Tcl vs Vizio Soundbar: High-End to Budget Options

Looking for an affordable home theater solution? TCL and Vizio are some of the best brands to produce user-friendly products. The famous Roku TV manufacturer started manufacturing Roku friendly soundbars. Soundbars are designed to act as an upgrade and these brands meet such requirements.

Comparing TCL vs Vizio soundbar, the TCL soundbar price is slightly lower than Vizio. Vizio tend to produce more versatile options having soundbars at different price range. With Vizio you have the option to increase the number of channels in the soundbar. Some models like the Vizio Elevate comes with dedicated rear speakers along with the sub.

TCL doesn’t have rear speaker option, instead they produce decent soundbar with subwoofers and tries to upgrade the audio with Dolby Atmos. Most TCL models have HDMI ports, but older Vizio older models might lack this option as well. Both brands hold its reputation focusing on undistorted spacious sound with several tweaking options.

TCL vs Vizio soundbar: Best Soundbar Review

Here, we have selected some of the best soundbars and compared them in different categories.

Best high-end soundbar:

 Vizio ElevateTCL Alto 9+
Channel5.1.43.1
DriversSoundbar: 46 x 60 mm Dual Woofer (1), 20 mm Tweeter (1) each (Left/Right Speaker)
43 x 66 mm Dual Woofer (1), 20 mm Tweeter (1) (center speaker)
Height Speaker: 46 x 60 mm Woofer (1), 20 mm Tweeter (1) each
Surround Speakers: 54 mm Full Range Driver each
Surround Height Speakers: 50 mm Full Range Driver each
Subwoofer: 8”
Soundbar: 2.5”x1.5” driver
1” tweeter
Subwoofer: 6.5”
SPL107dB>100dB
Soundbar dimension48.00" x 2.64" x 6.50"41.3" W x 2.3" H x 4.3" D
FeaturesDTS TruVolume, DTS Virtual:X, Dolby AtmosDolby Digital / Dolby Digital Plus / TrueHD / Dolby Atmos
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Product differentiator:

The Vizio Elevate and TCL Alto 9+ both have very uncommon and eye-catching design. Although the Elevate is a bit costly, it is packed with features. The Alto 9+ is a low-budget solution for your Roku TV.

Feature and performance:

Comparing TCL vs Vizio soundbar 2020, the Vizio Elevate has a 5.1.4 channel which has rear speakers and it quite costly. TCL Alto 9+ has 3.1 channel and has a different look compared to standard soundbar designs.

There are curved gaps on both sides of the front part. The two sides have openings to produce sound and the use of RAY·DANZ Technology creates wider soundstage. Vizio revolving soundbar also has a unique look.

This rotating soundbar takes Dolby Atmos seriously and use drivers to deliver sound upward towards the ceiling. It has a total of 18 speakers with swiveling drivers at the left and right end. The bar rotates when it detects Atmos content.

Usually subs with 8” drivers are capable of filling large rooms.  The bass is punchier and will satisfy bassheads. The rear speakers forward and up-firing drivers. With a SPL of 107 stated by the manufacturer, the Vizio Elevate is best for large rooms.

The true surround sound is much better than other alternatives like Samsung HW-Q900T 7.1.2 soundbar. The center channel focuses on optimum clarity. The TCL soundbar dimension indicates that it is ideal for 55” TCL TV but it will work with other TVs as well.

This Dolby Atmos soundbar is Roku TV ready which means you need only one remote to control both the soundbar and the TV. The wireless rear ported subwoofer produces average bass. The dedicated center channel ensures dialogue clarity.

The left/right drivers create multi-dimensional, immersive audio with moderate bass. The sound will bounce off walls creating wider field. With easy setup and ease of use, it is the best soundbar for Roku TV.

Fig: TCL Alto 9+ soundbar

Comparing TCL vs Vizio, the Elevate has HDMI eARC but the Alto 9+ has HDMI ARC. If you think the HDMI eARC is important for you, then the decision is clear.  Another difference is the setup, the TCL Alto 9+ is comparatively easier to setup than Vizio.

Overall, the Atmos and surround performance of Alto 9+ is average because of downmixing sound to stereo.

