Update: The Amazon Basics sound bar appears to have been discontinued. You can check out our best-of page for alternative recommendations.
Important Specs Overview
Speaker type: powered, sealed, 2.1 channel
Continuous power handling: 10 W (per speaker), 16 W (subwoofer)
Max volume: 92 dB
Frequency response range: 90 – 20k Hz
Unit weight: 3.2 lbs
Unit dimensions: 31 x 2.5 x 2.5 inches (width x depth x height)
Wireless: Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR; ~30 ft range
Warranty: 1 year
Review And Discussion
AmazonBasics is Amazon’s own brand that produces, among other things, many so called basic electronic ancillaries such as connection cables, batteries, and common office accessories. They also produce a few low end speakers, including an eponymous 2.1 channel soundbar, which we’re reviewing herein.
The sound bar advertises itself as an easy, all in one solution for augmenting default TV speakers, which are nowadays generally crummy due to TVs becoming so thin. And it’s certainly an attractive option for those who want a minimum of fuss and price.
The power specs are OK, but not stellar, honestly not much beyond what you’d get with a high end portable wireless speaker, yet this soundbar is essentially an elongated version of that. One seemingly appealing feature is that this is a 2.1 system with a “subwoofer” built in, which would seem to promise extra bass. We quote “subwoofer” because, truth be told, the idea of a subwoofer with a less than 3 inch driver being built into such a small enclosure doesn’t really make much sense. Subwoofers need to be at least somewhat big to do what they’re intended for, and anything that can fit into a soundbar is just kind of pointless. The response floor is a mere 90 Hz, which is worse than many bookshelf speakers’ mid range drivers. A dedicated woofer might allow for the main speakers to sound a little better though. Maybe.
The max volume is 92 dB (presumably at close range), so this soundbar is definitely the kind of thing that will augment a near field TV in the kitchen or dining room or whatever to “sufficient” sound, but a soundbar like this won’t suffice in a full fledged home theater setting, but we think most people understand that, nor are budget sound bars really even designed or intended for that purpose.
The design is slick enough, a little more understated than some of the flashier VIZIO sound bars out there, but it should blend fine with pretty much any TV. You can place it below/above on a surface or choose to wall mount it – all the mounding hardware, necessary cables, and a mini remote come included.
Amazon’s soundbar has a 1 year warranty which is pretty bare minimum for speakers, but fairly standard for budget soundbars.
Our Overall Take, As Compared To The Competition
If you’re looking for a simple and easy way to augment a TV for casual viewing of, say, sports or talk shows, then an inexpensive sound bar like this one is definitely a legitimate option. However, the design concept of a built in “mini subwoofer” frankly just doesn’t make much sense at all – if all you want is a soundbar, you might as well just get a cheaper 2.0 unit. One such popular alternative that we like is VIZIO’s SB2920-C6 (reviewed here) – it’s cheaper and actually has superior volume and range.
If you do want a subwoofer and still like the idea of a soundbar, then we recommend just getting a 2.1 with an external subwoofer – VIZIO makes several of those as well, in particular we like the SB2821-D6 (reviewed here) because it’s not much more expensive.
All that said though, the best “choice” will often just depend on what’s selling for the best price at the time.
If you’re looking for a full fledged home theater system, we’d recommend abandoning sound bars all together and consider a 2.1 system with traditional passive speakers, a subwoofer, and a receiver; or a nice pair of powered bookshelf speakers at a bare minimum.