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Sony HT-S350 Review

This is the best sounding entry-level soundbar, and the loudest model we tested
Sony HT-S350
Credit: Sony
Best Buy Award
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Price:   $280 List | $278.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Great sound for the price, bluetooth, external subwoofer
Cons:  No wifi connection, no EQ controls
Manufacturer:   Sony
By Michelle Powell and Matt Bento  ⋅  Nov 11, 2021
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69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 11
  • Sound Quality - 45% 7.1
  • Ease of Use - 35% 5.8
  • Volume - 15% 9
  • Style/Design - 5% 6.8

Our Verdict

The Sony HT-S350 sounds quite impressive, especially considering its entry-level price. While it doesn't have WiFi connectivity or support for immersive sound formats like Dolby Atmos, it sounds better than all the other soundbars we tested at the same price point and a handful that cost considerably more, too. It has two channels and a subwoofer, and though it doesn't try to simulate surround sound, its wireless external subwoofer adds some rumble and excitement to home cinemas. Apple users might be disappointed that Airplay 2 is not supported with this soundbar.

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Sony HT-S350
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Sony HT-S350
Awards Best Buy Award Best Buy Award    
Price $280 List
$278.00 at Amazon
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Pros Great sound for the price, bluetooth, external subwooferEasy setup, great price tag, subwoofer includedCompact footprint, simple setup, versatile physical inputsDolby Atmos support, easy to set up, Bluetooth connectionLow price, includes subwoofer
Cons No wifi connection, no EQ controlsNot the best overall sound qualityNo smart features, minimal EQ customizationNot the best sound quality, not voice assistant compatibleNo HDMI connection, weak low end
Bottom Line This is the best sounding entry-level soundbar, and the loudest model we testedThis soundbar is loaded with great features and has an enormous sound, making it an exceptionally good valueThis soundbar sounds great for its size, but can't hold a candle to higher-end modelsThis model delivers with an easy setup and plenty of volume but lacks top-tier audio and customizationThis model is affordable and fairly easy to set up, though there are similarly priced options that deliver much better sound quality and advanced connectivity
Rating Categories Sony HT-S350 Vizio V-Series 2.1... Bose TV Speaker Soundcore Infini Pro Samsung HW-A450/ZA...
Sound Quality (45%)
7.1
5.6
5.6
3.9
4.1
Ease Of Use (35%)
5.8
6.9
5.9
6.6
5.0
Volume (15%)
9.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Style Design (5%)
6.8
5.4
9.0
4.9
4.0
Specs Sony HT-S350 Vizio V-Series 2.1... Bose TV Speaker Soundcore Infini Pro Samsung HW-A450/ZA...
Dimensions Bar: 2.6" x 35.5" x 3.5"
Sub: 15.4" x 7.5" x 15.13"
Bar: 2.28" x 36.00" x 3.20"
Sub: 9.9" x 8.25" x 8.25"
Bar: 2.6" x 35.5" x 3.5"
Sub: 15.4" x 7.5" x 15.13""
2.4" x 36.6" x 4.7" Bar: 2.1" x 33.9" x 2.9"
Sub: 13.5" x 7.1" x 10.7"
External Subwoofer Yes Yes No (optional) No (optional) Yes
Inputs (wired) Digitcal audio in (optical), HDMI (ARC) Digital audio in (optical), HDMI (ARC), 3.5mm AUX VA, 3.5mm AUX, USB Digital audio in (optical), HDMI (ARC), 3.5mm AUX Digital audio in (optical), HDMI (ARC), HDMI in, 3.5mm AUX, USB Digital audio in (optical), USB
Supported Audio File Formats Dolby Digital, Dolby Dual mono, LPCM 2ch DTS Dolby Dolmy Atmos Dolby 2ch, DTS 2ch
WiFi-enabled No No No Yes No
Bluetooth Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Voice Assistants n/a None, but has a dedicated 3.5mm AUX port to connect a VA device n/a n/a n/a
App n/a n/a n/a Soundcore n/a
Remote control? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Max Volume 102dB 95dB 91dB 95dB 91dB
Syncs with: None None Bose Simplesync enabled speakers None Samsung Wireless Surround Rear Speakers

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Sony HT-S350 is an entry-level soundbar that really nails it where it counts (sound quality) but has some oversights concerning connectivity (no WiFi). For the money, you get a powerful soundbar and subwoofer that will blow your TV speakers out of the water, has a number of useful presets, and the ability to play music off your phone or tablet via Bluetooth connection.

