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TaoTronics TT-SK026 Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed May 14, 2020 at 09:04 am
TaoTronics TT-SK026 Picture
5.7
Mixed Usage
7.5
Dialogue/TV Shows
6.0
Music
4.2
Movies
Channels
2.1

The TaoTronics TT-SK026 is a 2.1 channel soundbar best suited for dialogue and TV shows. It can get loud enough for large rooms or house parties and comes with three presets, including a News preset that acts as a dialogue enhancement feature. However, although it has a slightly bass-heavy sound profile, it struggles to produce a deep, rumbly bass that some listeners may like. The soundbar itself doesn't have the most sturdy build, and its plastic body feels cheap. It also lacks an HDMI In input and can only support PCM-format content.

Our Verdict

5.7 Mixed Usage

The TaoTronics TT-SK026 is disappointing for mixed use. It has a slight tilt in its tonal balance, which produces a more bass-heavy sound but at the same time, it struggles to produce thump and rumble. Its soundstage isn't very spacious or wide either and it doesn't sound focused. However, it does a better job with dialogue content, especially when using the News preset. It can also get loud enough to play your favorite music during a house party but there's slight distortion at max volume.

Pros
  • Can wirelessly play audio via a Bluetooth connection.
  • Text-display interface.
Cons
  • Cheap-feeling build.
  • No HDMI In port.
  • Only supports PCM-format content.
  • Lacks a thumpy sub-bass and has a dark, dull treble.
7.5 Dialogue/TV Shows

The TaoTronics TT-SK026 is good for dialogue and TV shows. It has a News preset that acts as a dialogue enhancement feature which may help improve vocal clarity and volume. It can also get decently loud, but there's still a little bit of distortion at max volume.

6.0 Music

The TaoTronics TT-SK026 is mediocre for music. It has a slightly bass-heavy sound profile, which fans of EDM and hip-hop may enjoy. However, the treble is dark and dull, making most instruments and vocals lose detail and brightness while sibilants such as cymbals or S and T sounds lose their sparkle. This soundbar also struggles to create a soundstage larger than its own size. However, it can get loud enough for house parties or larger rooms.

4.2 Movies

The TaoTronics TT-SK026 is poor for movies. While it can get loud enough for a larger room, it lacks a rumbly and thumpy bass, making explosions in action movies sound less immersive. This soundbar also has a mediocre soundstage that's limited to the size of the bar itself and it also doesn't have height channels or support Atmos content.

  • 5.7 Mixed Usage
  • 7.5 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 6.0 Music
  • 4.2 Movies

Check Price

TaoTronics TT-SK026
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The TaoTronics TT-SK026 is a 2.1 soundbar from TaoTronics, a retailer that produces budget-friendly products. Its main competitors are the TaoTronics TT-SK023, Sony HT-S100F, and the AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth.

Design
Design
Style - Bar

The TaoTronics TT-SK026 is a simply designed soundbar. It has a cheap, black plastic build with rounded edges, which help to make it look less blocky. There's also a tight fabric wrap on the front of the bar.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

The TaoTronics TT-SK026 has an integrated subwoofer.

Design
Style - Satellites

This setup doesn't have satellites.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Bar Width 35.1" (89.1 cm)
Bar Height 2.4" (6.2 cm)
Bar Depth 4.4" (11.3 cm)

The TaoTronics TT-SK026 is a fairly long soundbar and it may have problems fitting between the legs of most 55-inch TV stands. However, if you put it in front of your TV, it shouldn't block your screen unless your TV sits directly on the table.

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

The TaoTronics TT-SK026 has an integrated subwoofer.

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

This setup doesn't have satellites.

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

The back of this soundbar is plasticky. It has two holes on the back for mounting the bar but because of them, the soundbar won't be flush against the wall. It also has an opening for the input ports.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
N/A

The TaoTronics TT-SK026 has an integrated subwoofer.

Design
Back - Satellites
Sat Mounting Type
N/A

This setup doesn't have satellites.

