EISA Awards 2019-2020: AV CATEGORIES

As of last year, EISA dropped ‘European’ from its name to become the Expert Imaging and Sound Association, as it welcomes new member magazines from Canada, Hong Kong, India, Japan, the United States — plus our titles Sound+Image, Australian Hi-Fi and Australian Incar here in Australia.

You might imagine that getting editors from 61 special interest magazines across 29 countries to agree on a final list of winners might be quite the process. We have been pleased to find it a highly organised one. Note that while most winners have identical or near-identical Australian counterparts, sometimes our outlying region gets a significantly different model, or the brand is not available here at all. The rest, however, represents the world’s best.

For 36 years EISA has been selecting the most innovative, cutting-edge products for its prestigious EISA Awards. For its 2019-2020 Awards, technical experts from 55 member magazines and websites in 27 countries across the world have recognised and awarded the following products as the best in their categories.

The Awards are debated and voted upon by groups of specialist judging panels covering the full spectrum of consumer electronics and photographic products, including Hi-Fi, Home Theatre, In-Car Electronics, Photo, Video and Mobile Devices. Key to the success and relevance of the annual EISA Awards lies in the evolution of its categories, always reflecting the changing trends and technologies of the consumer electronics world.

To win an EISA award all products undergo a comprehensive multi-step judging process. Products are intensively tested at the facilities of individual EISA member magazines and are also presented at the Association’s annual Convention in Antwerp in May. Products that pass this stage already rank among the best in the world. The final deliberations take place at EISA’s annual General Meeting in June where a democratic voting process establishes a consensus of excellence and determines the winning products.

The EISA Awards will be officially presented on September 6th at a gala event during IFA, the world’s largest consumer electronics fair, held in Berlin. But why wait! We've got all the winners below — starting, of course, with the AV categories...

HOME THEATRE AUDIO EXPERT GROUP AWARDS + HOME THEATRE VIDEO&DISPLAY EXPERT GROUP AWARDS

EISA BEST BUY PROJECTOR 2019-2020
BenQ CinePrime W2700
This compact 4K HDR projector brings largescreen home entertainment to the living room without compromising on performance or emptying your wallet. Instead, BenQ’s CinePrime W2700 utilises the latest DLP chip design for 4K detail and couples it with a bespoke colour wheel and factory calibration to introduce DCI-P3 wide colour capacity to the market for the first time. In short, it ensures images that perfectly capture the creator’s intent. User-friendly features include a 1.3x zoom and 12V trigger for installation flexibility, a powered USB port for firing up a streaming HDMI player, and intuitive on-screen menus giving control over its advanced image adjustments. Combine this with its sharp, colour-rich pictures and punchy integrated stereo sound system, and you have a projector that’s the best in its class.

 

EISA HOME THEATRE PROJECTOR 2019-2020
BenQ CinePrime W5700
Colour accuracy, image detail, HDR playback and install flexibility – BenQ’s W5700 flagship projector is an easy recommendation for a dedicated home theatre. The 11-element all-glass lens is optimised for 4K and delivers crisp, sharp images. Similarly, BenQ’s customised colour wheel and lamp system delivers a remarkable 100% of DCI-P3 colour, making it an ideal match for HDR content. The projector is easy to install in your movie room too, with a large 1.6x zoom creating an expansive throw ratio, and horizontal and vertical lens shift to ensure accurate image alignment. Completing an impressive package is the attention to design – the anti-reflective matte chassis, and patterned lens ring to soak up stray light, leaving you focused on nothing but the pristine visuals.

 

EISA UNIVERSAL PLAYER 2019-2020
Pioneer UDP-LX500
The UDP-LX500 is a machine of many talents. Both a state-of-the-art 4K Blu-ray spinner and a high-performance audio player, it will improve any home theatre setup. On the video side, format support covers both the HDR10+ and Dolby Vision dynamic HDR formats, with features including metadata information and display type selection to enable fine-tuned playback. For audiophiles, it offers compatibility with CD, SACD and DVD-Audio discs, plus hi-res files including DSD. Sound quality is precise and detailed, while UHD discs dazzle with sharpness and colour rendering. Moreover, its premium nature extends to design and build – the LX500 is whisper quiet in operation, while its gorgeous chassis design means you won’t want to hide it away.

