Sony HT-S100F Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Updated Sep 30, 2019 at 09:00 am
Sony HT-S100F Picture
6.4
Mixed Usage
8.1
Dialogue/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 isn't very wide and even feels narrower than the bar itself. It also lacks support for DTS, which is disappointing, and it doesn’t have any Full HDMI In inputs.

Our Verdict

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 dialogue-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.

Pros
  • Great for dialogue content.
  • Gets loud enough for most uses.
  • Performs well at max volume.
Cons
  • Lacks bass.
  • Doesn’t support DTS.
  • Always-on surround sound feature.
8.1 Dialogue/TV Shows

Good for dialogue. 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 Dialogue Enhancement feature to get an even better listening experience and make dialogue 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's 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 dialogue in movies very clearly thanks to the Voice mode.

  • 6.4 Mixed Usage
  • 8.1 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 6.1 Music
  • 5.5 Movies

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The HT-S100F is a budget, entry-level 2.0 soundbar setup from Sony's 2018 lineup. It's 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 Sony HT-S350 or the more high-end 7.1.2 Sony HT-ST5000 setup for a more immersive experience. The Sony HT-S100F's main competitors are the Sony HT-S200F, which has an integrated subwoofer in the bar itself, and the Bose Solo 5.

Design
Design
Style - Bar

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

Design
Style - Subwoofer

There's no subwoofer in this setup.

Design
Style - Satellites

This soundbar doesn’t have satellites.

Design
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'll fit between the legs of a 55" TV. On the upside, it's not that tall and probably won't interfere with the screen's viewing area, unless your TV sits flush on the table like the Sony A9G. If you're looking for a smaller soundbar that can better fit between your TV's legs, check out the compact Vizio SB2020n-G6 or Bose TV Speaker.

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

There's no subwoofer in this setup.

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

There are no satellites in this setup.

Design
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.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
N/A

There's no subwoofer in this soundbar setup.

Design
Back - Satellites
Sat Mounting Type
N/A

There are no satellites in this setup.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

The Sony HT-S100F's overall build quality 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 didn't encounter any issues with the build quality of this soundbar.

Design
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

Sound
6.1
Sound
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 Sony S100F's stereo frequency response 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. For a 2.0 system with better audio quality, check out the JBL Link Bar or the Roku Smart Soundbar.

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

When listening to the HT-S100F, the soundstage is mediocre. It's disappointingly narrow, even less wide than the soundbar itself. 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. For a more compact soundbar with an even wider soundstage, check out the Vizio SB3220n-F6.

8.3
Sound
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
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
ST Weighted THD @ 80
0.47
ST Weighted THD @ Max Volume
2.62

The Sony HT-S100F's THD performance 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
Sound
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'll downmix it. It also doesn’t have a good bass performance, but this won’t matter as much since there isn't 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
Sound
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 soundbar's 2.0 configuration 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 Sonys, has an always-on surround sound mode that causes a strange frequency response measurement, visible in our plot.

0
Sound
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
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
No
Dialogue 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 limited sound enhancement features. It has a Voice Mode, which makes it easier to hear dialogue in movies at a lower volume, but no EQ presets. This bar is also advertised to have a virtual surround feature, which other basic soundbars like the Insignia NS-HSB318 2.0 tend to lack. This feature is called S-Force Front Surround and it is always on. Unlike the Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar, it has a night mode feature to help keep the volume level consistent between different programs. If you're looking for a 2.0 setup with more customization options, check out the LG SK1.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Physical Inputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
1
HDMI ARC
1 (shared)
HDMI Out
1 (shared)
Full HDMI In
No
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 isn't a versatile bar. You won't be able to use it as a hub between your TV and home media devices since it doesn't have HDMI. You also can't connect older devices with a regular audio cable since, unlike the TaoTronics TT-SK023, this soundbar also lacks an AUX input.

6.1
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
No
Dolby Atmos
No
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
No
DTS
No
DTS:X (eARC only)
No
Dolby TrueHD (eARC only)
No
DTS-HD MA (eARC only)
No
5.1 PCM (eARC only)
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 discs. Unfortunately, you won't 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
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
No
DTS:X
No
Dolby Digital
No
Dolby Digital Plus
No
DTS
No
Dolby TrueHD
No
DTS-HD MA
No
5.1 PCM
No

There's no Full HDMI In port on this bar.

6.0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
Yes
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'll find plenty of content, especially in streaming platforms or Blu-rays. The unsupported DTS format isn't widely available on its own; it's the fallback for the higher quality DTS-HD MA found on many Blu-ray discs.

6.0
Connectivity
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.

Connectivity
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
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
N/A

There's no subwoofer in this bar.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
N/A

This bar setup has no satellites.

Additional Features
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 have to get close to the bar to read the text above the lights.

Additional Features
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.

Additional Features
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.

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

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

Additional Features
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

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.