Vizio ElevateTCL Alto 9+
Pros:
o Optical, USB, analog ports
o Wireless connectivity with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
o Powerful surround sound
o Excellent Atmos sound effect
Cons:
o No Apple AirPlay or voice support
Pros:
o Built-in Chromecast
o Works with Apple AirPlay2, Google Home, Alexa
o Cheap
o Wi-Fi & Bluetooth permits wireless connectivity

Cons:
o Not ideal for large rooms

Best Dolby Atmos Sounbar:

 Vizio SB36312-G6TCL 8i
Channels3.1.22.1
DriversSoundbar: 2 1.65" x 2.76" Full Range Driver for 3 channel, 2 1.65" x 2.76" Full Range Driver for 2 channelSoundbar: 1.73" x 2.91" driver, 1”x2 tweeter
SubwooferDedicated
5” driver
Built-in
3" x 2, Passive Radiator x4
SPL103dB97dB
Soundbar dimension36" x 2.50" x 3.20"39.4" W x 2.6" H x 5.0" D
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Product differentiator:

What makes these TCl vs Vizio soundbars unique is their Dolby Atmos compatibility at a reasonable cost.  Major features like Bluetooth, HDMI all are included.

Features and performance:

To get the best out of Atmos soundbar, they should have dedicated up-firing drivers and the Vizio Atmos soundbar fulfils it. Comparing Vizio vs TCL soundbar, the Vizio2019 model has 3.1.2 channels whereas the TCL has 2.0 channel with built-in subwoofer.

Comparing Vizio SB36312-G6 vs Vizio Elevate, the subwoofer design is night and day. The Vizio SB36312-G6 has a slim subwoofer which is best if you have messy room where you can easily hide the sub. The setup is quite simple and the design along with features indicate it is best for tight spaces.

Use the Vizio app to adjust settings needed for Atmos. Being compatible with Dolby Atmos and DTS: X the sound quality is full, room-filling and immersive. The two up-firing drivers effectively creates a three-dimensional sound.

Both these models support [email protected] pass-through along with HDR 10. They also have very straightforward and simple setup. The TCL 2020 model is ideal for 55 inch TV or larger size. The built-in dual subwoofer produces decent bass. The bass is there but you should not expect tight or room-shaking bass.

Fig: Vizio SB36312-G6 soundbar

If we compare TCL Alto 8i vs Vizio SB36312-G6 soundbars, we see that the Vizio has a higher SPL of 103dB and can get as low as 40Hz. The bass will be comparatively better in Vizio than with TCL. Overall, the Vizio has good soundstage and great stereo dynamics.

The TCL Dolby Atmos soundbar will not suit you if you love balanced or neutral audio profile. The inclusion of dedicated center channel would have improved dialogue or vocal clarity even more. Similar to Vizio, it can also get quite loud.

It focuses on producing True Surround sound and supports major features like Atmos, Dolby Digital and Digital Plus. If you can overlook the fact that this budget-friendly TCL has moderate sound profile, then you can easily choose it.

Vizio SB36312-G6

Pros

  • o   Supports Google Assistant
  • o   Good build quality with MDF
  • o   Remote control with LCD display
  • o   Affordable
  • o   Excellent performance with height channel

Cons

  • o   No HDMI eARC

TCL 8i

Pros

  • o   Cheap
  • o   Roku TV ready
  • o   Supports Bluetooth
  • o   Dual built-in sub
  • o   Average audio quality

Cons

  • o   No Wi-Fi or Chromecast

Best soundbar under $150

 Vizio SB3621n-H8TCL Alto 6+
Channels2.12.1
DriversSoundbar: One 1.89" x 3.54" Full Range Driver each Subwoofer: 5”Soundbar: 1.75" x 3.94" Racetrack x2
Subwoofer: 5.25”
SPL100dB101dB
Subwoofer frequency response50HzUnknown
Soundbar dimension36.00" x 2.17" x 3.19"31.5 " W x 2.4" Hx 4.2" D
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Product differentiator:

If you don’t bother much about Dolby Atmos, you can look into these soundbar models. Spending hours on research, we decided that the Vizio SB3621n-H8 and TCL Alto 6+ are some of the best soundbars under $150.

