146

Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar Review

True Score

63
61
5

Experts

67
76

Consumers

Expert Rankings

Featuring a neutral sound profile, the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar is a decent 3.0 soundbar for TV and music lovers. However, movie buffs will be frustrated that this system has a narrow surround soundstage and doesn’t support Dolby Atmos.

$1,290.45

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Product Snapshot

Overview

The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar is a mid-range 3.0 channel soundbar that first made waves back in 2019, touting an immersive experience in home theaters and living rooms.

This speaker has a remarkably stylish design, ranking up there alongside the finest speakers on the market today. Handy bass and treble sliders allow users to customize the sound profile.

It comes as a standalone soundbar, so you need to invest in optional satellites and a subwoofer to enjoy a 3D soundstage and deep bass. With just Optical and Ethernet ports, it doesn’t offer as many connectivity options as the top-rated soundbars on the market.

Wireless connectivity options like Bluetooth and built-in Apple Airplay let users maintain a neat home theater. A discrete center channel offers a good stereo soundstage that’s great for dialogue.

Unfortunately, this system doesn’t support Dolby Atmos. Browse through our entire Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar Review, and check out the BOMAKER Odine II review if you prefer a more budget-friendly 2.0-channel soundbar.

Consensus

our Verdict

Experts reviewers love the neutral sound profile and loud output of the Bowers and Wilkins Formation Bar, endorsing it for TV dialogue and music. Tests reveal a neutral sound profile and PCMag says it produces natural-sounding music.

Reviewers at RTINGS adore its remarkably high sound output, saying that it gets loud enough to fill large rooms. Bass and treble adjustment features help users fine-tune the sound, and has mobile apps for controlling settings remotely.

However, experts bemoan its measly connector options, although this soundbar makes up for that with its generous range of wireless connectivity options.

It also has pretty high latency, so, there’s a minor delay between the video and audio feeds. Although it has a discrete three-channel profile, it has a poor 5.1 surround soundstage, downmixing it to stereo, and doesn’t support Dolby Atmos.

It lacks a dedicated subwoofer, producing poor extended low bass, so it’s not the best for EDM music.

The system lacks sound enhancement features, and enthusiasts who need dialogue enhancement should see our Bose TV Speaker review today.

Reason to Buy

  • Speaker gets loud enough for larger rooms
  • Treble adjustments let users enhance the sound profile
  • Stylish design is ideal for living rooms
  • Built-in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Apple Airplay simplify wireless connectivity
  • The three-channel setup provides good TV dialogue

Reason to Avoid

  • Poor extended low bass will not appeal to music enthusiasts
  • Doesn’t support voice control
  • There’s a small lag between the video and audio feeds
  • Lacks HDMI ports for connecting to modern displays
  • Downmixes surround 5.1 sound to stereo

Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar Specs

Bluetooth EnabledBluetooth EnabledYes
DepthDepth4.2"
Dialogue Enhancement FeatureDialogue Enhancement FeatureNo
Energy Star CertifiedEnergy Star CertifiedNo
HDMI ARCHDMI ARCYes
HeightHeight4.3"
Number of Audio ChannelsNumber of Audio Channels3
SubwooferSubwooferOptional (sold separately)
Surround Sound SupportedSurround Sound SupportedDolby Digital
Voice AssistantVoice AssistantAmazon Alexa, No
Wall MountableWall MountableYes
WeightWeight12.1 lbs
WidthWidth48.8"
Wireless ConnectivityWireless ConnectivityBluetooth, Wi-Fi
Wireless Subwoofer ConnectivityWireless Subwoofer ConnectivityYes
Works WithWorks WithAmazon Alexa, Bluetooth, Remote Control, Wi-Fi

All Specs

Test Results

Low End Roll Off (Hz)62.586
High End Roll Off (Hz)17,726.189
Max Volume Test (db)96
Latency (ms)
THD @ 80dB0.2

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Product Comparison

Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar Review

True Score

63
78
86
NR

Ranking

#

146

/

149

#

104

/

149

#

12

/

149

#

/

Market Context

The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar is a mid-range 3.0 channel soundbar that first made waves back in 2019, touting an immersive experience in home…

The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar is a mid-range 3.0 channel soundbar that first made waves back in 2019, touting an immersive experience in home theaters and living rooms.

