Deal | 40 W OXS S3 soundbar now on sale for $69 USD or less than half the price of the popular Sony S200F
If you're looking for a decent sound bar on a budget, then the new OXS S3 may be worth considering. The manufacturer recently sent us a test sample and our first impressions are generally positive albeit with a couple of important caveats to keep in mind.
Firstly, let's get some bullet point features out of the way. The S3 is a 32-inch long sound bar with four integrated speakers and two sound guide tubes for a total output of 40 Watts. The Amazon listing claims 80 W, but both the manual and even power input rating printed on the sound bar itself say otherwise at 40 W. The packaging includes coaxial, optical, and AC adapter cables but no auxiliary cable despite the fact that the sound bar can accept all three audio inputs.
|Frequency Response||60 Hz - 20 KHz|
|Standby Power Consumption||<0.5 W|
The unit itself is weighty at about 2.64 kg and feels of high quality. Each button is large, backlit, and clicky when pressed for easy usage. We love that the lighting on the volume buttons will flash when they are toggled while the Source button will change colors depending on the current audio source (yellow for optical, white for coaxial, green for auxiliary, blue for Bluetooth, and purple for USB).
Audio quality is excellent considering the price. Our microphone shows a broad pink noise curve and a maximum volume of just over 91 dB(A) while the manufacturer claims a total harmonic distortion of less than one percent to be better than on the Sony S200F. We can notice no static or major distortion issues when at louder volume settings as well.
Unfortunately, a few drawbacks prevent the S3 from being excellent. Most notable is its short Bluetooth range of only about 10 to 11 feet which should be satisfactory for a medium-sized or smaller rooms. For larger living rooms or HTPC setups, however, you may want to keep this limitation in mind or use a cabled source instead. Our S3 would begin to drop in and out from our Asus VivoBook 15 S513E OLED laptop at 10+ feet.
Secondly, the wall mounting holes on the sound bar are designed for one specific orientation meaning users cannot safely orient the sound bar upside-down on the wall. This means that the ports on the sound bar will always be facing upwards which might not be favorable depending on the user setup. For example, if you plan on placing your source underneath the sound bar, then your audio cable will have to wrap all the way around the sound bar because its ports are facing upwards instead of downwards. The manufacturer could have solved this problem by designing bi-directional mounting holes instead.
Thirdly, the S3 lacks a subwoofer and so it is not a true 2.1 sound bar. In contrast, the Sony S200F integrates a dedicated subwoofer for fuller audio. We suppose the manufacturer had to cut corners somewhere in order to meet the $100 target MSRP.
Other smaller but notable drawbacks include the short ~55-inch AC adapter and the small audio delay when connected via Bluetooth.
Amazon is currently shipping the OXS S3 for $99 USD. As of this writing, a promotion will bring the price down even further to just $69.