6.0
Design
Build Quality

The TaoTronics TT-SK026 has a mediocre build. Made mostly of plastic, it has a cheap feel that makes it seem fragile if dropped. The front of the bar is covered in a similarly cheap fabric that's tightly wrapped on the bar's body.

Design
In The Box
HDMI Cable Length
N/A
Digital Optical Cable Length
5.0 ft (1.5 m)

  • Manuals
  • Remote (batteries not included, requires 2x AAA)
  • Optical cable
  • Power cord
  • Stereo RCA to 3.5mm audio cable
  • Mounting screws

Sound
6.1
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
ST Slope
-0.53
ST Std. Err.
3.38 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
89.8 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
18.0 kHz

The TaoTronics TT-SK026 has an adequate stereo frequency response. On Music mode, this soundbar has a slight tilt in its tonal balance, producing a more bass-heavy sound, which can give you a more punchy and warm sound. However, it can't really produce full thump and rumble, so explosions in action movies sound shallow. The lack of treble also affects the detail and brightness of vocals and most instruments. It also makes higher-pitched sounds, like sibilants, dark and dull.

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

The stereo soundstage is mediocre. The soundstage is limited to about the size of the bar itself and isn't really focused.

7.9
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
ST SPL @ Max Volume
96.5 dB SPL
ST DRC @ Max Volume
2.26 dB

The stereo dynamics performance of the TaoTronics TT-SK026 is good. This soundbar can get loud, which is suited for large spaces or if you're having a party. However, at max volume, there's some pumping and compression artifacts, particularly in the bass and treble range.

7.3
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
ST Weighted THD @ 80
0.48
ST Weighted THD @ Max Volume
3.83

The THD performance of this soundbar is okay. At a normal volume, you should get a clean and pure sound. However, if you're listening to audio at max volume, there's some distortion, but this may not be noticeable to all listeners.

0
Sound
Center
C Localization
N/A
C Slope
N/A
C Std. Err.
N/A
C SPL @ Max Volume
N/A
C Weighted THD @ 80
N/A
C Weighted THD @ Max Volume
N/A

The TaoTronics TT-SK026 only supports PCM content and can't even decode or downmix surround sound content.

0
Sound
Surrounds
Sr Localization
N/A
Rears
N/A
Sr Slope
N/A
Sr Std. Err.
N/A
Sr SPL @ Max Volume
N/A
Sr Weighted THD @ 80
N/A
Sr Weighted THD @ Max Volume
N/A

This soundbar doesn't have surround channels.

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 system doesn't have height channels and it doesn't support Atmos.

2.1
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
No
Dialogue Enhancement
Yes
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
No
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
No
Bass Adjustment
No
Treble Adjustment
No
EQ
Presets
Surround Level Adjustment
N/A
Rear Level Adjustment
N/A
Height Level Adjustment
N/A
Virtual Surround
No

This soundbar has limited sound enhancement features. There's three EQ presets called Music, Movies, and News. The News preset acts as a dialogue enhancement feature and is a nice touch if you like to listen to more vocal-centric content like podcasts or TV shows.

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

This soundbar has very limited connections. While it has optical audio in, an aux input, and a coaxial in, it lacks everything else. Some may find the lack of an HDMI input especially disappointing. While you won't be able to use this soundbar as a hub for your other devices, these inputs should be enough if you're just listening to tunes from your mobile device or TV.

0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
No
Dolby Atmos
No
Dolby Digital
No
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 soundbar doesn't have an HDMI connection and can't play content via an ARC connection.

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

This soundbar doesn't have a full HDMI In port which would allow it to connect to external devices that support the reproduction of more advanced sound formats like Dolby Atmos or DTS:X.

0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
No
DTS
No

This soundbar only supports PCM-format content. If you use this soundbar with a TV, the manual mentions that you need to change your TV settings to PCM.

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

This soundbar can connect to any device that supports Bluetooth such as a smartphone or tablet. However, you won't be able to use a Wi-Fi connection and you won't be able to stream music using Chromecast or Apple AirPlay.

