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Sony CT290 Ultra-slim 300W Sound Bar
- •300W power, plus 2.1ch S-Force PRO Front Surround sound
- •Connect and stream music easily with Bluetooth;Slot-in design
- •Save space with the ultra-slim, wall-mountable design
- •Hear clearer voices with Voice Mode and clearer sound at low volumes with Night Mode
- •Control your TV and sound bar with a single remote via HDMI ARC
- •Music playback via USB
- • In the box: Sony 2.1-Channel Soundbar System with Wireless Subwoofer and Digital Amplifier, Batteries, Foot pad, Optical cable, Owner's manual, Wall hanging template, Warranty card
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From the manufacturer
Surround yourself with sound
Bring every song, show and movie to life. With 300 watts of power and 2.1ch S-Force Surround Sound, you’ll feel like you’re at the heart of everything with a clear, mid and high range, while the wireless subwoofer fills in the rumbling lows.
Connect and stream music easily with Bluetooth
Connect and stream music easily from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop with Bluetooth.
Space-saving, wall-mountable design
The sleek profile discreetly mounts to walls to save on space. It also lies flat in front of the TV without blocking the screen or interfering with IR receivers.
Voice and Night Modes
Enjoy clearer voices in your favorite movies and TV shows with Voice Mode and clearer sound at low volumes with Night Mode.
Control your TV and sound bar with a single remote
With HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) audio is transferred to your sound bar from compatible TV’s via one HDMI cable. Now you can control the sound bar’s volume with your TV remote.
Music playback via USB
Connect a USB device to the USB port to enjoy audio playback.
|Vertical Surround Engine||✓|
|4K HDR (HDMI HDCP2.2)||✓||✓|
|Multi-Room Audio /Wi-fi Music||✓|
|HDMI In/Out(ARC)||1 in/1 out||3 in/1 out||0 in/1 out||0 in/1 out||0 in/1 out|
|Optical Input||1 in||1 in||1 in||1 in||1 in||1 in|
|3D Surround (Dolby Atmos / DTS-X)||✓|
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|Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Connectivity Technology||HDMI, Bluetooth||HDMI, USB, digital optical and analog connections||—||—||Bluetooth||wireless|
|Item Dimensions||38.56 x 18.44 x 8.69 in||43.19 x 20.38 x 9.75 in||5.12 x 35 x 2.12 in||4.25 x 36.62 x 2.38 in||3.38 x 21.5 x 2.75 in||35.43 x 5.51 x 3.33 in|
|Item Weight||23.8 lbs||30 lbs||7.5 lbs||6 lbs||3.7 lbs||11.9 lbs|
Bring movies and music to life with this ultra-slim Bluetooth sound bar, plus wireless subwoofer that delivers cinematic sound and powerful bass in any room. Stream music easily from your smartphone and even control your sound bar and TV with a single remote. All in a stylish, space-saving design that’s a perfect fit for any TV.
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Before buying a soundbar like the Sony CT290, you should really make sure you need an ultra-slim soundbar. The Sony CT290 is about 2/3 the height of other soundbars I’ve used and that allows it to fit nicely in front of a TV with a low-profile stand. However, there is a clear compromise in sound quality so I recommend that you only buy an ultra-slim soundbar if that is the only thing that will work for you. Compared to a full-sized soundbar with a similar price, like the Klipsch R10-B (which I tried side-by-side with the CT290), the Sony comes up short on sound quality.
Sound from the CT290 is profoundly better than what comes from my Panasonic HDTV. The built-in speakers are not as loud or clear as the CT290 and have none of the bass that the CT290 nicely delivers.
Hooking up the Sony was quite simple. I simply used the included optical cable to connect the optical output of my TV to the back of the CT290. The wireless subwoofer didn’t require any cabling except the power cord. Because I didn’t want to hear the Panasonic internal speakers anymore, I went into the sound menu on my TV and set the built-in speakers to “off”.
The Sony delivers clear and crisp sound. Dialog is easy to hear and music and sound-effects are greatly improved compared to the TV speakers. I found the default bass setting to be too low for my preference but the CT290 conveniently lets you increase the level of bass relative to the overall volume so I found a level that I liked.
Sony’s 300 Watt claim seems realistic, though as you turn things up, the sound skews strongly towards treble and the bass starts to fall behind. You can turn this up loud enough that it is uncomfortably loud but you won’t hear a correspondingly large amount bass when you do so. The ultra-slim nature of this soundbar skews the dynamic range towards treble. By my tape measure, the subwoofer is less than 6” in size so it’s not much of a thumper.
Bluetooth pairing to my phone was as easy as I’d expect and worked flawlessly. Sound was good when played from my phone to the speaker.
I configured my Logitech harmony remote to control the volume and input on the CT290. As of the writing of this review, “CT290” was not a choice in Logitech’s online database so I chose “CT390” and it worked fine for everything I needed to do.
You don’t have to use a programmable remote because the CT290 does have an included remote control. I appreciate that Sony sized the remote for adult hands and it’s big enough that it won’t get lost easily.
Sony adds a couple of cool features to the CT290. The “night mode” feature is accessible from the Sony remote or top of the soundbar and trims the amount of bass so that the sound won’t travel through the walls. It works very well and is an appreciated feature. The “vocal enhancement” feature made the voices sound very “digital”. It may have made voices easier to understand but I really disliked the resulting sound and I don’t use that mode.
As noted in my summary, I compared the Sony CT290 side-by-side with my similarly priced Klipsch R10-B soundbar and it’s fair to say that the Klipsch wiped the floor with the CT290. Midrange was better on the Klipsch and the bass response was dramatically better. This isn’t necessarily a fair fight which is why I still give the Sony 4-stars. The Sony is ultra-thin and will fit in spaces that the Klipsch cannot. But if you don’t have size constraints, you can do much better for your money by buying a traditionally sized soundbar.
A couple of complaints. First, the power cords are unnecessarily short for both the main soundbar and the subwoofer. In both cases I had to dig out an extension cord to get them to the nearest outlet. My Klipsch soundbar has a much longer power cord (I’d say about twice as long). I found it annoying that I needed an extension cord to get the last 18 inches to the outlet.
My second complaint is about the included USB port. The port is only for playing music from thumb drives and I found it far too difficult to access the USB port as it is located on the back of the unit and kind of tucked underneath the optical input. You almost have to put the USB key there and leave it. A better design would have put the USB plug in a more accessible location. Note, you cannot plug in or charge your phone from the USB port.
If you have specific need for an ultra-slim soundbar, I think the CT290 is a solid choice. If you can fit a regular-sized soundbar (only an inch or so taller), I recommend that you look elsewhere.
NOTE 1: "If the [sound bar] system is connected to a TV's HDMI In jack compatible with Audio Return Channel" you don't need the (supplied) optical digital audio cable. The TV's HDMI port should be labeled "ARC." This matters for the following function...
NOTE 2: To view the contents (on the TV screen) of a connected USB device, you have to connect the sound bar system to the TV via HDMI with ARC. Apparently if you are only connected via the optical digital audio cable, your TV can't display the contents of the USB device, but you can still use the supplied remote to scroll to select and play a track on the USB device (I haven't tested this).
I have only used this with the HDMI ARC, and haven't tried it with the digital audio port or Bluetooth. Those might work better, but unfortunately they aren't options for me.
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