Sony HT-S100F SOUNDBAR REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.0
6.4
Mixed Usage
8.1
Dialog / TV Shows
6.1
Music
5.5
Movies
Channels
:
2.0

The Sony HT-S100F is an okay sounding soundbar that lacks quite a bit of bass. This 2.0 setup doesn’t have a dedicated and wireless sub and it struggles to produce low bass frequencies. On the upside, it has a very clear and accurate reproduction of voices. The bar can get pretty loud too. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support height channels and Atmos, meaning it won’t offer the most immersive experience, although it does have an always-on surround sound. Also, the soundstage is not very wide and even feels narrower than the bar itself. It also lacks support for DTS, which is disappointing and doesn’t have any Full HDMI In inputs.

Test Results
Design 7.0
Sound 5.9
Connectivity 4.5
Pros
  • Great for dialog content.
  • Gets loud enough for most uses.
  • Performs well at max volume.
Cons
  • Lacks bass.
  • Doesn’t support DTS.
  • Always-On surround sound feature.

Check Price

Market Context

The HT-S100F is a budget, entry-level 2.0 soundbar setup from the 2018 lineup from Sony. It is a very barebones soundbar for people who want a simple setup. It also has an always-on surround sound mode called S-Force Front Surround, which is common on Sony soundbars. If you want a more complete setup with a dedicated subwoofer from Sony, check out the HT-S350 or the more high-end 7.1.2 HT-ST5000 setup for a more immersive experience. The main competitors of the Sony HT-S100F are the HT-S200F, which has an integrated subwoofer in the bar itself, and the Bose Solo 5

7.0

Design

Style - Bar

The Sony HT-S100F is a fairly wide soundbar. It is all black and has a metal grill that covers the front and the half of the sides, whereas the rest is made of solid plastic. The top has a faux-leather texture and hosts some touch-sensitive controls.

Style - Subwoofer

There is no subwoofer in this setup.

Style - Satellites

This soundbar doesn’t have satellites.

Dimensions - Bar
Bar Width : 35.4" (90.0 cm)
Bar Height : 2.5" (6.3 cm)
Bar Depth : 3.5" (8.8 cm)

The bar is fairly wide, and it's unlikely that it will fit between the legs of a 55" TV. On the upside, it's not that tall and probably won't interfere with the viewing area of the screen, unless your TV sits flush on the table like the Sony A9G.

Dimensions - Subwoofer
Sub Width : N/A
Sub Height : N/A
Sub Depth : N/A

There is no subwoofer in this setup.

Dimensions - Satellites
Sat Width : N/A
Sat Height : N/A
Sat Depth : N/A

There are no satellites in this setup.

Back - Bar
Bar Mounting Type
:
Universal (holes on back)

The left opening on the back is for the power cable. The opening in the middle is a bass reflex port, and all the inputs connect to the opening on the right.

Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
:
N/A

There is no subwoofer in this soundbar setup.

Back - Satellites
Sat Mounting Type
:
N/A

There are no satellites in this setup.

7.0 Build Quality

The overall build quality of the Sony HT-S100F is decent. The metal grill at the front won't attract dirt or get damaged easily like other fabric-covered bars and the solid plastic and faux-leather texture on the top give-off a slightly premium feel. We did not encounter any issues with the build quality of this soundbar.

In The Box
HDMI Cable Length
:
N/A
Digital Optical Cable Length
:
3.0 ft (0.9 m)

  • Manuals
  • Optical cable
  • Remote & Batteries
  • Power cable

5.9

Sound

6.1 Stereo Frequency Response
ST Slope
:
-0.36
ST Std. Err.
:
3.56 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
88.5 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
:
15.1 kHz

The stereo frequency response of the Sony S100F is mediocre. The HT-S100F has a neutral sound profile, but lacks a lot of sub-bass and a bit of detail in the treble, making it a bit muddy. Its low-frequency extension (LFE) is very high and won’t be great for experiencing the deep thump, punch and rumble of bass-heavy music genres or movies and games. On the upside, there are also a few audio modes that can help the overall performance, but the standard one is disappointing.

