Philips unveiled its Fidelio E5 system last year to much love. The idea was to offer a 2.1 system with detachable speakers that made it 5.1 surround, minus the wires.
It has taken this successful idea to the next level with this year's Fidelio E6 system.
Upgrades include Google Cast and Spotify Connect, an enhanced virtual centre speaker for clearer voice, use of speakers individually around the house and more.
We went hands-on to see if an already good product has got even better.
If it ain't broke don't fix it, the saying goes. That applies here and as a result the Philips Fidelio E6 system looks almost indistinguishable from the E5 system.
The front two speakers feature a material cover finish with the top removable speakers sporting brown leather handles.
Buttons are down the side of one front speaker and there are ports to the rear. Small feet elevate the speaker from the floor slightly, ideal for keep dust off that material finish.
The system can be used as a 2.1 setup with sub woofer. But remove the top, wireless and battery powered speakers, and it immediately and automatically becomes 5.1. Simply place the rear speakers behind the main seating position and it'll work seamlessly without lag.
Improving on the last model Philips has added a new smart calibration mode. This uses a simple double touch of a calibration button to adjust the audio output based on where the speakers are placed. Since the rear speakers can't always be placed equidistant around the user's seat this allows for sound delivery to adapt to where they are placed.
In the Fidelio E5 we found the speaker battery life to offer a good few days of use at least so expect the same or better from the E6. Since charging is as easy as returning the speakers to the front it's not something you ever really need to worry about – unless you want to remain in 5.1 surround at all times of course.
Soundbars offer an improvement on voice over TV speakers thanks to the enhanced central channel. Philips wanted to emulate this with the E6, but while keeping minimalist without a central speaker.
The result is a virtual centre channel created by aiming drivers into centre. They now angle differently to the last generation of drivers. This should result in clearer audio for voices. We could hear everything very clearly even when not seated in the centre so this seems to have worked.
The Fidelio E6 now allows for independent connections from devices so the speakers work as music playing systems. This works via Bluetooth.
Each work independently as speakers. So one of the smaller speakers can be used alone or paired with the other for a stereo system. The main front two speakers can also be used separately.
That means up to three different listening points at once. The front set remain where they are plugged in as only the rear two are battery powered.
Google Cast and Spotify Connect are both included on the new Fidelio E6 system so streaming of content should be easy from smartphones and tablets.
The idea behind the Fidelio E5 was brilliant. Philips has enhanced this system, with some brilliant advancements that really mean a lot of bang for your buck.
A tidy 2.1 system or an easy 5.1 system plus music streaming speaker for about the home make this a serious setup.
At 900 euros, which is about £660, they're not cheap but after falling in love with the E5 system we can only imagine how much fun the E6 setup would be to own.
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