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A mid-range, Dolby Atmos soundbar from Sony that promises a little too much.
Sony has become a staple and a household name when it comes to the electronics in our homes. From soundbars and TVs to headphones and cameras, you have almost certainly considered buying from this Japanese multinational conglomerate.
But, with prices for Sony's soundbars ranging from just £150 to a hefty £1,500, it can be tricky knowing how much to spend. To show you what £450 gets you, we're reviewing the brand's mid-range offering, the Sony HT–G700 soundbar.
In this Sony HT–G700 soundbar review, we assess the devices sound quality and design, along with practical factors such as how long it takes to set up, its ease of use and its price.
Featuring a wireless subwoofer, combined with vertical surround and S-Force Pro front surround technology designed to produce 3D, immersive sound, Sony has worked hard to give customers a lot of tech for their money. But are all these promises of 3D audio a little too good to be true? Or did the Sony HT–G700 live up to the expectations?
The simple answer? The HT–G700 is a solid device, but Sony may have slightly oversold itself this time. Here's everything you need to know about the Sony HT–G700 soundbar.
The Sony HT–G700 is a mid-range soundbar with a classic, matte black design. It's accompanied by a wireless subwoofer to boost the bass and a comprehensive remote that features numerous sound modes, including cinema, voice and music. Its main problem is that Sony has overpromised. Tooled up with both vertical surround and S-Force Pro front surround technology, the brand says the soundbar will deliver 3D audio for an immersive experience. The sound quality is good, especially when it comes to action-packed movies, but the soundbar doesn't quite produce the vertical, overhead audio it promises. Overall, a safe option if you want to elevate your TV set-up but not the one if it's the surround sound features you specifically had your eye on.
Supplied with a wireless subwoofer and remote control, the Sony HT–G700 is a step up from your bog-standard all-in-one soundbar. Released in June 2020, this HT–G700 is one of Sony's soundbar and is equipped with Dolby Atmos and Immersive AE (Audio Enhancement) to upscale stereo to 7.1.2 surround sound. Other features including Bluetooth to stream music from your smartphone, specialist sound modes for cinema and music, and a simple set-up.
The Sony HT–G700 is a soundbar with an accompanying wireless subwoofer. The addition of a subwoofer makes the set-up a little more expensive than some but produces audio with punchy bass – a feature you'll be pleased to have during action-packed movies or when playing your favourite songs via Bluetooth. The purpose of the Sony soundbar is to give you a better experience than what you would have with TV-only audio. This is where the specialist cinema, night, voice and music modes come into their own and tweak the audio to best suit the content you're watching or, in the case of the night mode, tone down any loud noises to avoid disrupting others in the household.
At £450, the Sony HT–G700 is a mid-range soundbar. And while this means that there are cheaper options, such as the Roku Streambar, available, they don't necessarily offer the same sophistication or features on offer with this Sony soundbar.
Features such as specialist sound modes and the accompanying subwoofer are not available with most soundbars under £400 and ensure the sound quality of the HT–G700 is good. Therefore, despite the slightly underwhelming surround sound technology, we would still describe the Sony HT–G700 as good value for money.
Available only in black, the HT–G700 has a classic look and is likely to fit into any TV set-up you currently have. On the front of the soundbar is a small dot-matrix display that tells you when the soundbar is on and if any particular mode has been selected. You can brighten or dim the display to ensure it is not too distracting while watching the TV. Across the top of the soundbar, you will find touch control buttons for power, Bluetooth, input and volume.
The Sony HT–G700 soundbar promises a lot with its Vertical Surround Engine and S-Force Pro digital sound field processing technology. All of which is designed to produce an immersive surround sound experience without all the usual gear.
Typically to create a surround sound system, you would need several speakers, along with a subwoofer, that can be floor-standing and mounted on walls. The Dolby Atmos soundbar promises to bypass this with its three front speakers and its Vertical Surround Engine that should make the audio feel like it is over-head.
This is accompanied by Sony's digital sound field processing technology, S-Force Pro, to make it seem like audio is coming from the sides as well. And, the sound is definitely room-filling and of good quality. It is just not the same experience you'd get with a fully kitted out surround sound system. In a smaller room, where a full surround system isn't practical, it might be an affordable alternative, but we feel Sony slightly oversold this element. If your money can stretch, we would be more inclined to recommend the Sonos Arc as a good soundbar alternative to a surround sound system.
However, watching TV with the Sony HT–G700 soundbar is still a really pleasant experience. The pre-selected modes available on the remote mean that you flick between them with ease and find your preferred set-up. The specialist sound modes available are cinema, music, voice and night mode. The first three are designed to tweak the audio to help you get the most out of it when watching films or listening to music or podcasts. The final one, night mode, will optimise the sound balance so you can hear everything clearly at low volume without disrupting the rest of the house with loud explosions or heavy bass.
One of the first things you'll notice about this soundbar is how massive the box it comes in is. Measuring over a metre long and 55cm wide, it is a struggle to carry over any significant length of time. And as someone who is 5'2", it was tricky to manoeuvre by myself.
This Sony soundbar takes approximately 20 minutes to set up. Most of this time is taken up by physically manoeuvring the soundbar and subwoofer and plugging in the various cables. The contents of the box include the soundbar, subwoofer, remote control, optical cable and AC power cords. However, an HDMI cable is not, which is a bit of a shame for the price (£450).
The subwoofer wirelessly connects to the soundbar, but both still need to be connected to mains electricity. The soundbar should then be plugged into the HDMI (ARC) port in the back of the TV. Beyond putting batteries in the remote, you're ready to roll.
Unlike the likes of the Sonos Arc, there is no app, but the remote is pretty comprehensive. As well as the typical volume and menu buttons, there are also pre-set sound modes, including cinema, music, voice and night mode. The latter is used to make sure all the audio can be heard at low volume. These modes work well to get the most from what you're watching, and we found the cinema and voice modes most beneficial.
The Sony HT–G700 is a solid soundbar; it's just slightly overselling itself. If you're used to watching films with TV-only audio, you'll notice a drastic improvement. However, if it is Sony's promise of surround sound, you may be a little bit disappointed. The sound quality is good, and the accompanying wireless subwoofer means that the soundbar definitely delivers punchy bass. We feel the S-Force PRO and Vertical Surround Engine over-promise when it comes to producing a fully immersive surround sound. However, if you just want a simple soundbar to boost your TV audio and have the budget to spend, the Sony HT–G700 is a decent choice.
Sound quality: 4/5
Value for money: 4/5
The Sony HT–G700 soundbar is available at a number of retailers.