PHILIPS FIDELIO HTL9100
Deviating from the upright design of most other sound bars, the HTL9100 lies flat. Covered in cloth and primarily charcoal in color with a silver band breaking up the monotony, this sound bar looks like an elongated premium router. The comparison is further strengthened by the HTL9100’s tear drop crosssection. Though this Philips sound bar will definitely not be blocking any part of your TV, its footprint is large and does occupy a substantial amount of space.
Following the trend in this shootout, the HTL9100 also features a wireless sub-woofer. But while the other sub-woofers are roughly closer to a cube in shape and design, the HTL9100’s sub-woofer is a tall, rectangular cuboid. Wireless setup is simple and requires no action on the part of the user. The driver is also fitted in a downward-facing orientation.
Although the Fidelio HTL9100 does not feature a built-in Blu-ray player, it does come with support for internet music streaming services such as Spotify and Deezer.
Philips also equips the HTL9100 with a good selection of ports and connectivity options. Users can hook up the sound bar with their TV via HDMI, coaxial or optical ports. A 3.5mm line-in port is also provided. Surprisingly, even though the device has internet features, it does not have an Ethernet port, which means that internet access is only possible through Wi-Fi. Bluetooth compatibility is also included so that users can stream audio wirelessly through their smartphones.
From the range of sound bars tested, the HTL9100 came closest to exhibiting a natural, neutral tone. Trebles for Melt My Heart To Stone by Adele displayed the requisite warmth and soul, while the trebles on Hotel California by The Eagles were clean and crisp. The speakers also handled the shimmering notes for Sleepyhead by Passion Pit with a degree of finesse. Unfortunately the midrange for the HTL9100 comes across as slightly flat in comparison to the field, which was one of our major gripes when it comes to music playback.
The bass performance of the HTL9100 is decent, and the down-firing orientation helps it deliver on impact. But when it comes to movie performance, Philips has another nifty trick up its sleeve in the form of two wireless speakers, with a stated 10 hour battery life, which are detached from the horizontal sound bar and used as rear speakers. The stereo 2.1 channel soundstage is wide and spacious, but after the satellite speakers have been detached, the surround sound experience is greatly enhanced.
“FROM THE RANGE
OF SOUND BARS TESTED, THE HTL9100 CAME CLOSEST TO EXHIBITING A NATURAL, NEUTRAL
Control buttons are provided on the front face. The HTL9100 comes with detachable wireless speakers for easy surround sound.