 

EISA AV RECEIVER 2019-2020
Denon AVR-X2600H
Ease-of-use and sheer power come together in the affordable Denon AVR-X2600H. With support for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and virtual height options, this 7.2-channel receiver is a modern update on a classic home theatre design. Regular Denon features including HEOS multiroom streaming and the user-friendly Setup Assistant are joined by compatibility with AirPlay 2 and eARC in this model. There’s also Bluetooth headphone support and forward-looking features including HDCP 2.3 and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) for console gamers. Voice commands through Google Assistant and Siri are featured too. Most importantly of all, however, the AVR-X2600H is an accomplished sonic performer, offering an equally engaging experience whether you’re watching blockbuster movies or enjoying your favourite tunes.

 

EISA PREMIUM HOME THEATRE RECEIVER 2019-2020
NAD T 758 V3
For premium features without the premium price, look no further than NAD’s T 758 V3 AV receiver. A seven-channel Dolby Atmos/DTS:X design expandable to 7.1.4 via external amplification, it implements Dirac Live automatic room correction for best-in-class calibration, plus NAD’s Modular Design Construction (MDC) to offer a pathway to future specification upgrades, avoiding obsolescence. There’s BluOS integration, too, introducing access to streaming music platforms and multiroom compatibility with Bluesound products, not to mention MQA playback. But it’s how this receiver sounds in full flight that really impresses. Its performance is naturalistic and full of subtlety, yet blessed with a dynamic punch from its PowerDrive amplification. With both movies and music, this delivers.

 

EISA BEST BUY HOME THEATRE SPEAKER SYSTEM 2019-2020
DALI OBERON Series
DALI's OBERON range proves that combining stunning Scandinavian design with an engaging sound experience is a winning proposition. From the ultra-compact OBERON 1 and small OBERON 3 bookshelf, to the slender OBERON 5 and the flagship OBERON 7 floorstanders, the series offers top-notch performance from very attractive enclosures. Add in the OBERON On-Wall and VOKAL centre speaker options, and you have the flexibility to establish an impressive (and affordable) home theatre. Borrowing driver technologies (including DALI’s SMC magnet system) from its high-end EPICON and RUBICON series reaps rewards – with music or movies these speakers have a wide dispersion and a clear, balanced and convincing presentation. They look great, and sound even better…

 

EISA HOME THEATRE HIGH-END 2019-2020
Focal Astral 16
Mixing 12-channel power with 16-channel processing, the Astral 16 is a one-box solution for high-end theatre systems offering comprehensive calibration possibilities and a reference-grade performance. A 200W-per-channel Class D amplifier stage provides the foundation for a muscular multichannel delivery, whether it’s an immersive Dolby Atmos, DTS:X or Auro-3D mix or traditional surround format, while Dirac Live EQ tackles room/speaker optimisation across the full audio range. And it is flexible to the extreme. System builders will appreciate its multizone capabilities, integration with smart home control systems, the peace of mind ‘Remote Monitoring’ tool, and 4K HDMI implementation. End users will just love its expressive, detailed and enveloping audio quality.

 

EISA HOME THEATRE SUBWOOFER 2019-2020
SVS SB-3000
For its SB-3000 subwoofer, SVS takes the performance-first ethos of its higher-end models and brings it to a new, lower price point. Featuring a freshly designed 13.5in driver in a compact, sealed cabinet, allied to an 800W Sledge DSP amplifier, this dedicated bass-maker excels when it comes to depth, speed, control and slam. Movie soundtracks hit hard, while music playback benefits from nuanced, tight bass. It’s a tweaker’s delight too, with SVS’s Bluetooth control app offering parametric EQ to match its performance to your listening room, in addition to quick adjustments of level, and sound preset selection. For those seeking a sub offering both power and precision, the SB-3000 is difficult to resist.

 

EISA PREMIUM SOUNDBAR 2019-2020
Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar

With its debut soundbar, Sennheiser has effectively rewritten the immersive audio rulebook. Handling Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, and introducing proprietary AMBEO 3D upmixing for stereo and 5.1 content, this large-scale one-box system ensures an enveloping, cinematic performance from any source. Its 13 drivers, including six 4in woofers and twin upfiring units, work to create an astonishingly realistic soundstage with crisp highs and room-shaking bass, while Sennheiser’s microphone-assisted room calibration results in a precise presentation. Three HDMI inputs, an eARC-enabled output, plus Bluetooth, Chromecast and networking talents allow the AMBEO Soundbar to become your system hub, and the companion smartphone app make it easy to use. Most importantly, once heard it’s never forgotten…

 

