Sony is the king of the multimedia universe. They have the kind of presence that very few can even imagine when it comes to audio-video products. If their smartphone division is not taken into account, the rest of it churns out stunning numbers year-after-year.
If we talk of the Sony HT-G700, it is a 3.1Ch configuration that doesn’t feel like one. It is easy to set up and beats anything in the price range comprehensively in terms of the output quality. Most other players are looking to fit in more speakers in the given budget but Sony follows a different path altogether by stacking in Atmos virtualization.
Starting at a cent shy of $600, is it a product worth buying? We find out in our Sony HT-G700 review today.
List of specifications
|Product Dimensions||Soundbar – 38.5 x 2.5 x 4.3 inches
Subwoofer – 7.5 x 15.2 x 15.8 inches
|Weight||Soundbar – 3.5kg
Subwoofer – 7.5kg
|Amplifier output||Soundbar – 300 W
Subwoofer – 100 W
|Wireless Audio Protocol||Bluetooth 5.0|
|Audio Decoding Codecs||Dolby Atmos
Dolby Digital Plus
|Connectivity||1 x HDMI (In/Out)
1 x Optical TOSLINK
1 x HDMI eARC/ARC
1 x USB
- The sound is impressive for a 3.1Ch configuration
- Solid and simple build
- Dolby Atmos makes a difference
- Lacks Wi-Fi
- Lacks room correction
What’s in the box?
- SA-G700 soundbar
- SA-WG700 wireless subwoofer
- AC power cords
- Remote control (RMT- AH507U)
- AAA batteries x 2
- Warranty card
- Wall mount template
- 58-inch HDMI cable
- Operating guide
- Product registration sheet
Design and build
The soundbar is one accessory that shouldn’t steal the show. It should instead be the one that immerses into the surroundings unassumingly, and the Sony HT-G700 fits perfectly in that regard. The bar looks similar to most other products from the Sony lineup, and the build here is mostly sturdy plastic. A metal grill covers the speakers to add to the overall look and add some durability points.
The bar is reasonably long at 38.5 x 2.5 x 4.3 inches. It is slightly longer than most other bars in the price bracket but isn’t too tall to create any hindrance to the viewer. It also houses a tiny display at the front and all the ports at the back.
The subwoofer shell is a combination of melamine and plastic. There is a metal grill similar to the bar. The back has a plastic plate, though we have seen metal from the competition. It stands at 7.5 x 15.2 x 15.8 inches and fits in any corner of your room conveniently. The back houses the lone power cable.
The Sony HT-G700 opts for a five-button layout on top of the bar to let the users control the device. You have a power on/off, change inputs, volume up and down, and switch to Bluetooth toggles embedded in the bar.
The display informs the user about the settings they change and tells them about the current audio format. The Sony HT-G700 package comes with a basic remote that handles all the bar parameters with no intention to tweak your TV whatsoever.
It is a pity that Sony doesn’t have a companion app for its Sony HT-G700 yet. Looking at how well the competition has copped to it and how well the audience has adapted to them providing an alternative option, we expect them to bring something soon. It is highly unlikely that a future update will make it compatible with the Sony Music Center app.
Additionally, there is HDMI CEC onboard, which allows users to manage basic features, such as volume and inputs, via their TV remote. There is Power Saving available, too, which puts the device on sleep mode within 20 minutes of inactivity.
The Sony HT-G700 has a decent set of inputs. It has an HDMI ARC, Full HDMI In, HDMI Out, and a TOSLINK slot. There is one USB present in the package too, but it can only be useful when updating the device. The presence of Full HDMI In allows it to support all the audio codecs, but the lack of 3.5mm jack and USB can be a downer for some.
Talking of codecs, fortunately, Sony has not opted to hold back anything from the user here. You get support for all the useful formats, such as Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS, Dolby TrueHD, and LPCM, amongst others. There is an optical jack, too, which allows you to access Blu-ray discs and other streaming platforms.
