You could call it a revolution or a trend, but at the end of home theater, something exciting happens. In the past, you had to spend a lot of money to get great performance. But thanks to brands like Elac, Pioneer, and Vizio, you don’t have to spend thousands – you barely have to spend hundreds.
At $ 150, the Vizio SB3621n-E8’s sound contradicts its compact size and oh-so affordable price. We would have praise for this soundbar system, even if it were twice as expensive. It is for sure the best sounding affordable soundbar we’ve heard to date.
There aren’t any “features” to speak of, just a wireless subwoofer and bluetooth, but at this price point you don’t really need any more. Alongside Google’s Chromecast Audio, the Vizio SB3621n-E8 is now one of the best deals in home theater. You can even the two together, hook them up to a TCL Roku TV, and have a really cool wireless AV streaming system for around $ 500.
Stand next to Yamaha, JBL, Zvox and Polk: the Vizio SB3621 is now the soundbar if you pay less than $ 300. This is the first soundbar we’ve ever reviewed and awarded five stars. She easily deserves our award as an editor.
36 inches handsome
Given the crazy, affordable price you would expect something be wrong with the Vizio, right? Maybe the submarine is made of plywood, or the remote control looks like it came from a gumball machine. But no, you wouldn’t guess how cheap the soundbar was given the build quality.
Place the Vizio soundbar next to the similarly expensive oneand there is no competition at all. The JBL looks cheap, but the Vizio has a calm sense of style. As the model number shows, it’s a 36-inch wide soundbar that is relatively compact. Because of its 2.1-inch height, your remote is unlikely to be blocked.
The top of the device has a minimum of controls. We found that they can be a little sluggish, but they come in very handy if you lose the remote. At the front of the bar is Vizio’s dreaded “display”: the volume meter is useful enough, but the series of dots used for input selection is almost impenetrable. The remote control is also a little confusing, but at least it’s a proper wand and not a plastic credit card like any other remote control for the price.
The supplied wireless sub does not compromise on quality. It’s a well-built black and silver shoebox that comes with a ported 5-inch woofer. This device helps the entire system get to a claimed 50 Hz, which is sufficient for a system of this size and price.
In terms of connectivity, the Vizio has two digital inputs – one coaxial and one optical – as well as USB (oddly enough for WAV playback rather than MP3) and a 3.5mm jack. The soundbar also includes a bluetooth connection. It decodes both the vanilla versions of Dolby and DTS Dolby Digital and offers DTS sound modes instead of decoding, which is a bit strange.