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A black soundbar sits on a walnut colored stand below a black TV and above some blu-rays. Credit: Reviewed/Jackson Ruckar

The Best Dolby Atmos Soundbars of 2022

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A black soundbar sits on a walnut colored stand below a black TV and above some blu-rays. Credit: Reviewed/Jackson Ruckar

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Editor's Choice Product image of Samsung HW-Q950A
Best Overall

Samsung HW-Q950A

Samsung's HW-Q950a soundbar with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X is a pricey but potent all-in-one surround system, featuring excellent sound and musicality. Read More

Pros

  • Powerful, seamless immersion
  • Great musicality
  • Good app and feature set

Cons

  • Useless visual display
  • Hefty size and price
Editor's Choice Product image of Vizio Elevate
Best Value

Vizio Elevate

Vizio's Elevate soundbar isn't our favorite for music, but its premium design and superb cinematic chops add up to great fun and fantastic value. Read More

Pros

  • Sleek, innovative design
  • Detailed, cinematic sound
  • Plenty of connection options

Cons

  • Aggressive attack lacks musicality
  • Steep learning curve for novices
Editor's Choice Product image of Vizio M512A-H6
Best Under $500

Vizio M512A-H6

The Vizio M-Series 5.1.2 soundbar offers solid Dolby Atmos performance at a remarkable value that most competitors just can’t match. Read More

Pros

  • Sleek new design
  • Good overall sound
  • Great Dolby Atmos for the money

Cons

  • No Wi-Fi
  • Wired rear speakers
Product image of Sony HT-A7000

Sony HT-A7000

Sony’s new Dolby Atmos soundbar doesn’t disappoint, especially when it comes to virtual surround sound. But its price is a serious cause for pause. Read More

Pros

  • Excellent virtual surround
  • Tons of features
  • Stylish design

Cons

  • No included subwoofer
  • Weak-sauce app
Editor's Choice Product image of Sonos Arc

Sonos Arc

The Sonos Arc is among the best-sounding one-piece soundbars you can buy, offering thrilling Dolby Atmos audio in a singular system that's also upgradeable. Read More

Pros

  • Rich, powerful sound
  • Hands-off interface
  • Sonos style and versatility

Cons

  • Dolby Atmos limited to newer TVs
  • Short on inputs
  • Big and heavy

Dolby Atmos is one of the coolest and most sought after sound formats around. It brings a new dimension to surround sound (literally) that allows supported TV shows, films, and games to engulf you in sound. But a traditional speaker setup, including ceiling-mounted or upward-firing speakers to add the “height” element of Dolby Atmos, is not only costly but may require a dedicated theater room. That’s where Dolby Atmos soundbars come in, providing an all-in-one solution for exhilarating home audio.

Not all Dolby Atmos soundbars are created equal, of course, and just how far you want to go to surround yourself in dimensional audio may depend on many factors, from space limitations to budget. If you want the very best Dolby Atmos experience in a soundbar, the Samsung HW-Q950A (available at Amazon for $1,597.99) is the best we’ve tested, offering tons of features and great performance. But there are several other good choices on our list, from the value-packed Vizio Elevate (available at Amazon), to single-bar solutions like the Sonos Arc (available at Best Buy). Follow our list below to find the perfect Dolby Atmos soundbar for your home.

These are the best Dolby Atmos soundbars we tested, ranked in order:

  1. Samsung HW-Q950A
  2. Vizio Elevate
  3. Vizio M-Series 5.1.2
  4. Sony HT-A7000
  5. Sonos Arc
  6. Polk Audio Signa S4
  7. Bose Smart Soundbar 900
  8. Samsung HW-Q800T
  9. Sonos Beam Gen 2
  10. LG Eclair QP5W

A close-up of the black Q950a sits on a woodgrain cabinet in front of a large TV, with brick background.
Credit: Reviewed/Jackson Ruckar

The system creates a clear and immersive experience for music as well as film and TV content.

Best Overall
Samsung HW-Q950A

Samsung’s HW-Q950A is a fully equipped solution, offering 22 drivers, multiple speakers, and 11.1.4-channel audio for brilliantly immersive sound. The system slots upfiring and side-firing drivers not only in the bar, but also in the wireless surround speakers, punching out enough Dolby Atmos expansion to make you question the need for discreet speaker surround sound systems at all.

