Wharfedale Vista 100 - Performance and Verdict

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Wharfedale Vista 100 – Operation

With no HDMIs or ARC to worry about, setting up the Vista with a TV is incredibly simple. Just run an optical cable between the set and soundbar and select the correct input.

Wharfedale Vista 100The convenience of a visual front display shouldn’t be underestimated. It makes life easy when you want to adjust the volume or switch inputs – you can see what you’ve selected straight away without having to decipher flashing lights or icons, as is the case with most soundbars at this price.

The remote is also a cut above the usual soundbar fare. For starters it’s a full-size remote, not a fiddly credit card affair, and sports substantial rubber buttons, which are clearly labelled and helpfully arranged. 

It’s dominated by a large circle, housing volume and Bluetooth playback keys, while each 3D sound mode is given its own key. You can adjust bass and treble levels using the dedicated buttons at the bottom. A single button lets you toggle through inputs – separate buttons for each input would have been more useful but we’re nit picking.

Wharfedale Vista 100 – Performance

Whether you’re playing movies, music or TV, the Vista 100 is an impressive performer for the money. It boasts a wide frequency range for a soundbar, teasing out plenty of top-end detail while delivering punchy bass. 

It kicks out a decent volume too, easily filling our modestly sized room. But its excellent dynamic range means you can hear the difference it makes even at lower volumes – speech, music and effects punch through clearly, putting any TV’s speakers to shame.

What also sets it apart from similarly priced soundbars is its smoothness and unflappability – you can turn it up loud with little trace of harshness or compression. It’s a richer, cleaner and more expansive listen than the Pioneer SBX-300 or Panasonic SC-HTB65

So when you play an energetic Blu-ray soundtrack like Snow White & The Huntsman, you get an exciting, full-blooded performance. As Snow White and Eric encounter a troll in the dark forest, the monster stomps around the landscape with heavy, cohesive bass that doesn’t bring undue attention to itself. 

It might be a little restrained for some tastes – listeners who crave even harder, deeper bass might be tempted to step up to a soundbar with a separate sub – but we actually like this understated approach. 

It tackles effects like clashing swords and shattering glass with gusto, making them sound crisp and pronounced but not hard. Dialogue also sounds natural and immediate – male voices are imbued with subtle depth and a gentle rasp. 

Absolute 3D’s Movie setting does a good job too, lending the soundstage extra width and fullness, while individual elements of the soundtrack seem clearer, particularly high-frequencies. 

Away from movies, you can really hear the difference Vista makes when watching TV shows like Loose Women (no, really). When it cuts to a commercial and blasts out the theme tune, the music has a depth and richness that can be disarming if you’re accustomed to hearing it through weedy TV speakers. 

The ITV News theme tune running beneath the headlines also sounds weightier and more dramatic than usual, proving that Vista will breathe new life into anything you watch. It’s also a dab hand with music via Bluetooth, offering a smooth, nuanced performance of Anything But Look by jazz pianist Jason Rebello.

Wharfedale Vista 100

Should I buy the Wharfedale Vista 100?

With its alluring design, solid features and superb performance, the Vista 100 is quite possibly the best soundbar we’ve tested at this price point and demands a place on your shopping list. 

Not only does it sound more polished than the similarly priced competition, but there are several little things that make a big difference – the touch-sensitive controls, the helpful front display panel, the high-quality remote control, the generous connectivity.

Some may crave a bigger bass punch, others might yearn for HDMI inputs – if so, look to our best soundbars round-up for alternatives. But if you want a large sound from a small box and £150 is your limit, then Vista 100 is a great choice.

Verdict

Wharfedale’s impressive single-box soundbar trumps its rivals with some classy design touches and potent yet polished sound quality. If you know a better way of spending £150, we’re all ears.

Next, read more surround sound system reviews or pick from our best cheap TVs round-up

Score in detail

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

Features

3D Ready No
Number of Speakers 6
Supported Channels 2
DVD Player No
Blu-ray player No
Audio Processing Absolute 3D
Dolby Digital No
DTS No
Dolby Pro Logic II No
Dolby TrueHD No
DTS Master Audio HD No

Connectors

S/PDIF Optical In 1
S/PDIF Coax In 1
Stereo Line In 2
iPod Dock No
Power (Watt) 60W

Physical Specifications

Height (Millimeter) 110mm
Width (Millimeter) 810mm
Depth (Millimeter) 98mm
Weight (Gram) 3.36kg
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