Toshiba Mini 3D (SBM1W) soundbar review

Toshiba Mini 3D (SBM1W)

The Mini 3D is so small, it will fit easily on a shelf underneath your TV. The simple black design is accented with silver buttons on top for power, volume, input and Bluetooth. In the box you'll also find a small, passive subwoofer. See all audio reviews.

A range of inputs mean you can connect multiple devices. There's optical and coaxial digital, a 3.5mm jack and stereo phono inputs. It's good to see Bluetooth at this price, which makes it convenient to streaming music without wires. See all digital home reviews.

With only green and red LEDs for power on and off, it's impossible to know which input you're using -apart from a blue LED for Bluetooth. You simply have to cycle through them until you find the right one. It wasn't obvious that the Bluetooth button on the Mini 3D (not the remote) has to be held down for a couple of seconds to make it discoverable. Take a look at Group test: what's the best speaker set?

In its regular mode, the Mini 3D sounds like a basic centre speaker; it's as though the audio is trapped inside a cage within the unit. However, press the 3D button on the remote and the sound is let loose and able to fill a room well. See also: Sonos Playbar review.

In this mode, your ears are tricked into thinking there's a pair of stereo speakers either side of the TV. After using the 3D mode, the normal mode sounds awful, so you'll probably leave it on permanently.

Although the 3D mode conjures a big sound from a small box, it's not to be mistaken for a virtual surround feature. The audio only ever sounds like it's coming straight at you.

Sound quality is pretty impressive for a tiny system, but it's not perfect. With four mid-range drivers and the accompanying subwoofer, the Mini 3D is predictably heavy on mid-range and bass. The small amount of top-end gets lost in the mix. Frequency response is limited to 95Hz to 19kHz.

There's almost no adjustment available either, which is disappointing. Your only options are to switch between three different pre-sets from the remote control. These consist of movie, music and game. We could barely hear a difference between the first two.

Even at this price, we weren't also disappointed with the cheap plastic remote control with annoying membrane buttons.  
Verdict

The Mini 3D soundbar has an impressive amount of power for its tiny size and sounds good in its 3D mode. There's also a good range of inputs and Bluetooth is a welcome extra. However, its sound is unbalanced and with no adjustment beyond basic pre-sets, the Mini 3D can't compete with more expensive soundbars, which we think are worth paying extra for.

Toshiba Mini 3D (SBM1W): Specs

  • Optical S/PDIF: Yes
  • Coaxial S/PDIF: Yes
  • HDMI: n/a
  • 3.5mm minijack: Yes
  • Stereo phono: Yes
  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • Other: n/a
  • Power output (RMS): 60W
  • Subwoofer (active or passive/wired or wireless): Passive/Wired
  • Remote control (yes / no / via app): Yes, no app
  • Wall mountable? No
  • Surround sound mode? Yes
  • Night mode? No
  • Dimensions (soundbar): 0x72x100mm
  • Dimensions (subwoofer): 220x246x220mm
  • Warranty: Two years
  • Optical S/PDIF: Yes
  • Coaxial S/PDIF: Yes
  • HDMI: n/a
  • 3.5mm minijack: Yes
  • Stereo phono: Yes
  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • Other: n/a
  • Power output (RMS): 60W
  • Subwoofer (active or passive/wired or wireless): Passive/Wired
  • Remote control (yes / no / via app): Yes, no app
  • Wall mountable? No
  • Surround sound mode? Yes
  • Night mode? No
  • Dimensions (soundbar): 0x72x100mm
  • Dimensions (subwoofer): 220x246x220mm
  • Warranty: Two years

OUR VERDICT

The Mini 3D soundbar has an impressive amount of power for its tiny size and sounds good in its 3D mode. There's also a good range of inputs and Bluetooth is a welcome extra. However, its sound is unbalanced and with no adjustment beyond basic pre-sets, the Mini 3D can't compete with more expensive soundbars, which we think are worth paying extra for.

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