So, you have probably invested in an epic 4K TV, and a high-end Android TV box to allow you to stream all of your favorite content in 4K, but you still aren’t getting that cinematic experience. Why? No matter how good your TV, there is no way it’s going to give cinematic surround sound. For that you need speakers.
A full speaker setup with surround sound is expensive and also takes up a lot of space. A big, quality system can make your living room feel more like a gamer’s den than a shared family space (though, of course, for some people that is a good thing). Your best alternative is a soundbar.
A soundbar packs a lot of the features of a full speaker system into a sleek, minimal design that can sit under your TV and won’t undermine the minimalist aesthetic of your new slimline TV. While it won’t give you sound that’s as good a full-on speaker system, it does a pretty good job of squeezing in the best features of speakers, and certainly offers sound many times better than your TV alone.
OK, but which soundbar should you buy? There are lots of good options on the market, but we have chosen five that we think are the best and, importantly, integrate seamlessly with smart TVs or TV boxes running Android TV.
At the end of the article, you will also find a quick buying guide for all the most important things to consider when choosing a soundbar.
Product Quick Links
- Sonos Beam Smart TV Sound Bar – Best Overall Soundbar
- Polk Audio Signa Solo Sound Bar – Best Affordable Soundbar
- Yamaha Audio YAS-209BL Sound Bar – Best 3D Soundbar
- JBL Bar 5.1 – Best Fully Wireless Soundbar
- Samsung HW-Q800T Soundbar – Best Premium Soundbar
Best Soundbars For Android TV Reviews
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Below are our reviews of the five best soundbars to use with Android TV. You can learn more about Android TV and what exactly it is here.
1. Sonos Beam Smart TV Sound Bar – Best Overall Soundbar
If you are looking for a compact and not overly expensive soundbar that does the job, this 25.6-inch bar from Sonos fits the bill. However, the small size does mean that it doesn’t come with a subwoofer, which will be a dealbreaker for some sound enthusiasts.
This bar is incredibly easy to set up, with just two cords to plug in (which are included—and surprisingly this is not always the case) and you are pretty much ready to go. It will automatically detect the remote you are using.
You can also control the soundbar by voice using either Google voice command or Amazon Alexa, which comes built in, so you can not only control your speaker but also do everything you could with a normal Alexa speaker.
The other great thing about this soundbar is that it’s part of an ecosystem of sound equipment. So you can start with a soundbar but then add and integrate other speaker elements as you wish (or as you find the money in the budget). For example, you could add the Sonos One SL for surround sound or the Sonos Sub for bass.
- Relatively affordable
- Amazon Alexa built in
- Can build your sound system with compatible speakers
- Subwoofer not included
- Does not feature Dolby Atmos
If you aren’t a sound expert, but you want to significantly improve the sound of your TV without breaking the bank, this Sonos Beam speaker is a great choice. Plus, you get yourself an Alexa speaker at the same time.
2. Polk Audio Signa Solo Sound Bar – Best Affordable Soundbar
If you need a soundbar, but you don’t want to fork out a lot of money for it, you won’t find a better affordable option than this Polk soundbar. You aren’t going to get Dolby Atmos for this price tag, but it is still a good soundbar.
You might be tempted to write this one off because of the low price, but Polk uses a lot of smart technology to deliver premium sound. This includes 2.5-inch full-range drivers and bass ports and patented SDA surround technology that heightens and widens the sound experience. You can also customize to your own ear, changing the balance between voice and background and more, though the remote for this is not as intuitive as it could be.
While you will hook this up to your TV, if you want to play music or other audio from your smartphone while you’re around the house, you can do that too with Bluetooth.
- Very affordable
- Adjustable sound levels
- Good bass
- Cast from your smartphone via Bluetooth
- Does not include Dolby Atmos
- Remote control is fairly basic
This is not the most sophisticated soundbar on the market, but it can infinitely improve your sound for a minimal investment.
3. Yamaha Audio YAS-209BL Sound Bar – Best 3D Soundbar
This soundbar comes with a wireless subwoofer, and together they deliver a more three-dimensional sound than you get with most soundbar options, which it delivers with DTS virtual. It also manages to do all of this without breaking the bank.
