So, you’ve got yourself a really nice 75-inch OLED SmartTV and you also have a capable Blu-ray player as well. Now, all you have to do is to get a very good home theater speaker system to elevate your viewing experience.
You see, while the things on-screen are important, the sound that your content produces is also equally important as well. And, while you can certainly use your TV’s built-in speakers, they are mediocre at best.
Today, I am going to be talking about the best home theater speakers in 2020. Always go for the full cinematic experience!
Aim for a 5.1 or 7.1 Surround Sound
Most of the home theater speaker systems consist of either 5 or 7 main speakers coupled with a subwoofer. These systems are called ‘surround sound speakers’ simply because they provide an overall immersive sound experience.
That being said, while you can use your TV Soundbar if you have a really good one, nothing compares to the intensity that you feel when you have a complete speaker setup.
With all of those things being said, let’s start with the top 7 list, shall we?
Best Home Theater Speakers
1.SVS Prime Satellite 5.1 Speaker System
The SVS Prime Satellite 5.1 speaker system is ideal for audiophiles but because it provides surround sound, it is also great for a home theater setup as well.
One of the things that I love about this speaker system is that aside from the fact that they are quite easy to install, its placement is quite easier thanks to the smaller satellite speakers. But, do not let their small stature fool you as they can definitely support the lower frequencies really well.
Keep in mind that for you to take advantage of this speaker system, you must have a compatible AV receiver. That being said, its 20-150 watts amplifier power just makes it known that it can produce a really good sound overall.
It is able to support frequencies from 69Hz to 25KHz so you can tell that it doesn’t have any problem with either its bass response, the highs, and the mids.
To complete the setup, it also has a front-firing subwoofer which, for all intents and purposes, can produce an overall balanced sound. It is not punchy as the other speakers that I will talk about on this list, but this definitely deserves some praise due to its smaller footprint.
Speaking of which, people will love the SVS Prime Satellite 5.1 Speaker System because it is very compact, meaning, they are easy to place and install, and for the quality of sound it produces, it is worth the money.
2.Dali Oberon 5
There are some people that take into account how the speakers look like so that they can fit them into their home theater setups. If you have a knack for the aesthetically pleasing, the Dali Oberon 5 might be for you.
This is a 5.1 speaker system that gives you two tweeters, one center speaker, and two floorstanding speakers, coupled with a relatively powerful subwoofer.
Its subwoofer, despite its more compact size, can output as much as 170 watts of power which means that it should not be taken lightly as it can produce a punchier bass response if needed.
The soundstage of this 5.1 speaker system is more balanced and on the warm side so there is little need to tinker with the settings as they are pretty good right out of the box.
There are a lot of color options to choose from. You can either choose the Dark Walnut version, Black Ash, White, or even Light Oak, so there is plenty for everyone to complete their setups the way they want it.
While the previous recommendations do provide impressive sound overall, they are over $1000 and some people might not want to spend that much money on a speaker system. If you want a relatively affordable 5.1 surround sound speaker system, this next one’s for you.
The Onkyo HT-S7800 is a 5.1.2 Dolby-certified surround sound speaker system that delivers impressive sound for the price. It is a 5.1.2 system which means that you also get two additional surround speakers that you can place at the back for a more immersive sound.
Ideally, you want to place the additional speakers at the back, but some of them can actually be installed on your ceiling since they fire sound upward instead of forward. Still, you have the choice of where you want to place them as they are fine when it comes to an audio output standpoint.
Because it is a Dolby Atmos speaker system, you can enjoy a more impressive surround sound than others, although if you are not an audiophile, this wouldn’t make much of a difference.
If there is one thing that I do not like about this system, it would be that you cannot manually turn the device on without turning the receiver on as well. This can be annoying if you want to use the speakers for other purposes, but if you are okay with this, then this is one of the better sounding affordable speakers on the market.
4.Q Acoustics 3050i 5.1 Cinema Pack
While there are 5.1 surround sound speakers that have pretty compact and portable tweeters, you want to go for the bigger ones if you want a more immersive soundstage and that is where this next recommendation comes in.
