Big, robust sound
Decent Dolby Atmos presentation
Subwoofer is a bit weak
A Dolby Atmos soundbar is a great way to add Dolby Atmos surround to rooms that lack the space for a full surround sound setup. But what if even that is too demanding on your available space? And what if you want a subwoofer that won’t rattle the bejesus out of your downstairs neighbor’s ceiling? These seem to be the questions that LG considered while designing the Eclair QP5.
The Eclair is all about providing robust sound and appreciable Atmos in a compact form factor—and doing so without disturbing the neighbors. The sub’s vibration dampening technology means it blends bass into the rest of the soundscape in a subtle way, without the floor-rattling heft you get from a lot of subwoofers. You’re paying a bit of a premium for this kind of super-compact performance, however, and there are more affordable or more feature-filled options out there if you don't require such discretion.
About the LG Eclair QP5
Here are the key specs for the LG Eclair QP5 soundbar:
- Price: $599.99
- Height x Width x Depth: 2.4 x 11.7 x 4.9 inches (soundbar), 11.4 x 13.3 x 7.3 inches (subwoofer)
- Weight: 3.4 pounds (soundbar), 16.9 pounds (subwoofer)
- Colors: Black, White
- Speakers/drivers: 3.1.2-channel (320W total): 2 x 20W front speakers; 20W center speaker; 2 x 20W height speakers; 220W subwoofer
- Wireless connection: Bluetooth 4.0
- Wired connection: HDMI ARC/eARC, optical, spare HDMI input
- Smart features: None
- Audio formats: LPCM, Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital, DTS Digital Surround, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS-HD High Resolution, DTS:X, FLAC (USB), OGG (USB), WAV (USB), MP3 (USB), WMA (USB), AAC/AAC+
- Video support: 4K/HDR passthrough (includes Dolby Vision)
- Other features: Sound-field expander, USB playback, vibration dampening subwoofer, smartphone app (iOS/Android), Custom EQ, Night Time Mode
In the box, you’re getting the soundbar, subwoofer, an HDMI cable, an optical audio cable, two power cables, the remote control, and 2 x AA batteries.
What we like
Compact to the extreme
When it comes to modern soundbars, more and more manufacturers are steering away from big, honkin’ bars in favor of more compact and space-saving designs. Just take a look at the super-popular (and recently refreshed) Sonos Beam, which we loved—not least of all because it does so much in such a compact form factor.
While it includes a sizeable wireless subwoofer, the soundbar portion of the QP5 takes this desire for compactness to new heights. I’ll admit my first thought upon unboxing it was, “How is this tiny thing going to be loud enough, let alone do any kind of Dolby Atmos?” But more on that in a bit.
The bar's 2.4-inch height and 4.9-inch depth are fairly standard—it’s really the width of the QP5 that’s so unusual. It’s not even a foot across, meaning it looks positively dwarfed by large TVs. LG has paid particular attention to design, however, fitting the Eclair with a handsome fabric grill around its speaker elements and giving it a friendly oval shape.
Despite the bar’s extreme compactness, LG still managed to squeeze in a decent array of connectivity options. You’re getting two HDMI ports (one ARC/eARC connection (necessary for Atmos)) out, one HDMI in that allows 4K/HDR passthrough from devices like game consoles), a USB input that supports playback up to lossless (FLAC) file types, and an optical port. There’s no Ethernet (LAN) input, but that’s because there are no network features, either.
You’ll find an array of control buttons lined up over the ports, as well as an (ironically) full-sized LG remote. There’s also a companion app, if you really want to dig into advanced settings, and the bar's primary HDMI ARC/eARC port will let you control power and volume with your TV remote.
While the wireless sub isn’t nearly as compact as the bar, it features the same rounded shape for some aesthetic consistency.
Tiny bar, big sound
Despite really enjoying the compact Sonos Beam (Gen 2), I admit I came into this review with some trepidation concerning the little Eclair’s ability to provide room-filling sound, but I needn’t have worried.