The Full HDMI In helps you to use it as a bridge between your TV and gaming console. It also supports 4K Passthrough, including 4:4:4 and HDR 10 playback. The device lacks Wi-Fi, though there is no Chromecast, Google Assistant, or Apple’s AirPlay.
The Sony HT-G700 pumps out 400W of power, 300W from the bar, and 100W from the subwoofer. It is an all-rounder and does well in almost all scenarios. It has a boomy sound profile and gets loud enough for most users. The low bass and treble may feel lacking due to the over-emphasis on bass.
The soundbar performs decently in terms of stereo dynamics until you reach the maximum volume. You may find voices breaking and compression creaking in at the highest levels. It gets loud and is good at accommodating a large room with ease.
Total Harmonic Distortion is a similar story. It is excellent at acceptable volume levels, but as soon as you go maximum, it jumps up tremendously. The good part, it may not be audible to all. Even though the bar is a 3.1Ch configuration, Sony claims that it can upscale the content to 7.1.2Ch surround sound by pressing the Immersive AE button.
The claims may seem right to an extent, but the lack of height channels and upward-firing speakers means that its performance is middling in that aspect. It only uses the left and right channel to create a faux surround sound effect, but the audio output is far from impressive when pitted against an actual 7.1.2Ch soundbar.
Even the bar’s surround sound is less than impressive. The hardware limitations show up, and you get an inaccurate representation of voices, and users will have a hard time figuring out the exact source as everything seems to come from the front. The soundstage is as wide as the bar itself, and the bar falters in expanding it further. So the user ends up listening to dialogues from general areas rather than from specific points.
There is a dedicated center channel that helps in enhancing dialogue-based content, and it doesn’t disappoint. The audio is crystal-clear and accurate, letting you binge on your podcasts without getting frustrated.
Talking of sound enhancements, the Sony HT-G700 lacks the all-important room correction,
which means that output will depend on the kind of room you place it in. It doesn’t let you fiddle with the bass or treble directly, which is disappointing.
The Sony soundbar comes with seven EQ presets to at least adapt to the kind of content you are looking to play, and the S-Force PRO tries to create the surround sound impact in partnership with DTS Virtual:X and Vertical Surround Engine.
The Sony HT-G700 can do what other similarly placed competitors cannot – it can simulate an Atmos experience without having the requisite hardware to show. It has HDR 10 and 4K Passthrough to ensure that the user gets more legroom for their entertainment. There is a Full HDMI In port to let the bar support all the major codecs.
Here is how the competition stacks up to it –
The Sonos Arc is the closest competitor of the Sony HT-G700, but the overall sound doesn’t quite match up. The former has a 5.0.2Ch configuration making it better equipped to create an acceptable surround sound effect. The build is also better than Sony’s offering.
The 3.1Ch Sony HT-G700 produces more precise sound, and the subwoofer adds the much-needed thump. Even though there is compression at max volume, it is still great for mixed usage. The presence of Full HDMI In and Bluetooth further aids its case and makes it a better choice for the users.
The Samsung HW-R650 sounds better than Sony HT-G700 in almost all aspects. It has better control over the treble and doesn’t distort as much at maximum volume levels. It is USB compatible and comes with a fully-controllable graphic EQ giving users far greater tweaking abilities.
The Sony HT-G700 has Full HDMI In and supports Atmos, which Samsung’s offering doesn’t.
The Sony HT-G700 is great for dialogue-based content. The center channel helps in producing voices efficiently. The 400W amplifier provides a lot of power, and it gets loud for most rooms. Even though there is no way you can adjust any specific aspect of the output, the EQ presets help.
There is not enough sub-bass on board, which can be disappointing for a music lover who has a knack for details. There are compression artifacts at max volume levels, but the soundbar is excellent value-for-money. It offers a minimalistic look and is future proof due to ARC on board. The presence of Dolby Atmos makes it a versatile and a compelling offering, overall.