As noted in our Q950A review, no soundbar can deliver the full dynamics, resonance, and presence of a true multi-speaker home theater system. But the Q950A comes about as close as we’ve heard, and at a more approachable price. Its reams of drivers combine for a thrilling Dolby Atmos (and DTS:X) experience that transforms your room into a “dome” of sound.

The system also offers impressive musicality for such a thin device (Samsung acquired AKG for a reason). While we’d still take a pair of good bookshelves for music over any soundbar, the Q950A does a number on our favorite tunes, especially when you let the system spin your stereo tracks into a surround sound cloud of instruments and vocals.

The Q950A also packs a great arsenal of features, including HDMI eARC (and dual HDMI inputs) with 4K HDR passthrough for your Atmos-ready devices. It also touts support for high-resolution audio at up to 24bit/92kHz and all major surround formats, Wi-Fi connection with AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect, a well-loaded app for control, and voice control via Amazon Alexa (though it leaves out both Google Assistant and Chromecast). The bar is also intuitive to use and offers useful sound modes like Adaptive Sound to optimize all media content in real-time. That lets you (for the most part) set it and forget it.

So what’s the catch? At $1,800 MSRP, this is a massive investment that falls only a few hundred dollars short of a traditional home theater system (with all the frills). In addition, the visual display is puzzlingly set atop the bar rendering it mostly useless. You can use the app for almost all tuning, but it somehow doesn’t allow for channel control, meaning you’ll have to get up to adjust the levels there.

Luckily the price has dropped a fair bit online, making this bar more reasonable—especially considering all you get. If you’re looking for the mother of all Atmos soundbars, and you have the money to invest, this monster is our top pick.

Pros

  • Powerful, seamless immersion

  • Great musicality

  • Good app and feature set

Cons

  • Useless visual display

  • Hefty size and price

Vizio Elevate wide left side
Credit: Reviewed/Jackson Ruckar

The Vizio Elevate has 18 speaker drivers making action scenes immersive and thrilling.

Best Value
Vizio Elevate

Vizio’s Elevate soundbar features an acrobatic trick not shared by any other soundbar on this list: rollable speakers that “elevate” the sound upward to serve as height channels for 3D audio content like Dolby Atmos, and roll back down again for any other content. This makes the height speakers more versatile, allowing you to blast sound from all 13 speakers at all times.

But apart from that, it’s the sheer amount of cinematic chutzpah this Dolby Atmos machine delivers that sets it apart from most other soundbars on the market. Simply put, you’ll have a hard time finding better (or even equivalent) surround sound might at this price in any other bar.

With 18 speaker drivers in total, including dual surround sound speakers and a thunderous subwoofer, the Elevate is a joy for action scenes. It's especially immersive when bouncing sound off your ceiling and walls via well-mixed Dolby Atmos content, from The Mandalorian on Disney+ to Blu-ray Atmos demos in full-resolution Dolby TrueHD. It also delivers premium detail and clear dialogue to enhance prestige dramas, alongside plenty of features like Chromecast streaming over Wi-Fi, two spare HDMI inputs, and HDMI eARC for seamless, future-proof connection to the latest TVs.

Where the bar falters a bit is in its music delivery, which tends to go to extremes both in the bass and the upper midrange, resulting in less musicality than our top pick. In addition, the interface isn’t the best for novices, requiring manual tuning for best results.

Luckily, the simplified remote is relatively easy to use and the overall design is equal parts robust and sleek, thanks to plush materials like anodized aluminum and a striking overall design. If you’re looking for unadulterated Dolby Atmos might, without going full-on A/V enthusiast, this system is a fantastic choice.

Pros

  • Sleek, innovative design

  • Detailed, cinematic sound

  • Plenty of connection options

Cons

  • Aggressive attack lacks musicality

  • Steep learning curve for novices

Credit: Reviewed/Jackson Ruckar

The Vizio M-Series 5.1.2 offers the best Dolby Atmos package for the price.

Best Under $500
Vizio M-Series 5.1.2

The Vizio M-Series 5.1.2 (M512a-H6) soundbar is our top choice for anyone who wants affordable Dolby Atmos without the need for other frills.