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

The TaoTronics TT-SK026 doesn't have an HDMI port and can't serve as a hub between your devices and your TV.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
N/A

This soundbar has a subwoofer integrated directly into the bar.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
N/A

This setup doesn't have satellites.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
Yes

The interface of the TaoTronics TT-SK026 is much easier to understand than the TaoTronics TT-SK023 as it can display text to let you know which settings you change. It can also show the volume level.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

This soundbar has simple controls located on the top of the bar. There's a power button, a preset sound mode cycle, an input mode cycle, and volume up and down buttons.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

The TaoTronics TT-SK026 has a remote with basic controls. You can switch between different inputs, cycle through EQs, and mute the soundbar. While there's also a play/pause and a skip track button, it only works if you're connected to the soundbar via Bluetooth.

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

This soundbar doesn't have a companion app.

Additional Features
Other Features
Power Saving
No
HDMI CEC (TV Remote Control)
No

This soundbar doesn't support HDMI, so you won't be able to use your TV's remote to control this soundbar. It also doesn't have any power-saving features.

Compared to other soundbars

The TaoTronics TT-SK026 is an entry-level 2.1 channel soundbar. It has a balanced mid-range and a unique text-display interface. However, it has a cheap-feeling build which is common among budget soundbars, it only supports PCM-format content, and despite its integrated subwoofer, it still lacks deep, thumpy bass. If you're still shopping around, check out our recommendations for the best budget soundbars, the best soundbars under $200, and the best soundbars for dialogue.

Samsung HW-Q90R
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Samsung HW-Q90R and the TaoTronics TT-SK026 are completely different soundbar setups. The Samsung is a 7.1.4 setup that has a better-balanced sound that still delivers a thumpy bass. It also has phantom surround and height channels that help create a more immersive listening experience, as well as an HDMI port that can support surround sound and object-based sound formats. The TaoTronics, on the other hand, is an entry-level 2.1 soundbar. It doesn't have a subwoofer or satellites and it also has limited connectivity options.

TaoTronics TT-SK023
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The TaoTronics TT-SK026 is a slightly better soundbar than the TaoTronics TT-SK023. The TT-SK026 has an integrated subwoofer with a more balanced sound profile and a text display interface. However, while the TT-SK023 is a 2.0 soundbar, it has a more sturdy build.

Samsung HW-Q80R
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Samsung HW-Q80R and the TaoTronics TT-SK026 are different soundbar setups. The Samsung is a 5.1.2 setup that delivers a good dose of bass to your audio thanks to its wireless subwoofer. It has phantom surround and height channels to help create a more immersive listening experience, and you can tweak its sound using its graphic EQ. It even has an HDMI port to support most surround sound and object-based sound content. The TaoTronics, on the other hand, is an entry-level 2.1 soundbar. It doesn't have a subwoofer or satellites and it also has limited connectivity options.

Sony HT-S200F
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sony HT-S200F is a better performing 2.1 channel soundbar than the TaoTronics TT-SK026. It has a more neutral sound profile, it can downmix surround content, and it also has a shared HDMI ARC/Out input. The Sony can even play Dolby Digital content and it has a power-saving mode.

Sonos Playbar
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sonos Playbar is a better soundbar than the TaoTronics TT-SK026. The Sonos feels better built, it can produce a wider stereo soundstage, and unlike the TaoTronics, it can downmix surround content instead of not supporting it at all. You can also easily upgrade the Sonos' setup down the line if you decide you want a more immersive experience. However, you can wirelessly connect to the TaoTronics using Bluetooth while the Sonos can only support Wi-Fi. 

Sony HT-S100F
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

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.

AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The TaoTronics TT-SK026 is a slightly better performing soundbar than the AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth. Although they're both 2.1 channel soundbars, the TaoTronics has a more balanced sound profile and it can get slightly louder but with fewer compression artifacts. However, the AmazonBasics can support Dolby Digital content and it has an auto-off timer.

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