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Philips HTL5140 review

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Philips HTL5140
  • Philips HTL5140
  • Philips HTL5140
  • Philips HTL5140
  • Philips HTL5140
  • Philips HTL5140
  • Philips HTL5140
  • Philips HTL5140
  • Philips HTL5140
  • Philips HTL5140
  • Philips HTL5140
  • Philips HTL5140

Summary

Our Score:

9

Pros

  • Big bass output and clear detail
  • Superb cohesion between soundbar and subwoofer
  • Excellent build and discreet design

Cons

  • Occasionally overpowering bass
  • Sockets awkward to access

Best Deals for Philips HTL5140

  • ebay

Key Features

  • 320W quoted power output
  • Dolby Digital & DTS decoding
  • Two Mylar tweeters and four racetrack woofers
  • Music playback via USB
  • Bluetooth with aptX and NFC
  • Manufacturer: Philips
  • Review Price: £240.68

What is the Philips HTL5140?

The HTL5140 pairs a slim soundbar with a wireless subwoofer to pump 320W of audio power into your living room, handing a P45 to your TV speakers in the process. The bar’s slinky form factor not only makes it a breeze to install on a wall or TV stand, but also makes a minimal impact on your precious space, plus the wireless sub can be placed wherever’s most convenient.

Philips HTL5140

SEE ALSO: Best Soundbars Round-up

Philips HTL5140 – Design and Connections

Unusually, the Philips HTL5140 soundbar comes in three pieces that have to be slotted together and screwed in place. Once assembled they form a slender speaker bar measuring 49mm high by 66.5mm deep, making it remarkably discreet and easy to accommodate. Its 1045mm width suits our black 55-inch Samsung set down to the ground, but we think it’ll go well with any TV above 32-inch.

Philips HTL5140

It’s beautifully made and attractively styled without going overboard. The two speaker sections are crafted from black aluminium with glossy metallic caps at both ends. The central section contains an alphanumeric display and a row of touch-sensitive controls on top for power, volume and source selection. The display is large and easy to read, but can be dimmed if it gets too distracting in the dark.

Philips HTL5140

The rear section offers a useful range of connections. There’s a HDMI 1.4 input and output (the latter supporting Audio Return Channel), optical digital input, a 3.5mm minijack input and a USB port. The HDMI ports will pass through 3D signals but not 4K.

Philips HTL5140Philips HTL5140

The recess for the HDMI sockets is fairly tight, so you’ll need bendy cables that can be guided through the opening. The USB port is also buried deep in the back, but there’s an adapter in the box that makes it easier to connect devices.

Philips HTL5140 – Features

The soundbar uses a two-way design, with two racetrack woofers and a 1in Mylar tweeter for each channel, the latter ensuring ‘incredible sound definition’ according to Philips. The subwoofer boasts a single 8in woofer and is claimed to deliver 220W of power, combined with 100W from the soundbar.

Philips HTL5140

Built-in Bluetooth with support for apt-X and AAC makes music streaming a breeze, and NFC connectivity simplifies the pairing process with compatible Android devices (the touch point is located on top).

The USB port enables you to play music files – MP3, WMA, AAC and WAV – from flash drives, and helpfully the track name appears on the front display during playback.

The HTL5140 will decode Dolby Digital and DTS bitstreams fed into the HDMI or optical input, and there’s an array of sound modes to spice them up. Philips Virtual Surround Sound attempts to replicate the effect of a 5.1-channel system through the stereo speakers using ‘highly advanced spatial algorithms’. There are six presets – Powerful, Balanced, Bright, Clear, Warm, Personal – that tweak to EQ to suit different tastes and material.

You’ll also find lip-sync adjustments, a dynamic range booster for night-time listening, auto volume – which keeps loudness on an even keel – and dedicated Bass and Treble controls (from -4 to 4).

Philips HTL5140 – Setup and Operation

With three sections to screw together, installation obviously takes a little longer than most soundbars, but it’s no hassle. To use ARC you’ll have to make sure CEC is enabled in your TV’s setup menu.