The fact of the matter is, no competing brand is offering a more complete Dolby Atmos package for under $500 than Vizio. Better yet, the performance Vizio managed to fit into this relatively affordable soundbar setup is impressive. You get a full front soundstage (including a clear center channel for dialogue) complemented by rear speakers and a subwoofer that produces solid audio quality for music, movies, and TV shows alike. The upfiring drivers inside the bar provide palpable Dolby Atmos punch for a variety of content.

The M-Series 5.1.2 also incorporates HDMI eARC and DTS:X, two future-looking features that the bar’s predecessor, the SB36512-F6 lacked. It does so at the cost of a Wi-Fi connection, meaning you’ll only be able to stream music over Bluetooth, and there’s also no built-in smart assistant (a plus or a minus depending on your stance). It also means the bar will be more difficult to update with future firmware updates and can’t connect to other wireless speakers. If features like Wi-Fi and multi-room audio are among your top demands, you’ll want to look toward Sonos, Bose, or others on our list.

As with other Vizio surround soundbars, including the pricier Vizio Elevate, the M-series 5.1.2 does require you to wire the rear speakers into your subwoofer for connection, which can limit where you can place it depending on your living room. Luckily, Vizio offers plenty of length in the connection wires for most setups.

Those digressions aside, the overwhelming value that the Vizio M-Series 5.1.2 represents can’t be overlooked. Vizio yet again delivers great sound quality for Dolby Atmos content, 5.1 content, and just about anything else you’ll play, all at a price that undercuts the majority of the competition. It may not be the best Dolby Atmos soundbar available on the market but if you don’t have thousands to spend on audio, it offers a ton of bang for your buck.

Pros

  • Sleek new design

  • Good overall sound

  • Great Dolby Atmos for the money

Cons

  • No Wi-Fi

  • Wired rear speakers

How We Tested Dolby Atmos Soundbars

The Testers

Reviewed staff have spent years evaluating soundbars—everything from simple 2.1-channel value models to the huskiest Dolby Atmos 'bars—in order to narrow down the picks and find the best soundbars for every buyer. Our soundbar testing is spearheaded by Reviewed's experienced team of home theater and tech experts, including Lee Neikirk, Nick Woodard, and Ryan Waniata, and backed up by a rigorous rubric of testing data to ensure accuracy.

The Tests

For years now, Reviewed has listened to, loved, and argued over standalone soundbars, soundbar/sub combos, and a few home-theater-in-a-box products to find the best soundbars you can buy.

Testing mostly involves using them as any consumer would, using each bar as an audio substitute for a TV (via either HDMI ARC or optical connection), testing its streaming and Bluetooth functions, and analyzing its sound modes, voice-boosting modes, and individual proprietary features.

We also conduct back-to-back analyses of sources like Netflix/Blu-ray movies, surround sound and Dolby Atmos demo discs to ensure accuracy for height speakers and object-based 3D-sound mixes, Spotify over Bluetooth and/or Wi-Fi, and occasionally, 3.5mm aux sources and USB audio.

While the best soundbars all have different combinations of drivers, tweeters, woofers, and external subwoofers, generally, audio quality was respectable in most cases across genres and sources. Performance features like surround sound speakers and, of course, Dolby Atmos/DTS:X height speakers' ability to create an effective 3D dome of sound are at the top of our list, as are factors like usability and especially value.

Other factors that set soundbars apart in like price ranges include setup and operational pain points, design aesthetics, and overall responsiveness—where the day-to-day rubber meets the road, so to speak.

What to Know About Buying Dolby Atmos Soundbars

In short, the point of a Dolby Atmos soundbar is to either replace a home theater speaker system with a less obtrusive device or, more simply, to replace your TV's built-in speakers with something that takes advantage of today's 3D audio formats. Dolby Atmos (and DTS:X) soundbars are designed to offer a more immersive and cinematic audio experience, adding height channels that bounce sound off your ceiling to create a vertical element of sound alongside the horizontal. How well they do this, and how easily they are to incorporate into the average home are extremely important factors.

