Philips HTL8162 review: A soundbar on a budget but lacks a bit of a ‘punch’

Written by Anuj Bhatia
| New Delhi |

December 14, 2020 2:05:21 pm

Philips HTL8162 soundbar, Philips HTL8162 soundbar review, Philips HTL8162 soundbar price in India, affordable soundbars, budget soundbarsThe market for budget soundbars is on the rise.

Five years ago, buying a soundbar was considered unnecessary. I know people who thought that a soundbar would be a mere expensive accessory for a TV. That’s not the case anymore. With TV viewing exploding because of the pandemic lockdown, people have realised one thing: the big-screen TV they own sounds awful. Brands lapped up the opportunity and started launching entry-level soundbars to meet the booming demand for surround sound systems. Philips is one of them, and its latest system HTL8162 soundbar with a wireless subwoofer costs Rs 13,999. But does it improve your viewing experience to theater-level quality with excellent audio? Let’s find out in our review.

Philips HTL8162 soundbar: Setup, ports and features

The Philips HTL8162 includes two core components: soundbar and subwoofer. The soundbar is pleasing and minimalistic. It has a classy looking design with the entire speaker section covered with a metal grille and a glossy glass top. That’s where you will also find a touch panel to power on the system, change the input mode, play/pause, and change the volume. The central section of the bar contains a white LED display. Around the back, you’ll find useful connection ports: HDMI ARC, optical digital input, USB, and auxiliary analog input. You also get a functional remote control, which is easy to use.

Philips HTL8162 soundbar, Philips HTL8162 soundbar review, Philips HTL8162 soundbar price in India, affordable soundbars, budget soundbars Unfortunately, there is no way to control the soundbar through a smartphone app. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

The bar is long, but anyway you will be placing it in the center of the cabinet, under the TV. You can also wall-mount this soundbar, in case you don’t have enough space. Then there is the subwoofer that comes with the system. The subwoofer is tall and can be easily mistaken for a desktop cabinet. It connects wirelessly to the bar, so it can be placed anywhere in the room. The only wired connection is the power cable.

Connecting the bar to your TV takes less than five minutes and is a pretty straightforward process. One can use Bluetooth to stream audio wirelessly to the bar, or else use the HDMI ARC (audio return channel) port that allows your TV to send audio to a soundbar over an HDMI cable connection. While the bar comes with the HDMI ARC port, it does not support audio formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

Philips HTL8162 soundbar specs:

*Sound output of 160W

*Subwoofer connects wirelessly to soundbar for easy placement

*Built-in Bluetooth connectivity for wireless music streaming

*Supports Audio Return Channel (ARC)

Philips HTL8162 soundbar: Sound quality

I played lots of different content through the bar. In The Dark Night, I could clearly hear gunshots and explosions and the audio was crisper. Bass was controlled and dialogues were rendered clearly. The bar gets pretty loud, filling the room with sound. However, I had noticed that when pushed to its maximum volume, there’s a noticeable spike in distortion. But there have been times when I noticed that the bar doesn’t sound as clear and accurate as I hoped for, especially when listening to music. You can customise the sound profile and tweak the individual bass and treble adjustments, thanks to the EQ presets.

My biggest grouse with the bar is that it suffered from frequent audio dropouts when I paired the system with the smartphone via Bluetooth. Because of this, audio quality suffered drastically when listening to music.

Philips HTL8162 soundbar, Philips HTL8162 soundbar review, Philips HTL8162 soundbar price in India, affordable soundbars, budget soundbars The subwoofer ships with the Philips HTL8162. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

Philips HTL8162 soundbar: Should you buy it?

It depends. The HTL8162 is an affordable soundbar and I can clearly see compromises being made by Philips to keep the price down. I won’t say the Philips HTL8162 impressed me but you do get high-quality audio. Since I have not reviewed similar offerings from JBL and Samsung, I can’t say yet how the Philips-made soundbar will stack up against the competition. But if you can put in more money, the Sony HT-S20R 5.1 can be a great option. This 5.1 system costs Rs 17,999 but packs support for Dolby Audio.

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