Watching a movie at home and watching a movie in a cinema are 2 different experiences. One step in bridging the gap is by buying a large TV. 42-inch displays are good for starters and a lot of them have great picture quality. However, the audio quality is often the weak spot and while it may be fine for standard TV programs, high-definition movies can leave you disappointed unless you go for a powerful sound system. Some of the hurdles that you will face include the price, setup and possible electric bill increase. If you cannot make the big leap to a fully-fledged sound system, you could opt for a sound bar instead. An ideal sound bar nowadays should have a wireless subwoofer and Bluetooth streaming so you don’t need extra wires for setup and convenient streaming. The entry-level LG NB2030A falls short in that respect but the LG NB3530A targets the highly competitive $299 zone and it hopes to use its powerful specs and mainstream features to its advantage.
LG went all out in designing the NB3530A. Not only is the build quality above average for the price but the glossy black finish makes the device a looker. It is a bit thicker than LG’s flagship sound bar but it is less than a meter wide making this a suitable companion for 42-inch TVs. Pair it up with an LG TV and you will really notice the harmony.
The front side is all gloss with some small icons on the upper center which represent the touch controls. The small info display lies in the very middle and the small LG logo is on the bottom. Just next to the logo is a covered USB port which you can open whenever you feel like plugging in a flash drive to play any MP3 or WMA files that happen to be stored there. There is no speaker grill that covers the pair of drivers and tweeter found on far left and right portions of the front panel to add some depth to the sound.
There are very few ports found on the back of the LG NB3530A and that can be a good thing because you could immediately figure out how to set up the sound bar. There are no external speakers to worry about since the left and right channels are already part of the sound bar unit. All you have to worry about is the connection to the TV and you only have 2 optical inputs to work with. Just take the included optical cable and hook it up to one of the ports and you are all set. The bad news? There are no HDMI ports so you have to go for a pricier model if you like the LG brand and want better interaction between the sound bar’s remote control and the TV. The port in jack is also available if you want to let portable devices use the sound bar.
The NB3530A has its own separate subwoofer and it does not require a physical connection to the sound bar. It communicates wirelessly and you don’t have to go through any complicated pairing process to get the 2 components working with each other.
This means that you can freely mount the sound bar to the wall without worrying about where to place the subwoofer. In fact, the sound bar looks great on the wall especially if the TV is mounted to the wall as well.
The LG NB3530A may seem pretty basic on a functionality standpoint but it does have something several $299 sound bars lack and that is Bluetooth support. This feature pretty much makes the NB3530A a giant Bluetooth speaker which can be paired with usual Bluetooth-enabled devices like smartphones, tablets, portable media players and laptops. All of these devices are capable of playing music and many of the streaming apps compatible with these devices have Bluetooth streaming support too. It can be really fun streaming Spotify tunes to the sound bar. If your LG TV has the Sound Sync feature, the TV can wirelessly send sound to the sound bar as well.
The NB3530A does not have what it takes to beat some of the other $299 sound bars in audio quality but it comes awfully close. The 300-watt power output makes the sound bar very capable in producing engaging sound effects. The bass does lack depth but the overall experience is still far better than the experience built-in TV speakers provide. Despite the lack of HDMI ports, the sound bar can still decode DTS and Dolby Digital so the sound bar still remains good for watching movies.
The LG NB3530A would have been hard to recommend if it lacked Bluetooth functionality. But the NB3530A comes out strong with Bluetooth as well as a fine design and some powerful internals. It is an absolute easy $299 recommendation if you have a 42-inch LG TV.
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