Vizio S2121w-D0 Sound Stand review: A so-so sound stand

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CNET Editors' Rating

2.5 stars OK
  • Overall: 5.9
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 6.0
  • Sound quality: 5.0
  • Value: 6.0
Review Date:

The Good The inexpensive Vizio S2121w-D0 is a well-built sound stand despite its plastic housing. The speaker is able to go down pretty low without a subwoofer, it offers Bluetooth and DTS support, and has a stylish remote.

The Bad Movies sound harsh and boomy, and music sounds muddy; default bass setting is way too high, it has a plastic construction versus competitors' wood and glass; its LED display is hard to decipher.

The Bottom Line The Vizio S2121w-D0 Sound Stand is cheap but not a good value, with quality that pales against the competition -- including Vizio's own sound bars.

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The sound bar. It's been around for a decade, and if you're looking to upgrade your TV's sound, it is the go-to gadget. But sound bars have their shortcomings. They can block your TV's remote sensor, and some of the cheaper ones lack bass punch.

Enter the sound stand: it's larger for better bass response, and it sits under your TV so it doesn't block your view or the remote's.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The Vizio S2121w-D0 is the company's first attempt at this fledgling category and while it gets some things right, it also gets some wrong. Yes, it supports a larger number of sound formats than some competitors -- both Dolby and DTS -- but no, its onboard sub creates an overwhelming amount of bass. As Meghan Trainor says: "I'm all about that bass, 'bout that bass, no treble." Movie sound is simultaneously brash and boomy as a result, even with the sub turned right down. Surprisingly, music is just boring.

Until we reviewed the Vizio Sound Stand it seemed that Vizio could do no wrong: the Vizio S5430w and S5451w sound bars are some of the best at their respective price points and eminently recommendable. In comparison, Vizio's first step into the new form factor is frankly disappointing, especially given the strength of the Japanese (Sony and Pioneer) competition.

Design

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Interestingly the Sound Stand Vizio is releasing is a little larger than the model it previewed at CES 2014, having grown by 1.5 inches inch in depth, which means it's now capable of carrying larger and heavier TVs. The Sound Stand is made to match screens up to 55 inches and can support loads up to 60 pounds. The Vizio is relatively thick at 3 inches tall, filling out at 21 inches wide and 15.5 inches deep.

Given the $300 price tag, the construction is unsurprisingly of plastic, but recent competition from the Pioneer SP-SB03 and the Sony XT1 has challenged the idea that "cheap = plastic" with their respective wood veneers and glass tops.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The remote control is surprisingly premium-feeling compared with the plasticky remotes that ship with competitors. It's compact, straightforward, and economical by the number of buttons it uses, though the small "TSHD" button may initially confuse some users (TruSurround effect control).

Features

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The Vizio Sound Stand S2121w-D0 is a 2.1 system, featuring two 2.5-inch drivers with a built-in 5.25-inch subwoofer; Vizio claims that the sound stand is capable of reaching down to 55Hz.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Color black
  • Amplification Type active
  • Connectivity Technology wired