EISA TV SOUND SYSTEM 2019-2020
DALI KATCH ONE

How to improve on DALI’s KATCH wireless speaker? By expanding the form factor and functionality to target both TV addicts and music fans. Mirroring the design of its smaller stablemate, but introducing an innovative wall-mount solution and optional desktop feet, the KATCH ONE tucks a 10-driver speaker array, 4x50W amplifier and DSP engine into a stylish cabinet. Fed either TV audio or music (through HDMI ARC, digital optical audio or aptX Bluetooth), this soundbar conjures a full-range performance with powerful but nuanced bass, wide stereo imaging and excellent dialogue/vocal clarity. It’s easy to use too, with DALI’s compact remote offering quick control over source and Wide/Focused EQ modes, or operation via a TV handset. This is an elegant, refined two-channel audio solution.

 

EISA SOUNDBAR 2019-2020
LG SL8Y
Designed for TVs of 49in and above, LG’s SL8YG aims to bring a cinematic experience to your living room – and succeeds. A 3.1.2-channel design partnering a smart-looking soundbar with a wireless subwoofer, it employs upfiring drivers and Dolby Atmos and DTS:X decoding to add tangible height, depth and scale to movie/TV soundmixes, in conjunction with DSP developed by Meridian Audio. It’s a dynamic, large-scale performer (and its soundstage can be expanded to 5.1.2 via LG’s optional wireless rear speakers), and ready for music playback too – just use Bluetooth 4.2 or Chromecast to start the party. Other features include HDMI connectivity allowing passthrough of 4K HDR sources, Google Assistant (where available) for smart home integration, and dedicated sound modes. It’s a superior all-rounder.

 

EISA AV ACCESSORY 2019-2020
IsoTek SMART Delta
Every AV system needs power – and lots of it – but only clean power will let all of your components, audio and video, deliver their very best performance. IsoTek’s SMART Power range takes things even further, for as well as cleaning the power line, removing extraneous noise, and protecting against power surges and spikes, it offers fully programmable system power-up and shutdown. Using control over LAN or Wi-Fi, you can sequence the order of power on/off, assign names to each of the unit’s outlets, and even set it all up and ‘drive’ it from an app on your phone. They don’t call it ‘SMART’ for nothing – and its effect on your system’s performance will be just as impressive.

 

EISA SMART HOME TV 2019-2020
LG 65SM9010
Offering intelligent smart skills, a slim bezel design, bright 4K HDR images and advanced audio features, LG’s 65SM9010 meets the brief for an all-round entertainment solution. Forward-thinking specifications include HDMI 2.1 connectivity on all inputs, Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision support, and a NanoCell LCD panel with direct LED backlight and local dimming. Picture performance, boosted by AI processing and wide angle delivery, is suited to movies, streaming, gaming and sports. And then there’s the TV’s slick operation and usability. The new WebOS 4.5 user interface, integration of Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, plus LG’s Home Dashboard smart home monitoring function, make this the perfect partner for a modern home.

 

EISA BEST PREMIUM OLED TV 2019-2020
LG OLED65E9 
LG’s Dolby Vision-enabled 65in OLED TV offers remarkable video performance combined with a captivating ‘picture on glass’ design. To get the best from 4K HDR sources, the set’s second-generation Alpha 9 processing engine deploys AI Brightness and Dynamic Tone Mapping features, which build upon the deep black levels, rich colours and precision illumination for which OLED technology is renowned. Joining these premium pictures is an immersive sound performance with extensive flexibility – Dolby Atmos playback, unique AI Sound processing and room optimisation guarantee an experience tailored to the user’s preference. Completing an impressive all-round package is the TV’s intuitive operation via LG’s WebOS platform and comprehensive smart talents.

 

EISA 8K TV 2019-2020
Samsung QE82Q950R
Sporting a native 7680x4320 pixel display, this 8K TV offers four times the detail of Ultra HD 4K. Play an 8K source via its USB media player or HDMI input to witness images with astonishing depth, clarity and sense of realness, while AI upscaling converts any HD and 4K source to fit the 82in screen. And its picture quality is about more than just resolution. Samsung’s direct LED backlight and bespoke local dimming engine results in a precise HDR performance (including HDR10+) and its QLED panel ensures maximum colour volume. The introduction of Ultra Viewing Angle technology brings huge improvements to off-axis viewing, too. The QE82Q950R is a TV that’s both ready for the future – and brilliant today.

