While built-in TV speakers have undoubtedly advanced, it’s safe to say that soundbars are still one of the best investments you can make to have a fully immersive experience in your living room. Soundbars are incredible devices, and there are tons of affordable and quality options on the market to choose from.
Unfortunately, it can take a lot of work to determine the best option for your home theater when comparing different soundbars on the market. In this article, we’ll compare the features of the Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3 and the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 to help you decide which speaker best suits your home.
When it comes to choosing new speakers, one of the most important qualities to consider is sound quality. Not all home theater speakers are created equal; unfortunately, some struggle to play certain ranges of sound. In certain cases, they can even become actively unpleasant to listen to.
The Bowers Wilkins Panorama 3 has a decent sound system, but unfortunately, it isn’t able to handle all ranges. Overall, it’s a decent-sounding speaker that will delight most casual listeners, but it can sound somewhat muffled and muddy due to the reduced bass. It doesn’t immerse listeners as well as some competing soundbars, either.
The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 has a slightly better reputation for its sound quality compared to the B&W Panorama 3. Most notably, it has a smart correction feature that can optimize audio reproduction depending on your space. It also has a decent and neutral sound, although much like the B&W Panorama 3, it struggles to replicate low bass ranges.
If you’re attempting to choose between the Bowers Wilkins Panorama 3 and the Bose Soundbar 900 according to their sound quality, you’ll find that both are essentially equal mid-range speakers. The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is slightly better due to its ability to optimize sound, but the B&W Panorama 3 will serve most uses just as well.
Sound Quality Winner: Bose 900 (but only by a slight margin)
Cost and Value
When you’re considering which is the better speaker, you can’t forget to assess the cost and value of the devices. In many cases, you may have budget constraints that lead you to want to find the cheapest option or the one that gives the best bang for your buck.
If you’re interested in the BW Panorama 3 soundbar, you can expect to stay in the sub-$1,000 price range. Reviewers generally suggest that the B&W Panorama 3 is worth the cost since it delivers a high level of immersion and has a generally fair level of audio quality.
The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is much cheaper by comparison, as it’s priced below $900 at full retail and goes on sale frequently. Between the decent sound quality and the spectacular assortment of smart features that the device comes with, it’s safe to say that the Bose Soundbar 900 delivers a lot of value, too.
If you’re looking for the cheapest sound system to add to your home, you’ll generally find that the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 better suits your needs — but it’s worth checking if the B&W Panorama 3 is on sale. Both deliver a level of value that you would expect for the cost, but the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 offers a few extra frills for a lower price.
Cost/Value Winner: Bose 900
Considering that soundbars are typically placed right next to your large TV display, it’s safe to say that most people will want well-designed and visually appealing speakers for their room-filling sound. Luckily, the B&W Panorama 3 and Bose Smart Soundbar 900 both have pleasant designs.
The B&W Panorama 3 is a sleek, rectangular soundbar that measures at dimensions of 2.50 x 46.60 x 5.50 inches. The device is only available in a basic black color but makes up for this limitation with its simultaneously elegant and subtle design. It’s recommended to use this soundbar with a 65in or larger TV.
Meanwhile, the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 measures 2.29 x 41.14 x 4.21 inches. The device can be purchased in either black or white and has an understated and minimal rectangular design that ensures it can blend in with most TV displays. As the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is slightly smaller than the B&W Panorama 3, it’s generally recommended to use it with any TVs above 55in.
Before purchasing either setup, it’s worth checking the dimensions of your TV and seeing if the soundset will fit underneath and between the legs of the TV. If you measure in advance and ensure that you can fit your soundbar, you’ll find the combination significantly more aesthetically appealing.
Cost/Value Winner: Tie (but be sure to check the dimensions for purchasing, since one might be better than the other depending on your TV’s size)
Standalone (vs. Adding Satellite Speakers)
If you’re looking for a convenient soundbar, it’s safe to say that an active speaker is much more convenient than a passive speaker. Since the necessary amplifiers and channel processors are already built into the device, you won’t have to put in any extra effort to get the soundbar working as intended.
