As more and more soundbars hit the market supporting Dolby Atmos, there is something of a “race to the bottom” when it comes to prices. Some big companies and manufacturers are trying to outdo one another, and this system represents incredible value for money.

How do the features stack up? In this guide, we explore whether the VIZIO 5.1.2-Channel Soundbar is up to listening to music and watching the latest Atmos movies with high fidelity.

​​This setup is around half the price of many competing options from other brands. That’s an incredible savings, but do you sacrifice quality in the process?

The Setup

You might assume that there have been some corners cut to create a Dolby Atmos setup at this price.

Actually, this is one of the few speakers at its price range that has upfiring speakers, giving the immersive sound by physically spreading the sound and vibrations rather than using the sort of acoustic tricks some Atmos systems rely on.

Three forward-facing speakers, two upward-firing speakers, and a subwoofer complete this package, and create a wide soundstage from this soundbar.

Frustratingly, the surround speakers need to be wired to the sub, so it isn’t truly wireless in every way.

Though the speaker doesn’t have inbuilt apps, it has Chromecast, which means you can use Google Assistant and certain apps such as Spotify, Pandora, and iHeartRadio with the speaker for that modern control plenty of people are looking for.

The Sound

Tested with movies, we found this speaker to be particularly strong. The subwoofer created a fantastic bass rumble to allow you to really feel those explosions and film sound effects. Unfortunately, there’s no dialog enhancement feature which would really boost what this soundbar offers in terms of watching films.

For music exclusively, you can tell the difference between this and some of the pricier models. It makes sense, really. This is a much cheaper model than many competing products. While it performs incredibly in stereo, the soundstage could be a little higher and wider to get the full Atmos environment.

There are some limitations when it comes to the sound enhancement features. The EQ only offers you a few presets, so you can’t necessarily tailor the sound perfectly to your own room. You can use the Vizio SmartCast app to access some extra features like height adjustment.

Summary

This is one of those products that really shows that prices are finally dropping when it comes to Atmos-enabled equipment. The Optical Audio has top support for surround sound formats so you will be able to enjoy loads of different types of media, and this has proven a hit with movie fanatics.

If you’re more of an audiophile, the VIZIO - 5.1.2-Channel Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer and Dolby Atmos may frustrate you in a couple of ways. It could do with a little more control and customization when it comes to the audio settings. However, the sound is solid, and the stereo performance is quite incredible for the price tag. This soundbar is not to be ignored.

About the Author
Ben is a writer and musician from the UK with a background in music technology. He writes about engineering and production, musicianship and music equipment for a number of publications including his site, Subreel.
IAA Sonic Brand & Dolby Atmos Channel Test
Our cutting edge sound collage and downloadable channel test for Dolby Atmos and 5.1 surround sound.