The little Eclair makes plenty of noise when called upon. In fact, my wife told me she had to turn noise canceling on her headphones while I was testing in another room. I admit to turning it up more than I normally would, but I was curious how loud it could get, and wasn’t disappointed with the results.
And it's not just amply loud: This 3.1.2-channel array provides a robust but relatively balanced mix thanks to its center channel and wireless sub. The level of sound and clarity coming out of a soundbar that’s shorter than a Subway sandwich is very darn impressive.
I sampled a decent chunk of non-Atmos content, including TV shows like The Office and at least one full Harry Potter, and found the bar and sub more than capable of filling my San Diego apartment with sound. The QP5 isn’t always perfect—more on that later on—but generally it sounds great.
Naturally, I also tried playing some music over Bluetooth after downloading the LG soundbar app. I’ve been on a major Rush kick lately, so I spun through some of my favorite drum-fill-filled tracks and found the QP5 handled them with the same aplomb.
The subwoofer is also surprisingly stoic. It truly doesn't vibrate or move at all, despite providing bass presence that goes beyond what most solo bars can offer. While this plays into the QP5’s designation as a more modest soundbar choice for those with limited space—the subwoofer has “vibration dampening,” and it truly doesn’t seem to move at all during use—it may mean the Eclair isn’t the best choice for you if you’re more concerned with getting lots of bass than with bothering the neighbors.
Real Dolby Atmos
The Eclair QP5 is a “true” Dolby Atmos bar, meaning it doesn’t just play Dolby Atmos content but it also has two dedicated height speakers crammed into its tiny chassis. They fire out of the bar’s perforated top to create the impression of sound objects above and around you.
I happened to be testing the Eclair the same day that Forza Horizon 5 launched, which is an Atmos-compatible game. I double-checked that my Xbox Series X was allowing Atmos passthrough to the QP5, plugged it in, and started the game. And honestly, it blew me away.
Mild spoilers for the game: FH5 starts with an airplane dropping a variety of cars into Mexico which you then switch between as you race them to a festival location. This ranged from a couple of classic “track toy” types on highways to some offroad monsters crashing through Mexican jungles and “Fording” rivers, as it were.
The mix of freight planes soaring overhead, purring engines, the commentary from the game’s festival DJs, and the pounding EDM style soundtrack was almost overwhelming—in a good way.
A grin was practically glued to my face as the little Eclair deftly handled this considerable palette of music and sound effects, placing them around me in a truly immersive way. The planes seemed to veer up and away from me in space, while each competing sound element—which could have easily been an indecipherable gumbo of sounds—was preserved clearly at various places within the soundstage. That’s the magic of Dolby Atmos, magic I wasn’t expecting the tiny Eclair to be able to weave so well.
The caveat I’ll offer here is that, like the new Sonos Beam, which uses virtual Atmos, the tiny Eclair QP5 is not going to replace a full surround sound or in-ceiling speaker setup any time soon. But its height speakers do a decent job placing sound up above you in the room, especially if (like me) you don’t have the highest of ceilings.
Because of its limited size, the Eclair is not leagues better than the cheaper Sonos Beam (gen 2) at sound expansion, but it does do a better job with height sounds.
What we don’t like
Light on features
The QP5 is not as feature-filled as much of the competition. Unlike speaker ecosystem mavens like Sonos or Bose, LG is not providing you with the means to start a full multi-room speaker setup—you're not even getting Wi-Fi compatibility and its attendant features like Spotify Connect, Apple AirPlay 2, or over-the-air firmware updates. That's the tradeoff for Dolby Atmos in this case.
The features you do get are mostly useful, but some feel tacked on, especially for a $600 asking price. For example, a feature called “TV Sound Mode Share” allows you to pass your TV’s sound mode EQ onto the soundbar—but only if it's an LG TV. This could be useful on paper, especially if you’ve invested in a higher-end LG TV with multiple sound modes, but the utility is obviously limited.
There are some background features, like Sound Field Expander, which “stretches and widens the sound beyond the speaker’s immediate area,” and vibration dampening for the subwoofer. While it’s true the subwoofer seems to almost never vibrate or move at all, both of these feel less like “features” and more part of the design: you can’t turn them off, after all.
