When it comes to your home theater setup, I think a great many of us fall into the category of being happy enough with what comes out of the stock speakers on the TV. Sure, a full-blown 5.1 or 7.1 setup would be awesome, but it’s not like you could crank it it up when the kids are in bed. Well, that’s where something like this 20″ Vizio Soundbar comes into play, and I was quite pleasantly surprised once I had it setup and we started using it.
Now, make no mistake – if you claim to have audiophile ears, you’re not going to be happy with this sound (I’m guessing)? Me, not audiophile-grade. That said, I did still have an optical audio cable from my PS2 (yup, that’s the last console I bought and played on) back in the day, so I dug that out when this sample was incoming. Imagine my surprise when, once I opened things up, all the cables you’d need were there. Whether your hookup is RCA, 1/4″, or optical, Vizio quite nicely provides it all for you. This only enhances the ease of setup.
Once I had the Vizio Soundbar unpacked, it was time to hook it in. For this review, we went with the 20″ soundbar as I’ve only got a 26″ set kicking around, so the sizing fit well. Not to say you couldn’t hook this to a big set, but having a ginormous speaker dwarfing your TV is just silly. Plugging things in was simple, and I just had to go diving into the audio menus (something I’ve not done in the 10+ years of owning this TV) to shunt the audio out to the correct output. Same goes for the Vizio Soundbar – you cycle through the inputs to match things up.
Once I had that figured out, it was just a matter of playing around with some of the settings to figure out what sounded the best from the couch, and then play around with cranking it up (or back down). At the end of the day, I – and my family – really enjoyed the sound coming out of the Vizio Soundbar. It was drastically better than what the TV provides, even at lower volumes. I definitely heard a lot more, and it provided a nice amount of low end with the bass port. Sure, it’s not window rattling, but it’s definitely a step up. And if you want to get a subwoofer in the mix, they’ve got the output on the Vizio Soundbar for that as well.
We also found hooking into the Bluetooth on the Vizio Soundbar to be quite simple. In the past, we’ve used a smaller portable Bluetooth speaker, and it gets the job done. But this, you’ve got power, and it’s a cinch to connect. Oh, and if you can’t find the remote? You’ve got all the buttons you need up on top of the Vizio Soundbar (power, volume up/down, input mode) that you’d need to change it up.
Prior to actually experiencing a soundbar, I was skeptical as to how much it would improving watching movies or TV shows. After spending a few weeks with the 20″ Vizio Soundbar, I’m sold. And, frankly, at just $70, it’s a relatively inexpensive upgrade to your TV, as well as streaming music from your phone or tablet. I know times are tighter now, so a whole new TV may not be in the cards. But this simple all-in-one speaker setup can definitely breath some new life into your A/V setup. vizio.com
For those watching these sorts of awards, it may be worth noting that the Vizio Elevate soundbar was recently awarded a Red Dot Design Award.
Details from Vizio
- Sound Bar Size20.0 in / 508.0 mm
- Sound Bar Speakers2
- Sound Pressure Level91 dB
- Sound Enhancement TechnologyDTS TruVolume?, Bluetooth?, DTS Virtual:X
- Speaker Channels2.0
- Sound Bar ButtonsPower, Input, Bluetooth, Volume DOWN, Volume UP
- Analog Audio Input3.5mm stereo mini jack
- Optical Audio InputYes
- USB InputYes
Dimensions and Weight
- Sound Bar Dimensions20.00″ x 2.19″ x 4.45″ (508.0mm x 55.6mm x 113.0mm)
- Product with Stand Weight3.69 Lbs. / 1.67 Kg.
- Product Packaging Dimensions21.53″ x 4.17″ x 5.98″ (546.9mm x 105.9mm x 151.9mm)
- Product Packaging Weight5.02 Lbs. / 2.28 Kg.
- WarrantyOne Year Parts & Labor. Free Lifetime Technical Support.