This affordable soundbar from iconic British brand Wharfedale is on a mission to save you from the frankly pathetic sound quality offered by today’s slim TVs. Equipped with a 60W amplifier, Sonic Emotion processing and Bluetooth, Wharfedale’s debut soundbar brings loud, spacious sound into your living room without cluttering it up with multiple speakers and cables. If your space and budget are limited, then it could be the sonic solution you seek.
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Simply lifting the Vista from its box tells you it’s a quality product. There’s a reassuring heft to the unit and the front mesh is fashioned from metal. The cabinet’s rounded back-end and curved sides provide a level of elegance missing from many soundbars at this price, while its black finish and minimal buttonry keep things fairly low-key. The finish is plasticky to the touch, but that’s the only thing that betrays its budget price tag.
This compact speaker measures 810mm wide, making it best-suited to 32-inch TVs. It can be placed on a tabletop or wall mounted, and for the latter there’s a template in the box – it’s just a case of planting a couple of screws in the wall and hanging it on them.
On top is a panel of touch-sensitive controls – the sort of classy touch that’s not always guaranteed at this price. But even more pleasing is the presence of an LED display, which shines through the front speaker mesh. The big, bright digits are easy to read, but because they disappear after a few seconds it’s not distracting at all. You can even dim the display using a dedicated button on the remote.
All of the sockets are housed in a recess on the back. The lack of HDMI inputs isn’t surprising at this price, but it's not a huge issue given you can simply hook it up to your TV and not worry about anything else.
What’s more, the rest of the line-up is fairly generous – you get optical and coaxial digital inputs, analogue stereo RCA input and a 3.5mm minijack input.
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The highlight is Absolute 3D technology from Sonic Emotion, which we last heard inside the Toshiba SBM1W mini soundbar. This comes in Music, Movie and Game flavours and aims to provide a wide sweet spot so that you get the best sound no matter where you’re sitting in the room. It works using ‘wave field synthesis’ to physically control sound wave dispersion.
It’s also equipped with a 60W amplifier that drives six neodymium speaker drivers – two 75mm, two 70mm and two 50mm. Two of the drivers are located on the side panels, firing sound sideways into the room and helping to create the spacious ‘3D’ effect. There's no subwoofer though.
Last but certainly not least, Vista 100 boasts built-in Bluetooth, making it a cinch to stream music from mobile devices. Add this to the four physical inputs and you can connect up to five components in one go, which is not to be sniffed at.