The Q acoustics 3050i Cinema Pack is a 5.1 speaker system that has two satellite speakers for the left and right channels, a center speaker, and two floorstanding speakers that you can place at the back.
I want to talk more about the floorstanding speakers because they are definitely worth mentioning. It comes with a couple of woofers and a midrange driver that can accommodate the lower and mid frequencies really well. So, if you happen to watch a movie with a lot of shaking here and there, this speaker system will definitely be able to simulate the vibrations needed for an immersive experience.
What about music? The 3050i speakers truly deliver on this front. Although you have to tweak the EQ settings of your receiver/player, it can definitely handle any audio signals it can receive.
Its subwoofer can only output 150W of power but it is still quite powerful as it can support the lower frequencies really well.
Lastly, the speakers themselves are quite stylish and they have a matte finish that makes it easier for you to clean them from time to time.
5.Elac Debut 2.0 5.1 Home Theater System
Some speaker systems rarely have compelling center speakers. What does this mean? Well, if you do not have a good center speaker, voices and dialogues cannot be easily discerned because the quality is just not that good.
Well, the Elac Debut 2.0 speaker system is set to change that. Aside from its amazing center speakers, its tweeters can also pack a punch as well. And, do not forget that it also comes with two floorstanding speakers with 3 woofers each that are able to handle the lower frequencies with aplomb.
Its 200-watt subwoofer also produces a punchy sound and it is great if you are watching action and adventure movies.
The speakers have an all-black finish and their design just makes it easier for you to adapt to your current setup.
Really, the only thing that might hold you back is the steep price of this package, but I do have to say that every dollar you spend on it is worth it.
6.Jamo S 807 HCS
You will be surprised that this next one is a 7.1 surround sound speaker offered at an affordable price.
The Jamo S 807 HCS provides a dynamic sound that is tough to beat at this price point. It is a Dolby Atmos-certified speaker system which means that you will have no problems enjoying your bass-filled tracks.
While its bass is a bit softer compared to the other speaker systems on this list, its subwoofer can pretty much rectify that problem.
Even though the package comes with two floorstanding speakers, the other speakers that are included are compact so you can easily place them wherever you want.
Where this speaker system falls short is its high-frequency response. It could have been better, but hey, it is offered at an affordable price so there really is no reason to complain here.
7.Vizio 5.1 Smartcast Soundbar System
Okay, for the really budget-conscious out there that still want to elevate their home cinema experience, the Vizio 5.1 Smartcast Soundbar system is one that I can wholeheartedly recommend.
As you can probably tell by the product’s name, it comes with a huge soundbar, two satellite speakers, and one subwoofer. Now, you might be wondering if this is truly a 5.1 speaker system and it actually is.
You see, its soundbar is filled with a lot of woofers and drivers so you can still get that full surround sound experience regardless. This just makes it more convenient for you as the setup process has just been made so much easier.
You place the soundbar at the front of your TV and the satellite speakers can be put at the back. The subwoofer should be on the side of your display for a more immersive experience.
The speaker system connects to your TV via the HDMI ARC port which means that you can also take advantage of its Dolby Atmos technology as well.
My only gripe with this package is that you will need to turn on your TV or receiver before you can use the entire thing. Again, if this isn’t an issue for you, this is one of the best budget home theater speaker systems on the market today.
Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo- The Battle of the New ‘Smart’ Speakers
Smart home speakers are not as popular as mobile phones, but in my opinion, it actually should be.
You see, companies are slowly rolling out smart home devices so that your life will be so much easier given the convenience of having them.
That being said, I am going to be talking about the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo speakers because they are the ones that are at the forefront when it comes to smart home speakers. Which of these should you choose? Read on to find out!
For those of you who do not know, Google Nest Audio is actually the Google Home speakers that were released just about a year ago. It seems that Google wanted to use a new moniker to denote that this particular thing can ‘nest’ your other smart home devices.
The Amazon Echo, on the other hand, refers to the medium-sized Bluetooth speaker that the largest online retailer sells. The company is set to release a new version of this device soon, so it would be interesting to see how well it performs.
