By Matthew Moskovciak
May 16, 2012
The good: The Vizio VHT215 is the company's sleekest sound bar yet, with a wireless sub and a truly excellent remote. There are plenty of connectivity options, including two HDMI inputs and optical, coaxial, and minijack audio inputs. And its sound quality is also excellent for a budget sound bar, with lots of flexibility to make adjustments.
The bad: It's not quite as good as the slimmer, cheaper, and slightly better-sounding Haier SBEV40-SLIM.
The bottom line: The Vizio VHT215 looks sleek, sounds good, and is packed with inputs, making it one of the top budget sound bar choices.
Vizio's been in the sound bar game for a while now and it shows. The VHT215 is the company's latest sound bar and it bests its predecessors in just about every way. It's the first Vizio sound bar that actually looks good, with a slim, sleek cabinet and a glossy finish that doesn't look cheap. The included remote is one of the best we've used and it's packed with connectivity options, including two HDMI inputs. Sound quality is great out of the box, plus it's endlessly tweakable, with separate controls for bass, treble, and subwoofer volume. There's really little to complain about with the VHT215, except the fact that the Haier SBEV40-SLIM is just a little better and costs less. But the Vizio VHT215 deserves serious consideration, especially if you want to more control over your sound bar's sound.
Design: Thin with a truly great remote
The VHT215 looks considerably more refined than Vizio's previous sound bars. The front panel is dominated by a dark-gray speaker grille, with the rest of the cabinet sporting a glossy black finish. From the side, you can see the VHT215 is seriously slim at 1.9 inches deep. Metal feet jut out at an angle on the bottom, giving it an interesting look and, more importantly, providing a pretty solid base for the unit. There's a front-panel display (which not every sound bar has) and it gives helpful feedback like how loud the volume is or what input you're on. Overall, the Vizio VHT215 doesn't look quite as slick as the ultraslim Haier SBEV40-SLIM, but it's not far behind.
The wireless subwoofer has the same glossy black finish as the sound bar, although it looks a little tackier on the sub. It's reasonably compact and the wireless connectivity means you can place it pretty much anywhere in your living room, although it will typically sound best within 5 to 6 feet of the sound bar.
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