The 15th annual Pocket-lint Gadget Awards are nearly upon us, which means in just over a month we will be celebrating the best devices across a number of categories including smartphones, cars, VR and cameras.
There are 18 main categories this year, with a newbie joining the party and last year's two camera categories merging. As usual though, we will giving you a rundown of each category's nominees and why they have been selected.
In this feature, we are focusing on the nominees for the new category in our awards: Best Soundbar 2018.
Bose SoundTouch 300
The Bose SoundTouch 300 is a great soundbar which manages to deliver an open soundstage while also retaining plenty of detail and clarity. The bass performance is slightly lacking, however, and although you do have the option of adding a subwoofer, this will increase the cost considerably.
There's a decent set of features, including SoundTouch multiroom and Alexa voice control, but at this price point the absence of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support might put the Bose at a disadvantage to much of the competition.
The LG SK10Y is an impressive soundbar that has clearly benefited from the company's partnership with Meridian Audio. The sound quality is excellent, with wonderful clarity, exceptional detail and plenty of bass. Whether you're catching up on your favourite TV show, watching a blockbuster movie or simply listening to music, this LG is sure to please.
The performance with Dolby Atmos is also excellent, creating an expansive wall of sound at the front of the room. It would be nice if there were additional HDMI inputs and a more sophisticated setup process, but the SK10Y's big weakness is a lack of DTS:X support, which is sure to disappoint many surround sound enthusiasts. Overall, however, the LG SK10Y is a stylish and well-made soundbar with enough features and performance to justify its price tag.
The aim of Sound+ and of this Samsung soundbar is to give you great audio with no fuss. And it's mission accomplished. The MS650 is so easy to use as a single box sound solution and it performs so well that it's impossible not to recommend it. It's a clean solution with very few compromises.
There's also a lot more on offer for those who want to expand the system or do more than just make Eastenders sound better. The MS650 is all about sound quality and convenience. This is a wonderful soundbar with great integrated bass performance. While there are cheaper options on the market, there's no denying this is a single-box package that delivers in abundance.
The Samsung HW-N950 is an excellent soundbar, especially if you're looking to easily and conveniently build a genuine 7.1.4 system without a separate AV receiver. That's a full 11 speakers and subwoofer combined from the four-piece package. No other soundbar at the time of review offered this genuine degree of individual speakers combined with both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X handling.
We can't fault the N950 in terms of its performance, delivering superb sound quality with TV shows, movies and music. Of course where it really comes into its own is with Atmos and DTS:X, both of which sound excellent. This soundbar package delivers a level of immersion that we've only previously experienced with a separates system... but you'd struggle to build a comparative one for the price of the N950. Which, all in all, makes it pricey but a relative bargain.
Rather than go down the giant soundbar route, the Sonos Beam shows off what can be achieved in a compact package. So long as you intend to turn up the volume, it's a great speaker and soundbar option. What we really like is the Beam's openness to app choice and voice-assistant integration. If you want to use the Spotify app to control your music you can. If you want to use Apple Music, no problem.
Then there's voice control via Alexa or Siri - and if none of those work for you then the Sonos app has you covered. You can mix and match no worries, too. This unfettered approach won't lock you in and ensures the Beam is future-proofed. Overall, the Sonos Beam is easily a must-have to not only boost your TV's sound, but to make your living room smarter too.
While many seek out a soundbar for its subtle boosting of TV audio, the Sony HT-ST5000 steps well beyond subtle. Its physical size gives it serious looks which are backed up by serious sound performance, but all that comes at a serious price. There's not only excellent audio performance with support for a range of high-quality formats like DTS-HD Master Audio or LDAC, but the range of connectivity makes this a bigger package than most other soundbars can offer though.
Features like Spotify Connect and Chromecast Audio support make this Sony about all-round entertainment and convenience. Overall the Sony ST5000 is a big, bold and rather beautiful statement piece, which would make up a tidy and far-reaching addition to your front room.
Voting in the 15th annual EE Pocket-lint Awards is now open, so you can let us know which one of the great soundbars above you think should win the Best Soundbar award for this year and give us your verdict on all, or some, of the other tech across the 17 categories.
Winners will be announced at the exclusive event in London on 14 November in association with EE. Voting closes on 2 November.