Even though the new version of the Amazon Echo hasn’t arrived at our doorstep yet for an official review, this is not to say that we can somehow speculate what it can offer, especially considering that the company has provided us with some really good information about it.
With all of those out of the way, let’s talk more about the design first. The Google Nest Audio takes on a more cylindrical approach in that the speaker itself has a higher height than the Amazon Echo.
For that reason, you are getting a 75mm woofer and a single 19mm tweeter. Google touts the Google Nest Audio as a better sound solution compared to its original Google Home Speaker because of the changes.
On the other hand, the Amazon Echo, in my opinion, has better sound quality. That is thanks to its two 20mm tweeters and a huge 76.2mm woofer. Its design is more spherical but I am pleased (and surprised) that Amazon was able to include two tweeters on its Bluetooth speaker implementation.
At the base of the Amazon Echo is a blue light ring that changes the way it emits light depending on the current usage.
Both of these Bluetooth speakers are offered in various colors so you have different options to choose from.
If you look at the design of both speakers, you could make a case that the Amazon Echo wins this round when it comes to pure sound quality. Its two tweeters compared to the single tweeter on the Google Nest Audio, provides it with a much better chance of delivering mid-high sound frequencies.
This is not to discount the fact that Google has some tricks up its sleeves because its AI technology is smart enough to adjust the sound quality on the fly when needed.
Both of the speakers have an adaptive sound feature wherein if it detects that the ambient noise is loud enough, it increases the volume of whatever content you are consuming at that moment to compensate. This is using both of the speakers’ microphones. The volume should normalize to the last known level after it detects that the ambient sound has quieted down.
Of course, this is only my opinion after looking at the spec sheet because I will have to get my hands on these things before I can give my honest opinion. But, my initial assessment would be that the Amazon Echo delivers better sound compared to the Google Nest Audio.
To be able to provide you with ‘smart’ features, both the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo are equipped with processors that can handle just that.
The Google Nest Audio comes with the company’s TeraOPS A53 processor which is a quad-core chip that boasts of better performance compared to the company’s previous Bluetooth speakers.
On the other hand, Amazon’s own speaker is equipped with the AZ1 Neural Edge processor that, according to the company, should be more responsive to voice commands compared to previous versions.
It is hard to say who wins this round. You see, Amazon has Zigbee hub integration which means that your connected smart home devices have better compatibility with the said speaker because of this.
However, we all know that Google’s AI technology is so advanced (and even more accurate) than Alexa, so it could potentially provide you with better features overall compared to Amazon’s Bluetooth speaker.
Of course, I cannot truly say which one wins this round until I get to review these wireless audio solutions. In that case, stay tuned for more.
The Google Nest Audio will be available on October 5, while the Amazon Echo will not be released until later this month (October 22). That being said, both of these speakers will retail for $99.99, so stay tuned for our official product reviews to help you know which one you should ultimately choose for yourself.
Best Tech Deals in October 2020
Technology is always going to be there to help improve our lives. We at Startechnews will provide you with some of the best tech deals every month and today, I am going to be talking about some of the products that have received good price cuts.
Although Black Friday happens in the same month, most of these deals will not be a part of that special day.
Anyway, here are some of the best tech deals in October:
Best Tech Deals in October
1.Apple iPhone XR
Price: $550 (was $599) @BestBuy
If you are fond of using any devices under the iOS ecosystem, then I highly recommend that you get your hands on this Apple iPhone XR deal.
Yes, I know that this device is dated at this point but its specs, as well as its overall performance, are still really good in this day and age.
What I love about iPhones, in general, is that their Bionic chips outmatch the performance of any flagship Android device released in the same year, so you can rest assured that the XR can still be good for at least 2-3 years from now.
That being said, if you are okay with this, you can get head on over to Best Buy to get yours.
Lastly, if you have an old iPhone, you can also surrender that and get even more discounts as well!
2.Amazon Echo Dot
Price: $39.99 (was $49.99) @Amazon
The Amazon Echo Studio is always going to be the best in terms of Amazon’s line of Bluetooth speakers, but there are people who are okay with the convenience and the form factor of the company’s Echo Dot line.
