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Sony HT-CT290 Soundbar Review

Sony HT-CT290 Review

Sony speakers are popular in the audio community, and the Sony HT-CT290 is one of the best in their entry-level lineup. Despite having an ultra-slim size, it still delivers great  sound. But is it the right soundbar for you? We’ve done a full Sony HT-CT290 review to help you find out.

Pros

  • 300 watts of power
  • Delivers room-filling surround sound
  • Bluetooth supported
  • Wall-mountable
  • Slim profile and sleek design
  • Comes with an external subwoofer for deep bass
  • HDMI ARC and optical connection
  • Voice mode for clearer dialogue
  • Features movie mode
  • Night mode for lower volume at night
  • Supports USB playback
  • 2.1 channel system
  • Capable of Dolby Digital decoding
  • Great price

Cons

  • Not an innovative exterior

Design

Regardless of brand, a soundbar’s design is pretty similar across the board. The HT-CT290 adapts the same, having a black and sleek finish that looks inconspicuous.

What makes this Sony product different is its slim profile. It’s easily wall-mountable or it can also sit flush against the surface of your entertainment unit. Either way, the black design blends in well.

Just like the SB3651-E6 soundbar from Vizio, it can be easily kept out of the way without blocking the screen, allowing it to deliver uninhibited sound.

It’s pretty heavy though at 5.9 pounds, but for a larger sound bar, this is expected. With this size and weight, this sound bar complements larger TVs such as 55-inch sets as well.

Features

Immersive Sound

Consistent with other Sony units, the Sony HT-CT290 comes with Sony’s unique S-Force Pro Front Surround Sound technology. The front channels produce an immersive surround sound quality that makes your content way more realistic. If you like watching movies or listening to music, you’ll feel like you’re right in the middle of everything.

The Sony system handles mid to high range frequencies well, giving good balance and power to the details. And with the wireless subwoofer, the low bass tones can be heard for that extra punch in movies and music.

Want to see soundbars capable of decoding Dolby Digital and DTS sound technologies? Head over to our Vizio SB3821 VS SB3621 article here.

Bluetooth

Bluetooth is a common network feature among soundbars no matter the brand. This is because it offers a surprising amount of versatility for the soundbar in terms of connection and streaming options. If you like listening to music, you can stream the audio off of your phone and get the bar to do the job.

Bluetooth also lets you have a wireless setup. Hanging wires can be pretty messy, so if you mount it on the wall, a soundbar that supports Bluetooth connection gives the clean aesthetics you want.

Using the Bluetooth key allows you to pair two gadgets at the same time, which does make the CT290 a great speaker for the money.

Connectivity

Most of the time, the connectivity or connection options tend to take a backseat since it’s located at the back of the bar. However, it’s a crucial criterion every customer should consider.

The CT290 offers HDMI ARC input, optical digital audio inputs, and USB. The analog inputs and coaxial digital are noticeably missing, so make sure that your TV and/or other devices have compatible connections. 

One thing that this Sony product does offer that other soundbars might not is the USB port for playback. If you want to watch movies in your storage device, there’s a USB port at the back of the model as well.

Is your TV from the same brand? You might want to check our favorite soundbars for Sony TVs.

Subwoofer

If you want to experience earth-shattering bass in your living room or bedroom, you need a good subwoofer. Some soundbars have subwoofers built into the soundbar itself, but the HT-CT290 has a separate wireless subwoofer. And with the multiple tests we’ve done on many different soundbars, a separate sub wins over built-ins every time.

This wireless subwoofer also has a black design and pumps out 50 watts of power with an RMS amplifier built-in. For those of you who like deep and thumping bass, an external subwoofer reaches the deep notes that a built-in one can’t.

(Curious how watts matter in the long run? Find out the significance of wattage to soundbars here.)

The placement of the subwoofer is flexible too, whether you want it positioned in a vertical or horizontal way. Plus, you can customize the bass response. 

Channels

As a speaker system with 2.1 channels (2 channels and 1 subwoofer) just like the previous model from this series, you may not expect the best surround sound quality. However, the S-Force Pro Front Surround Sound catapults this soundbar’s ability to give you a home theater experience. So while it’s nowhere near Dolby Atmos, you can get something close.

The two channels refer to the left and right speakers of sound emission. The more speaker channels a bar has, the more it will deliver quality sound. Since this sound bar system only features 2, our experts’ comment is that it’s still in the basic channel spectrum compared to high-end soundbars.

Do you need a 3.1 soundbar instead of a 2.1? There can be significant differences that could affect your decision.

Sound Modes

Most high-quality soundbars also have sound modes, which are a range of customized sound profiles the soundbar is capable of.

The Sony HT-CT290 comes with three sound modes: clear voice, movie, and night mode. With Clear Voice, all the dialogue onscreen will be enhanced so even the little whispers are amplified.

As for movie mode, Sony enhances all the effects and speech in a film or a TV show, giving an pretty distinct sound improvement. Lastly, night mode is perfect for quieter volume settings at night.

According to the range of tests we’ve done, this Sony sound system poses quite a competition among the best soundbars for speech clarity. Many of the HT-CT290 reviews online report the same, so this device is a good choice for those who want more power in the dialogues.

Remote

Similar to other models, this product comes with a remote control that makes it easy to power up the soundbar and input settings. All sound mode buttons have clearly labeled type for one-button adjustment. You can also use the remote to control the bass levels and volume.

Our experts’ comment on the remote is it has a basic design but a very intuitive interface. All the information is pretty much on there, and there’s little to figure out because the buttons are clearly labeled. The slim look and black design also matches that of the soundbar itself.

Accessories

Other than the soundbar and the wireless subwoofer, you would also get a range of accessories including the remote with AAA batteries, the digital optical cable for wired connection [1], startup guide, 4 adhesive pads to keep your product in place, the wall mount template, and registration info and warranty.

With everything you need in the package, you can enjoy your new purchase without buying separate accessories. This makes it good for the price.

Setup

This Sony sound system is easy to set up. Since everything is in the box, you don’t have to search for a video tutorial or take a lot of time reading a page off the manual. 

For setting up, you would have to choose your connection method (wired or wireless), then use the remote for inputting the settings. Since all the buttons are labeled clearly, you have all the setup information.

We would recommend using HDMI though, as this connection type better produces high-standard surround sound every time.

Sony HT-CT290 Conclusion

The Sony HT-CT290 provides users with an effortless experience for superior audio quality. It offers S-Force Pro Front surround sound, different sound modes, a USB port for playback, and Bluetooth for music streaming from your phone.

With setup and settings easy to configure, this can be customized to your personal preference. Both the soundbar and subwoofer offers flexible placement no matter what your space looks like, or how many inches your TV is. Overall, it’s a great home theater set for your bedroom or living room.

Looking for more options as competitive as the Sony HT-CT290? Take a peek at our list of the greatest soundbars in the market today.

Willie Greer

Willie Greer is the founder of The Product Analyst. A cinephile, he has made it a personal quest to achieve the awesomest home theater possible. He now shares what he has learned through the years on the site, and has enlisted the help of tech-savvy colleagues in providing more insight about today’s most sought-after gadgets.
Willie Greer

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Sony HT-CT290 Soundbar Review
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