What We Like
- Elaborate configuration.
- Great sound overall.
What We Don’t Like
- Simple design.
VIZIO’s presence in soundbar segment of the market has been established a long time ago, and they are hard to dislodge. That’s no surprise considering their products are impressive. VIZIO SB3851-C0 is one of the most capable models under $300.
First thing you will notice immediately is that VIZIO SB3851-C0 is a 5.1 sound system. However in standard VIZIO fashion, the design was kept simple. You will rarely see a VIZIO soundbar or sound system that is flashy or otherwise out there in terms of design. On that note, VIZIO SB3851-C0 is the epitome of a boxy setup. Some will appreciate that, others not so much. They have used a combination of black grille over brushed aluminum hardware which mostly comes in form of side plates.
This decision makes the VIZIO SB3851-C0 pretty capable of blending in a whole variety of interiors. Since this model belongs to a lower mid range of soundbar market, you could say that VIZIO went all in on function over form. This actually becomes obvious the moment you push that ON button. Lastly, you can mount this 38″ unit on the wall if you want to, considering all the satellites are wireless.
As we have already mentioned, this is a 5.1 surround system. Even so, the soundbar alone is pretty impressive. Right off the bat, it is worth mentioning that VIZIO loaded this thing with a full Dolby Digital and Dolby Surround suite. That means Dolby’s TruVolume, Studio Sound as well as Circle Surround. By being wireless, you don’t have to worry about wires and positioning of the satellites. This is especially true if you are planing on mounting the entire thing on the wall.
With such a setup, having Bluetooth support only comes as natural. Being loaded with features doesn’t mean that VIZIO SB3851-C0 is an under powered soundbar. On the contrary, you are looking at 100 dB of max SPL. That is perfectly good enough for a standard sized living room. Add to that a no-nonsense remote control which doesn’t struggle with that type of range, and you have a pretty capable system right in your home.
When we said that this soundbar is function over form all the way, we meant it. With 100 dB of max SPL, the total harmonic distortion percentage is under 1%. That is a substantial value for a system that is as reasonably as priced as this one. If we were to look at each portion of the frequency range, soundbar itself will reach all the way down to 50Hz along with the subwoofer. This way you get full saturation in the lows. As you progress to mids, things become clear and defined.
Trebles are snappy, extremely responsive and overall suitable for this configuration. Compared to even the more expensive surround systems, this VIZIO will end up on top. That type of performance is what makes the brand so popular and this particular model so good. The bang for the buck value is just too high to ignore with this one.
If there is one surround system we can recommend, it is this VIZIO setup. It’s so well balanced that the sound you will get is just impressive. There are very few other soundbars in this price range which are similar.