Home » Review: Philips W Series Speakers W6205 and W6505 with DTS Play-Fi and Ambilight
Reviews

Review: Philips W Series Speakers W6205 and W6505 with DTS Play-Fi and Ambilight

Review: This article reviewed Philips W Series Speakers W6205 (compact) and W6505 (larger). Overall, both offer absolute value for money
4.4/5 - (53 votes)

Review: Philips W Series Speakers – In September of 2020, TP Vision introduced the Philips TV & Sound Wireless Home System, consisting of two wireless speakers: the compact W6205 and the larger W6505. Both speakers are active, wireless and have DTS Play-Fi. A unique feature is the addition of Ambilight. In this review we test both models, also in combination with a Philips OLED984 television.

Philips W Series Speakers W6205 and W6505

The Philips W6205 and W6505 are both wireless speakers, although of course a power cable always has to go to the wall socket. The W6205 is the smaller of the two and features a 1-inch soft dome tweeter and a 3.5-inch woofer. These are supported by two passive bass radiators that use Philips’ own wOOx multi-suspension driver system to provide the maximum bass extension, with a total of 40 watts of power. The larger W6505 features two 1-inch soft dome tweeters plus two 3.5-inch woofers and two wOOx-activated passive bass radiators. These are powered by an 80 Watt amplifier.

 

Both speakers run on the DTS Play-Fi platform. Simply put, this is a wireless multi-room audio system that allows compatible speakers to communicate with each other and stream music in high quality from various sources. The Play-Fi communication is in the speakers themselves, but the accompanying Philips Sound app is also based on the Play-Fi platform. Via Play-Fi you get access to almost all major streaming services. The speakers themselves also offer support for bluetooth, Google Chromecast and Apple Airplay 2. Both speakers are also equipped with Spotify Connect and Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri (iOS) are supported as hands-free control options.

As an additional unique feature, both speakers are equipped with LED lighting and can be connected to the Philips Ambilight system. The speakers can be synchronized with the Philips TV to increase the effect of Ambilight. The Philips W6205 (199.99 euros) and W6505 (299.99 euros) have been available since November 2020.

Design

When we look at the appearance of both speakers, it is clear that TP Vision still adheres to the European Design strategy. Both models come with a sleek finish that is a combination of light gray metal elements, dark gray plastic parts and gray acoustic speaker fabric. Few bells and whistles, purely a rectangular, simple and sleek speaker. Both models are neatly finished, feel high-quality and come with plastic buttons on the top for quick operation. On the back we see the Ambilight LEDs, accompanied by an auxiliary input, WiFi and Bluetooth buttons, a USB service port and of course the ac connection.

Installation

You can use the Philips Sound app to install the speakers. This one is based on the DTS Play-Fi app, which you can use just as well. For this review we use the Philips app itself. Adding both speakers to the app is a matter of switching on the speakers, holding down the WiFi button, adding a new device in the app and selecting the appropriate speaker via the WiFi settings of your smartphone. Once connected to the speaker, you return to the app and you can complete the installation by connecting the speaker to your WiFi network and giving it its own name and linking it to a specific room. The installation is simple, after which the speakers quickly appear in the app.

.

Philips Sound app

Before we get into usage and audio quality, we introduce the Philips Sound app. And that app also needs an introduction because it is not the most intuitive app we have ever seen. The app is based on the DTS software itself, with a Philips sauce over it. Although DTS has been running with DTS Play-Fi for a while and Philips is not a newcomer in the audio market, the app is not super simple. It is too busy or illogical here and there, for example on the home screen. During playback (especially with more than one speaker and the use of groups and stereo pairs) this screen contains many elements and buttons. What exactly does what? As you can see in the screenshot below: there are only two speakers but they are shown six times in the home screen.

After a bit of trial and error, you will find out what each function does and why some options cannot be tapped, but it is not really intuitive. The top blue window is the zone and is separate from the black playback window below. But it is also not completely separate since the zone is occupied by the playback window below. Via the + menu at the top right you can add another zone to operate and via the black playback window you can add a specific speaker to the current zone. You really have to play with it before you know how to operate the multi-room system quickly. It is not a big problem, but compared to the very user-friendly Sonos app, there is still room for improvement.

In the home screen you can adjust or add even more things using the + icon. For example, you can add a zone, you can start a stream from the TV, soundbar or auxiliary input of a speaker and you can start recently played sources. In addition, from this menu you can view the playlist, change / select preferred settings (favorite source with specific zone / speaker) and control the volume remotely.

