Mention ‘multi-room speakers’ to someone and the most likely brand they will come back to you with is Sonos. In its 21 years (happy birthday for August, Sonos), the company has consistently maintained its lead at the forefront of multi-room speaker technology. And its new Era 300 and Era 100 speakers prove that it has no intention of relinquishing its accustomed spot any time soon. Alongside the in-depth First Tests of those two products, we also compare the two with their closest rivals, take a look at the benefits of Spatial Audio (which features in the Era 300) and suggest some top tracks for you to hear it at its best.
You don’t have to spend an absolute fortune to benefit from a terrific smartphone – and so, also in this issue, we round up a bunch of sub-£1K handsets that deliver the best performance.
And, as usual, we also have reviews of the very latest hi-fi and AV products in our First Tests section.
Presenting a Sonos special…
In the Multi-Room Wireless Smart Speaker Steeplechase, Sonos has kept a healthy lead by responding well to market conditions, successfully jumping all the hurdles in its path and keeping its nose ahead of its rivals. Now, as those rivals challenge hard, the company has injected more pace with two next-generation products – the Era 300 and Era 100 – that it hopes will consolidate its leading position.
To evaluate these new-born speakers and assess the Sonos brand as a whole, we have designated our June issue a ‘Sonos Special’. It kicks off with a full test of the Era 300, a speaker that incorporates spatial audio for a more immersive listening experience of Dolby Atmos-encoded music.
That is followed by a head-to-head test pitting the 300 against its main rival in the spatial audio arena, the Apple HomePod 2. Then we have our features explaining Apple Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos music, along with our pick of the tracks that benefit most from the new tech. That is followed by our review of the Era 100 – the successor to the Sonos One speaker – and a second head-to-head comparing the two. And let's not forget our guide to the Sonos app!
Grand smartphones for under a grand
These days, the smartphone is ubiquitous; a handheld device that pretty much does it all – but, what we’re most interested in at What Hi-Fi? is such devices’ AV and audio quality – which is undoubtedly getting better all the time as the big smartphone manufacturers upgrade their yearly iterations with better screens and processing power.
The best flagship smartphones can set you back a grand or more. But here we believe we’ve found a sweet spot between performance and price that means you need slightly less deep pockets for a pocket device that provides a satisfying audio and movie/TV watching experience.
Which handset is right for you depends entirely on how much you value certain areas of performance – but if, in particular, you’re looking for a smartphone that does justice to movies and TV streaming, you’ll find much to like in our round up of the best smartphones for under £1000 – only in June's What Hi-Fi?
Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos music explained!
We've been talking a lot about Spatial Audio, especially with Sonos's Era 300, reviewed in this issue, carrying the immersive sound format. But what is it? Why is it? How is it? And where is it? All these questions and more are answered in June's What Hi-Fi? as we tell you everything you need to know about Apple Spatial Audio.
And, if that wasn't enough, we also explain Dolby Atmos music this issue too!
Hi-fi separates are all the rage again. Well, as hi-fi fans, you probably knew that. But with some key hi-fi products coming our way in the form of separate boxes, we take some time this issue to tell you just why we're so excited about that. And you will be too, once you've read more about it in this month's mag!
First with reviews
Our First Tests section is where you'll find our famously in-depth, impartial and expert reviews of the very latest AV and hi-fi kit.
The headlines this issue belong to a pair of new Sonos smart speakers in the form of the Sonos Era 100 and its bigger sibling the Era 300. We give our expert verdicts on both speakers in June's What Hi-Fi?
But there's more than just Sonos in this month's mag. We also check out LG's latest flagship OLED, the G3. We're big fans of this TV's predecessors, the G1 and G2, so we had high hopes for this latest set. Does it live up to our expectations? Find out this month!
Our test benches this month, as ever, groaned under the weight of plenty of other great kit. Cambridge Audio's latest turntable, the Alva TT V2, Samsung's exceptional QE65QN95C Mini LED TV and a brace of in-ear headphones, Bowers & Wilkins' Pi7 S2 and the Nothing Ear (2), were also on test.
Find out what we thought of all these products in the June 2023 issue of What Hi-Fi?
Pricey, yet priceless
OK, so some of these products go for new car money – but if you can afford it, our Temptations section of What Hi-Fi? is where you'll find the very best high-end hi-fi and AV products.
This month it's the turn of the Goldmund Mimesis 37S/Next Gen Telos 300 pre and power amp pairing to make us wish we weren't humbly-paid tech journalists. This five-star amplifier combination is worth every penny, if only we had that many pennies.
And then for something quite different. Martin Logan's ElectroMotion ESLX electrostatic floorstanders look and sound remarkable. Again that sort of quality doesn't come cheap, but they're mightily impressive.
Finally, don't forget to check out our Buyer’s Guide, featuring a definitive list of all the best home entertainment kit you can buy – including winners of 2022's What Hi-Fi? Awards. If you’re looking to purchase anything from a pair of wireless headphones to a home cinema speaker system, this section will tell you where to spend your money wisely.
Whatever you do, don't miss the June 2023 issue of What Hi-Fi?. Grab a copy today, or simply download it onto your tablet or smartphone. Enjoy!