Best Soundbars Android Central 2021
Soundbars have come a long way in the last few years. While full-sized speakers will still sound better — sound needs space, after all — soundbars sound great for their size. That size also requires a smaller footprint in your living room and with something like the Sonos Beam, you will get great sound without a head-scratching installation process, and more. There are other great soundbars available, and we have detailed some of the best options for your home.
Best Overall: Sonos Beam Smart TV Sound Bar
With the Sonos Beam, you get a superb TV soundbar with some basic smarts. The Sonos Beam connects to your TV with HDMI-ARC, or with the included HDMI-to-Optical adapter. It only supports Alexa right now, but Google Assistant integration is coming at some point. You can control your TV with your voice if your TV supports HDMI-CEC, which most modern sets do. Controlling your TV with your voice isn't a replacement for a remote, but it's an excellent option.
Sonos' ecosystem is attractive because of how easy it is to add more of their speakers and create a surround system. You can start with the Sonos Beam and have a great soundbar. A few months later, you can pick up a couple of Sonos One speakers to add more channels. Or, you can buy a Sonos 5.1 kit with everything you need.
- Amazon Alexa built-in
- Integration with other Sonos speakers
- No subwoofer included
- Optical cable needed if HDMI-ARC not available
- Voice commands won't work with optical cable
All of the smarts
With Amazon Alexa support and the ability to pair with other Sonos speakers, the Sonos Beam should be the go-to soundbar for almost everyone.
3D Surround Sound: Yamaha YAS-207BL Soundbar
There is surround sound, and then there is a 3-dimensional surround sound, and the Yamaha 207BL Soundbar was the first of its kind to offer 3D surround sound. With DTS Virtual:X, the 207BL will fill every inch of your room to entrench you in the action and make you feel like you are part of the movie.
Yamaha also includes the ability to stream music over Bluetooth, along with using either the included remote or the accompanying smartphone app. Plus, there is a wireless subwoofer packaged in the bundle so you can get just the right amount of bass for your favourite movie, TV show, or music playlist.
Unfortunately, while the 207BL is excellent in many facets, there are a few frustrating omissions. The first of these is the lack of integration with smart assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant. Additionally, you won't be able to pair this soundbar with other speakers, leaving you to only rely on the 207BL and subwoofer for your audio needs.
- Wireless subwoofer included
- Virtual 3D surround sound
- Able to stream music over Bluetooth
- Use the included remote or application on your phone
- Incompatible with smart assistants
- No support for multi-room systems
3D Surround Sound
The Yamaha 207BL is almost the best soundbar with the subwoofer for bass, and virtual 3D sounds. However, the lack of assistant support isn't significant.
Best for small spaces: Polk Audio MagniFi Mini Soundbar
Polk is another one of those companies that prides itself on providing great audio experiences throughout your home. The MagniFi Mini Soundbar is no different and has a few tricks up its sleeves that other soundbars can't compete with.
Smart home integration is on board, as Polk has included Google Assistant with the built-in Chromecast for Google Cast. This allows you to play content directly from your smartphone, tablet, or Chromebook without having to deal with the frustrating pairing system of Bluetooth. The MagniFi Mini also includes a wireless subwoofer so that you can get that extra bass from your media, without the need for any additional wires.
As the MagniFi Mini is exceptionally compact, there is no way to mount this to your wall without installing a shelf underneath your TV. Plus, Polk has not included the ability to sync this with other speakers, even those made by Polk, so you will have to hope that this speaker gives you the desired output.
- Fits into small spaces
- Wireless subwoofer included
- Voice Adjust technology allows control voice levels for media
- Stream music with Google Home or Bluetooth
- Cannot mount to the wall
- Cannot connect to other speakers
Best for small spaces
Compact, smart, and powerful
The Polk MagniFi Mini includes Dolby Digital 5.1, is ultra-compact, and has a Chromecast built-in. Just don't expect to be able to mount it on the wall.
Soundbars come in all shapes and sizes, and there are a lot of different considerations to be taken when selecting the best one. The Sonos Beam is our favourite option with its combination of superb sound quality and ability to be paired with other Sonos speakers. This will allow you to create a genuinely immersive, surround audio experience for your home, providing the ultimate movie night.
There are some downfalls, as there is no wireless subwoofer available so the sound may not "punch" as hard as you would like. Although there is a smart assistant available with Amazon's Alexa, you may run into problems if you have to use the Optical connection, as voice commands are not accessible.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Andrew Myrick is a regular freelancer at Android Central and iMore. He has been a tech enthusiast ever since the original iPhone was released and continues to flip-flop between devices. You might as well hook him up to an IV filled with coffee to get him through the day. If you have any questions, you can find him on Twitter, and he'll get back to you.
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