Soundbars aren't your only option for improving your living room/home theater audio, but they're by far the most affordable and convenient. If you don't have the ability to build out a dedicated home theater room, or simply don't want to shell out the considerable funds it requires to install a surround system complete with a receiver and mounted speakers in your home, a Dolby Atmos soundbar is a way to greatly improve your audio experience.

What Determines a Dolby Atmos/DTS:X or Surround Sound Bar?

Soundbars that support true surround sound may offer separate "satellite" speakers that can be set behind you in a multi-channel configuration. There are also bars that offer "virtual surround" that use digital processing and acoustic trickery to make it sound like there are speakers all around the room, but, in general, the more speakers that "surround" you, the better the effect. In some cases, such as with bars from Sonos, Sony, and Bose, satellite surround speakers can even be added later for an additional cost.

The soundbars on this list support 3D audio formats like Dolby Atmos and the less common DTS:X to take things even further, usually adding upfiring speakers in the bar and potentially in the surround speakers (either 2 or 4), which can bounce sound off the ceiling so that it appears to be coming from above. The goal? Immersing you in a hemispheric globe of sound.

While they only reach their full potential when fed content mixed in 3D audio formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, these soundbars offer the most immersive sound field, bringing you even closer to what you'll experience in a high-quality theater. It's also important to note that some soundbars may be Dolby Atmos or DTS:X compatible, without offering upfiring or surround speakers, meaning the 3D audio is virtualized with digital signal processing or even wave-guide technology to varying degrees of efficacy. Again, dedicated speakers for each audio channel make for the best experience

Either way, you will pay a premium for this technology, and if you want the best experience you'll likely have more speakers to spread around your TV room, so these concessions must be considered before making your choice. Those who don't want to deal with separate surround speakers may be better with single-bar solutions such as the Sony HT-A7000 or Sonos Arc (though, again, you can add surround speakers to these bars later for a fee).

HDMI ARC and HDMI eARC Connection Explained

HDMI ARC and HDMI eARC are the preferred soundbar connection options, not only because these connections allow for newer TVs (around 2017 and later) to pass advanced audio formats like Dolby Atmos, but also because they usually allow you to control the soundbar's power and volume with your TV remote—without the need to program said remote. (To do this, you may need to turn on HDMI CEC in your TV's settings.)

The optical audio connection that also comes standard on virtually all soundbars can carry 2.1-and 5.1-channel surround sound, but that's where it tops out. For more advanced soundbars with Dolby Atmos (which usually includes upfiring speakers), you'll have to use HDMI ARC or eARC to pass these high bandwidth formats.

Nearly all modern Dolby Atmos soundbars have an HDMI eARC connection rather than HDMI ARC. As pointed out in our HDMI ARC and eARC guide, eARC stands for "enhanced Audio Return Channel" and is designed to provide high-quality, uncompressed audio from your TV (including the highest quality Dolby Atmos) as well as address any sync issues between on-screen video and the soundbar's audio. As HDMI eARC is becoming more common, it’s important to note its most important functions: to allow for high-resolution audio to be passed down from any device plugged into your TV, as well as to quell any sync issues that may arise between the soundbar and TV.

One last note. As touched on above, Dolby Atmos comes in two primary versions, one of which is higher bandwidth and, as such, higher quality. To learn more about how this works (and what it means to your system), check out our Dolby Atmos guide. Otherwise, if you're concerned about getting the highest quality audio possible (including the best Dolby Atmos possible), you'll want to look for soundbars with decoding for the highest quality formats like Dolby TrueHD and, for DTS content, DTS-HD Master Audio (the latter of which is only available via physical media).

What to Look For in a Soundbar

The major things to look for when shopping for a soundbar are price, audio output, and connectivity, the latter two usually being directly related to the first. If you don't want to shell out the extra cash for Dolby Atmos, satellite surround speakers, and/or a huge range of decoding/pass-thru options for advanced or lossless audio modes, you may want to check out our versatile list of the best soundbars for any budget for other options.

Tweeters refer to smaller speakers (drivers) assigned to the high-mid and high (treble) frequencies of the audio spectrum. Woofers and subwoofers refer to speakers (drivers) assigned to the midrange and bass/sub-bass frequencies of the audio spectrum respectively.

What About a Subwoofer?

