIENCE. HERITAGE. We’ve been helping the world discover the best in hi-fi and home entertainment for more than 40 years, and have more than 100 years of reviewing experience under our collective belts – so you can count on our expert opinion. DEDICATED TEST FACILITIES We test every product against its peers in our brand-new, bespoke reviewing facilities in London and Bath. We conduct all our tests as a team – our opinions and conclusions are always the result of collaboration. HOW WE SCORE All review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole – not an individual reviewer. Each product will be listened to and/or viewed by several members of the test team, who will then discuss the final verdict before it appears in the magazine or on the website. This avoids…

9 min
samsung qe75q950r

View offers 8K Television | £4999 | whf.cm/QE75Q950R FIRST TESTS EXCLUSIVE, IN-DEPTH VERDICTS ON THE LATEST KIT Of all the TV manufacturers out there, Samsung is pushing 8K the hardest. If we were being cynical, we would say that it could be seen as an attempt to take the discussion away from OLED vs QLED and on to a new technology with which the company can lead the charge. On the other hand, the company’s determination to get its 8K TVs into homes before content arrives is resulting in some surprisingly affordable models. Take the QE75Q950R, for instance. The model it replaces launched at £6999 and here we are, a little more than a year later, with an 8K TV set costing £2000 less. A key upgrade Admittedly, the upgrades are fairly minor. The Q900R that went…

4 min
acoustic energy ae120

View offers Stereo speakers | £799 | whf.cm/ae120 We unbox Acoustic Energy’s AE120 floorstanders with no small amount of excitement. They emerge to reveal a tweeter and three relatively large drivers, all within a slender and unobtrusive chassis. The bijou dimensions and true three-way configuration has piqued our interest already. The AE120 floorstanders are the largest in the firm’s most affordable 100 series. They pack a 25mm soft-dome tweeter, a dedicated midrange driver (housed in its own enclosure) and twin bass drive units – that last trio featuring the company’s bespoke 11cm paper cones – they’ve got a lot going for them. You get a choice of two finishes. The model we’re testing has a black satin wrap, which costs £50 more than the walnut vinyl veneer option. Once placed on the spiked plinths, these…

4 min
lg sl8yg

View offers Soundbar | £449 | whf.cm/SL8YG In the AV world, it is acknowledged that technologies become more accessible the longer they have been around. Take Dolby Atmos: it started life in cinemas and high-end speaker packages, before being introduced to upmarket soundbars a few years back. It has now trickled down into more affordable propositions, such as this LG SL8YG soundbar. But does it belong here? We hook the SL8YG up to our LG OLED65B9PLA and Oppo UDP-203 4K Blu-ray player via HDMI (the LG also has optical and USB sockets) and settle into Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol.2 on 4K Blu-ray. It isn’t long before we decide that, yes, Dolby Atmos does belong here. It isn’t the kind of 360-degree presentation offered by an Atmos speaker package, nor the immersive delivery of…

6 min
jbl flip 5

View offers Wireless speaker | £100 | whf.cm/Flip5 Bluetooth speakers have never been more prevalent in our homes or at social gatherings. Driver-bearing cylinders, oblongs and cuboids now jump from concept, to factory lines, to our laps, with increasing regularity – and ever more impressive spec sheets. So we’re surprised to discover that JBL’s Flip 5 arrives with fewer features than its predecessor, the Flip 4. Gone is the analogue aux-in port for wired listening, for example. That’s not a huge issue – wireless is clearly the way forward in 2020 – but JBL has also axed the microphone for access to your chosen voice assistant or speakerphone duties. Faster charging That makes the Flip 5 essentially just a Bluetooth speaker – albeit with a USB-C charging port and cable. This port, along with a…