Stereo Raw Frequency Response
6.0 Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
:
2.76 dB

When listening to the HT-S100F, the soundstage is mediocre. The bar is not very big, so a wide soundstage wasn’t expected. However, it feels to be narrower than the bar. On the upside, sound isn't too diffused, resulting in a focused soundstage, which is good because objects seem to be coming from a more accurate pinpoint location rather than from a general area. However, the small size of the soundstage reduces the effectiveness of this.

8.3 Stereo Dynamics
ST SPL @ Max Volume
:
95.9 dB SPL
ST DRC @ Max Volume
:
1.30 dB

The Sony S100F can get pretty loud and will be suitable for most uses. It also doesn’t compress a lot, which is good for a clear sound at max volume. The dip you see on the graph is below the soundbar LFE, meaning it won’t be audible because the soundbar already has trouble reproducing those frequencies.

7.5 Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
ST Weighted THD @ 80
:
0.47
ST Weighted THD @ Max Volume
:
2.62

The THD performance of the HT-S100F is great at a normal volume at around 80dB and you shouldn’t have any issues or hear audible THD. However, there’s a big jump in THD in the bass and mid ranges when pushing the bar to max volume. However, THD is quite hard to hear, so you might not notice it on real-life content.

7.1 Center
C Localization
:
Phantom
C Slope
:
-0.33
C Std. Err.
:
3.60 dB
C SPL @ Max Volume
:
92.9 dB SPL
C Weighted THD @ 80
:
0.46
C Weighted THD @ Max Volume
:
2.34

The Sony S100F is a 2.0 soundbar setup, which means it doesn’t have a dedicated center speaker. It uses the left and right speakers to create a sound in the center, which will sound more diffused and less clear compared to a discrete center, but the performance is still good overall. However, when sending a 5.1 surround sound signal, it will downmix it. It also doesn’t have a good bass performance, but this won’t matter as much since there’s not much bass on center channels to begin with. Voices still sound fairly clear and accurate, and the bar gets loud enough for most people.

1.9 Surrounds
Sr Localization
:
Stereo (Downmix)
Rears
:
N/A
Sr Slope
:
2.43
Sr Std. Err.
:
8.55 dB
Sr SPL @ Max Volume
:
90.8 dB SPL
Sr Weighted THD @ 80
:
2.56
Sr Weighted THD @ Max Volume
:
4.56

The Sony HT-S100F has poor performance with surround channels. The 2.0 configuration of the soundbar won't result in the most accurate and clear representation of surround objects in the soundstage. Everything is downmixed to stereo and doesn’t feel as real as a discrete surround experience offered by tower speakers. The overall sound profile is fairly bright as this soundbar lacks a lot of bass. This soundbar, like many other Sony's, has an always-on surround sound mode that causes a strange frequency response measurement, visible in our plot.

0 Height (Atmos)
H Localization
:
N/A
H Slope
:
N/A
H Std. Err.
:
N/A
H SPL @ Max Volume
:
N/A
H Weighted THD @ 80
:
N/A
H Weighted THD @ Max Volume
:
N/A

This soundbar setup doesn’t have height channels and doesn’t support Atmos.

3.9 Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
:
No
Dialog Enhancement
:
Yes
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
:
Yes
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
:
No
Bass Adjustment
:
No
Treble Adjustment
:
No
EQ
:
No
Surround Level Adjustment
:
N/A
Rear Level Adjustment
:
N/A
Height Level Adjustment
:
N/A
Virtual Surround
:
Yes

The Sony S100F has poor sound enhancement features. It doesn’t have Room Correction so this soundbar might sound differently depending on your room. There’s also no way of customizing the sound profile to your preference. On the upside, it has a Dialog Enhancement feature with the Voice Mode, which makes it easier to hear dialog in movies, even at a lower volume. This bar is also advertised to have an always-on S-Force Front Surround sound feature.

