Reviews You Can Rely On

Vizio V-Series 2.1 Home Theater Sound Bar V21-H8 Review

This soundbar is loaded with great features and has an enormous sound, making it an exceptionally good value
Vizio V-Series 2.1 Home Theater Sound Bar V21-H8
Credit: Vizio
Best Buy Award
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:   $190 List | $129.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Easy setup, great price tag, subwoofer included
Cons:  Not the best overall sound quality
Manufacturer:   Vizio
By Michelle Powell and Matt Bento  ⋅  Nov 11, 2021
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 11
  • Sound Quality - 45% 5.6
  • Ease of Use - 35% 6.9
  • Volume - 15% 8
  • Style/Design - 5% 5.4

Our Verdict

While the Vizio V-Series 2.1 Home Theater Soundbar may be the least expensive soundbar in our review, it brings an impressive amount of well-executed features to the table, including a whole slew of connectivity and sound customization options and a wirelessly connected subwoofer. This model deftly balances an easy setup with deeper customization and several presets, including bass and treble adjustments, plus a night mode that lowers the volume on the bass frequencies.

From an audio quality standpoint, this model is far from the best, and its failings will be apparent to more critical listeners, as the bass can be overwhelming and muddy, and the dialogue mode sounds fairly hollow (though it does accentuate the dialogue). Still, the V-series 2.1 crushes pricier models from Yamaha and Samsung and will bring a fun and immersive home theater experience to your living room at an affordable price.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Best Buy Award Best Buy Award    
Price $190 List
$129.99 at Amazon
$280 List
$278.00 at Amazon
$219 List
$219.00 at Amazon
$220 List
$199.95 at Amazon
$150 List
Check Price at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
64
69
55
53
48
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Easy setup, great price tag, subwoofer includedGreat sound for the price, bluetooth, external subwooferDolby Atmos support, easy to set up, Bluetooth connectionInexpensive, good connectivity, great dialogue enhancement modeLow price, includes subwoofer
Cons Not the best overall sound qualityNo wifi connection, no EQ controlsNot the best sound quality, not voice assistant compatibleOverall audio quality is unimpressiveNo HDMI connection, weak low end
Bottom Line This soundbar is loaded with great features and has an enormous sound, making it an exceptionally good valueThis is the best sounding entry-level soundbar, and the loudest model we testedThis model delivers with an easy setup and plenty of volume but lacks top-tier audio and customizationThis soundbar is sure to improve your home theater experience and is easy to plug in and start enjoying, though the audio quality is far from top-notchThis 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 Vizio V-Series 2.1... Sony HT-S350 Soundcore Infini Pro Yamaha YAS-109 Samsung HW-A450/ZA...
Sound Quality (45%)
5.6
7.1
3.9
4.3
4.1
Ease Of Use (35%)
6.9
5.8
6.6
6.2
5.0
Volume (15%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
Style Design (5%)
5.4
6.8
4.9
4.9
4.0
Specs Vizio V-Series 2.1... Sony HT-S350 Soundcore Infini Pro Yamaha YAS-109 Samsung HW-A450/ZA...
Dimensions 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" 2.13" x 35" x 5.13" 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) Digital audio in (optical), HDMI (ARC), 3.5mm AUX VA, 3.5mm AUX, USB Digitcal audio in (optical), HDMI (ARC) Digital audio in (optical), HDMI (ARC), HDMI in, 3.5mm AUX, USB Digital audio in (optical), HDMI (ARC), HDMI in, USB (update only), Ethernet, Subwoofer out Digital audio in (optical), USB
Supported Audio File Formats DTS Dolby Digital, Dolby Dual mono, LPCM 2ch Dolmy Atmos Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic II, DTS Digital Surround Dolby 2ch, DTS 2ch
WiFi-enabled No No Yes Yes No
Bluetooth Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Voice Assistants None, but has a dedicated 3.5mm AUX port to connect a VA device n/a n/a Alexa n/a
App n/a n/a Soundcore Yamaha Sound Bar n/a
Remote control? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Max Volume 95dB 102dB 95dB 85dB 91dB
Syncs with: None None None None Samsung Wireless Surround Rear Speakers

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Vizio V-Series 2.1 Home Theater Sound Bar is loaded with useful features and can connect to your smart speaker via an aux port or Bluetooth connection. It's surprisingly immersive thanks to its DTS Virtual:X support and satellite subwoofer, and while it can't match the sound quality of some of the high-end models, it holds its own against similarly priced soundbars and even a few pricier ones.

Performance Comparison


While not the most immersive soundbar, placing the subwoofer behind...
While not the most immersive soundbar, placing the subwoofer behind the viewer adds a lot of boom to movie night.
Credit: Laura Casner

Sound Quality


Sound Quality is our most heavily weighted metric, and a weak point for the Vizio V-Series 2.1, but its performance here isn't bad. It's even commendable considering its price point. While true audiophiles will quickly recognize its shortcomings, folks trying to save some cash after purchasing a big flatscreen will find it a satisfying and affordable option.


