The Hisense AX5100G presents lots of gear for the cash. What’s doesn’t supply, although, is an audio expertise that’s in any approach satisfying
- Provides real encompass sound
- HDMI eARC is a rarity at this value
- Properly constructed and completed
- Disagreeable and antagonistic tonality throughout the board
- No discernible spatial audio impact
- Subwoofer is estranged from the remainder of the system
Energy170 watts of amplification
AudioDolby Atmos and DTS:X decoding
Hisense is not any stranger to the idea of inexpensive electronics – its TVs, particularly, routinely punch above the burden of their modest asking costs.
With the AX5100G, the Chinese language producer intends to convey a few of its bargainous experience to bear within the soundbar area – principally by providing a sight extra stuff to your cash than just about any competitor can handle. It’s labored earlier than for Hisense – can it work once more?
The Hisense AX5100G Dolby Atmos 5.1-channel audio system is on sale now, and in the UK it’s priced at an especially eager £229. In the US, in the meantime, it prices an much more attention-grabbing $199. Australian prospects should half with AU$499 to safe one.
That is remarkably inexpensive for a Dolby Atmos audio system that consists of a soundbar, a wi-fi subwoofer and a pair of wi-fi rear audio system all configured to ship a 5.1-channel facsimile of Dolby Atmos spatial audio.
- Good normal of construct and end
- Usefully compact dimensions
- Wired wi-fi rear audio system
It’s silly to count on a lot designing to have gone on the place techniques like this are involved, and it’s doubly rash to count on some when procuring on the finances finish of the market. And positive sufficient, the AX5100G hasn’t been designed a lot as constructed. That’s not a put-down, you perceive – the Hisense is fully match for objective.
The soundbar portion is a tidy 60 x 920 x 90mm (HxWxD), which implies it would slip comfortably beneath any TV that doesn’t sit very low on its stand and might accompanying screens of wherever between 43- and 58-inches. In case your TV’s any larger than that, this soundbar may look a bit undernourished. It’s constructed from a mixture of textured plastic and perforated steel, is kind of pleasantly curved at its edges and is even mildly tactile. The standard of match and end is past reproach, too.
The subwoofer, in the meantime, is an equally manageable 294 x 214 x 304mm (HxWxD). It too incorporates a high quality of perforated steel on its entrance face, however predictably the remainder of it’s vinyl-wrapped MDF. Construct high quality, as with the soundbar and rear audio system, is completely acceptable. It’s price noting that in contrast to lots of equally priced options, this subwoofer makes use of a figure-of-eight mains energy connection quite than a captive mains lead – this makes it a good bit extra versatile as regards positioning that it in any other case can be.
The rear audio system are wi-fi too, however solely up to some extent. There’s a major speaker with a figure-of-eight mains energy connection and a pairing button. The subwoofer has one too, however in follow each the sub and the rears make an computerized connection to the soundbar very quickly certainly.
Then the first speaker must be linked to the secondary speaker utilizing the beneficiant size of cable Hisense supplies. Every speaker is 144 x 90 x 109mm (HxWxD), options little rubber toes in case you need to put them on a shelf and a keyhole mounting level on the rear in case you don’t. They’re made out of the identical textured plastic and perforated steel because the soundbar – however right here the steel wraps excessive.
The suggestion that the cupboard options upward-firing Atmos-tastic drivers is visually robust – but it surely’s additionally unfaithful. Identical to the remainder of the system, although, the rear audio system are exhausting to criticise the place development is anxious.
- Nearly definitely 170 watts of energy
- HDMI eARC, Bluetooth 4.2
- Seven drivers delivering 5.1-channel sound
Regardless of what the rear audio system may attempt to persuade you of, the seven speaker drivers that make up the AX5100G all hearth forwards. There are 4 racetrack drivers within the soundbar: two hearth from more-or-less centrally, and represent the centre channel, whereas yet one more at every finish make up the left and proper channels.
The dimensions and composition of the drivers is, inexplicably, a secret – however what’s for positive is that within the absence of any devoted tweeters they’re liable for all frequency data above what’s contributed by the subwoofer.
The subwoofer’s 165mm bass driver is augmented by a rear-facing bass reflex port – so regardless of what I stated within the earlier part, you’ll have to provide no less than a bit of thought as to the place you find yourself positioning it.
The rear audio system are the trickiest, although. The soundbar clearly goes in entrance of your TV, the subwoofer wherever it could actually get mains energy and wherever its rear port doesn’t overpower, however the forward-firing rear audio system must be angled in to your seated place whereas being shut sufficient collectively to be tethered. As with the soundbar, the dimensions of the drivers within the rear audio system is, for some purpose, delicate data. And it’s not the one space of specification the place Hisense is unforthcoming.
All connectivity, naturally sufficient, is focused on the soundbar. Wi-fi streaming is dealt with by way of Bluetooth 4.2 – however, you’ll be lower than staggered to study, Hisense is coy about its codec compatibility. SBC is obtainable, naturally – and in the middle of this take a look at I handle to determine the Hisense can deal with Dolby Atmos audio content material from Tidal streamed from an iPhone 14 Professional utilizing the AAC codec. Switching to a Nothing Cellphone (1) reveals an absence of aptX compatibility, although, and consequently no chance of listening to spatial audio mixes from an Android smartphone.
Bodily connectivity, in a bit of recess on the rear of the soundbar, runs to HDMI eARC, digital optical, digital coaxial, a USB-A slot and a 3.5mm analogue enter. The looks of eARC is certainly not a given in merchandise on this space of the market – and it means the Hisense can deal with the lossless Dolby True HD number of Dolby Atmos that’s the protect of 4K UHD Blu-ray gamers, in addition to the lossy Dolby Digital Plus different utilized by the likes of Disney+ and Netflix.