You won’t have trouble setting up the B&W Panorama 3, as the device is a premium, feature-packed standalone soundbar setup. It features two integrated subwoofers, three titanium-dome tweeters, two midrange drivers, and two elevation drivers, ensuring that it can deliver a full range of spectacular immersive sound.
The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 offers the same standalone convenience as the Panorama, featuring dipole speakers, six full-range transducers, and an influential central tweeter. When combined with the smart room adaptation feature that helps make every sound its best, you’ll find that the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 works perfectly as a standalone device.
Both speakers are incredible for standalone use. The B&W Panorama 3 packs a slightly bigger punch with all of its built-in speakers, but the Bose Smart Soundbar makes up for the difference with its incredible Bose TrueSpace technology that tailors sound to make it accurate and enveloping. Both speakers are incredible standalone devices, but one offers you more appeal.
Standalone Soundbar Winner: B&W Panorama 3 (but only by a slight margin)
While you might have heard of smart speakers and smart home assistants, did you know that smart soundbars can offer the same level of convenience? The B&W Panorama 3 and Bose Smart Soundbar 900 offer incredible smart features.
The B&W Panorama 3 includes many smart features, including direct Bluetooth connection and AirPlay capabilities. You can also use the BW Music App to control the soundbar directly. It allows you to categorize your speakers and play music directly to speaker groups from an integrated streaming service of your choice.
The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 has an impressive suite of features, too. Aside from the convenient Google Assistant and Alexa integration, the soundbar also supports Voice4Video Technology, allowing you to use your voice to control the device. Best of all, you can control the device and play music seamlessly from anywhere using the Bose Music app.
Both speakers have smart features worth considering. The B&W Panorama 3 has powerful casting features, while the Bose Smart Soundbar stands out for its incredible voice assistant integration. Both speakers are paired with apps that you can use to control the device from anywhere. However, if you’re looking for a truly smart soundbar, it’s safe to say that the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is the best choice.
Features Winner: Bose 900
Undoubtedly, being able to plug in and immediately use your soundbar is a wonderful experience. Still, it’s also nice to have the possibility of expanding — and even improving — the sound by adding additional devices. While the B&W Panorama 3 isn’t easily expandable, the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 offers plenty of expandability options to delight users.
Unfortunately, the B&W Panorama 3 doesn’t provide any expandability features. While the soundbar has several ports, it can’t connect other devices like subwoofers or surround sound rear speakers. Considering that the B&W Panorama 3 cannot deliver a full range of surround sound, this is a considerable limitation.
If you’re looking for an expandable soundbar, you will be delighted with the Bose Smart Soundbar 900. Bose sells several devices that are good for pairing with the Smart Soundbar, including the Bass Module 700, which you can use to expand the range of the speaker and improve the sound.
Between the two speakers, it’s safe to say that the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is a much better option if you hope to expand and improve your audio system in the future. While the soundbar is already spectacular as a standalone device, the sound will only become more incredible when you add a subwoofer.
Expandability Winner: Bose 900 (although the setup gets pricey once you add a bass module and surround speakers)
Which Is Better: B&W Panorama 3 vs. Bose Smart Soundbar 900?
There’s no doubt that the B&W Panorama 3 and the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 are excellent standalone devices. Both offer incredible sound quality, although they’re somewhat limited in their ability to deliver a low bass range. They’re also incredibly convenient, considering they can each be controlled by their respective mobile apps.
The BW Panorama 3 is a valuable soundbar system for the price and offers plenty of features that make purchasing it worthwhile. If you’re looking for a high-performing standalone system and don’t have any interest in expanding to a true surround sound system, you’re likely to be satisfied with the quality that the B&W delivers for your movie-watching experience.
The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 stands out for its smart sound optimization and smart assistant integration. You can often find it slightly cheaper than the B&W, and the expandability features of this device mean that you can continue to improve its room filling sound over time, adding rear speakers or surround speakers and potentially even expanding it into a multi room system.
Overall, if you’re looking for a soundbar system with incredible innovative features and expandability options for a fair price for your living room, you’ll love everything the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 offers. However, if you just want a basic standalone system, the B&W Panorama 3 is worth considering.