PROS / The subwoofer produces prominent bass that is punchy and focused.
CONS / The dialogue clarity and surround sound are not as impressive as other sound bars we reviewed.
VERDICT / The additional subwoofer makes this sound bar ideal for both gaming and action movies.
The Sony HTCT380 has a sleek design. It sits flat on your TV stand with the front face angled upward. This unique design was most likely conceived so that the sound bar doesn't block your television receiver for the remote, which is a common complaint for sound bar owners. This 2.1-channel sound bar also features an additional subwoofer to take care of all the low-end frequencies.
We tested the products by having a focus group listen to each sound bar and fill out a survey. This was a blind listening test – the participants did not know what sound bar they were listening to.
One of the accolades that this Sony sound bar received from our focus group during our listening tests was the bass response. The additional subwoofer really helped the bass to be present, but not overpowering, enhancing the explosions and gunfire during action sequences.
The bass response really drove the song during our music test. "Idioteque" by Radiohead has a repeating kick drum pattern that is the main driving force in the song. The Sony HTCT380 subwoofer really enhanced the bass and helped bring the song to life on the low end.
Two areas where the sound bar did not have as much success are dialogue clarity and surround sound simulation. Many of our focus group participants felt the dialogue would get lost in the action during our movie test. The sound bar did not bring the dialogue front and center, which is where you want them in the sound spectrum.
During our music test, the vocal overdubs and other ambient nuances were not as clear and defined as other sound bars in our lineup. The Sony did little to convince our focus group that there was legitimate surround sound in the room as it felt that most of the sounds were coming right down the middle.
This TV sound bar offers more HDMI ports (3) than any other sound bar we reviewed. This means you can connect up to three different devices to your sound bar if necessary. It also features an HDMI-out to route the sound bar to an AV receiver, letting you control your sound bar and other devices with one remote. This sound bar also has analog connections for connecting to an older TV.
This Bluetooth sound bar gives you the ability to stream music from your mobile device without any wires. We tested the Bluetooth range of each sound bar to see how far away your mobile device could be from your sound bar before you start to lose signal. With two adjacent walls between the mobile device and the sound bar, we were able to get 39 feet away before the music started cutting out. This range was better than the majority of the sound bars in our lineup.
We evaluated all remote controls as well. We were not impressed with the Sony remote that came with this sound bar. It's long and skinny and you cannot comfortably reach all the buttons with one hand. However, you can access different sound modes, pair Bluetooth devices to the sound bar, and control volume and other sound adjustments all from the remote. It simply isn't comfortable to hold.
This sound bar is backed by a one-year warranty. If you need to reach customer service, you can contact Sony through live chat, phone or email. The live chat option we found to be the quickest form of support.
The Sony HTCT380 comes with a subwoofer that enhances the volume and bass response well beyond typical TV speakers. The dialogue was not as sharp as other sound bars we reviewed, but this unit does offer many connection ports as well as Bluetooth with great range. It’s a good-looking sound bar that won't block your TV receiver and will bring new life to action films and your gaming experience.