Sony’s soundbar should be on the table with the front facing diagonally upwards. We have seen this principle in other soundbars before, and with mixed results. But on the Sony soundbar, the speaker drivers are inset in such a way that they point pretty much forward, so they don’t play up into the air but instead provide better forward focus. As far as the display is concerned, it points upward, so you hardly see it from the couch. It is easy getting accustomed to the on-screen display menu on the TV.
The wall mount comes with two small brackets that angle the soundbar slightly downwards, so that the loudspeaker drivers stay at an optimal angle to the listening position.
Three HDMI inputs have full support for 4K video with HDCP 2.2 copy protection, and to stream wireless music using Sony Google Cast. It’s a proven system that works well, and allows you to group other Google Cast products together in a multi-room system across brand names. You can have Sony in one room, Philips in another, and ChromeCast in a third, and they can all play the same music at the same time.
Lying flat on the bench, the Sony soundbar projects surprisingly well-balanced sound towards the sofa, in contrast to other flat soundbars we have heard. This is because the drivers point more straight ahead. Sony utilizes super trebles on their soundbar. These provide a more airy sound. It works out fairly well, because it resonates well up in the overtone area.
Dialogue in movies is clear, and if you want even clearer articulation at low volume, the “Voice Up” feature works fine. It becomes sharper and not as comforftable as having it turned off, but if you are watching TV late at night and do not want the sound on high, then it serves a purpose.
The movie feature provides a certain sense of surround sound. It is somewhat at the expense of the dialogue in the centre channel, which becomes a little thinner, but the compromise is worth having it on to enjoy an extraordinary soundscape.
The subwoofer is well integrated and the sound system works on the whole quite well for movies.
Music in stereo runs smoothly. The dynamics are not the best, but it sounds pretty clear and open. Sony is a little thinner in the mid-range than Sonos, Bluesound and Heos and is also not as balanced as Samsung, but it is not far behind. Overall, a decent music package, and definitely an option if you do not have a wall-mounted TV, but want a soundbar that should be on the TV table without blocking the bottom edge of the TV.
The Sony soundbar is flat and elegant. It works fine for movies and TV with a natural and open soundscape, and it is surprisingly okay for music for a soundbar that lies flat and plays upwards.
Streaming with Google Cast works great, and it is an advantage that the soundbar doesn’t block the bottom edge of the TV, while the disadvantage is being unable to see the display from the couch. But with the on-screen menu on the TV, you don’t have to give it another thought.
Also in this test
The biggest problem with this soundbar is a huge hole in the soundscape.
Bluesound Pulse Soundbar
The most accomplished
Bluesound’s soundbar costs a bit more, but pays off in the form of a much better experiences on both film and music.
The TV's resting pad
Sonos’ new sound base PlayBase acts as a base for the TV. But did it arrive too late?
Samsung’s soundbar sounds just as well on music as it does for movies.
If you are looking for an affordable option with multi-room, and do not want an extra bass crate, then this one is good.
The Philips soundbar does its job, with crystal clear dialogue and a fairly balanced sound.
Bose SoundTouch 300
Not good enough
Bose has banked on user-friendliness, but has unfortunately forgotten about the sound quality.
A lot of sound pressure, little else
Klipsch has the highest sound pressure in the test. But the soundbar disappoints on sound quality.
User-friendly and tough
Heos has endowed this with user-friendliness, and here one also gets tough, rich sound for one’s money.