What Hi-Fi? March 2021

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
on the edge of greatness

One of the problems we have every year when deciding our Award winners is where to put the category price breaks. After all, we need to make things as useful as possible to our readers, while at the same time not diluting things too much and forcing a ridiculous number of ‘winners’ on the world. I like to think we strike a good balance, but it does mean that some wonderful products can slip through the net. Our cover stars are very much cases in point. If you’ve got £500 to spend on a turntable (p51), we would steer you to one of these two stellar performers, rather than our £250 or £650 Award winners. We follow up our popular stereo systems, made up of Best Buys from a couple of issues…

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 extensive, 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…

11 min
apple airpods max

View offers Headphones | £549 | whf.cm/AirPodsMax Apple’s first on-ear headphones were one of the tech world’s worst-kept secrets. But, while virtually no one was surprised by the announcement of the AirPods Max, what did come as a surprise was the price. At £549, they are vastly more expensive than the majority of premium wireless noise-cancelling headphones on the market. Can they possibly justify such a comparatively huge outlay? The answer is that yes, they can. They’re so much better than the current competition that, arguably, they cross the line from wireless audio into wireless hi-fi. While the styling may not be to everyone’s tastes, there is no denying the quality of the Apple AirPods Max’s build and the materials used in their construction. Place the AirPods Max next to a pair of Sony…

7 min
panasonic tx-65hx940b

View offers Television | £1199 | whf.cm/TX-65HX940B The Panasonic TX-65HX940 is part of the leading line of Panasonic’s LCD TVs for 2020, and is therefore blessed with much of the company’s top TV tech. What’s more, it has the added bonus of both Dolby Vision and HDR10+ support, so you can be sure you’re viewing the best available format regardless of streaming service or disc. Alongside the 2020 flagship HCX Pro Intelligent processor, the HX940 enjoys a faster (100Hz) screen refresh rate over its less thoroughbred LCD stablemates and the benefits of Panasonic’s Local Dimming Intelligent Pro technology. This intelligent dimming technology enables this edge-lit set to mimic the local dimming abilities of a full-array backlit design. This year’s fleet has also brought an update to the company’s proprietary TV OS. My Home Screen…

4 min
bang & olufsen beosound a1 (2nd gen)

View offers Wireless speakers | £199 | whf.cm/BeosoundA1-2ndGen Bang & Olufsen isn’t noted for following the herd, in fact, the Danish electronics specialist’s output could reasonably be described as “premium” and “innovative”. The B&O Beosound A1 (2nd Gen) wireless speaker is no exception. It’s the company’s second most affordable model in its line-up but, to make the product stand out, Bang & Olufsen has billed it the world’s first Bluetooth-only Alexa smart speaker. Thanks to its stunning pearl-blasted aluminium chassis, our pink Beosound A1 (there are four other finishes) almost shimmers. The USB-C charging cable is the same shade too, but in tactile rubber. Reassuringly substantial Although the resemblance between the original and new A1 is striking, the latter has been tweaked significantly, both in terms of design and performance. It is slightly more svelte…

4 min
sony wf-xb700

View offers In-ear headphones | £89 | whf.cm/WF-XB700 Sony is behind some of the best-value premium true wireless earbuds around, including the multi-Award-winning WF-1000XM3. So, given Sony’s reputation in the headphone world, anyone looking for a pair of more affordable, sport-friendly, true wireless buds may be tempted by the WF-XB700. Though the WF-XB700 are the cheapest model in Sony’s true wireless stable, they aren’t simply a watered-down version of the WF-1000XM3. The WF-XB700 are part of the company’s Extra Bass range of audio products and are tuned to emphasise low-frequency response, rather than deliver a neutral sonic balance. Their design is also aimed at fitness fanatics who value sweat-resistance and an ergonomic fit. The XB700 doesn’t have the WF-1000XM3’s noise-cancelling functionality or Sony’s top-of-the-line processing chip – not that you should expect that at…