The winners of the What Hi-Fi? Awards 2021, in association with Sevenoaks Sound and Vision, have now been revealed.
Now in its 39th year, the What Hi-Fi? Awards is once again a celebration of the very best hi-fi and home cinema products on the market, decorating class-leading kit across 26 categories, from high-performing headphones and awesome amplifiers to first-rate TVs and superb stereo speakers.
There are no fewer than 109 Best Buy winners for 2021. And while some are resilient repeat winners, having held off newcomers in their fields, plenty of champions have emerged among the hundreds of new products our expert reviews team has tried and tested in the last twelve months. And they all share something in common: best-in-class performance.
So without further ado, let’s get to the winners...
- See all the What Hi-Fi? Awards 2021 winners
- Product of the Year winners revealed Wednesday 3rd November
Apple, Cambridge Audio, Naim, Rega and Sony are all big winners, receiving multiple awards across several categories.
Notable newcomers from that veritable bunch include Sony’s powerful HT-A7000 Dolby Atmos soundbar and the latest iteration of its premium true wireless earbuds, the WF-1000XM4. Cambridge Audio’s high-performing, generously-featured DacMagic 200M DAC and the benchmark-setting Apple AirPods Max wireless over-ear headphones – the first AirPods to win a What Hi-Fi? Award – are also winners.
The veteran victors, meanwhile, see Rega’s haul of class-leading turntables pick up their umpteenth awards. Naim’s exceptional streaming skills are recognised once again in the wireless speaker, music streamer and music system categories.
Many of last year's stereo speakers have stood firm for 2021, although this popular category (which has this year been split into 'floorstanding speakers' and 'standmount speakers') warmly welcomes Triangle, whose Borea BR08 are the best-sounding floorstanders under £1000. We also add to the tally of What Hi-Fi? Awards won by Wharfedale's Diamond speaker range over the years, with the Diamond 12.3 floorstanders.
With TVs reliably refreshed year in and year out, the category is always one of the most highly anticipated and hotly contested, and this year the 10 Best Buy gongs are shared between LG, Hisense, Sony, Samsung and Philips.
Notably, the Philips 48OLED806 OLED TV has prevailed over last year’s winner (Sony's KD-48A9) as the best premium TV of its size. Sony’s OLED efforts have, however, been recognised at the 55-inch size with its spectacular XR-55A80J. And Samsung will no doubt be pleased to again take the ‘Best 8K TV’ award, this time for its QE75QN900A.
Due to advancing standards in gaming in recent times, coinciding with the arrival of the next-gen PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles, we feel it important to today recognise which TVs ticks the boxes for avid gamers – and this is where LG has particularly shined this year. The LG OLED65C1 OLED TV, therefore, wins our first-ever ‘Best gaming TV’ accolade.
Perhaps one of our most surprising awards of 2021 is in the competitive video streaming space, which has long been dominated by Netflix and strongly contested by both Amazon and Apple. In our book, it’s Disney+ that has surfaced as the most appealing proposition – not least due to its excellent AV performance and format support, as well as its valuable exclusives and meaty back catalogue.
Had Spotify HiFi launched in time, and of course proven itself worthy, we might've had a new favourite music streaming service. But this year it's once again hi-res-hailing Tidal that remains the audiophile's service of choice, having strengthened its offering in the past twelve months with Tidal Connect and increasing hardware support.
Of course, there is plenty, plenty more to celebrate too, so do run your eye over the entire list of 109 Best Buy winners. And get that credit card ready if you’re in the market for a new tech toy right away.
But wait, that’s not all, folks. For the unaware, one Best Buy in each of the 26 product categories will be given the even more prestigious Product of the Year Award on the evening of Wednesday 3rd November. That’s when we will hold our traditional What Hi-Fi? Awards night celebration dinner for members of the industry, and we’re pleased that this will be back as an in-person event following last year’s enforced online affair.
So, that’s one date for your diary… and here, have another: the special What Hi-Fi? Awards issue of the magazine will go on sale the next day, Thursday 4th November, in both print and digital editions.
As is now par for the course, there will also be five special Product of the Year Awards announced alongside the Product of the Year winners: Innovation, Temptation, Readers’ Awards and Hall of Fame, as well as an Outstanding Contribution Award.
We know many manufacturers have worked extra hard this past year or two to deliver new products to our test rooms in time for the What Hi-Fi? Awards, so a big thank you goes to those companies. And of course, a hearty congratulations to all the What Hi-Fi? Awards 2021 winners.