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Vizio SB3621n-E8M review

The Vizio SB3621n-E8M is the best budget soundbar we tested.

Vizio SB3621n-E8M review
(Image: © Best Buy)

Our Verdict

The Vizio SB3621n-E8 sound bar is a great low-cost way to upgrade the audio experience in your entertainment room. It received higher scores in our listening tests than sound bars that cost four times more, and its compact design makes it easy to integrate into your existing entertainment space.

For

  • This sound bar produces clear and accurate dialogue.
  • Great budget option.

Against

  • There are only two speakers, so it has a hard time simulating surround sound.

The Vizio SB3621n-E8 is one of the best soundbars for people on a budget, offering a great low-cost way to upgrade the audio experience in your entertainment room. It received higher scores in our listening tests than sound bars that cost four times more, and its compact design makes it easy to integrate into your existing entertainment space. However, its surround simulation was lackluster compared to the best models we reviewed, like the Q Acoustics M4, so you may want to consider a different sound bar if you watch a lot of action movies and want a theater-quality audio in your home.

To test each product’s sound quality, we enlisted the help of a panel of evaluators who range in audio experience from novice to audiophile. We played them movies and music from a variety of genres, then asked them to rate each sound bar for dialogue clarity, bass response and surround simulation. This Vizio sound bar ranked best in our test group for dialogue clarity. The clear and up-front dialogue reproduction could be a direct result of the narrow stereo image and makes this a good sound bar for watching television programs.

The Vizio’s biggest shortcoming in our listening tests was its surround simulation. There are only two speakers in this sound bar, which helps push dialogue up front but hinders its ability to create a theater-quality surround experience. Most models we tested have four or more speakers that project sound in different directions, giving the illusion that audio is coming from all around the room. Sound bars with good surround simulation are preferable for watching movies, especially action movies.

This Vizio sound bar has most of the important connection options, including an optical input, Bluetooth connectivity and a 3.5mm auxiliary input. This is also one of the few sound bars we reviewed that has a USB port that can play audio material. Most USB ports are only used to update firmware, but the SB3621n-E8 can play high-quality WAV files through its USB connection.

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(Image credit: Vizio)

However, it is missing an important connection type: HDMI inputs and outputs. That means that you have to use your TV as the connection hub for entertainment room peripherals, such as a stream box, gaming console or cable TV box, and then send the audio from the TV to the sound bar via the optical output.

The Vizio SB3621n-E8 includes a 5.4-inch wireless subwoofer. It’s one of the smallest subwoofers in our test group, but because of its rear-firing design, it performed admirably against the larger competition in our listening tests. To maximize its potential, consider placing this subwoofer near a corner in your entertainment room; we found that placing subwoofers in corners makes them sound bigger than if you place them in the center of a room, next to the TV.

This sound bar has one of the best remote controls we reviewed. The buttons are sturdy, and it is big enough that you won’t lose it in your couch cushions. You can use the remote to switch between the music and movie settings; change the input source; and adjust the bass, treble and subwoofer volume.

The SB3621 has a one-year warranty, which is an average term for a sound bar. You can contact Vizio’s support staff by phone, email or live chat if you have any questions about the sound bar’s features or how to connect it to your existing system. Live chat support is the fastest and easiest way to get answers to most questions.

Should I buy the Vizio SB3621n-E8?

The Vizio SB3621n-E8 costs less than $200 and performed well in our listening tests. Its lackluster surround simulation isn’t good for watching movies, but it helps the sound bar project clear dialogue and accurate vocals while listening to music. If you primarily watch television and listen to music in your entertainment room, this sound bar should be sufficient.