Cinematic Experience


The combination of DTS Virtual:X and the fact that the subwoofer is designed to be placed behind the audience makes for a satisfyingly immersive home theater experience. We loved watching loud, high-energy action movies with this soundbar. DTS Virtual:X convincingly simulates sounds from different heights, while the bass rumbling behind you makes for a hair-raising experience. Unfortunately, the bass isn't well defined, and it can be overwhelming at times. When we turned down the bass and switched to the dialogue enhancement mode, dialogue became easier to understand, but it also sounds a bit thin and noticeably lower quality than the more expensive models from Bose and Sonos.

Vizio recommends putting the subwoofer out in front of the soundbar...
Vizio recommends putting the subwoofer out in front of the soundbar with the audience. It sounds cool but running the power cord to it could be an issue for some folks.
Credit: Laura Casner

Music


When listening to music, this soundbar is bass-heavy, with the highs sounding somewhat harsh. Of the soundbars we tested, this one is far from the best standalone music player despite its multiple connectivity options. However, it's powerful enough to fill a large living room with sound, so it's totally capable of driving impromptu dance parties but isn't great for critical listening.

Ease of Use


The Vizio V-Series 2.1 Home Theater Sound Bar sets up quickly and has an intuitive set of controls, while providing just enough settings to optimize it to your home and listening preferences.


Setup


It took our testers approximately 9 minutes to get this soundbar out of the box, set up, and ready to enjoy (not including popcorn popping). Plugging in the HDMI ARC connection to the television and connecting the soundbar and subwoofer to power is all you need to do to get going, as the subwoofer automatically connects to the soundbar via Bluetooth. On the bar are buttons for power, input, volume, and Bluetooth, while deeper customization settings can be found on the remote, which has a mini display for toggling through presets and EQ settings.

The tiny screen is pretty helpful when scrolling through settings.
The tiny screen is pretty helpful when scrolling through settings.
Credit: Laura Casner

Connectivity


The Vizio V-Series 2.1 offers a variety of options for connecting your TV, projector, or BlueTooth enabled device, plus some low-tech options like a 3.5mm stereo mini-jack and USB connection to play WAV files off of a hard drive. For the TV, there's an HDMI ARC connection, or you can free up your TV's HDMI port and use the optical connection. This model is not WiFi-enabled, but it has a wired work-around. If you'd like to use a voice assistant you can connect it via the aux port or with Bluetooth. The soundbar will automatically lower the volume when you're interacting with the voice assistant, but it's not as responsive as other models that connect via WiFi or have Chromecast or Alexa built-in.

While you can connect this soundbar to a smart speaker, it's not as...
While you can connect this soundbar to a smart speaker, it's not as responsive as models with built-in support for Alexa and Google.
Credit: Laura Casner

Sound Customization


This model has an impressive amount of customization settings, and while it stops well short of having a full band of EQ adjustments, it provides quite a bit more adjustment than other models in its class. Via the included remote, we were able to toggle through different levels of bass and treble, and even independently adjust the subwoofer.

Presets are numerous and useful. You can turn off the DTS Virtual:X and enable the TruVolume mode that makes for more consistent, less dynamic volume levels. Additionally, there is a night mode that lowers the bass levels so as not to disturb sleeping kids or the neighbors.

Checking out the max volume with our decibel meter.
Checking out the max volume with our decibel meter.
Credit: Laura Casner

Volume


With a max volume of 95 decibels (according to our independent measurement), this soundbar has no problem filling the average-to-larger-than-average-sized living room. The additional subwoofer adds plenty of extra power to the mix, though as previously mentioned, it's fairly muddy and ill-defined.


Design/Style


The three internal speakers are protected by a combination of plastic and cloth mesh, and the whole soundbar looks pretty slick and unassuming. Dust is easy to clean off the plastic, and a lint roller works well for cleaning the cloth-mesh covering. At 2.28" tall, this model won't obstruct your TV, though some consideration may be needed when it comes to the 9.9" x 8.25" x 8.25" subwoofer. While it isn't huge, Vizio recommends putting the subwoofer behind the viewer, so you'll need some space plus a way to run the power cord to the speaker.


Value


Vizio V-Series 2.1 Home Theater Sound Bar is a screaming deal. It has many useful features usually reserved for much more expensive models, including the well-implemented DTS Virtual:X codec support. While the sound quality admittedly is not on par with the higher-end soundbars in our review, the V-Series 2.1 sounds better than most of the other soundbars in its price range, with the subwoofer adding an additional level of immersiveness, all for under two hundred bucks. If you're on a tight budget, we can't recommend this model enough.

Black is always a safe style choice, though the cloth cover can...
Black is always a safe style choice, though the cloth cover can collect quite a bit of lint.
Credit: Laura Casner

Conclusion


This soundbar brings all the big sounds, immersive sounds (and the fun) of a home theater system for significantly less money than high-end competitors and is perfect for someone who wants to upgrade their sound system to something worthy of a big beautiful flat screen. While dedicated audio junkies will find plenty to gripe about, we're willing to bet that family movie night will be all squeals and smiles.

Michelle Powell and Matt Bento

Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.

GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.

Learn More