121

TCL Alto 8i Review

True Score

73
73
2

Experts

81
1,160

Consumers

Product Awards

GR Certified

Customer Favorite

Expert Rankings

The TCL Alto 8i is easy to set up and produces dialogue clearly. It’s great if you’re on a budget, have a small space, or aren’t a bass enthusiast. But the poor latency, imbalanced sound profile, and weak Atmos and surround sound hamper immersion.

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Product Snapshot

Overview

The TCL Alto 8i is an entry-level 2.1-channel soundbar that boasts Dolby Atmos, providing immersive audio. Released in 2021, this system has a number of music enhancement features, including three equalizer presets as well as bass and treble adjustments.

The soundbar doesn’t have a dedicated subwoofer, relying instead on two inferior built-in subwoofers, which unfortunately don’t reproduce the deep extended low bass.

The surround performance is mediocre too, so it doesn’t have a very wide 3D soundstage for directional movie content. Find better surround systems on our list of the top-rated speakers on the market today.

The TCL Alto 8i also has a high latency, so there is some visible delay between the audio and video feeds during dialogue. Although it supports Dolby Atmos, the performance is unfortunately subpar.

It has an incredible range of connectivity options that include HDMI ARC, optical, 3.5 mm, full HDMI In, and USB. However, wireless connectivity options are limited to Bluetooth.

The system gets remarkably loud, achieving a top output of 95.1 dB. Continue reading our TCL Alto 8i review and check out the top soundbars on the market today.

Consensus

our Verdict

The TCL Alto 8i connects without issues and has no unwanted background noises, but despite wired connectivity, the audio sync isn’t seamless.

Latency is poor, so the audio sometimes takes a few seconds to begin after resuming a video. The sound profile is a bit imbalanced, with bass that isn’t thumpy but has balanced mids for clear vocals.

Although the soundstage is wider than the soundbar, it has an average performance. The sounds don’t feel precise, and the Atmos is weak.

The easy-to-use remote also has access to EQ presets, and the soundbar’s primarily-plastic build feels durable. With no additional components, the soundbar’s setup and connection are seamless.

It responds promptly to commands, and the EQ is simple to adjust, but there’s no smartphone integration.

ReasonS to Buy

  • Hassle-free connection and no odd noises
  • Clear mids for dialogue clarity
  • Easy-to-use remote
  • Sturdy plastic build
  • Sturdy plastic build

Reason to Avoid

  • Poor latency
  • Imabalanced sound profile
  • Poor surround soundstage
  • Weak Atmos
  • Thin fabric on the soundbar
  • No smartphone integration

TCL Alto 8i Specs

Bluetooth EnabledBluetooth EnabledYes
DepthDepth5"
Dialogue Enhancement FeatureDialogue Enhancement FeatureNo
Energy Star CertifiedEnergy Star CertifiedNo
HDMI ARCHDMI ARCYes
HeightHeight2.6"
Number of Audio ChannelsNumber of Audio Channels2.1
SubwooferSubwooferBuild-in
Surround Sound SupportedSurround Sound SupportedDolby Atmos
Voice AssistantVoice Assistantna
Wall MountableWall MountableYes
WeightWeight6.4 lbs
WidthWidth39.4"
Wireless ConnectivityWireless ConnectivityBluetooth
Wireless Subwoofer ConnectivityWireless Subwoofer ConnectivityYes
Works WithWorks WithBluetooth, Remote Control

All Specs

Test Results

Low End Roll Off (Hz)62.586
High End Roll Off (Hz)18,780.242
Max Volume Test (db)95.1
Latency (ms)158
THD @ 80dB0.61

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Product Comparison

TCL Alto 8i Review

True Score

73
76
64
78

Ranking

#

121

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151

#

91

/

151

#

140

/

151

#

60

/

151

Market Context

The TCL Alto 8i is an entry-level 2.1-channel soundbar that boasts Dolby Atmos, providing immersive audio. Released in 2021, this system has a number of…

The TCL Alto 8i is an entry-level 2.1-channel soundbar that boasts Dolby Atmos, providing immersive audio. Released in 2021, this system has a number of music enhancement features, including three equalizer presets as well as bass and treble adjustments.

The soundbar doesn’t have a dedicated subwoofer, relying instead on two inferior built-in subwoofers, which unfortunately don’t reproduce the deep extended low bass.

The surround performance is mediocre too, so it doesn’t have a very wide 3D soundstage for directional movie content. Find better surround systems on our list of the top-rated speakers on the market today.

The TCL Alto 8i also has a high latency, so there is some visible delay between the audio and video feeds during dialogue. Although it supports Dolby Atmos, the performance is unfortunately subpar.

It has an incredible range of connectivity options that include HDMI ARC, optical, 3.5 mm, full HDMI In, and USB. However, wireless connectivity options are limited to Bluetooth.

The system gets remarkably loud, achieving a top output of 95.1 dB. Continue reading our TCL Alto 8i review and check out the top soundbars on the market today.

With a 3.1 setup and a dedicated subwoofer, the TCL Alto 9+ produces more immersive music and movie content than the TCL Alto 8i, which…

With a 3.1 setup and a dedicated subwoofer, the TCL Alto 9+ produces more immersive music and movie content than the TCL Alto 8i, which has a 2.1 format. It also supports Wi-Fi streaming, unlike the TCL Alto 8i. You can learn more about the 3.1-channel soundbar in our TCL Alto 8+ review now.

With a dialogue enhancement feature, the TCL Alto 8+ is better for TV shows than the TCL Alto 8i, which doesn’t have such a feature….

With a dialogue enhancement feature, the TCL Alto 8+ is better for TV shows than the TCL Alto 8i, which doesn’t have such a feature. It also has a built-in Amazon Fire TV player, which is not available with the TCL Alto 8i. On the other hand, the TCL Alto 8i supports Dolby Atmos and offers for 4K pass-through, unlike the TCL Alto 8+. If you need to learn more about the Amazon Fire TV streamer-equipped device, check out our TCL Alto 9+ review today.

Supporting Dolby Atmos, The TCL Alto 8i is better for movies than the Vizio M-Series m21d-H8R, which doesn’t support Dolby Atmos. On the other hand,…

Supporting Dolby Atmos, The TCL Alto 8i is better for movies than the Vizio M-Series m21d-H8R, which doesn’t support Dolby Atmos. On the other hand, the Vizio M-Series m21d-H8R features better build quality.

Bluetooth Enabled

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Depth

5"

4.8"

4.3"

5.5"

Dialogue Enhancement Feature

No

Yes

Yes

Energy Star Certified

No

No

No

No

HDMI ARC

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Height

2.6"

2.6"

2.3"

2.3"

Number of Audio Channels

2.1

2.1

3.1

2.1

Subwoofer

Build-in

Included

Included

Build-in

Dig Deeper

TCL Alto 8+ Review →

TCL Alto 9+ Review →

Vizio M21D H8R Review →

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Score Card

E

Expert Score

73

*.75

We place a 75% weighted value on Expert Test Scores

C

Customer Score

81

*.25

We place a 25% weighted value on Customer Scores

True Score

73

Any product with a True Score above 70 is a Mixed Reviews

Expert Scores

  • Rtings
    103

    Category Trust Rating

    68
    The TCL Alto 8i is okay for mixed usage. Its sound profile is a bit… Read More

    By:

    John Panoryios
  • Consumer Reports
    40.86

    Category Trust Rating

    NR
    The TCL Alto 8i is part of the Soundbars test program at Consumer Reports. In… Read More

    By:

    Unknown

Customer Scores

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