When you have a Tech Dad™, shopping for the holidays gets expensive, and also elusive since he buys almost everything for himself. This year, however, I’ve got my eye on the target. Because my wife has been reviewing so many soundbars lately, he unsurprisingly wants one in every room. And while I’m not sure I can afford to fully accommodate that request, he did mention he planned on buying a soundbar for under $300, preferably under $250 if possible. He considered picking up the Roku Streambar when it was on sale over Black Friday/Blyber Weekend/Cyber Monday but says he doesn’t need the streaming functionality since it’s already built into his TVs.
Although he does some gaming, my dad is in his mid-50s and mostly just wants shows and movies to sound better than with the integrated TV speakers. I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to pack a touch of Atmos in there as well. After all, he did mention an affinity for surround sound, even if he doesn’t have the space, budget, or cable management for a whole 5.1 set. Complete with Dolby Atmos, dual subwoofers, and a “Roku TV-ready” design, my next thought was to pick up a TCL Alto 8i, which seems to offer more audio-centric features as opposed to streaming media. That said, I can’t find a whole lot of expert reviews from the tech sites I tend to frequent, so I’m a little wary of this option.
Knowing what you now know about my father, and my budget of around $200, what should I do, Co-opulace? I suspect the move is to swipe up that TCL before it goes off sale, but what if it’s a nuisance to use? Or the sound pales in comparison to other models in its price range? Thanks to Victoria, I’ve spent countless hours “testing” video games on her soundbar review units, but I know next to nothing about the budget category. Apart from the Streambar, all the best soundbars I know exceed that threshold, leaving me at a last-minute loss as to what I should buy my dad in time for Christmas next week.