Features and performance

The Vizio SB3621n-H8 doesn’t support any advanced features nor have multi-driver design like the models we have reviewed above. This is similar for TCL Alto 6+ and you can consider these as entry-level soundbars. Omitting Wi-Fi, Chromecast or voice assistants, these models only support Bluetooth.

Bluetooth is also an excellent wireless option where you can stream files from Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, etc. Both these TCL and Vizio models come with a 5” and 5.25” driver subwoofers. Comparing TCL vs Vizio, Vizio doesn’t have any HDMI ports.

Since there are alternative ways of connection, you can connect the Blu-ray player through digital cable. The TCL 2020 model allows you to choose from three modes: Movies, Music or TV.  The dialogues are clear, the sound is powerful then TV audio and the sub has the extra oomph.

The soundbar is made from plastic and MDF. The size is such that you can easily use with a 55” TV. The TCL soundbar soundstage and stereo dynamics is satisfying but not outstanding. These soundbars can get very loud as well.

The Vizio soundbar audio quality is just what we expect from an entry-level soundbar. It is clear, moderately room-filling and upgrades the TV audio dramatically. The bass is deep and tight. Vizio SB3621n-H8 supports DTS Virtual: X which is known to produce a surround sound effect virtually.

Comparing TCL vs Vizio, the TCL Alto 6+ uses Dolby Audio for creating a room-filling surround sound. Since none of these bars use any up-firing speakers or rear speakers, the surround sound will be weaker compared to those speakers which have these. If HDMI ARC is important for you, then the choice becomes clear.

Vizio SB3621n-H8

Pros

o   Reasonable price

o   Supports DTS Virtual: X and DTS TruVolume

o   Sub can get as low as 50 Hz

o   Easy setup

Cons:

o   No HDMI ports

TCL Alto 6+

Pros

o   Cheaper

o   Supports Bluetooth

o   Includes a wireless sub

o   HDMI ARC

Cons

o   Will not satisfy audiophiles

How I rated the TCL vs Vizio soundbar models:

I have examined and realized certain features is a must-be while choosing a soundbar. The following information will educate users and they can make a wise choice.

Use case

When I say ‘use case’, it basically includes everything. Usually soundbars are best for movies, but you can use them for music or games. The room size doesn’t matter specifically, because soundbars doesn’t produce powerful room-filling audio.

A small to medium sized room will be best for soundbars so that you can achieve the moderate room filling sound. The use case scenario also includes your expectation from a soundbar. If you simply want an upgrade from the TV speakers, you can choose a decent 2.1 or 3.1 soundbar.

Increasing your expectations will lead to adding a subwoofer or rear speakers to the soundbar. You can also choose 5.1, 7.1.4 or 9.1 soundbar.

Height effect

Different models incorporate the height effect in different ways. Some uses the virtual height effect; others have upfiring speakers or rear speakers which give height effect. It is evident that the upfiring drivers will have a stronger effect than virtual sound.

The inclusion of Dolby Atmos is a must, so if you really love the height effect in movies, your soundbar should have these.

Budget

Soundbars are generally cheap and very affordable. This is true for TCL and Vizio soundbars as well. You can get decent soundbar under $150 easily. Increasing your budget will definitely increase the soundbar performance.

It will also give you large subwoofer along with rear speakers. The build quality will also be premium. Soundbar is an affordable solution in a home theater where each buyer can take advantage from.

TCL vs Vizio soundbars: In-Depth analysis

What are the major differences between TCL and Vizio soundbars and their brands? Let’s take a look.

Brand reliability

Marketing strategies shows consumers rely on one brand more than the other. This subconsciously affects the buying experience. Vizio came into the market later than many well-known brands, but gained popularity very quickly.

Vizio have been manufacturing soundbars before TCL decided to follow the trend. Whether you look for a TV or soundbar, Vizio gained consumer reliability ensuring latest technology, decent quality at reasonable cost.

TCL focused on their Roku TVs while making soundbars but you can definitely you other TV brands. While both these brands focuses on budget-friendly products, TCL soundbars are even cheaper than Vizio.

Manufacturing expertise

As mentioned, Vizio started making soundbars way before TCL. Vizio have wide varieties of soundbar. They vary in number of channels like 2.1, 3.1.2 or even higher up to 5.1.4. TCL channels are limited to 3.1.