The Amazon Echo Dot is currently sold for just $39.99 and although it is just a $10 discount, it is still pretty good nonetheless.
One of the reasons why I highly recommend that you get one for yourself is that you can actually use Alexa to help you do a lot of different things.
If you are following some sports teams, for example, you can ask Alexa to search for scores and any news about the teams that you are truly passionate about.
The device’s always-on microphone is there to take your voice commands and Alexa will do the rest for you.
Although it is relatively okay as an audio solution, there is more value when it comes to using its ‘smart’ features.
Price: $275 (was $299) @Amazon
The Nintendo Switch is considered to be one of the company’s best gaming consoles yet. The beauty about this particular game console is that you can either play it as-is (handheld) or you can wire it to your TV via HDMI to enjoy your games at a higher fidelity screen.
This deal is for the new version of the Nintendo Switch that aims to fix the joycon drift issue that has plagued the first version of the console and it has a bigger battery life so that you can play untethered for a longer period of time.
You can buy the discounted Nintendo Switch at Amazon.
4.Beats by Dr. Dre Solo Pro
Price: $199.95 (was $299.99) @BestBuy
The Beats by Dre Solo Pro is a really good pair of wireless headphones that have active noise canceling. Although you might not like its on-ear design, this pair of cans is still quite comfortable to use for hours.
You get a lot of different color options to choose from and its ergonomic design allows you to use these headphones without any issues.
The Beats by Dr. Dre Solo Pro currently retails at a discounted price of $199.95 down from $299.99. If you are a fan of the brand or just for good Bluetooth headphones, in general, this is a really good choice.
5.Apple Airpods Pro
Price: $219 (was $249) @Amazon
The Apple Airpods Pro needs no introduction. It is one of the best Bluetooth headphones that you can buy not only for your iPhone but also for your other mobile devices as well.
Part of the reason why so many people love this particular product is due to its active noise-canceling feature. Normally, you can only expect great performance if you are using over-ear headphones, but not the Airpods Pro.
Its active noise-cancellation is really good because it shows you a warning that you shouldn’t enable the feature when you are walking on a busy street. It is really that effective.
It has consistently been compared to other Bluetooth audio solutions on the market, but nothing compares to it unless, of course, if you are talking about high-end over-ear solutions.
If you are interested in getting your hands in an Apple Airpods Pro, you can head over to Amazon to purchase this thing for only $219.
Price: $229 (was $329)
If you want to get your hands on an Android TV that is really good and it doesn’t break the bank, then I suggest that you look at the TCL 43S425.
This is a 43-inch 4K TV that has the famous Roku operating system built-in. That means that you can enjoy a ton of different features, movies, and TV shows without ever having to download any application to do those things.
Although TCL is a relatively new brand in the US, you can rest assured that the build quality and the materials that are used in the making of these television sets are of high-quality.
7.Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
Price: $229 (was $279) @Amazon
We considered the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 as one of the best smartwatches for Android and even though it is a year and a half old at this point, it is still pretty good regardless.
You are looking at a smartwatch with great build quality and you can use this no matter what activities you are going to do.
Its battery life is okay, though not that great. The good thing is that you can top this device up quickly and easily using its included charger.
If you want a smartwatch that allows you to track your physical activity really well, get this product as soon as possible.
8.Bose QC 35 II Wireless
Price: $239 (was $349)
Consistently regarded as one of the best Bluetooth headphones for quite some time now, the Bose QC 35 II Wireless is great both in terms of comfort and sound quality.
Although its overall performance does not rival that of the company’s higher-end models, this is not to downplay whatever this thing is offering because it still provides you with some really amazing features- one of which is its award-winning active noise-canceling capability.
You should get the Bose 35 II Wireless right now because you can have the chance to get a limited edition Rose-Gold color if you order this month.
Apple iPad 8th Generation Review- An Iterative Upgrade
When it comes to ease of use and convenience, people like getting Apple’s products because of its more streamlined approach to everything. Sure, there is a lot to tinker on Android but that is also precisely the reason why the user experience, at least for the layman, is not as great.
