While every TV comes with its own speakers — and they might not sound bad in isolation — one of the best upgrades you can make is some new speakers. The main reason is physics: speakers need space to sound good, and your TV case doesn't have a ton of space. For most customers, that means getting a soundbar. Soundbars can be set up in an instant, you don't have to mount them on a wall or run cables, and some soundbars can hook up to subwoofers or rear surround speakers.

TaoTronics is well-known for making good products at competitive prices, and its soundbars are no different. Phil tried TaoTronics' entry-level soundbar, and now we're looking at the next step up.

I have been using the TaoTronics TT-SK020 soundbar and wireless subwoofer in my apartment for the past week and change. TaoTronics provided the soundbar for review, and it will be returned to them following the return period.

The Good

  • Simple port layout
  • Included subwoofer pairs flawlessly
  • Simple, infrared remote

The Bad

  • Can't disable front-facing LED
  • Can't work as an HDMI hub

What ports are on the TaoTronics 2.1 channel soundbar?

The soundbar offers a few basic ports to get audio from your display: 3.5mm, optical and yellow coax. It'll work perfectly for most people, but if you want fancier stuff like HDMI-ARC or an HDMI hub, you'll want to look elsewhere. You can also connect any audio device like your smartphone or laptop with Bluetooth.

What's good about the TaoTronics 2.1 channel soundbar and subwoofer?

Setup is a breeze with this: I plugged in the included power supply to the soundbar, plugged in the existing 3.5mm cable I had coming from my projector, plugged the included power cable to the subwoofer, and I was up and running. The soundbar and subwoofer were paired out of the box, so I didn't have to do anything to get those talking to each other. I also ran the included optical cable from my Xbox One X straight to the soundbar, and I'm happy to report I didn't run into any issues.

But how does it sound? To my ears, pretty good. I'd been using a Vizio 3-channel Soundbar since December 2017, and this one sound almost as good. Two channels instead of three on the soundbar means separation isn't quite as good, but it'll still be better than the speakers in your TV. When I was playing video games, I could still get a good idea of what direction an attacker was coming from.

The subwoofer is also better than I expected at this price. As mentioned I didn't have to mess with anything during setup, I just plugged it in and set it next to my couch. The little rumble I felt when I blasted demons in Doom was exhilarating, and action scenes in Black Panther were that much more engaging. Finally, the remote is easy enough to use, and it's an infrared model so you can map it to your favorite universal remote.

What's just okay about the TaoTronics 2.1 channel soundbar and subwoofer?

More inputs may be appreciated, but I can't imagine anyone using more than one of the included options. There is a wall-mounting kit included, but I didn't test this since my soundbars just live on my TV stand. I kinda wish the power cord was the universal, figure-8 style so I could use a custom-length cable to reduce clutter, but I concede that most people don't care about that.

What's bad about the TaoTronics 2.1 channel soundbar and subwoofer?

My only real complaint about this soundbar is that I couldn't find a way to turn off the front LED. That displays whatever input the soundbar is set to, and it's a bit distracting in an otherwise dark media stand.

Should you buy the TaoTronics 2.1 channel soundbar and subwoofer?

Yes! If you want an easy upgrade to your TV's built-in speakers, this is a great soundbar and subwoofer combo for the price.

4.5 out of 5

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