This speaker has a remarkably stylish design, ranking up there alongside the finest speakers on the market today. Handy bass and treble sliders allow users to customize the sound profile.

It comes as a standalone soundbar, so you need to invest in optional satellites and a subwoofer to enjoy a 3D soundstage and deep bass. With just Optical and Ethernet ports, it doesn’t offer as many connectivity options as the top-rated soundbars on the market.

Wireless connectivity options like Bluetooth and built-in Apple Airplay let users maintain a neat home theater. A discrete center channel offers a good stereo soundstage that’s great for dialogue.

Unfortunately, this system doesn’t support Dolby Atmos. Browse through our entire Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar Review, and check out the BOMAKER Odine II review if you prefer a more budget-friendly 2.0-channel soundbar.

Because it’s compatible with Dolby Atmos, the B&W Panorama 3 is more suitable for surround sound than the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar, which doesn’t…

Because it’s compatible with Dolby Atmos, the B&W Panorama 3 is more suitable for surround sound than the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar, which doesn’t support most surround formats. The newer Panorama 3 also has built-in Alexa, unlike the Formation soundbar. Learn more about the newer speaker in our B&W Panorama 3 review today.

Featuring a 5.0.2 setup, the Sonos Arc provides a more immersive discrete auditory experience than the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar, which is a three-channel…

Featuring a 5.0.2 setup, the Sonos Arc provides a more immersive discrete auditory experience than the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar, which is a three-channel system. It also has room correction and dialogue enhancement features, unlike the Bowers & Wilkins device. However, the Bowers & Wilkins speaker supports Bluetooth, unlike the Sonos Arc, which connects wirelessly over Wi-Fi.

With its 5.0.2 setup, the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 supports Dolby Atmos content, unlike the three-channel Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar. It also has HDMI…

With its 5.0.2 setup, the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 supports Dolby Atmos content, unlike the three-channel Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar. It also has HDMI connectors, unlike the Bowers & Wilkins speaker. Additionally, the Bose speaker has built-in Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, unlike the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar.

Bluetooth Enabled

Yes

Yes

Depth

4.2"

5.6"

Dialogue Enhancement Feature

No

Energy Star Certified

No

Yes

HDMI ARC

Yes

na

Height

4.3"

2.9"

Number of Audio Channels

3

3.1.2

Subwoofer

Optional (sold separately)

Dig Deeper

Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3 Review →

Sonos Arc With Sub One Sl Speakers Review →

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  • $1,290.45

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    Free Shipping

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Score Card

E

Expert Score

61

*.75

We place a 75% weighted value on Expert Test Scores

C

Customer Score

67

*.25

We place a 25% weighted value on Customer Scores

True Score

63

Any product with a True Score above 60 is a Meh

Expert Score Breakdown

  • Rtings
    103

    Category Trust Score

    65
    The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar is fair for mixed usage. Its sound profile out-of-the-box… read more

    By:

    Jake Thauvette
  • PC Mag
    54.9

    Category Trust Score

    70
    The pricey Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar may be the most beautiful soundbar we’ve tested,… read more

    By:

    Tim Gideon
  • Trusted Reviews
    60.27

    Category Trust Score

    70
    This stylish three-channel soundbar looks gorgeous and sounds fantastic – but a hefty price and… read more

    By:

    Unknown
  • Pocket Lint
    55.88

    Category Trust Score

    70
    The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar is something of a mixed bag. It’s certainly attractively… read more

    By:

    Steve Withers
  • What Hifi
    38.51

    Category Trust Score

    NR
    Stylish designs, Impressive sound, Multi-room skills, On the wide side, No Dolby Atmos, No HDMI read more

    By:

    What Hi-Fi?

Customer Score Breakdown

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