 

EISA BEST BUY OLED TV 2019-2020
Philips 55OLED804
Philips brings its OLED image expertise and design flair to an affordable price point with the 55OLED804. At its heart beats a new iteration of the brand’s P5 processor, now a dual-chip design delivering improvements to shadow detail and colour handling – this 55in model is a superb performer with native HDR sources (format support includes both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision), while Perfect Natural Reality introduces an HDR experience to any source. Add in Philips’ exclusive Ambilight illumination for a more immersive experience, Dolby Atmos audio decoding and the content-rich Android TV smart system, and you have a television that simply oozes value for money.

 

EISA HOME THEATRE TV 2019-2020
Philips 65OLED984
With its 65in screen and show-stopping audio, Philips’ top-of-the-range OLED TV delivers an irresistible cinematic experience. Key to its impact is the Bowers & Wilkins-designed sound system, which utilises the brand’s bespoke tweeter-on-top technology in conjunction with a left/centre/right driver array to produce dynamic, full-range sonics expanded by Dolby Atmos processing. No other flatscreen TV sounds quite like it! Joining this groundbreaking sound performance is Philips’ refined picture quality, courtesy of its 3rd generation P5 processor, with support for both Dolby Vision and HDR10+ formats, and the OLED984’s unique styling, which mounts the soundbar on a brushed aluminium stand to make a real design statement. In a word? Stunning.

 

EISA HOME THEATRE SPEAKER SYSTEM 2019-2020
Arendal Sound 1723 Monitor S THX 5.1
Offering a powerful performance from easy to accommodate cabinets, Arendal Sound’s THX Ultra-certified multichannel package brings Hollywood to your home theatre. The two-way 1723 Monitor S THX standmounts, with 6.5in midbass drivers and waveguided tweeters, showcase a transparent sound, with excellent dispersion and extreme dynamics. This standard of performance is replicated by the centre channel enclosure, while Arendal Sound’s Tri-Axial Surround S THX models produce an expansive rear soundfield. Dramatic, deep bass comes courtesy of the 1723 Subwoofer 2, which maintains a tight grip on deep bass effects via a push-push dual 13.8in driver array and 1kW power plant. Design and build quality are exceptional for the price.

 

EISA PHOTO/VIDEO CAMERA 2019-2020
Sony α6400
For content creators who shoot as much video as stills photography, the α6400 packs an impressive array of tools into its compact, portable body. The highlight is undoubtedly Sony’s innovative Real-time Tracking and Real-time Eye AF, that keeps your subject sharp and in-focus no matter how it moves around the scene. Other advanced video options include 4K high dynamic range recording, S-Log profiles for pro-level colour grading, a flip-up screen that can face forwards for vlogging and a microphone socket for high-quality sound recording. Meanwhile photographers will appreciate the excellent quality of its 24-megapixel image files.

 

AND THE REST OF THE AWARDS:

IN-CAR ELECTRONICS EXPERT GROUP

EISA IN-CAR HEAD UNIT 2019-2020
KENWOOD DMX8019DABS

EISA IN-CAR SOUND PROCESSOR 2019-2020
Brax DSP

EISA IN-CAR AMPLIFIER 2019-2020
ESX QE1200.4

EISA IN-CAR SPEAKER SYSTEM 2019-2020
Morel Elate Carbon 603

EISA IN-CAR SUBWOOFER 2019-2020
Ground Zero GZPW 10SQ

EISA IN-CAR SMART UPGRADE 2019-2020
Alpine PWD-X5

EISA IN-CAR DASHCAM 2019-2020
Alpine DVR-F800PRO

EISA IN-CAR HIGH-END COMPONENT 2019-2020
Eton Core S3

EISA IN-CAR INNOVATION 2019-2020
Zapco HDSP-Z16V

 

HI-FI EXPERT GROUP     

EISA ACTIVE STEREO LOUDSPEAKER 2019-2020
ELAC Navis ARB-51

EISA ALL-IN-ONE SYSTEM 2019-2020
Naim Audio Mu-so 2nd Generation

EISA BEST BUY AMPLIFIER 2019-2020
Rotel A11

EISA BEST BUY TURNTABLE 2019-2020
Pro-Ject X1

EISA BOOKSHELF LOUDSPEAKER 2019-2020
Monitor Audio Gold 100

EISA COMPACT STEREO SYSTEM 2019-2020
Marantz Melody X (M-CR612)

