Now in its 39th year, the What Hi-Fi? Awards is a celebration of the very best hi-fi and home cinema products on the market. Each year, we award Product of the Year to class-leading kit across 26 categories, from awesome amplifiers to superb stereo speakers, from sumptuous soundbars and terrific TVs to the very best headphones, music streamers, smartphones and more.
The 26 Products of the Year remained a tight-lipped secret until they were announced at the What Hi-Fi? Awards ceremony at London's Sheraton Grand on the 3rd November. The What Hi-Fi? Awards 2021, in association with Sevenoaks Sound and Vision was the culmination of months of testing and reviewing by our dedicated review team, who worked hard to draw up a list of Awards winners in each category. The result of these efforts was our list of 109 Best Buys, released at the start of October.
You can read all about our selections in the Awards 2021 issue of What Hi-Fi? magazine, with all the very best kit of the year listed, rated and reviewed in this 156-page special issue.
There are no fewer than 109 Best Buy winners for 2021. Some are resilient repeat winners, others are stand-outs among the hundreds of new products our expert reviews team has tried and tested in the last twelve months. But they all share something in common: best-in-class performance.
And there were some special awards handed out too, including Innovation of the Year, Outstanding Contribution and the Readers' Award, as voted for by the readers of What Hi-Fi?
What Hi-Fi? Awards 2021
As always over the past 12 months, our expert and dedicated review team has tested and rated a multitude of new products and, for best-in-class performance, singled some of those out as being worthy of a What Hi-Fi? Award.
After weeks of discussion and debate, we named our 109 Best Buys – each product a winner in its own particular price category – but saved the best until last. In our special Awards 2021 issue of What Hi-Fi? magazine, we reveal which 26 products have been crowned Product of the Year – our pick of the very best hi-fi and home cinema kit of 2021.
Our product categories span all types of hi-fi and AV kit, and at all price levels. Whatever your needs, or your budget, there's something here for you.
Awards 2021: Stereo speakers
Our stereo speaker categories are always among the most hotly-contested, and so it proved again this year.
We had so many great standmounters to choose from, with the Elac Debut B5.2, Bowers & Wilkins 607 S2s, B&W 606 S2s, ProAc Response D2R and Ruark MR1 Mk2 all picking up Best Buy Awards. But the overall winner of the Product of the Year once again went to the KEF LS50 Meta standmounters.
When it came to floorstanders, Best Buys went to the Triangle Borea BR08, Wharfedale Evo 4.4, ProAc Response DT8 and Spendor A7, while the Wharfedale Diamond 12.3 deservedly picked up Product of the Year in this category.
Awards 2021: Televisions
The competitive and constantly evolving nature of this category means it is one of the least predictable, and in many ways the most exciting. This is the only category in which all the Award-winners were released during the past 12 months – so not one single product here walked away with an Award last year.
Samsung and Sony both bagged themselves a brace of Best Buy Awards this year. Sony for the XR-55A80J and XR-65X90J, while Samsung's UE43AU7100 and massive QE75QN900A 8K TV both impressed us mightily.
LG and budget brand Hisense also walked away with Best Buy Awards, but Philips cleaned up on the night, with not only a Best Buy for its 65OLED806 (Best 65in TV over £2000) but also Product Of The Year for the 48OLED806 - a modestly sized but brilliantly performing 48in TV for under a grand.
Awards 2021: Headphones
At home or out and about, a good pair of headphones is an essential piece of hi-fi kit. This year once again we were spoiled for choice in two separate categories for headphones – wireless and wired.
In the Wired category, Grado were the big winners, picking up Product of the Year for the SR325x, while the company's SR80x picked up a Best Buy Award too. Other Best Buy winners were Austrian Audio Hi-X15, Beyerdynamic Amiron, SoundMagic E11C in-ears, Klipsch T5M Wired and Shure Aonic 3.
When it came to the Wireless category, the Sony WH-1000XM4 scooped Product of the Year, with Best Buys being awarded to the Apple AirPods Max, AKG's Y400s, Sony's WF-1000XM4 wireless earbuds and Panasonic's RS-S500W buds.
And all the rest...
Pick up this month's What Hi-Fi? Awards special to find out the big winners in all our categories, from soundbars to smartphones, projectors to personal music players, AV receivers to amplifiers and more.
First for reviews
But just because we've been busy celebrating the best AV kit of the last 12 months hasn't stopped us testing the very latest products too. In our First Tests section this month, we bring you full reviews of the 2021 Award-winning Sonos Beam Gen 2 and Sony HT-A7000 soundbars, the latter of which was also awarded Product of the Year. We also have a first review of Sony's stunning XR-65X90J TV, which also picked up a Best Buy award in its category at 2021's Awards. We also take a look at Apple's latest smartphone, the iPhone 13, as well as the Chord Anni, Arcam ST60 and Cyrus CDiXR.
Don't miss our bumper Awards issue!
In this issue you'll also find our Buyer’s Guide, featuring a definitive list of all the best home entertainment kit you can buy. If you’re looking to purchase anything from a pair of wireless headphones to a speaker package, this section will tell you where to spend your money wisely.
With all that great stuff packed into it, this month's bumper issue of What Hi-Fi? really is not to be missed.
And don’t miss our special offer this month – a free STM Myth laptop bag (worth £47.99) when you subscribe to What Hi-Fi?
Grab a copy of What Hi-Fi? from your newsagents today. Or simply download it onto your tablet or smartphone. Enjoy!