The whole point of a soundbar is to provide powerful home cinema sound without taking up lots of your precious living room space. But with the SBM1W, Toshiba has taken that idea to the extreme – it’s a soundbar that’s been shrunk down to the size of a speaker dock, allowing it to slip even more discreetly into its surroundings.
This compact soundbar comes equipped with built-in Bluetooth for wireless music streaming from portable devices, and is accompanied by a subwoofer to add bass oomph. With a decent range of sockets on the back, you can use it to boost sound from your TV, Blu-ray player or laptop, making it a versatile audio solution.
The soundbar measures just 72mm high by 290mm wide, a fraction of the size of a regular soundbar. It’s designed to be perched on a tabletop rather than wall mounted but leaves a very small footprint.
The styling is minimal and modest – it’s basically a black block with sloping edges covered in speaker cloth and a recessed panel on the back housing the sockets. There’s no display panel, only a pair of lights that shine through the cloth, one for power, one for Bluetooth status. On top you’ll find a row of silver buttons allowing you to control power, volume, input and Bluetooth selection.
Rear socketry is pretty good for such a small unit. You get optical and digital audio inputs, analogue stereo input and a 3.5mm minijack input.
There’s also an L/C/R switch that lets you offset the sound when the unit is placed off-centre. So if you place the unit slightly to the left of your TV, slide it to ‘L’ and it shifts sound to the right hand side of the speakers to make it seem like it’s central.
The cube-shaped subwoofer is compact and should be easy to accommodate, but on the downside it’s not wireless. It links to the soundbar using a single cable that will look ungainly unless you find a clever way of hiding it, and because it’s not very long you need to install the sub nearby.
The SMB1W offers a quoted power output of 60W in total, with 4 x 10W for the soundbar and 20W for the sub. There are four 51mm speaker drivers inside the soundbar and a 102mm driver in the sub.
The listening experience is boosted further by Sonic Emotion Absolute 3D sound processing, which includes Movie, Music and Game presets and a 3D mode that attempts to create a wide soundfield, much like a real surround sound system.