Soundbars that offer what is known as a 2.1-channel configuration or higher usually include a separate subwoofer to handle lower frequencies (which makes up the ".1" of the equation). Others may simply have a dedicated subwoofer “channel” with larger speakers built into the bar itself to handle low frequencies. This is, in almost all cases, not as effective as a separate subwoofer. A soundbar without a subwoofer or one that has built-in woofers, rather than a separate cabinet, may even be preferred in smaller apartments.

That said, if you're looking for cinematic rumble—whether for movies, TV, or video games—you'll want to seriously consider a soundbar that includes a separate subwoofer. This will greatly enhance action scenes and other dramatic moments, while also helping thinner bars fill in some of the gaps in the frequency spectrum created by their smaller drivers. There are a few cases where low-frequency sound is well-handled without a subwoofer, such as in Sonos' Arc soundbar or Sony’s HT-A7000, but for the most part, you’ll want a subwoofer to add cinematic power.


Other Dolby Atmos Soundbars We Tested

Product image of Sony HT-A7000
Sony HT-A700

Sony’s HT-A7000 is a magician of a soundbar, offering some of the best virtual surround sound we’ve ever heard from a single bar in a slick and stylish design. The soundbar offers tons of drivers, including upfiring drivers for effective Dolby Atmos, but it’s the virtual immersion that mixes with those upfiring drivers that really makes the bar sing. When paired with the right content, the A7000 offers spooky accuracy that places sound all around, and even behind you, all from its position at the front of the room.

The bar also brings tons of features to bear, including a full on-screen interface and a clear front display to go along with multiple ways to connect over Wi-Fi (including Spotify Connect and AirPlay 2), and decoding for virtually every audio format under the sun. Most notably, it includes Dolby Atmos in all its iterations, alongside DTS:X, Dolby TrueHD, and everything in between.

The bar connects to your TV via HDMI eARC which allows for versatility and simplicity, especially with HDMI eARC-ready TVs. For those without newer TVs, it can also accept up to two devices directly and passthrough video at up to 8K thanks to dual HDMI 2.1 inputs, making this among the most future-proofed soundbars we’ve tested. For Dolby Atmos, this gives you a ton of freedom in how you connect outboard devices like a [PS5 or Xbox Series X or S. It also offers Alexa and Google Assistant support (though you’ll need a separate speaker to use it), as well as automated room calibration mode.

With impressive performance, tons of features, and among the best Dolby Atmos and surround sound you can get from a singular bar, the A7000 is tough to beat. But there is a catch, of course: it’s extremely expensive for a single bar, and if you want to add a subwoofer for richer, more authoritative bass, you’ll be paying nearly as much as competing bars with a subwoofer and surround sound speakers included, such as Samsung’s HW-Q950A. If you want to add surround speakers it’s an even pricier proposition.

That said, if you want incredible sound quality, brilliant Dolby Atmos immersion, and every home theater feature under the sun in one giant bar, the HT-A7000 is tough to beat.

Pros

  • Excellent virtual surround

  • Tons of features

  • Stylish design

Cons

  • No included subwoofer

  • Weak-sauce app

Product image of Sonos Arc
Sonos Arc

Sonos’ first-ever Dolby Atmos soundbar, the Sonos Arc, is more than just a pretty (and tubular) face. This powerful hunk of well-fashioned plastic is loaded with 11 individually powered drivers, including dual speakers pointed upward to bounce off your ceiling, creating an impressively potent example of the hemispheric immersion for which Dolby’s Atmos sound format is so highly praised. While it’s not the best soundbar for Dolby Atmos content, it does an impressive job for a singular bar.

But Dolby Atmos is far from the only trick up the Arc’s sleeve. Its well-tuned drivers offer a rich and smooth sound signature that’s fantastic for anything you play, from sitcoms to streaming music. And it also comes with a host of other features that make it among the most versatile soundbars on the market.

Like all Sonos speakers, the Arc offers Wi-Fi connection through the Sonos app, along with the ability to connect with other Sonos speakers, either in a group, or as part of a surround sound setup. This allows you to add dual surround speakers and a Sonos subwoofer if you want, though the Arc offers impressive bass response even without one. Like the Sonos Beam, it also sports built-in microphones and your choice of Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa support, making it both a soundbar and a powerful smart speaker.