JBL Link Bar

The JBL Link Bar is a better 2.0 soundbar than the Sony HT-S100F. It has a noticeably better audio reproduction and has more bass. Its stereo soundstage is also noticeably wider, and it has more inputs for you to use it as a hub for your devices. It supports DTS content and can cast content wirelessly via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and it has Chromecast built-in. The JBL Link is also an Android TV Box and a Google Home speaker. On the other hand, the Sony compresses less at max volume and has a better phantom center performance for clearer voices and dialogue in movies.

Samsung HW-Q60R

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.

Vizio SB3220n-F6

The Vizio SB3220n-F6 is a better soundbar than the Sony HT-S100F. The Vizio has a more neutral, better-balanced sound with more bass and clearer treble. It also has a better stereo soundstage and surround performance. The Sony has HDMI ARC, though, so you can use your TV remote to control it, which some listeners may prefer.

LG SK1

The Sony HT-S100F is a better overall soundbar than the LG SK1. Both soundbars have a fairly neutral sound profile that is lacking sub-bass, however, the Sony extends slightly deeper than the LG. This gives it a slightly better performance with bass-heavy music and movies. It gets much louder than the LG, and it has more sound enhancement features, such as dialogue enhancement and night mode. However, unlike the Sony, the LG comes with a few EQ presets.

TCL Alto 5

The Sony HT-S100F may be a better option for most people over the TCL Alto 5. The Sony has an HDMI ARC port, which makes it a bit more versatile to plug in devices, while the TCL only supports surround content via optical. The Sony also gets noticeably louder than the Alto 5. However, the TCL soundbar feels a bit more premium thanks to the front grill covering the speakers and it even comes with wall-mounting brackets, which the HT-S100F doesn't have. 

Sonos Beam

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.

Insignia NS-HSB318 2.0

The Sony HT-S100F is a better 2.0 soundbar than the Insignia NS-HSB318 2.0. Although its default sound profile isn't much better-balanced, it supports Dolby Digital content over optical and HDMI ARC. Although it downmixes surround content, it has a virtual surround feature, which the Insignia lacks. The Insignia is more compact though, which some may prefer.

AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth

The Sony HT-S100F is an overall better-performing soundbar than the AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth. The Sony's sound profile is more neutral and balanced compared to the AmazonBasics and it performs better at max volume. The Sony is also well-suited for dialogue-centric audio content. If you're power-conscious, the AmazonBasics has an auto-off compared to the Sony's standby mode.

Sonos Playbar

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.

TaoTronics TT-SK023

The Sony HT-S100F is a much better soundbar than the TaoTronics TT-SK023. While both soundbars lack bass and detail in the treble range, the Sony still sounds better-balanced overall. It's missing EQ presets, but has dialogue enhancement and virtual surround effects, and also supports Dolby Digital over HDMI. The TaoTronics has a more compact design, though, which some may prefer.

Roku Smart Soundbar

The Roku Smart Soundbar is a better overall soundbar than the Sony HT-S100F. Both bars don't have a subwoofer, so they both struggle to reproduce sub-bass. However, the Roku's bass extends a bit deeper, so it does a better job reproducing the low rumble and thump in bass-heavy music and movies. It also has more sound customization options, thanks to its four EQ presets. The Roku is also Wi-Fi compatible. On the other hand, the Sony comes with an always-on surround sound mode called S-Force Front Surround, which some listeners may like. Also, the Sony has a better-balanced sound on its center channel than the Roku.

Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar

The Sony HT-S100F is a slightly better overall soundbar than the Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar, but depending on your listening habits, you may prefer one over the other. Both soundbars have integrated subwoofers, but the Sony's more compact design may be preferred by some users. Unlike the Vmai, the Sony has a phantom center, it can play surround content, and can support Dolby Digital via its Optical In port, which is good for watching movies. It also has a Night Mode feature, unlike the Vmai. However, the Vmai performs much better than the Sony with music, thanks to its better-balanced sound profile, more extended bass, and wider soundstage.

Vizio SB2020n-G6

The Sony HT-S100F is a better 2.0 soundbar than the Vizio SB2020n-G6. While the Sony has a slightly less balanced sound profile, it can downmix surround content into stereo. It can also get louder than the Vizio, it has an HDMI In port, and you can wall-mount it. However, the Vizio has a more neutral mid-range and you can also adjust its bass and treble. If you're low on space, the Vizio is also very compact and can be a suitable choice if you're looking for a soundbar for your computer setup. 

TaoTronics TT-SK026

The Sony HT-S100F is a slightly better soundbar than the TaoTronics TT-SK026. Although the Sony is a 2.0 channel soundbar, it has a better build, supports Dolby Digital, and has a shared HDMI ARC/out input. Unlike the TaoTronics, it can also support surround content but it has to downmix it. On the downside, the Sony doesn't offer any EQ options.

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