Usually, the soundbar class of speakers isn’t too versatile – it’s a bar, and it plays sounds. The Philips Fidelio HTL9100 and HTL7100 turn that idea on its head, featuring detachable speakers that are capable of providing 5.1 surround sound.
It’s sort of like breaking a candy bar into a few pieces – the single bar is actually comprised of three speakers. When they’re all connected, both the HTL9100 and HTL7100 function as standard soundbars. When those side speakers are split off from the main unit, they can be placed in the rear of the room to create a 5.1 surround sound system. The speakers will automatically switch into surround sound mode when they are separated, and the two side speakers communicate with the main unit via Bluetooth, so you won’t need to worry about wires. When the speakers are split apart, battery life for the wireless side units is being put at about 10 hours. There are two HDMI ports as well, if you want to use the speakers with a gaming system or the like.
The main difference between the HTL9100 and HTL7100 is that the former has a wireless subwoofer that comes with it, while the latter has the subwoofer integrated into the speakers. They’re both as sleek and minimal as you would expect from any soundbars, but they come with some colossal prices. The HTL9100 will sell for about $800, while the HTL7100 will be saddled with a $600 asking price. Both will be available in May.