Philips HTL5140

The excellent remote makes day-to-day operation a doddle. The rounded back end sits comfortably in the palm and the buttons are sensibly arranged, with keys for each input at the top and prominently-placed volume controls. There are dedicated controls for every sound adjustment towards the bottom too, which makes it easy to optimise the sound to suit your taste – particularly as you can gauge your adjustments on the clear front display.

Philips HTL5140 – Performance

The HTL5140 follows in the footsteps of Philips’ fabulous Fidelio E5 with a hugely impressive performance, offering a more powerful and sophisticated sound than you might expect for the money.

The best part is how this slim speaker can product such a rich, full sound. It makes light work of Godzilla’s massive action sequences, injecting them with waves of deep, punchy bass while exploding buildings and screeching monsters are reproduced with bite and precision.

Philips HTL5140

As the MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) escapes from the nuclear power plant, its footsteps fill the room with a huge thump, while the rumbling bass and clanking metal make it feel like the toppling cranes are about to fall on top of you. The sense of scale displayed here is impressive for a soundbar that’s barely wider than its own remote.

Admittedly, most of the system’s fullness comes from the beefy subwoofer, but unlike other slim soundbars that leave a big hole in the midrange, the Philips’ strong mids integrate seamlessly with the subwoofer – resulting in a balanced and cohesive sound from bottom to top.

The HTL5140 also ekes out lots of fine detail. As the Special Ops team creep through the jungle on Oahu, the Mylar tweeters tease out the sea of chirping insects and the delicate rustle of the soldiers’ footsteps in the grass. High frequencies are clear and natural throughout.

Philips HTL5140

Listeners who like to crank up the volume can rest assured that the HTL5140 doesn’t go to pieces – mids and treble remain clean and easy on the ear.

If we’re being picky the subwoofer could be more agile with fast staccato sounds and can be heavy handed at loud volumes, even at the lowest -4 setting. It flaps when the line of airplanes explodes at Honolulu Airport (you could dry your hair on the air coming out the front port) but none of this will ruin your enjoyment of action scenes.

Dialogue is clear and life-like, with good detail and subtle bass support for deep voices. The surround mode doesn’t bring much to the table besides a little extra width – we much preferred Stereo mode’s more focussed approach. Flicking through the presets proved fruitless as the differences are subtle, but we were more than happy to leave it in ‘Auto’.

Switching to music, the HTL5140’s smooth balance, cohesion and clear detail result in a very enjoyable performance. The subwoofer lends depth to basslines in a less overpowering manner, vocals sound natural and percussion sounds light and airy.

Philips HTL5140

Should I buy the Philips HTL5140?

The HTL5140 is stylish, well made and easy to use, but importantly it delivers a very entertaining performance with movies. Its sound is big, detailed and cohesive, with tight integration between the soundbar and sub. The latter is a bit overpowering at times, but overall its room-filling sound is impressive, particularly when you consider the slim dimensions of the soundbar. At under £250, that equals superb value for money.

Verdict

Philips’ slim, chic soundbar delivers sensational sound and generous features for a reasonable price, making it a terrific option for anyone tired of tinny TV speakers.

Next, read more Soundbar & Surround Sound System Reviews

Overall Score

9

Scores In Detail

  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Sound Quality 8
  • Value 9

Best Deals for Philips HTL5140

  • ebay

Gavin Martin

December 3, 2014, 1:33 pm

Amazon have now pulled this temporarily due to a customer reporting the item as not being as described...not available anywhere else.

Philips obviously don't want to make this easy to sell!

Gavin Martin

December 4, 2014, 11:40 am

Any chance you TR guys could find out from Philips why it's unavailable?
Their UK website product page doesn't even have any product info, just a picture.

Bensafrim

December 16, 2014, 6:08 pm

Rubbish! Amazon is delivering to me on December 18th, having ordered on 15th Dec.
I have scanned all reviews on their site and there is not one that refers,in any way, to misappropriation. Just where do these rumours originate from?
If you browse the web you will see this sound bar in abundance in Europe and the sales there often explains the shortage of their products in the UK. They concentrate on quality rather than quantity which ,to the discernible user, means you get the best.