The price, while high, is lower than many top Dolby Atmos soundbars. One drawback, though, is that although the bar includes an HDMI eARC port for seamless connection to your TV it doesn’t offer a secondary HDMI input for outboard devices like streamers and game consoles. This could limit its usability for older TVs (those without HDMI ARC) and it won't be the right choice for those who play a lot of physical media or those who want to plug in gaming consoles to their soundbar directly.

That said, since most folks get their Dolby Atmos from streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ these issues may not matter to you. Moreover, this bar sounds fantastic with just about any content, and its many features and loaded app make it an intuitive and versatile way to step into Dolby Atmos sound. With great performance and tons of features, the Sonos Arc is a good choice for those who want minimal hassle and a great experience in a single bar that can grow into a broader system to meet your needs.

Pros

  • Rich, powerful sound

  • Hands-off interface

  • Sonos style and versatility

Cons

  • Dolby Atmos limited to newer TVs

  • Short on inputs

  • Big and heavy

Product image of Polk Audio Signa S4
Polk Audio Signa S4

Leave it to Polk Audio to deliver quality sound—with legitimate Dolby Atmos—in a budget-minded soundbar package. The value-packed Signa S4 is an impressive 3.1.2-channel system that makes up for a lack of extras by consistently producing great sound.

The Signa S4 is a plug-and-play package that takes 10 minutes or less to set up and start listening. It features a compact, simple remote that streamlines important functions, such as adjusting bass level and picking between sound modes. Regardless of the mode you choose, the Signa S4 provides a wide, detailed soundstage that meshes well with nearly everything you toss its way. The system’s toaster-sized subwoofer won’t shake any pictures off the wall, but it delivers adequate bass that rounds out the bar’s overall sound nicely.

The S4’s upfiring height channels also do a solid job of adding three-dimensional Atmos immersion into the movie-watching experience. While it can’t compete with the best Dolby Atmos bars we’ve tested, it’s an exceptionally stellar option for those who want to experience Atmos immersion on a budget.

The Signa S4 has its faults. Polk somehow omitted controls for vital settings like treble, individual channel levels, and height channel adjustment in the main interface, and unlike most bars we see these days, there’s no app for supplemental adjustments. The soundbar is also without Wi-Fi, meaning Bluetooth is the only way to stream music and you won’t get any advanced features like multi-room audio. That’s in stark contrast to the Sonos Beam, which offers easy integration with multiple speakers, letting you easily build a full surround system or whole-home audio system as you go.

If you can get by without Wi-Fi and a few key controls, Polk Audio’s Signa S4 is the best Dolby Atmos option we’ve tested at its price point. It’s meant to be an instant upgrade in sound quality, and by those measures, this soundbar checks off every box. There are certainly other soundbars available that offer more complete systems with deeper lineups of features. But you will be hard-pressed to find quality sound on a budget that lines up with the latest from Polk.

Pros

  • Great sound signature

  • Real, affordable Dolby Atmos

  • Simple setup and use

Cons

  • Limited settings

  • No Wi-Fi

Product image of Bose Smart Soundbar 900
Bose Smart Soundbar 900

Bose’s Smart Soundbar 900 offers clear sound, stylish design, and a slice of pristine Dolby Atmos in a minimalist package. Though this single-piece soundbar is fashioned very similarly to the Sonos Arc in both features and functionality, Bose’s solution is both smaller and sleeker, with a plush glass top that makes it among the most stylish bars on the market.

It’s not just about aesthetics, though. The 900 provides premium sound, especially for dialogue and effects, alongside expansive virtualized effects thanks to its laser-sharp upfiring drivers and beam speakers. It also offers all the network features you could ask for in a modern smart bar, from built-in Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa to Wi-Fi streaming over Spotify Connect and Apple AirPlay 2 (with plenty more options in the Bose Music app).

As with rival bars from Sonos and others, the 900 makes it simple to build from a single speaker to a full surround Dolby Atmos system with a Bose wireless subwoofer and surround speakers (at a considerable cost), or you can create a whole-home sound system by linking Bose speakers through the home via the Bose Music app. The 900 also comes with some extras Sonos bars don’t include, such as a separate remote, Bluetooth streaming, and a built-in room calibration system to tailor the sound to your space (Sonos requires an iPhone).

