A few weeks ago I went into my Best Buy store intent on getting a budget bluetooth speaker we could use for both listening to music from our phones, and as a supplemental speaker for our 28" Samsung smart TV. I like Samsung TV's, but good sound quality seems to be a consistent problem for even their larger screens, and understanding dialogue is often problematic.
I figured I'd find something with very impressive sound on sale at Best Buy with a little patience. I first picked up a UE Megaboom on a great special, but ended up being quite disappointed by both volume and sound quality despite some great reviews. WIthout going into that further, I returned the UE Megaboom to Best Buy after looking for another special on something a little bit better that would work with the outputs on my Samsung TV.
I really didn't want to spend more than $150.00, but finally realized that was probably just a little too low for truly great sound and all the other features needed. I found something for about $200 on sale, and went into the store to try it out, ready to buy. I was grateful for the technical competence of the personnel there, because they quickly made me realize the one I was interested in wouldn't work with the optical output on my Samsung. This Sony was on sale, and only about $50 more than what I came in to spend. We live in a large tiny house, and space is a major consideration for anything we add. Most soundbars are about 35" wide, but at 20" wide this one fit our needs for an existing shelf. And the compact subwoofer can be used under our sofa, so doesn't take up any unnecessary space.
Transitioning between phone music and TV sound is very easy, especially with the provided remote. And this Sony doesn't drop the Bluetooth signal at all. The UE Megaboom had tended to drop the signal occasionally, which was annoying.
People have commented on the lack of more equalizer control with this Sony, but quite frankly we're satisfied with the couple of pre-sets designed into the unit. We usually use the MOVIE setting when watching TV, and the MUSIC setting for listening to Amazon Music or Pandora. And my wife is delighted with the richess of the sound....not even critical of what I ended up spending despite us being on a tight budget (We’re both retired). Music is important to her too. :-)
I don't feel bad about spending $249.99 for this quality sound. After reading reviews and Googling for sales for weeks....and listening to a lot of speakers in stores.....I finally accepted that I was going to have to cough up a little extra for the sound quality I wanted. And since it was a great sale, I even ended up buying the extended Geek Squad warranty. The sales guy alleviated my concerns about "Will Best Buy even be here in 4 years with all the retail chains going under?" He explained a lot about how Best Buy is meeting the challenge of the Amazon juggernaut and other factors in the new economy....explanations which were reinforced when I went to read about Best Buy in the financial pages. Having worked with a company doing LED lighting retrofits, I am only too aware of how voltage transients can come out of nowhere and damage circuit boards. I have the comfort of knowing that if my speaker stops working for any reason in the next 4 years....the Geek Squad will either repair or replace it.
I had stopped going to Best Buy for a few years, because I’d picked up the idea that they were a little too expensive considering the deals I could get online; but with price matching….brick and mortar locations for convenience…..and knowledgeable salespeople…..I will start haunting their aisles a little more frequently.