4.5

Connectivity

Physical Inputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
:
1
HDMI ARC
:
1 (shared)
Full HDMI In
:
No
HDMI Out
:
1 (shared)
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
:
No
USB for Files
:
1
Ethernet
:
No

The Sony HT S100F has only the most basic wired connections, so it's not a versatile bar. You will not be able to use it as a hub due to the lack of a Full HDMI In, and you won't be able to connect older devices with Audio Out jacks due to the lack of an Analog Audio input on this bar.

6.1 Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
:
No
ARC Dolby Atmos
:
No
ARC DTS:X
:
No
ARC Dolby Digital
:
Yes
ARC Dolby Digital Plus
:
No
ARC DTS
:
No
ARC Dolby TrueHD
:
No
ARC DTS-HD MA
:
No
ARC 5.1 PCM
:
No

This bar can decode surround sound over ARC thanks to its Dolby Digital support but will downmix it to 2.0. Dolby Digital content is common on streaming platforms like Netflix or on Blu-ray disks. Unfortunately, you will not be able to decode DTS or any of the higher-end formats like Dolby Atmos, which can offer you object-based surround sound experience.

0 Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
HDMI Dolby Atmos
:
No
HDMI DTS:X
:
No
HDMI Dolby Digital
:
No
HDMI Dolby Digital Plus
:
No
HDMI DTS
:
No
HDMI Dolby TrueHD
:
No
HDMI DTS-HD MA
:
No
HDMI 5.1 PCM
:
No

There is no Full HDMI In port on this bar.

6.0 Audio Format Support - Optical
Optical Dolby Digital
:
Yes
Optical DTS
:
No

Just like over the HDMI ARC port, only Dolby Digital surround sound is supported over Optical. However, as this is the most common surround sound format, you will find plenty of content, especially in streaming platforms or Blu-rays. The unsupported DTS format is not widely available on its own, it is the fallback for the higher quality DTS-HD MA found on many Blu-ray discs.

6.0 Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
:
Yes
Wi-Fi
:
No
Chromecast built-in
:
No
Apple AirPlay
:
No

Bluetooth is the only wireless way to playback sound on this bar. This, however, is enough for those who keep their music collection on the cloud and listen through their phone or tablet.

Other Input Specifications
4k @ 60 Hz Passthrough
:
N/A
4k @ 60 Hz @ 10 bit Passthrough
:
N/A
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 Passthrough
:
N/A
HDR10 Passthrough
:
N/A

This bar can't be used as a hub between your PC and the TV.

Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
:
N/A

There is no subwoofer in this bar.

Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
:
N/A

This bar setup has no satellites.

Additional Features

Interface
Display
:
No

The interface is very simple and consists of a set of lights that inform you which setting you're using. However unless you know what each light corresponds to, you must get close to the bar to read the text above the lights.

Bar Controls

The controls found on the top are pretty simple and allow you to control the power, the input source, the volume level, and help you connect to your Bluetooth devices.

Remote
Universal Remote
:
No

The remote is fairly simple and sits well in your hand. It has some preset modes to match certain playback content. The 'PLAY MODE' is a play/shuffle/repeat once/etc button when the USB port is used.

App
App Name : N/A
iOS : No
Android : No
Acts as the Remote
:
No
Controls Soundbar's Settings
:
No
Casts Device Files
:
No

There is no app that pairs with the Sony HT-S100F soundbar.

Other Features
Power Saving
:
Standby
HDMI CEC (TV Remote Control)
:
Yes

The soundbar enters in a 'Standby' mode after 20 minutes of inactivity. Also, thanks to CEC support, you can use your TV's remote to control the soundbar.