Where the bar falls a bit short is in its overall power and bass response. Due to its small size, the 900 simply isn’t able to reproduce big and booming frequencies with much authority. Its soundstage also isn’t quite as expansive as larger Dolby Atmos bars, simply due to physical restrictions. It also offers no extra HDMI input or DTS decoding, so it won’t be the best choice for those with a large Blu-ray collection.

That said, though it’s not cheap, this bar offers impressive detail and precision for everything from your favorite Dolby Atmos TV shows to an episode of Friends. If you value clear sound and minimalist design first and foremost, the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is a quality choice.

Pros

  • Sleek, minimalist design

  • Versatile features

  • Sweet, expansive sound

Cons

  • Short on bass

  • No spare HDMI input

  • Missing some A/V extras

Product image of Samsung HW-Q800T
Samsung HW-Q800T

An iteration of the Q70 soundbar series before it, Samsung’s Q800T is a bit of an odd fit in Samsung’s lineup, but its diverse feature set and excellent sound—thanks in no small part to Samsung’s Acoustic Beam technology—make this a fun and effective way to jazz up your TV room.

The Q800T offers a powerful punch thanks to its large-and-in-charge, side-firing subwoofer, while the lean bar takes care of the upper register with clarity, poise, and impressive precision. The soundstage leans on the lighter side, but the fully perforated grill helps the smaller drivers breathe a bit, making the sound less closed and digitized than ultra-thin bars in its class like LG’s SP9YA.

The Acoustic Beam technology mentioned above helps spread the sound around nicely. The system uses multiple upfiring ports to create impressive placement of effects on both the horizontal and vertical planes, expanding the soundstage beyond the bar’s 38-inch width. This works great for content of all kinds (music included), and while the sound mostly stays at the front of the room, it's expansive and compelling for a two-piece system.

Where the soundbar has some limitations is in overhead sounds from Dolby Atmos content, as its smaller Beam drivers seem to have trouble bouncing sound off the ceiling and back down again. The result is less immersion than other pared-down Dolby Atmos setups on our list.

In addition, the Q800T's Alexa integration wasn’t as polished as you’d expect for a soundbar in this price category in our testing. As such, some may want to go with the more affordable Q70T, which offers a smaller subwoofer and Alexa-control that requires your own smart speaker, but also costs a fair bit less.

That said, the Q800T has plenty of features that make it worthy of consideration, including an extra HDMI input to plug in a gaming console or Blu-ray player directly, both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support, HDR passthrough (including Dolby Vision), and both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth streaming. Also, it just sounds dang good, making for a well-rounded package.

Pros

  • Clear, powerful sound

  • Plenty of features

  • Impressively slim design

Cons

  • Stunted overhead effects

  • Buggy Alexa performance

Product image of Sonos Beam (Gen 2)
Sonos Beam Gen 2

We’ve adored the compact-but-powerful Sonos Beam since it launched, and the Gen 2 upgrade brings even more to love. With this update, Sonos kept everything we liked about the original Beam—a minimalist form factor, powerfully tuned speakers, and versatile features—and added virtualized Dolby Atmos. It’s not the best in the book by any means, but if you’re looking for light Dolby Atmos plus tons of other features in a versatile, expandable package, the Beam gen 2 is a fine choice.

Despite lacking the upfiring drivers of most Dolby Atmos soundbars we test, the Beam Gen 2 is surprisingly adept at creating an immersive soundstage. The sounds of cars screeching around corners or footfalls onto rainy pavement boast a convincing level of aural placement. The clarity that Dolby Atmos brings to just about every sound effect and musical swell is well worth the price of admission here, even if the bar struggles to create the full overhead impact you’ll get from bars with dedicated height speakers.

But the value really comes in the overall package. Like all Sonos products, you’ll get more than just a standalone speaker here: the Beam Gen 2 connects over the Sonos app for access to the full ecosystem, which integrates excellent Wi-Fi connectivity, Sonos Radio, Spotify Connect, AirPlay 2, and more. Tasks like adding additional Sonos speakers for surround sound, or syncing up multi-room audio are a snap. Admittedly, starting with the Beam Gen 2 alone and upgrading with additional Sonos products is an expensive task, but the built-in flexibility is still a big boon—especially if you’ve already got a Sonos One smart speaker or other components.

