19 February 2015

REVIEW: Goodmans Aspect Bluetooth Soundbar

Man walks into a Soundbar...

If you would have asked anyone five years ago what a soundbar was, they would have probably told you it was a bar in Manchester that was, like, proper mega, our kid. These days soundbars are a must-have item for anyone wanting to complete their home theatre experience, popping them beneath their 60 inch TV screens or propping them upright in every corner of the room. Wanting to get in on the soundbar craze, we checked out one from Goodmans which seems to be so much more than a TV accessory... the Aspect Bluetooth Soundbar.

The truth of the matter is that the Goodmans Aspect Soundbar is actually a very good Bluetooth speaker masquerading as a soundboard. Whereas as other speakers designed for  home theatre use plug directly into the TV or speaker base unit, the Aspect gives you a few other options which opens it up to other uses, namely the Bluetooth.

Connecting the 50cm wide speaker to your Bluetooth enabled phone or tablet is a breeze, so long as you first realise it has to be set to the Bluetooth mode. This is achieved using the included remote, or by tapping the main power button until it shines blue. The connection range is a pretty standard ten metres, but connecting was super fast and it held firm throughout testing. The Aspect also features near-field communication and supports the tap-and-pair feature whereby you merely have to donk your phone onto the top of the speaker to link it.

For the old schoolers there is also an auxiliary-in cable port as well as optical ports for connection to your non-smart telly. As we said before, the included remote lets you swap between these various connection methods pretty seamlessly, as well as controlling the volume, bass and treble of the speaker. Nifty.

In terms of placement Goodmans have made it very easy for the Aspect to go from a soundbar to a soundcolumn. The included base stand is actually magnetic and can be placed either in the centre when horizontal, or at the base near the power and connection ports when vertical. One thing to remember with this is that although it is a nice touch, the magnets aren't very strong meaning both modes of placement are quite unstable - especially the upright method.

(Addendum - Once this review was published it was pointed out to us that the side plate of the speaker can be removed to better accommodate the magnetic base, therefore making it much more stable. Which it does, so thanks.)

Still, once set up and stable, the Goodmans Aspect Bluetooth Soundbar didn't half knock out some sounds. The speaker knows which way it is placed and so will adjust the sound profile dependant on whether it is vertical or horizontal. Either way the quality of music was entirely immersive and strong - surprisingly so considering the relatively small size of the Aspect. Beneath a TV it altered the audio quality to something much richer, even when watching TV and films that were older and of lower specification.

We found that for general music listening in the home the vertical position was better, placed somewhere in the middle of a wall facing outwards into the room. And it does indeed fill that room, with all genres of music sounding crisp and clear, even at high volume. Podcasts and audio books also sounded very good, meaning this is true multi-media speaker.

Far cheaper than a lot of soundbars out there, the Goodmans Aspect Bluetooth Soundbar ticks a lot of boxes thanks to being very diverse in both use and layout. A double win.


Available from www.amazon.co.uk

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