Compared to other Soundbars

The Sony HT-S100F is a simple 2.0 system without a subwoofer. It won't be the best option if you care for bass or soundstage. It's also advertised to have an always-on surround mode. See our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best budget soundbars, and the best soundbars with a subwoofer.

Sony HT-S200F
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sony HT-S200F is slightly better than the Sony HT-S100F model, especially thanks to the built-in subwoofer channel, which helps a bit with the bass. These are practically the same bar and perform very similarly otherwise. The HT-S200F will be an overall better choice thanks to the extra bass, especially for the marginal price difference.

Sonos Playbar
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sonos Playbar is a slightly better soundbar than the Sony HT-S100F. It has an extra dedicated center channel, which makes dialog and voices a lot clearer and easier to understand. The overall stereo performance is also better and more accurate. The Playbar has a very wide soundstage and plenty of sound enhancement features, including a room correction feature, which is great. However, it doesn't support Bluetooth, only Wi-Fi, and doesn't have an ARC port, unlike the Sony.

Samsung HW-Q60R
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Samsung HW-Q60R is a better soundbar system than the Sony HT-S100F. It's advertised as a 5.1 setup with the Samsung Acoustic Beam up-firing speakers, which helps with the surround performance. The subwoofer of the Q60R offers more bass than the stand-alone HT-S100F and the overall audio reproduction of the Samsung soundbar is better. The Q60R also has better overall connectivity options and has more sound enhancement features to make it sound how you prefer.

Sonos Beam
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sonos Beam is a better soundbar than the Sony HT-S100F. It's a 3.0 system with a center channel, which makes dialog clearer and easier to understand. It also has a more accurate overall audio reproduction and has many sound enhancement features, including room correction. It has a great soundstage for an immersive feel as well. On the other hand, if you like the simplicity of Bluetooth, the Beam doesn't support it, while the S100F does. However, the Beam is noticeably smaller and easier to fit in your setup and is noticeably better-built.

6.4 Mixed Usage

Okay for mixed usage. The Sony S100F has a fairly neutral, but slightly muddy sound profile that is better suited for dialog-oriented content. It lacks bass and has trouble reproducing the deep rumble and punch of bass, which affects its performance with bass-heavy music genres and movies. On the upside, it can get pretty loud and most people should be satisfied with it. It also performs quite well at max volume and its overall build quality is decent. However, this bar won’t be great for an immersive movie listening experience as it lacks height channel and support for Atmos content.

8.1 Dialog / TV Shows

Good for dialog. You can use this soundbar to listen to voice-oriented content like podcasts, audiobooks, or TV shows. The sound profile is fairly neutral, although slightly muddy, and the overall reproduction of voices is accurate. It can also get pretty loud and you can also use the Dialog Enhancement feature to get an even better listening experience and make dialog in movies even clearer. Additionally, you’ll be able to stream content from your phone wirelessly thanks to its Bluetooth compatibility.

6.1 Music

Mediocre for music. Although this soundbar has a fairly neutral sound profile, its bass is quite poor and doesn’t accurately reproduce the low punch and thump of bass-heavy music. Its soundstage is also noticeably small and is even narrower than the bar itself, which is short to begin with. On the upside, it can get loud enough for most use cases and performs well at max volume. It is easy to stream music via a Bluetooth connection, but unfortunately, the bar itself doesn’t have any sound customization features.

5.5 Movies

Sub-par for movies. The Sony HTS100F is a 2.0 soundbar system and doesn’t have height channels and Atmos support. This means it won’t deliver a very immersive experience with movies. However, it has an always-on surround sound feature that is specific to Sony soundbars which can help with the surround effects, but the sound quality isn't the best. Also, the HT-S100F can’t really produce deep bass thump and punch, which will negatively affect its performance with movies. It also doesn’t support DTS, which is disappointing. On the upside, you’ll be able to hear the dialog in movies very clearly thanks to the Voice mode.

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