The Beam Gen 2 isn’t perfect. It lacks a spare HDMI input, meaning it’ll hog your TV’s HDMI ARC or HDMI eARC port and may introduce some format-based headaches on older TVs. But ultimately, the list of pros handily outweigh the cons, and the new Beam stands out as one of the most fetching soundbar buys in its price range. It was a real triple-play even without Dolby Atmos compatibility: with it, it’s a home run.

Pros

  • Excellent sound and features

  • Respectable virtual Dolby Atmos

  • Elegant design

Cons

  • So-so overhead audio

  • No spare HDMI input

  • Still no Trueplay for Android

Product image of LG Eclair QP5W
LG Eclair QP5W

The scrumptiously named LG Eclair QP5 is one of LG’s more curious soundbars: a super-compact bar and subwoofer combo that delivers full-bodied sound and true Dolby Atmos performance via height speakers. Available in fetching white or black finishes, the Eclair brings a unique mix of sought-after features in a space-conscious form factor, not unlike the beloved Sonos Beam (which the Eclair is almost certainly inspired by). But unlike many compact bars, the Eclair also includes a wireless subwoofer.

The result is a soundbar that benefits (or suffers) from Goldilocks syndrome. If you desperately need to save space, the subwoofer feels like an odd inclusion; but if you want true (non-virtual) Atmos in a minimalist form factor, the Eclair is one of your only options. During testing, the Eclair delivered a robust audio presentation over HDMI eARC and provided surprisingly immersive spatial Atmos during movies and video games for its size, although its full sound field is (like the bar itself) quite small.

The subwoofer has been tuned almost specifically for crowded urban living, and uses special dampening technology to limit how much it rumbles during playback. This emphasis on civility makes for a somewhat weak bass presence in the mix, but that’s the trade-off for pleasing the downstairs neighbors.

The Eclair’s other weak link is that, unlike the Sonos Beam, it offers few extras. Like many modern bars, the Eclair supports a mobile app, but the bar’s lack of Wi-Fi makes it extremely limited. There’s no way to connect to a multi-room ecosystem a la Sonos or Bose, and no Wi-Fi extras like Apple AirPlay or Spotify Connect. There's one unique feature called TV Sound Share that allows your TV's EQ and sound modes to be copied directly to the Eclair, but it only works with certain LG TVs. Finally, we also had an issue with volume, which would sometimes get much quieter or louder after a single button press.

Because of some of the drawbacks we've detailed, we'd recommend trying to find this one on sale rather than at MSRP. But if you aren’t looking for Wi-Fi or multi-room features and you need a compact system with some solid Atmos performance that won’t end with angry calls from the neighbors, the Eclair QP5 might be the right fit. If it's not, your TV stand must be shockingly small.

Pros

  • Super-compact design

  • Big, robust sound

  • Decent Dolby Atmos presentation

Cons

  • Limited features

  • Subwoofer is a bit weak

Meet the testers

Lee Neikirk

Lee Neikirk

Editor, Home Theater

@Koanshark

Lee has been Reviewed's point person for most television and home theater products since 2012. Lee received Level II certification in TV calibration from the Imaging Science Foundation in 2013. As Editor of the Home Theater vertical, Lee oversees reviews of TVs, monitors, soundbars, and Bluetooth speakers. He also reviews headphones, and has a background in music performance.

See all of Lee Neikirk's reviews
Ryan Waniata

Ryan Waniata

Managing Editor - Electronics

@ryanwaniata

Hailing originally from Montana, Ryan parlayed his time working as a musician and audio engineer into a career in digital media in 2012. Since then he's had extensive experience as a writer and editor, including everything from op-eds and features to reviews on TVs, audio gear, smart home devices, and more.

See all of Ryan Waniata's reviews
Nick Woodard

Nick Woodard

Contributor

@@nwoodard25

Nick Woodard is a tech journalist specializing in all things related to home theater and A/V. His background includes a solid foundation as a sports writer for multiple daily newspapers, and he enjoys hiking and mountain biking in his spare time.

See all of Nick Woodard's reviews

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