There is this saying that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, although I would have liked to say that here, I just don’t think that that approach applies here.
You see, the design of the 8th generation iPad is identical to its predecessor. As in everything about its aesthetics are similar which means that if you want to imagine what the new iPad looks like, all you have to do is look at the 7th gen variant.
Like all things, it can be a good thing or a bad thing. It is a good thing because that familiar design should feel right at home, especially for people that already own an iPad. It is bad because, in this day and age, more and more mobile devices have slimmer bezels and the new iPad still has those atrociously huge ones.
Don’t get me wrong, there are practical uses to having large bezels as it allows you to hold the tablet better when using it in landscape mode, but if you are watching online content, you can’t help but be bothered by the huge sides.
There are two versions of the 8th generation iPad and that is one with WiFi only and the other one having LTE. Its dimensions are 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29. The only difference between the WiFi and the LTE versions is that the latter is a bit heavier at 495 grams compared to the 490 grams of the former.
Thankfully, Apple didn’t remove the headphone jack but if you are going to utilize its built-in speakers, you are better off using a good Bluetooth speaker instead.
The 8th generation iPad has a 10.2-inch Retina Display with a resolution of 2160 x 1620 and 264 pixels per inch or PPI. It has a good peak brightness at 500 nits, though you can still experience some problems when you are outside and the sun is shining brightly.
You can utilize the Apple Pencil on this device and it is also quite accurate as well (just keep in mind that it is sold separately).
What I love about iPads, in general, is that their displays provide you with crisp and clear details. Whether you are working on your documents or perhaps watching your favorite movies and TV shows, they do not disappoint.
Specs and Performance
- CPU: A12 Bionic
- GPU: Apple GPU (4-core graphics)
- RAM: 3GB
- Storage: 32GB/128GB
- Display: 10.2-inch Retina IPS LCD Display, 2160 x 1620, 4:3 aspect ratio, 500 nits brightness, 264 PPI
- OS: iPadOS 14
- Cameras: 8-megapixel (back), 1.2-megapixel (front)
- Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 AC, Bluetooth 4.2
- Battery: 32.4 Wh
So, if the 8th generation iPad has an identical design to its predecessor, what has changed here? Well, I am glad you asked. The only notable difference here is that the new model comes with the A12 Bionic chip and that’s pretty much it.
While you could be unhappy with the change, the new CPU actually beats its predecessor by a lot. By using Geekbench 5, single-core scores are about 60% higher than the 7th gen iPad and about 100% better in multi-core tasks than the previous model.
Granted that the said benchmark is relatively old, you couldn’t argue that the new processor is indeed way better than its predecessor.
Even when you are just using the tablet the way it should be used, you can really tell the difference. This is more evident if you are going to play some games.
Now, do not worry about the 3GB of RAM because the iOS ecosystem is quite streamlined and efficient that you normally wouldn’t need more than that.
It should also go without saying that the included cameras are just there for show and they do not really do anything special, so I don’t think that covering them is warranted here.
Sure, the new 8th generation iPad doesn’t bring a lot to the table, but its new processor is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor. Does that justify buying the new one? Probably not, especially if you already own the 7th generation model.
However, if you own an older iPad and you want better performance across the board, then you could probably spend your money to get one.
My gripe here is that there are only two storage options to choose from. You can get the 32GB variant for only $329 but in this day and age, 32GB is not a lot of storage space.
If you want more storage, you will need to spend an additional $100 premium just to get the 128GB model. In fact, I would go on to say that you should be buying this particular model compared to the 32GB variant. I just don’t like that the company is gouging you another $100 ($429 in total) just to get one.
The 8th generation iPad is disappointing in a lot of ways and its only redeeming quality is its new processor. It would have been nice if there is a redesign or that the lightning cable is changed to USB-C, but there is just not a lot of things to talk about here.
Therefore, I should say that the 8th generation iPad is just an iterative upgrade. Whether you want to buy it or not is entirely up to you.
Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo- The Battle of the New ‘Smart’ Speakers
Best Tech Deals in October 2020
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