The Sound app also contains a lot of setting options. For example, you can switch all available music services on or off, you can merge speakers into a specific group (which is not a zone, because a zone is a number of speakers or groups that play the same source. A group is a group of speakers that always play together), you can create special groups for Spotify (these are different groups than in the app because Spotify does not recognize them), you can link two speakers as a stereo pair and you can link the speakers with Alexa or the Google Assistant. You can also view the settings for Surround sound and set up a surround system, but this is not yet supported for the speakers. Yes for the new soundbars, but that is not clear in the app. You can also add the W6205 as a surround speaker to the new soundbars, including Ambilight lighting. The Fine Tune app (for the adjustment of the audio playback) is also in the settings, but if you click it, it will indicate that the app is not available.

Use

Once you have mastered the Philips Sound app and have everything set up optimally, using the Philips W6505 and W6205 is easy, were it not for the fact that we encountered some stability problems here and there. Sometimes the connection was lost or a speaker rebooted spontaneously. Every now and then, the LED lighting at the rear stayed on when the music has stopped. All bugs that can be solved relatively easily through firmware updates and fortunately the latest firmware update largely resolved these issues. However, sometimes there is no connection and the LEDs sometimes want to lead a life of their own. However, these are no longer major issues and are therefore being worked on.

Apart from some minor bugs, the speakers are easy and quick to use in a multiroom setup. You add a speaker in another room and the music will also sound there within seconds. Also in combination with the OLED984 television it works fine. You download the DTS Play-Fi app on the TV, select the speakers you want to connect and start streaming. Please note that there is a very small delay between the sound of the TV and the sound of the speakers. This function is therefore intended for speakers that are not in the same room as the TV. Then that small delay does not pose a problem and you can therefore also follow that football match (in terms of sound) in another room. Also positive is the wide variety of streaming services and techniques you can use. The speakers are fully equipped so that everyone can play their favorite music easily. This is how you can get started with Airplay 2, Chromecast, bluetooth, DTS Play-Fi, Spotify Connect and even the aux connection. Music services supported include Amazon Music, Deezer, Napster, Pandora, Spotify and Tidal. In addition, you can also take audio from the TV (including music) as a source and play local music on your smartphone or NAS. There is actually nothing that is missing. And if the physical operation or control via the app is not convenient enough, you simply ask Google, Siri or Alexa if they want to start the music on that specific speaker or in that specific zone.

There is also the possibility to connect speakers in a stereo pair and this was where some confusion arose during our review. We tried to use the W6505 and W6205 as a stereo pair, which caused problems. In many cases only one of the two speakers was activated. However, after two weeks of testing, it turned out that the W6505 cannot be used as part of a stereo pair as it is a stereo speaker. Some manufacturers offer this option for stereo speakers, but Philips consciously chooses to make the stereo function only available for the W6205.

A unique feature of both models is the integration of Ambilight. The speakers have LEDs on the back that can color with the Ambilight lighting of your television. To do this, you must first add the speakers to your television using the ‘Extend Ambilight’ and ‘Ambilight + Philips Wireless Home Speakers’ function. Then you connect the speakers that are located near the TV and indicate on the TV where they are approximately so that the correct colors are taken over from the screen. You can also adjust the brightness. The colors are taken over correctly, although it is a matter of playing with the placement and brightness to really take over the color intensity of Ambilight on the TV. We have not yet gotten it 100 percent the same. There is also a minimal delay in the display of the TV and the display of the speakers. If you place the speakers in the back of the room or on the sides of the viewing position, both small differences are hardly noticeable. But, the special thing is that the Ambilight link is intended for at / around the TV, while the audio link is intended for different rooms in the house. Partly due to the delay in the sound (which is resolved according to Philips) and the lack of a surround mode for the time being, you will not quickly use audio and Ambilight together in the TV setup. the special thing is that the Ambilight link is intended for at / around the TV, while the audio link is intended for different rooms in the house. Partly due to the delay in the sound (which is resolved according to Philips) and the lack of a surround mode for the time being, you will not quickly use audio and Ambilight together in the TV setup. the special thing is that the Ambilight link is intended for at / around the TV, while the audio link is intended for different rooms in the house. Partly due to the delay in the sound (which is resolved according to Philips) and the lack of a surround mode for the time being, you will not quickly use audio and Ambilight together in the TV setup.