There are just a few (nearly invisible) touch-controls on the highest of the soundbar. They cowl enter choice, quantity up/down and energy on/off. The AX5100G is equipped with a distant management handset that’s completely acceptable each when it comes to measurement and weight, and it options each full performance and a few very small labelling for its buttons.
In addition to duplicating the bodily controls, it covers Bluetooth pairing, mute, and has particular person output controls for bass and treble. There’s play/pause and skip forwards/backwards right here too, a button to scroll via EQ presets (Film, Music, Information, Recreation, Sport, Evening and, um, AI), and management over the depth of the show that’s behind the grille on the soundbar’s entrance face. The show itself is kind of huge and fairly vague, and it scrolls fairly shortly. The phrases Dolby Atmos, for instance, are dispatched in comfortably below a second.
In keeping with its proprietor’s guide, the AX5100G has a complete of 170 watts of energy. The soundbar will get 80 of those Class D watts (20 per driver), the subwoofer receives 60 watts and the rear audio system get 15 watts every. This looks like a believable determine, even when it’s measured at a sky-high 10% THD (whole harmonic distortion). It makes the Hisense web site’s declare for 340 watts of energy appear a bit bizarre, although.
Sound High quality
- Tonality is wildly inconsistent
- Negligible impression of spatial audio
- Precise, genuine encompass sound
There appears little or no level in beating across the bush right here: the Hisense AX5100G simply doesn’t sound superb. Tonally, it’s in every single place. Rhythmically, it has two left toes. The Dolby Atmos impact, virtualised, after all, quite than being the results of angled speaker drivers, is so gentle as to be non-existent. And never solely do the three parts of the system (soundbar, subwoofer, rear audio system) share little when it comes to tonality, they’re barely on nodding phrases the place integration is anxious.
Skinny and zizzy are seldom encouraging phrases the place audio gear is anxious, however except for the subwoofer they’re utterly relevant right here. In some way the Hisense soundbar manages to sound edgy and toppy regardless of its lack of precise tweeters, and there’s treasured little substance to the sounds it makes via the midrange, too.
Element ranges aren’t any higher than common, and regardless of which of the EQ presets I select, dialogue struggles to venture forward of the exhausting, brittle sounds that encompass it. The story is way the identical the place the rear audio system are involved. Their tonality simply doesn’t persuade – they contrive to sound insubstantial and ethereal, however hard-edged and toppy on the similar time.
In the meantime, the subwoofer simply does its personal factor. It’s not particularly detailed – which is one factor it has in frequent with its companions, no less than – however its tonality is thick and sludgy, with inadequate consideration paid to the assault and decay of particular person bass sounds. It’s a little bit of a droner, this subwoofer, and the transition from it to its partnering audio system is abrupt.
Take heed to the Dolby Atmos soundtrack to Dune and the dearth of low-frequency management makes every thing subservient to the bass presence. Take heed to Nina Simone’s Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood in a Dolby Atmos combine by way of Tidal and the inimitable vocal sounds prefer it was recorded down the phone.
The truth that there are rear audio system at work right here means the Hisense is an even bigger, extra expansive and extra immersive hear than a soundbar working alone – that’s a given. However what the AX5100G can’t muster, regardless of the relative numerousness of its elements, is any significant sensation of spatial audio.
The soundbar creates respectable width, and should you’ve positioned the rear audio system appropriately then you definitely’ll most positively get encompass sound – however of the feeling of top that’s principally the entire level of a Dolby Atmos combine is absent. No matter processing Hisense is bringing to bear to ship some verticality to the AX5100G’s presentation isn’t incomes its hold.
The Dune soundtrack does display the system’s competence the place the larger dynamic shifts are involved, although – it could actually go from tinny whispering to overpowering, baleful assault fairly readily and fairly quickly. However so far as optimistic traits go, I’m in straw-clutching territory now.
Must you purchase it?
You’re decided to realize true encompass sound with out spending plenty of cash: No different producer throws rear audio system right into a deal this keenly priced.
You desire a fairly balanced, tonally coherent sound: The Hisense is – and I’m being charitable right here – socially challenged.
If it had been every other model, I’d have suspected this might be the end result proper from the beginning. However as a result of Hisense has a lot earlier the place extracting unlikely efficiency at any given value is anxious, I really entered into this take a look at with my fingers crossed and my hopes… properly, not excessive, however no less than I had hopes. They didn’t final lengthy, although.
How we take a look at
We take a look at each encompass speaker bundle we evaluate completely over an prolonged time period. We use trade normal assessments to match options correctly. We’ll at all times let you know what we discover. We by no means, ever, settle for cash to evaluate a product.
Examined with film and music Atmos content material
There aren’t any upward firing drivers on this speaker bundle, the Atmos impact is created by digital processing.
Entrance Speaker (Dimensions)
Encompass Sound Techniques
Audio (Energy output)
920（W）X 60（H）X 90（D) mm
214（W）X 294（H）X 304（D) mm
90（W）X 144（H）X 109（D) mm
Dolby Atmos (TrueHD, Dolby Digital+), Dolby Digital, DTS Digital:X
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Dolby Atmos is an object-based audio format. It expands on 5.1 and seven.1 soundtracks by including overhead channels. Sounds are known as “audio objects”, of which there will be as much as 128 audio channels, and these ‘objects’ will be precisely positioned inside a 3D soundscape. This enables soundtracks that assist the expertise to put sounds above and across the listener with appropriate equipment.