EISA DAC 2019-2020
Chord Electronics Qutest

EISA DIGITAL SOURCE 2019-2020
Pro-Ject CD Box RS2 T/Pre Box RS2 Digital

EISA HEADPHONE 2019-2020
Focal Elegia

EISA HI-FI UPGRADE 2019-2020
IsoAcoustics GAIA

EISA HIGH-END AMPLIFIER 2019-2020
Hegel H390

EISA HIGH-END LOUDSPEAKER 2019-2020
KEF R11

EISA LOUDSPEAKER 2019-2020
Bowers & Wilkins 603

EISA SMART AMPLIFIER 2019-2020
NAD M10

EISA STEREO SYSTEM 2019-2020
Primare CD35/I35 Prisma

EISA STREAMING DAC 2019-2020
Mytek Brooklyn Bridge

EISA TURNTABLE 2019-2020
MoFi UltraDeck+M

EISA WIRELESS STEREO LOUDSPEAKER 2019-2020
KEF LSX

COMBINED WITH HT AUDIO/HT VIDEO EXPERT GROUP

EISA AV ACCESSORY 2019-2020
IsoTek SMART Delta

 

PHOTOGRAPHY EXPERT GROUP

EISA ADVANCED CAMERA 2019-2020
Fujifilm X-T3

EISA ADVANCED FULL-FRAME CAMERA 2019-2020
Panasonic LUMIX DC-S1R

EISA BEST BUY FULL-FRAME CAMERA 2019-2020
Canon EOS RP

EISA BEST BUY ZOOM LENS 2019-2020
Tamron 35-150mm F2.8-4 Di VC OSD

EISA CAMERA INNOVATION 2019-2020
Fujifilm GFX100

EISA CAMERA OF THE YEAR 2019-2020
Nikon Z 6

EISA COMPACT CAMERA 2019-2020
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VI

EISA LENS INNOVATION 2019-2020
Canon RF 28-70mm F2L USM

EISA PHOTO INNOVATION 2019-2020
Sony Real-time Eye AF

EISA PHOTO SOFTWARE 2019-2020
Skylum Luminar

EISA PORTRAIT PRIME LENS 2019-2020
Sony FE 135mm F1.8 GM

EISA PROFESSIONAL STANDARD ZOOM LENS 2019-2020
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S

EISA PROFESSIONAL TELEPHOTO ZOOM LENS 2019-2020
SIGMA 70-200mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | Sports

EISA STANDARD PRIME LENS 2019-2020
Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM

EISA STANDARD ZOOM LENS 2019-2020
Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM

EISA SUPER-TELEPHOTO PRIME LENS 2019-2020
Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM

EISA TELEPHOTO PRIME LENS 2019-2020
Sony FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS

EISA TELEPHOTO ZOOM LENS 2019-2020
SIGMA 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Sports

EISA WIDEANGLE PRIME LENS 2019-2020
Sony FE 24mm F1.4 GM

EISA WIDEANGLE ZOOM LENS 2019-2020
Tamron 17-28mm F2.8 Di III RXD

COMBINED AWARDS WITH MOBILE DEVICES EXPERT GROUP                       

EISA BEST SMARTPHONE 2019-2020
Huawei P30 Pro

COMBINED WITH HT VIDEO&DISPLAY EXPERT GROUP      

EISA PHOTO/VIDEO CAMERA 2019-2020
Sony α6400

 

MOBILE DEVICES EXPERT GROUP            

EISA ADVANCED SMARTPHONE 2019-2020
OnePlus 7 Pro

EISA BEST BUY SMARTPHONE 2019-2020
Xiaomi Redmi Note 7

EISA BEST EARBUDS 2019-2020
JBL Reflect Flow

EISA BEST NOISE-CANCELLING HEADPHONES 2019-2020
Sony WH-1000XM3

EISA CONSUMER NOISE-CANCELLING HEADPHONES 2019-2020
JBL LIVE 650BTNC

EISA ELECTRIC VEHICLE 2019-2020
Xiaomi Mi Scooter Pro

EISA LIFESTYLE SMARTPHONE 2019-2020
Honor 20 Pro

EISA MOBILE SPEAKER 2019-2020
LG XBOOM Go PK7
in some markets (LG XBOOM Go PK7W, LG PK7, LG PK7W)

EISA PARTY SPEAKER 2019-2020
JBL PartyBox 100

EISA WIRELESS IN-EAR HEADPHONES 2019-2020
OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2

COMBINED AWARDS WITH PHOTOGRAPHY EXPERT GROUP           

EISA BEST SMARTPHONE 2019-2020
Huawei P30 Pro

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