The LG Soundbar companion app gives you access to the most useful features. From there you can easily adjust volume, mute, change sources (Bluetooth, USB, HDMI in, Optical/HDMI arc), change the Sound Effect (AI Sound Pro, Music, Game, and Cinema), toggle Night Time mode, and even adjust individual speaker volume for the woofer, center speaker, and overheads. There’s also a helpful “sound diagnosis” setting to make sure the bar and subwoofer are working in tandem.
All in all, the feature set here is OK, but it doesn’t feel expansive by any stretch of the imagination, especially considering the price. The lack of Wi-Fi is definitely the biggest miss.
A bit more bass would be nice
The QP5 generally offers enough balance for some good cinematic punch, but considering it’s equipped with a fairly large wireless sub, the overall impact of its bass is weaker than I'd like. This may be entirely by design: the Eclair is engineered to minimize not just its physical footprint but its aural footprint as well. The effort to reduce or entirely remove any vibrational feedback from the subwoofer is a testament to this.
If you live in an apartment complex or somewhere where your neighbors or flatmates are likely to raise a stink about excessive boom or late-night noises, this may be the right compromise for you. Just keep in mind if you’re shopping for something with more traditionally rumbly bass, the Eclair may lack the oomph you desire—subwoofer or no.
I was expecting the Eclair to best a standalone option like the Sonos Beam, but unless you go into the app and crank up the bass, the actual sound and impact is not leagues better than a built-in woofer.
Occasional volume inconsistency
One odd quirk I’ve noticed about the Eclair is a lack of volume granularity. Perhaps because of the size of the bar, I have found that across content types, one click up or down in volume will often cause a bizarre jump in perceptible output, suddenly becoming too quiet or too loud.
How much you notice this will obviously vary depending on the audio format you’re listening to, and admittedly I haven’t noticed it as much over Bluetooth, but while watching movies—especially while using the Cinema sound mode—it has been a consistent issue. I like a nice loud film as much as the next cinephile, but it is still occasionally frustrating, and feels like a weird quirk for a $600 soundbar to harbor.
Another way of looking at this is that, at lower volumes, movie dialogue can be a bit hard to parse at times—which is disappointing for a soundbar that includes a center channel. But again, this is likely the trade you make with a bar that’s so tiny and compact.
Should you buy it?
Maybe—if you need a super-compact Atmos bar
The Eclair QP5 is a bit of an oddball soundbar. It offers overall better Dolby Atmos than virtual bars like the Sonos Beam (gen 2), and also provides some cinematic pop thanks to its subwoofer. If you watch a ton of Atmos content, and live in a place where you simply can't crank the bass as loud as you want to, the Eclair could be the compromise you've been after. It's also an attractive system, and it's clear that there's some impressive engineering happening here.
For most folks, though, the Sonos Beam (gen 2) makes more sense. It's similarly compact—without the need to harbor a larger sub—and while its Atmos isn't as convincing, it still does a great job of expanding the soundstage. It also offers a ton of other features the Eclair doesn't, like multi-room audio, Wi-Fi streaming, and the ability to upgrade it to a larger system over time. That means, if you do happen to move out of the city, you can expand to a subwoofer and even surrounds (though you'll be paying more for the sub than the soundbar itself in that case).
If you just want affordable Atmos, and your neighbors are good sports, you can also get into this excellent 5.1.2-channel Vizio bar at a similar price point.
If you do spring for the Eclair, just know that a big part of what you're paying for is its ability to deliver Dolby Atmos and a bit of rumble in an incredibly compact device. If that's what you're after, the Eclair could be a tasty choice.
Meet the tester
Editor, Home Theater@Koanshark
Lee has been Reviewed's point person for most television and home theater products since 2012. Lee received Level II certification in TV calibration from the Imaging Science Foundation in 2013. As Editor of the Home Theater vertical, Lee oversees reviews of TVs, monitors, soundbars, and Bluetooth speakers. He also reviews headphones, and has a background in music performance.
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