Once upon a time, 32 inches of television screen was big. It seems remarkable now, but the TVs we're focussing on in this issue of What Hi-Fi? would have been considered huge.
But time moves apace, and the wondrous new flat-panel TV tech most of us now love means that the 55-inch screen is fairly commonplace and 65 inches is the new big. Some of us, though, simply don’t have the space to accommodate such screen acreage; but until recently the major manufacturers have devoted their attention – and the highest TV tech – to those larger sizes.
But those with more limited space and means rejoice. Finally, the joys of OLED and QLED have hit the mid-size, or 'smaller' TV categories: our round-up of top 42 and 43-inch TVs is perfect for a smaller room. To go with those lovely TVs we also round-up a clutch of new Dolby Atmos soundbars to rival the mighty Sonos Arc.
And, since it's that time of the season, we present our Christmas gift guide featuring pressie ideas for the AV and hi-fi fan in your life. Read all this and more in this month's What Hi-Fi?
And, as usual, we also have reviews of the very latest hi-fi and AV products in our First Tests section.
It's a small(er) world
Incredibly it took until 2020 for even the first 48-inch OLED TV to hit shops – and for some, 48 inches is still far too big.
Buyers of ‘small’ TVs – 42 or 43-inch sizes that are a much more convenient size for the living rooms many of us inhabit – have for a while been at a disadvantage when it comes to genuine flagship quality, with the best quality displays, cleverest processing and most fully-featured specs generally reserved for TVs at least 55 inches in size. In short, until now, those with modestly sized rooms have been barred from owning the best TVs.
This last year though has seen true flagship performance hitting the TV small-time, with 42-inch OLEDs finally available in the form of LG’s OLED42C2 and Sony’s XR-42A90K. The quality of LCD TVs smaller than 55 inches, meanwhile, has also until very recently been disappointing. Thankfully, Samsung launched a 43-inch version of its QN90A QLED last year, and now there's a 2022 edition, the QE43QN90B.
We’ve gathered all three of these brilliantly-sized TVs and put them to the test, pitching each one’s picture quality, features and sound quality against one another and the larger screen sizes in each one’s respective ranges.
So, if you’re after flagship quality with a more compact footprint, check out this month's issue of What Hi-Fi? as we shine a spotlight on these small wonders of the TV world.
Sshhh! Here come the best noise-cancelling earbuds
Active noise-cancelling (or ANC) is one of the breakthrough audio features in consumer headphones this century. Pioneered by Bose, it is a splendid bit of tech.
In this month's mag, we round up the best earbuds that make use of noise-cancelling technology, with Apple, Bose, Sennheiser, Sony and Samsung battling it out in our group test.
Wireless in-ears are the most popular and arguably convenient way to enjoy your music on the go, and the premium buds we round up this month will all provide great audio alongside the impressive ANC tech.
So grab a copy of the latest What Hi-Fi?, shut out the outside world and settle in for our premium noise-cancelling earbuds round-up.
Riding in style
Could this be the future of in-car audio? We climbed into the luxurious back seat of a Mercedes-Benz to listen to Apple's spatial audio played through a multi-speaker system from Burmester, and the results (almost) brought us to tears. Read all about this amazing Benz/Apple/Burmester team-up in this month's mag!
First with reviews
As always our First Tests section is where you'll find our famously in-depth, impartial and expert reviews of all the latest AV and hi-fi kit.
This month we lead with a review of Sky Stream – all the goodness of Sky TV without a satellite dish, streamed via a small, puck-like device. Read our thoughts on this latest, and some would say tardy, way to enjoy Sky's quality content without having to get a great big dish stuck onto the outside of your home.
British hi-fi brand Bowers & Wilkins knows a thing or two about speaker technology, and its latest premium 705 S3 speakers have a lofty price tag, but does the performance match it?
Focal is a truly premium headphone brand (check out our Temptations pages this month to see the company's Utopia reviewed), and its latest noise-cancelling over-ears, the Focal Bathys, are tested this month. That's not it for over-ear headphones though, as we also run the rule over Bowers & Wilkins' Px8 noise-cancellers too.
German TV brand Loewe makes a welcome return to the UK with a new set, the premium-feeling Bild i.55. And if you like your AV experience to be on-the-go, we also test Apple's 10th-gen iPad for its worthiness in this regard.
Triangle's AIO Twin is a talented, versatile and great-sounding all-in-one hi-fi system, and we have a full review this month, while reviews of Google's latest smartphone, the Pixel 7, and an ingeniously upgraded speaker cable from Chord, the 2022 Rumour X, round off our testing this month.
Find out what we made of all these products in January's What Hi-Fi?
Top of the shop
As always, our Temptations section of What Hi-Fi? is where you'll find high-end hi-fi and AV products with a price-tag to match.
This month we take a look at an AV receiver from Arcam that offers up serious performance for a serious price tag. The AVR31 has to be heard to be believed, and in our review we note that this great bit of home cinema kit "uncovers a nuance and lyricism in the strident score of the latest Bond movie that we hadn’t previously been aware of”.
And we promised you more from premium French headphones brand Focal. Its Utopia headphones are a cut above, and a good amount of money above, other noise-cancelling over-ears. Do they justify the price? You'd better believe it. Find out more in January's What Hi-Fi?
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 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 January 2023 issue of What Hi-Fi? Grab a copy today, or simply download it onto your tablet or smartphone. Enjoy!