Don’t have an Ambilight television? Not a disaster. You can then still add a color to the LEDs on the back of the speakers. You can choose from six standard colors, including Hot Lava, Deep Water, Lemon and Lavender. They are static colors that you can only change with a physical push of a button on the device. You can also choose to have the color pulsate based on the music or have it displayed statically. You can also adjust the brightness. Unfortunately, you cannot combine colors or choose colors yourself. This will be possible in 2021 when the color setting will be done via the app. In most cases, this function therefore boils down to a nice mood light, because continuously pulsating lighting is annoying after a while.

Philips W Series Speakers W6205 and W6505

Sound quality

There is room for improvement in terms of ease of use, but we have been positively surprised in terms of sound quality. Both the W6205 and W6505 offer more than excellent audio reproduction. All that’s missing is a feature to customize that view to your liking. An equalizer is on the way, but currently cannot be found in the app.

The smallest model, the Philips W6205, can be compared in terms of size with the Sonos One and Denon Home 150. The sound reproduction comes close to these models, although the Denon Home 150 and Sonos One are slightly more open and freer in the display. The W6205 knows how to produce a lot of volume and can provide a small to medium-sized room with music without any problems. If you put two in a stereo setup, the sound field becomes a lot wider and you get much more dynamics in the reproduction. The sound image immediately becomes a lot freer. The W6205 itself sounds a bit small and closed, but it manages to find a good balance between low, medium and high. Vocals come out bright and warm, while highs are tight and comfortable for the ears. Depending on the choice of music, the low tones can be somewhat predominant (equalizer please ..) but all in all, this small model gives a tight and powerful punch. It is a speaker that is fine to listen to for a long time, although with one model mainly for the background music.

When you turn on the W6505, you immediately notice a big difference. This model comes with double the number of drivers and therefore knows how to move towards a relatively wide stereo reproduction as a stand-alone speaker. There is also a bit more depth, with a better separation between instruments. You also immediately feel that there is more power behind it and that that power is also better controlled. If we open the volume a little further, the W6505 keeps very neatly in control. It is a controlled and at the same time vivid display. A large room can be easily filled for a party, without high tones sounding shrill or the low tones becoming too strong. Still, we would like to put the low tones down a notch on this model. The W6505 sounds warm, dynamic and controlled. For 300 euros, it is a serious speaker for those who, in addition to their good AV installation, may not want to compromise on the audio quality in other rooms in the house. The W6505 is a bit more bombastic than the Denon Home 150 or Sonos One and provides a much more spacious display that can fill the room more. However, the Denon Home 250 and Sonos Five are a step too far, but they also cost at least 200 euros more.

Philips W Series Speakers W6205 and W6505 – Conclusion

Looking at the sound quality, the complete package of possibilities and the design, the Philips W6505 and W6205 offer absolute value for money. If you have the budget then the W6505 is the best choice because it is simply the best sounding speaker of the two, with a spatial reproduction and a lively sound image. However, you can also choose to link two W6205s for a stereo reproduction. If you opt for more speakers, you can make use of an excellent working multiroom functionality, including the option to make your Philips TV part of it. A big plus is the number of streaming techniques and services you can use. With AirPlay 2, Chromecast, bluetooth, aux-in, DTS Play-Fi, Spotify Connect and local music you can go in all directions. The most popular streaming services are also baked into the app and you can operate them with any voice assistant. Ambilight is a nice feature, but the question is whether you will use it often, since placing the speaker near the TV for the audio link is not a desired solution and the pulsating color reproduction has also been nice enough after a while. When the surround options become available, this function will have more added value.

However, there is also room for improvement. Although the stability of the connection has improved considerably since our first test through firmware updates, there is still something to be gained here. The aim is of course perfection in this area. The app also needs some extra explanation, just like various settings. It may therefore take a while before you have mastered the operation and options. These are often small things that together slightly reduce the user experience, but according to Philips, this is being worked on. For now, a good enough for both speakers, which are advisable in terms of sound quality and possibilities, but which still have room for improvement in terms of stability and ease of use.

Pros of Philips W Series Speakers W6205 and W6505

  • The main streaming services
  • All major streaming techniques
  • Ambilight is a nice extra
  • Compatible with Siri, Alexa and Google
  • Good sound quality
  • Excellent build quality and sleek design

Negatives of Philips W Series Speakers W6205 and W6505

  • Here and there some buggy
  • App is not very intuitive
  • No equalizer or audio modes yet
  • Waiting for updates for new features

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment