74

Sony HT-X8500 Review

True Score

78
79
7

Experts

85
1,627

Consumers

Product Awards

GR Certified

Customer Favorite

Expert Rankings

The Sony HT-X8500 is a good budget buy for people who want to improve their TV’s sound output, and while its immersion is good, it misses out on a strong bass range and has limited wireless connectivity.

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Table of Contents

Product Snapshot

Overview

The Sony HT-X8500 soundbar is a basic pick that was first announced in early 2020. Even though it is designed as a 2.1-channel soundbar, it upscales audio to a 7.1.2-channel setup when playing Atmos and DTS:X content thanks to its Vertical Surround Engine technology. The soundbar doesn’t ship with a subwoofer, but it reliably connects to other devices through Bluetooth and has various sound enhancement features. They include dialogue enhancement, auto-volume/night mode, and virtual surround sound – features that are pretty common with the best speakers on the market.

Owners of the Sony HT-X8500 will also get to enjoy a stereo soundstage that’s about as wide as the bar itself, but they should beware that it doesn’t have a discrete center channel or support wireless connectivity options such as WiFi, Apple AirPlay, or Spotify Connect. However, these are hard to miss among the best soundbars around.

Consensus

our Verdict

The Sony HT-X8500 soundbar doesn’t have as good vocal clarity as the Zvox AccuVoice AV157 (check it out in our Avox AccuVOice AV157 review), but vocals are still nice and clear, and its wide soundstage does well to create an enjoyable movie experience. Even though it supports both Dolby Atmos content and DTS:X, the soundbar doesn’t have a strong bass range, and its sound quality isn’t easily adjustable. Its tested Full HDMI In latency of -126ms tends to bring about audio-visual sync issues, and its wireless connectivity is only limited to Bluetooth.

However, for its price, it provides good value, making it suitable for budget-conscious buyers seeking an upgrade from their TV’s built-in speakers.

ReasonS to Buy

  • Wide soundstage for an immersive movie experience
  • Excellent surround-like effects, especially for Dolby Atmos encoded content
  • Decent dialog enhancement, making speech more intelligible
  • Supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision passthrough, enhancing picture quality
  • Easy setup and intuitive remote control

Reason to Avoid

  • Limited bass adjustment with only three settings
  • Mediocre music reproduction compared to other soundbars in its price range
  • Ideal performance when seated within 8 feet or closer to the soundbar

Sony HT-X8500 Specs

Bluetooth EnabledBluetooth EnabledYes
DepthDepth2.62"
Dialogue Enhancement FeatureDialogue Enhancement FeatureYes
Energy Star CertifiedEnergy Star Certifiedn/a
HDMI ARCHDMI ARCYes
HeightHeight3.87"
Number of Audio ChannelsNumber of Audio Channels2.1
SubwooferSubwooferBuild-in
Surround Sound SupportedSurround Sound SupportedDolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Dual Mono, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS 96 / 24, DTS ES, DTS-HD, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS:X
Voice AssistantVoice AssistantAmazon Alexa, Google Assistant
Wall MountableWall MountableYes
WeightWeight9.9 lbs
WidthWidth35.12"
Wireless ConnectivityWireless ConnectivityBluetooth
Wireless Subwoofer ConnectivityWireless Subwoofer ConnectivityNo
Works WithWorks WithAmazon Alexa, Google Assistant

All Specs

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Product Comparison

Sony HT-X8500 Review

True Score

78
84
79
NR

Ranking

#

74

/

151

#

12

/

151

#

55

/

151

#

/

Market Context

The Sony HT-X8500 soundbar is a basic pick that was first announced in early 2020. Even though it is designed as a 2.1-channel soundbar, it…

The Sony HT-X8500 soundbar is a basic pick that was first announced in early 2020. Even though it is designed as a 2.1-channel soundbar, it upscales audio to a 7.1.2-channel setup when playing Atmos and DTS:X content thanks to its Vertical Surround Engine technology. The soundbar doesn’t ship with a subwoofer, but it reliably connects to other devices through Bluetooth and has various sound enhancement features. They include dialogue enhancement, auto-volume/night mode, and virtual surround sound – features that are pretty common with the best speakers on the market.

Owners of the Sony HT-X8500 will also get to enjoy a stereo soundstage that’s about as wide as the bar itself, but they should beware that it doesn’t have a discrete center channel or support wireless connectivity options such as WiFi, Apple AirPlay, or Spotify Connect. However, these are hard to miss among the best soundbars around.

Both the Sony HT-X8500 and the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) soundbar miss out on a subwoofer, but the X8500 includes a Full HDMI In port…

Both the Sony HT-X8500 and the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) soundbar miss out on a subwoofer, but the X8500 includes a Full HDMI In port that the Sonos soundbar doesn’t, and it is also capable of rendering DTS:X and DTS-HD MA audio formats through the Full HDMI In port that the Sonos soundbar cannot. On the other hand, the Sonos Soundbar has better wireless connectivity, as it allows for music streaming through WiFi, Apple AirPlay, and Spotify Connect, while the X8500 is only limited to Bluetooth. However, if you need a more compact soundbar, then you might like our Yamaha SR C20A review.

The Sony HT-X8500 soundbar misses out on a graphical Eq for sound adjustment. This makes it a bit difficult to make intricate sound adjustments compared…

The Sony HT-X8500 soundbar misses out on a graphical Eq for sound adjustment. This makes it a bit difficult to make intricate sound adjustments compared to the Samsung HW-S60B, which has both a graphical Eq and presets. Another difference between the two is that the Samsung soundbar offers a wider range of features for sound adjustment than the Sony soundbar does, as it allows for room correction, surround level adjustment, and treble adjustment. If you’re interested in the Samsung soundbar, we’ve covered it in our Samsung HW S60B review.

The Sony HT-X8500 offers a slightly less immersive listening experience compared to the Sony HT-A5000. This is because the X8500 has a 2.1-channel setup, while…

The Sony HT-X8500 offers a slightly less immersive listening experience compared to the Sony HT-A5000. This is because the X8500 has a 2.1-channel setup, while the Sony HT-A5000 has a 5.1.2-channel setup. Check out our Platin Monaco 5.1 review for a 5.1 channel setup with separate satellites. The HT-A5000 also has much better vocal clarity since it has a dedicated center channel, while the Sony HT-X8500 uses its left and right speakers to simulate a sound in the center. Also worth noting is that the HT-A5000 has a slightly better port selection, as it features a HDMI 2.1 port and a USB port for files, both of which are missing on the HT-X8500. However, if you’ll be satisfied with soundbars that are just enough to amplify your TV sound, then check out our Sony HT SF150 review or our Samsung HW C400 review.

Bluetooth Enabled

Yes

Yes

Depth

2.62"

3.9"

4.1"

Dialogue Enhancement Feature

Yes

Yes

Yes

Energy Star Certified

n/a

Yes

HDMI ARC

Yes

Yes

Yes

Height

3.87"

2.7"

2.4"

Number of Audio Channels

2.1

3

5

Subwoofer

Build-in

na

Build-in

Dig Deeper

Sonos Beam Gen 2 Review →

Samsung HW-S60B Review →

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Score Card

E

Expert Score

79

*.75

We place a 75% weighted value on Expert Test Scores

C

Customer Score

85

*.25

We place a 25% weighted value on Customer Scores

True Score

78

Expert Scores

  • Rtings
    103

    Category Trust Rating

    68
    The Sony HTX8500 is alright for mixed usage. This 2.1 setup has a boxy and… Read More

    By:

  • Trusted Reviews
    60.27

    Category Trust Rating

    90
    The HT-X8500 soundbar doesn’t only offer brilliant value for money, it also brings the multiplex… Read More

    By:

  • Techradar
    46.31

    Category Trust Rating

    100
    The Sony HT-X8500 soundbar belies its mid-range price with a blockbuster audio performance. The soundstage… Read More

    By:

  • Consumer Reports
    40.86

    Category Trust Rating

    NR

    By:

  • Techspot
    39.96

    Category Trust Rating

    78

    By:

  • Choice
    38.9

    Category Trust Rating

    NR

    By:

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