Still using your TV speakers when watching a movie? It’s time to consider upgrading to soundbars and subwoofers; you don’t know what you’re missing out on.
Now that TVs are getting thinner and thinner, there’s less space for having that high-quality sound. So even though you’re getting ultra-clear pictures, the audio gets compromised. Soundbars with subwoofers will create a significant difference and make shows and movies sound like they’re supposed to. If you want an entry-level, basic sound system for your home, the Sony HT-S350 is a great choice. It packs in serious power and booming bass. With a straightforward interface, the Sony HT-S350 will get 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 other bars have.
The main bar is 35 inches wide, which is smaller compared to most mid and high-end soundbars. Because of its compact size, you can easily slide the Sony HT-S350 under or in front of your TV. You don’t have to worry about covering your TV’s IR blaster because the Sony HT-S350 has a built-in IR repeater so you can still use your TV remote with ease.
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 the Sony HT-S350, especially because we live in a world that’s mostly internet-driven. Even if it’s a budget device, Wi-Fi connectivity would’ve been a convenient addition.
Fortunately, the subwoofer does connect wirelessly to the soundbar like in most sound systems. You won’t have any trouble placing the subwoofer in a strategic location. There’s also a dedicated remote you can use to control volume, sound modes, and subwoofer level.
Consistent with the design’s simplicity, 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.
Now, let’s get to the meat of this Sony HT-S350 review. 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. 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 premium cinema experience. 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 subwoofer levels to switch from barely audible up to deeply intense. With powerful bass, you can experience that ‘get-in-the-action’ thrill from adrenaline-pumping scenes in your favorite movies and shows. Music will also have that added punch to it for a livelier beat.
However, the Sony HT-S350 fell short when it comes to the finer details of sound. Although the loudness is a positive aspect, balance is compromised in the highs and lows. The bass tends to be overpowering when you’re listening to both higher and lower volumes, probably due to the sibilant touch in the upper midrange. That being said, the Sony HT-S350 is still a good soundbar and subwoofer despite the shortcomings in the audio’s balance.
- Powerful sound
- Solid bass
- Easy to set up
- No Wi-Fi
- Limited connectivity options
- No Dolby Atmos
- Sound is unbalanced at times
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 unfussy user who wants to upgrade to a better sound system.