This doesn’t mean the TCL soundbars are worthless, there are consumer groups who seek a simple 2.0, 2.1 or a 3.1 solution. Some specific models have built-in subwoofer which is impressive in case you can’t afford a sub nor have any space for it.

While most models have Dolby Atmos compatibility, Vizio comes with dedicated drivers which brings the most out of Atmos effect. Dedicated center channel or drivers on both sides of the soundbar often increases the soundstage and can create a truly powerful surround sound.

Justice scale

TCL vs Vizio soundbar, which is better? According to audio enthusiasts and experts, the scale slightly tilts towards Vizio soundbar. TCL isn’t bad at all, the fact is, Vizio might be slightly better because is it popular among broader percentage of users.

Specific features

TCL soundbars are manufactured in recent years, so most modern features are available in them. Choosing between TCL and Vizio soundbars, look whether the specific model has everything you need. It could be AirPlay 2, Wi-Fi, Chromecast compatibility or the inclusion of HDMI port.

Best alternatives:

Yamaha YAS-109

This Yamaha soundbar is best for tight spaces because it has built-in dual subwoofer. It supports DTS Virtual: X for creating immersive sound. The bar has built-in Alexa and works with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. You can also control it with an app. It is a bar packed with features.

Sony S100F 2.0ch Soundbar

This Sony soundbar is one of the best soundbar under $100. It looks sleek and performs in a simple and decent manner. HDMI ARC helps to connect to TVs. Voice enhancement feature improves dialogues. The slim profile is best if you don’t need a subwoofer. The sound is crisp and clear.

SAMSUNG 3.1ch A650 soundbar

No products found.

This Samsung soundbar uses Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS Virtual:X to create powerful room-filling audio. They also produce optimized sound for gaming and clear vocals with dedicated center channel. The sub deals well with the low-end and you can also include Wireless Rear Speaker Kit with it.

Parting words

Comparing TCL vs Vizio soundbars, TCL soundbars are best if you have TCL Roku TVs due to their seamless and tight integration. Here, the setup will be easier, you can use a single remote for both soundbar and easier tweaking of sound options.

They are also best for small to medium sized rooms. The audio in most cases is satisfying, clear and can get very loud. So, TCL soundbars show excellent performance to price ratio. You will be impressed; given that you aren’t going to scrutinize minute details.

The Alto 9+ and 8i supports Wi-Fi and Chromecast along with Bluetooth. If budget is your barrier, then you can easily choose a Dolby Atmos soundbar at reasonable cost.Vizio offers you different soundbar models.

So if you think you need powerful sound from your soundbar, you can increase your budget and go for Vizio Elevate or the Vizio SB36312-G6. The surround sound and height channel effect is superior to TCL due to specific drivers are assigned. Both TCL and Vizio remote controls are user friendly.

FAQ

This FAQ is here to wave you a best of luck posture with solving some of your problems. let’s find out more!

How to pair Vizio soundbar with Bluetooth?

The steps below show how to connect Bluetooth:

  • Look for the Bluetooth button on the soundbar
  • Push it and wait for 5s
  • You can also use the remote (press BT pair button)
  • The LED lights will flash
  • Go to the Bluetooth device, turn on Bluetooth
  • Scan for VIZIO SB36312*
  • Wait for the pairing to be complete.

How to use the HDMI port for Vizio Elevate?

HDMI is the best connection for TV or any other device.

  • Take eARC compatible cable to connect the soundbar into the HDMI eARC port of TV
  • Connect to the HDMI 1 (ARC/eARC) of the TV
  • Complete the connection by inserting the other end to the HDMI port of the bar
  • On your TV, go to Audio menu, then set the Digital Audio to Digital or Bitstream
  • Go to System settings, then turn on the CEC and ARC features
  • Go to CEC menu, then to Device Discovery
  • Register the bar to the TV.

How to set Wi-Fi connection for TCL Alto 9+?

Follow these steps to establish Wi-Fi connection:

  • Use your smartphone, go to Google Home
  • Sign in to Google Home
  • Go to settings then Wi-Fi
  • Select TCL RAY-DANZ
  • Follow the instructions to complete the setup
  • The NEW SW OK/NOT shows on the display
  • The green LED glows which means the Wi-Fi is established
  • Make sure the router is closer to the soundbar avoiding any Line of Sight.