What We Like
What We Don't Like
Sony has been exploiting the best-known configuration of TV surround systems to a point of excellence. Sony CT290 is a perfect example of that, and a soundbar that will get you some of the best stats under $200.
Simplicity is always going to work in terms of design. It appears that this is something Sony knows all too well. CT290 soundbar features that same boxy design that we have seen countless times by now. This idea works pretty well with most modern and older TVs as the overall design didn’t change much. But wait, there’s more. There is also a pretty chunky subwoofer unit that comes in the package. It too is pretty much exactly what you would expect.
Both of these elements feature all black body combined with dark gray mesh. The mesh feels great, giving the soundbar a more refined look. What strikes us the most is the build quality. CA290 comes across as a very well built unit that doesn’t feel cheap when you pick it up, Speaking of which, you can mount this bar on the wall, in your furniture or just place it wherever you want to. This 35″ bar will fit in nicely just about anywhere.
When it comes to features, Sony CT290 follows that standard route. The price range it’s in is still considered affordable, thus you won’t find too many high-end bells and whistles. Very first thing that needs to be addressed is the power rating. This system will give you some 300 Watts of power combined. That is a pretty decent amount for a setup such as this one. In terms of connectivity, you are looking at Bluetooth support as well as an HDMI ARC support.
The rest of the I/O consists of optical inputs and a USB port. In terms of surround systems, Sony went with an S-Force PRO Front Surround. This is their own system which aims to give you that theater experience in the confines of your own living room. Looking over at the subwoofer, we see a chunky 5.25″ cone that is paired with a massive bass reflex tube. As a matter of fact, the whole subwoofer is pretty large.
Here’s where things get pretty interesting. Any soundbar that comes with a subwoofer will have an easier time delivering a more defined sound. Sony CT290 achieves this fairly easily. The entire frequency range is pretty lush with details and clarity. If you are wondering how good is that subwoofer, the answer is very. For a small cone unit, it is capable of moving a decent amount of air. However, it doesn’t drown out the rest of the frequency range, which is crucial for understanding dialogues clearly.
On top of that, listening to music is rather enjoyable. You will always feel that accent on the bass, but it’s not gnarly as some of these affordable setups tend to deliver. When compared to other models in its price range, CT290 comes across as crude in some ways. That woofer cab is cumbersome and requires some finesse to properly position. With that said, no matter how inconvenient this soundbar might be, its performance makes up for all of it.
At the end of the day when it’s time to lay down a baseline, Sony CT290 is one of the best bang-for-the-buck soundbars on the market today. Especially if you like stronger bass.