Performance Comparison


If you want a simple and affordable soundbar, the Sony HT-S350 is a...
If you want a simple and affordable soundbar, the Sony HT-S350 is a solid option with above-average audio quality.
Credit: Laura Casner

Sound Quality


This soundbar sounds fantastic considering its lower price. Sounds are well-balanced across the spectrum, and the external subwoofer adds some much-desired power and immersiveness to the home theater setup.


Cinematic Experience


While by no means 3-dimensional, the Sony HT-S350 adds plenty of gut-wrenching power to movie night while maintaining decent separation in the sound mix. This soundbar doesn't support Dolby Atmos or DTS Virtual:X, so you won't experience a simulated surround sound or height differential (more common in the high-end soundbars), but the subwoofer offers a low end you can feel, which is half the fun of shelling out for a better sound set up anyway. Dialogue cuts through the mix exceptionally well, and when we switch on the "voice" preset, it becomes even more discernible without sounding weird or too trebly, a common problem with several of the cheaper soundbars we've tested in dialogue or voice mode.

The Dialogue enhancement mode makes it easier to discern your...
The Dialogue enhancement mode makes it easier to discern your favorite lines over all the commotion and while listening at lower volumes.
Credit: Laura Casner

Music


If you're hoping to get more out of your soundbar and use it as your primary living room music player, you can expect a decent performance, but nothing like the competition from Bose and Sonos. While the bass is powerful, it can overwhelm the rest of the mix. Keep in mind that you won't be able to sync this soundbar with any other speakers in your home, as there's no WiFi compatibility and Sony doesn't currently offer any speakers to link up with this soundbar via Bluetooth.

Ease of Use


This model has limited connectivity options and is also sparse in terms of customization options. On the flip side, setting this model up is a breeze, though that's a one-time pleasure. On the bar are buttons for power, volume, input, and Bluetooth. A small remote is included that allows you to access the sound presets. There isn't an app available for control or customization, so you'll need to keep the remote handy.


Setup


Getting the Sony HT-S350 out of its oddly-shaped box and connected to our flat screen takes all of 5 minutes, including connecting the subwoofer, which links up automatically through the Bluetooth connection. A straightforward setup is a nice benefit of these sound systems, and Sony nails it here.

This sleek remote is the only way to toggle the sound presets, so...
This sleek remote is the only way to toggle the sound presets, so keep track of it because this soundbar doesn't have an app.
Credit: Laura Casner

Connectivity


This soundbar has standard HDMI ARC and optical connections, plus Bluetooth. You'll be able to stream audio from your device, but you won't be able to use Apple Airplay 2 or connect to streaming services or smart speaker functions. Again, its features are limited but very functional.

An HDMI or an optical connection is all you need to connect the Sony...
An HDMI or an optical connection is all you need to connect the Sony HT-S350 to your TV. The Subwoofer connects wirelessly, but it still needs a power connection.
Credit: Laura Casner

Sound Customization


While there are 7 preset sound profiles (cinema, music, night, auto, game, news, sports, standard dynamic range compression), there is no EQ adjustment. Several of these settings felt redundant. Night mode lowers the volume and accentuates dialogue; it is pretty useful, especially if you share walls with others. Dynamic range compression evens out the overall volume, making loud sounds quieter and quiet sounds louder.

The Sony HT-350 and a few other models include a wirelessly...
The Sony HT-350 and a few other models include a wirelessly connected subwoofer.
Credit: Laura Casner

Volume


This puppy is plenty loud enough for most folks, as we measured 102 dBa at max volume. That being said, it doesn't sound very good when we crank it all the way up. Since 102 dBa is exceptionally loud for a small home theater, you shouldn't need to operate this soundbar at that level.


This model is the loudest we tested, blasting out 102 dBa according...
This model is the loudest we tested, blasting out 102 dBa according to our decibel meter.
Credit: Laura Casner

Design/Style


The Sony HT-S350 has a more slick design than many other entry-level soundbars. It has a protective metal housing and a pleather top, making it easy to clean and more durable than a cloth-covered speaker. Measuring 2 5/8" x 35 1/2" x 3 1/2", this is one of the larger soundbars available, and you'll need to make additional space considerations for the subwoofer.


Value


If sound quality is your first priority (it is for us), this is the best entry-level soundbar for the money. It sounds better than similarly priced models from Samsung, Yamaha, and Vizio.

Like most of the soundbars we purchased, this one reminds us of the...
Like most of the soundbars we purchased, this one reminds us of the floating black monolith from 2001: A Space Oddessey.
Credit: Laura Casner

Conclusion


The HT-S350 is an affordable way to get the most out of your flatscreen. For a decent price, you can ditch those tinny TV speakers and add some sonic drama and excitement to movie night.

Michelle Powell and Matt Bento

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