The Good The Vizio SB362An-F6 produces impressive sound for such a cheap bit of kit. The inclusion of Dolby, DTS and Virtual:X sound modes ensures a high level of soundtrack compatibility.
The Bad Paying more for the Vizio SB3621 with an external subwoofer will bring enhanced performance. The LED display is a little hard to grok.
The Bottom Line The Vizio SB362An-F6 offers astoundingly good value, with excellent sound quality and a high degree of flexibility for a budget sound bar.
If you think you'll miss out on a home-theater experience by choosing a budget sound bar, think again. Sure, you can pay hundreds or even thousands for a sound bar or audio system to go with your home theater, but if you choose wisely, some real gems can be had at the budget level too.
The $100 Vizio SB362An-F6 may not look like much -- a Toblerone shoved in a sock -- but as with many recent Vizio sound bars, its appearance and price belie serious performance. The quality of sound it can deliver at this price is kind of amazing.
What surprised us most is how well the bar held its ground in our direct comparisons with the Yamaha YAS-108, which costs twice as much. Features and design aside, the Vizio is the more enjoyable listen, and that's quite an accomplishment given how good the Yamaha sounds.
The biggest competition for the SB362An-F6 comes from within. The step-up Vizio SB3621n-E8 costs $150 (or even less) and offers significantly better sound thanks to an included wireless sub -- something the cheaper version lacks. We think it's definitely worth the money to get the version with the sub, so it remains CNET's Editors' Choice for budget sound bars. But if you don't want an extra box in the room, or you just want to spend as little as possible on a great sound bar, get the SB362An-F6.
There's something distinctly "80's sci-fi" about the SB362An-F6. Those hexagonal end pieces could be an apartment building the antihero buzzes in his flying car, or miniature fighter intakes at the end of a Battlestar's hangar outrigger. This 36-inch-long sound bar can sit on an AV stand in front of your TV -- provided you have enough clearance for its 2-inch height -- or it can be mounted on the wall (with two keyhole ports) to point outward into your room.
The side of the speaker is where things get particularly geometric, with a series of triangular buttons staggered across the hexagonal face. The buttons include volume, source selection and a dedicated Bluetooth option.