If you’re still stuck with your TV speakers, you’re missing out on a lot of quality when you’re watching a movie. The richness and detail of the audio gets highly compromised, especially since TVs are getting thinner and thinner.
Then again, not all of us desire a fancy sound system. For an entry-level, basic sound system, the Sony HT-S350 is a great choice.
It packs in serious power and a booming bass without overwhelming you with excessive features. It’s simple, it’s straightforward, and it gets the job done even without the bells and whistles.
While this particular model will sound better than normal speakers, it does have much room for improvement. We find that Sony missed the mark in some of the finer details, but the HT-S350 is enough if you want a basic and affordable soundbar.
In this Sony HT-S350 review, we’ll take a look at the design, features, and some of the drawbacks in this rig.
What’s in the Box
- Sony HT-S350 Soundbar
- Wireless Subwoofer
- Remote control and batteries
- Digital optical cable
When it comes to appearance, the Sony HT-S350 sports a minimalist, plain black look. Truth be told, there’s nothing special about the design except for the rounded corners – a nice touch if you have children and don’t want the sharper edges that other bars have.
The main bar is 35 inches wide, which is a smaller soundbar compared to most mid and high-end models. Because of its compact size, you can easily slide the Sony HT-S350 under or in front of your TV.
When it comes to control, you don’t have to worry about covering your TV’s IR blaster. The Sony HT-S350 has a built-in IR repeater so you can still use your TV remote with ease.
(Fun fact: this soundbar is one of our top suggestions for 65 inch TVs!)
At the back of the bar, you’ll find an HDMI input, optical audio input, and the power adapter.
There are very little options when it comes to connectivity, and it would’ve been better if we saw a stereo jack or an extra HDMI port for a game console. In addition, Bluetooth is the only wireless function you have.
Unlike the Vizio SB36512, you have no Wi-Fi option for the Sony HT-S350, eliminating the possibility of direct streaming from the internet. That is definitely a huge downer for this model, especially because we live in an internet-driven world.
Even if the Sony HT-S350 is a budget device, Wi-Fi connectivity would’ve been a convenient addition. Then again, if you just want the essentials, the wired connections and the Bluetooth should be enough.
Fortunately, the subwoofer does connect wirelessly to the soundbar like in most sound systems. Thus, won’t have any trouble placing the subwoofer in a strategic location. For controls, there’s a dedicated remote you can use to control volume, sound modes, and subwoofer level.
Consistent with the design’s simplicity and similar to Vizio soundbars setups, the Sony HT-S350 involves an easy set-up as well. You can use the included optical cable to connect your soundbar to your TV.
We still highly suggest you use an HDMI cable so the connection is done in seconds. Simply plug in your bar and subwoofer, connect an HDMI cable from your TV’s HDMI ARC port to the HDMI port at the back of the soundbar, and you’re done.
Unfortunately, no HDMI cable is included in the box so you have to buy one if you prefer this option.
Let’s get to the meat of this Sony HT-S350 review by tackling how this soundbar performs.
First off, this soundbar and subwoofer combo can produce up to 320 watts of power, so expect that it can get really loud.
If you like to customize your audio experience depending on what program you’re watching, the Sony HT-S350 allows you to switch to different modes including Cinema, Sports, Music, News, Game, and Standard. This optimizes the settings so you can hear different media in the best possible way.
While that’s neat, we found that it’s better to stick to Cinema and Music as they produced the most clarity and consistency. Other modes were a bit unbalanced and tend to favor the lows.
As for Dolby-readiness, the Sony HT-S350 soundbar only supports Dolby Digital and Dolby Dual Mono. It passed up on the highly-acclaimed Dolby Atmos technology, but that is to be expected for a soundbar below $200.
If you’re not familiar with Dolby Atmos, it’s basically true surround sound with rear speakers and accurate imaging for that immersive cinema experience. This won’t be achieved by cheaper soundbars, so you can expect Dolby Atmos in higher-end models.
To be fair though, the Sony HT-S350 has the S-Force Pro virtual surround engine to kind of emulate that surround sound experience. Still, it’s far from what rear speakers and Dolby Atmos-ready soundbars like the Vizio SB36512 offer.
Nevertheless, your movie experience will be significantly enhanced with the Sony HT-S350 compared to plain TV speakers.
If you like a solid bass, this soundbar and subwoofer packs in some serious thunder. You can even tweak the subwoofer levels to switch from barely audible up to deeply intense.
With powerful bass, you can better experience that ‘get-in-the-action’ thrill from movies and shows. Music will also have that added punch to it for a livelier beat.
But while the bass is great, the Sony HT-S350 fell short when it comes to the finer details of sound. Our tests revealed that the highs and lows were compromised, and the bass tends to be overpowering in both high and low volumes.
That being said, the Sony HT-S350 is still a good soundbar despite the shortcomings in the audio’s balance.
Sony HT-S350 Review Conclusion
On the whole, the Sony HT-S350 is a basic soundbar and subwoofer that packs a punch for an entry-level rig. It offers a thunderous bass, powerful sound, and virtual surround system for an immersive listening experience.
While the Sony HT-S350 is not for the discerning audiophiles, it’s a great choice for the practical user who wants to upgrade to a better sound system.
We recently reviewed another model from Sony, so make sure you check out this Sony HT-ST5000 review.
Latest posts by Willie Greer (see all)