Gavin Martin

December 16, 2014, 6:24 pm

Are you referring to my comment as being rubbish? I can assure you that at the time I wrote it, Amazon had pulled the product from the site due to some reports from buyers - no idea who said what, but there are a few comments within the reviews/Q&A about european plugs being supplied so maybe a customer was extra unhappy about that (and now UK plugs are supplied). It wasn't on sale for two or three days, and then it was back on so clearly they investigated the matter to their satisfaction. I can only tell you what I saw at the time, so if you're calling my statement rubbish I fear you are being a little harsh. I was disappointed as it was (is) the only place in the UK to be selling the item.

I simply would have liked a comment from TR as to why such a highly recommended piece of equipment was impossible to buy (at the time).

Torn between this and the Canton DM75, this one definitely wins on price.

Bensafrim

December 16, 2014, 6:34 pm

I am not referring to you on a personal level, more the inference that the product had been discontinued as a result of a serious flaw or whatever.
One review suggested Amazon were selling grey imports but this referred only to European plugs being supplied - a mere inconvenience I would say, and having viewed Amazon virtually every day for the past two months in the hope of a significant price drop, I cannot recall the item being taken off their shelf
Finally my hopes faded and I took the plunge yesterday because it is clear that stocks are running low

Gavin Martin

December 16, 2014, 6:45 pm

Ah fair enough. I was just wondering why it was so highly rated by TR and Whathifi, and yet almost impossible to purchase in the UK (more a question of "hey, Philips! What's wrong with the UK?"). Definitely for a couple of days instead of an "Add To Basket" there was a block of text saying it was being reviewed. The inference I got from the statement was more along the lines of someone receiving something different from the supplier than an actual problem with the product, so it could be something as simple as a warehouse packer putting the wrong thing in the box being sent out. Note it was only a temporary thing and said as such on amazon (As opposed to being discontinued).

Just wish there was a bricks and mortar store selling it so I could have a listen. Might also have to take the plunge.

Bensafrim

December 16, 2014, 7:10 pm

About 3 yrs ago I spotted a Philips 37" TV which just sent me into orbit, it was the best picture I had ever seen, literally. But, the vendor did not have stock and challenged me to locate it elsewhere. I eventually did at a sore in S.Yorks and then went through the process of one promise after another until it eventually arrived.
The spec of the TV ( and, indeed the price) far surpassed the usual Sony, Panasonic offerings, and still does today.
Philips do not go for high pitched promotional campaigns and seem to let the product talk for itself and obviously rely on their European sales volumes for their profit levels, I suspect they find UK dealers too greedy.
The frustration with Philips is that they rarely offer true bargains and my advice to anyone is to 'go for it' , knowing that quality will be a trademark of anything they sell, frustrating as it may be to actually get their hands on it.

Gavin Martin

December 17, 2014, 2:09 pm

At this point almost the only thing stopping me is being unsure if the box will be too big to carry home from work on the Tube - based on the reviews it sounds like a great piece of kit that's only bettered by spending twice as much.

Bensafrim

December 17, 2014, 3:16 pm

I can assure you that it will be a huge, heavy box. I have just returned an LG sound bar and getting it to the courier was a problem. It was 14kgs.
I think you will take up a lot of room on the tube never mind the weight!
Surely Amazon will deliver for you and if you join Prime short term you can select your delivery time to suit. That is what I have done for my purchase.
Good luck!

Gavin Martin

December 18, 2014, 12:21 pm

Interested to know how you get on. I'm off on holiday next week so might chance leaving it until I'm back.

Bensafrim

December 19, 2014, 11:08 am

Box size is quite modest, app 18" square but it is heavy. not sure I would like to carry it for any distance.
Set up very easy and had it working within 30 mins. I connected to our Philips TV and used the HDMI ARC link but I have a problem, not yet resolved. When I turn off the bar the Sky box and TV also switch off. I want to be able to turn off the bar independently still having a sky channel and TV sound available. I have written to Philips for their help.
Otherwise a good product, sound is rich and deep, a huge improvement on the LG product that I returned recently.

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