You have a lot of options with the speaker, for example enhancing dialogue for better clarity and also casting audio content directly from your smartphone. You can control everything happening with the speaker from the connected smartphone app.
The big drawback with this soundbar is that it only works with Amazon Alexa, which comes built in, and you can’t integrate it with Google Assistant or Apple AirPlay 2. There is also a limited number of input ports, which restricts you a little in terms of building an integrated home entertainment sound system around the bar.
- Relatively affordable
- Surround sound DTS virtual
- Amazon Alexa built in
- Control from smartphone app
- Does not work with Google Assistant or Apple Airplay 2
- Limited number of input ports
All in all, this probably represents the most affordable and easiest way to mimic full surround sound in your home while watching your favorite movies and shows.
4. JBL Bar 5.1 – Best Fully Wireless Soundbar
The bar itself has two detachable mini-speakers with 10-hour battery life, plus a 10-inch wireless subwoofer that lets you create a proper surround sound experience. The bar itself has three HDMI inputs for connecting to 4K devices, so you can connect pretty much everything in your home entertainment system to this soundbar.
It is a step above the rest, featuring Dolby digital, Dolby Pro Logic II, and DTS, which means it can fully integrate with 4K devices that are set up to deliver the same.
Google Assistant and Google Cast are fully integrated, so you can use voice commands or have your speaker play your favorite Spotify playlist. You can also turn voice command off, since not everyone likes the idea of their devices listening to them.
The complaints most people have had about this product is that it has a kind of “plastic” design, and that the mini-speakers charge via micro-USB, which is not the fastest option.
- Dolby digital, Pro Logic II, DTS
- Subwoofer and detachable speakers
- Adjustable audio settings
- Integrated Google Assistant and Google Cast
- Design is “plasticy”
- Mini-speakers charge via micro-USB
If you are looking for full surround sound, and you don’t mind dotting a few small speakers around your space, this soundbar has everything you need.
5. Samsung HW-Q800T Soundbar – Best Premium Soundbar
First off, you get full Dolby Atmos and DTS, so you aren’t losing anything on the 4K sound made possible by your top-quality TV. It is delivered via the soundbar and wireless subwoofer.
The soundbar has an adaptive sound mode that automatically optimizes the sound levels for whatever you are watching. It also has Amazon Alexa built in for voice control. You can easily connect your smartphone too.
It also integrates with a whole swathe of Samsung products to create a complete home entertainment system. That is particularly good if you have a Samsung setup, but if you don’t, you may find the remote control designed to manage all Samsung home cinema products to be frustrating.
- Dolby Atmos
- Wireless subwoofer
- Automatic adaptive sound
- Built-in Alexa
- Remote control can be difficult to use
- Works better with Samsung products than other TVs
Sound Bar Buying Guide
While we have pulled together a list of what we think are the best soundbars, if you are assessing other options, these are the main things to look for:
- Three or more channels – Always choose a soundbar with at least three channels (like all the options on our list) as this is necessary for surround sound. Steer clear of anything with only two channels.
- Active Bar – You can get active or passive soundbars. All of the options on our list are active, which means they come with a built-in amplifier. Passive bars need a receiver or amplifier to work.
- Size – We often choose a soundbar over a speaker system because of space, so choose something with a bar that will fit nicely near your TV. And if it has a subwoofer or speakers included, consider their size and where you will put them.
- Connections – Ensure your soundbar has HDMI ARC connectivity input to work with your 4K TV. You will also want Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity in order to connect your smartphone, computer, or other devices wirelessly.
- Smart System – Most modern soundbars will come with a remote control, possibly a smartphone app, and very often a smart assistant. Lots of soundbars come with Amazon Alexa built in or Google Assistant. Obviously, look for a soundbar that works with whatever smart assistant tech you prefer to use. If you are also looking for a TV box that works with Alexa, check out our list.
A soundbar can transform the sound quality of your TV without turning your living room into something that looks like a sound studio. But for the best possible performance, choose something that will integrate seamlessly with your existing setup, whether that includes a smart TV or an Android TV box.
Do you have experience integrating a soundbar into your Android-powered entertainment system? What do you recommend to others? Share your experiences in the comments section below.