LG NB3530A Review: A smart move towards the minimalist, design-orientated generation

LG NB3530A review

So, you realise you need a sound bar, because, although your new flatscreen TV is great, the sound just doesn't do the technology justice, and is really just too thin.

Everyone seems to be buying one now, everyone seems to be making them now; the choice can be quite overwhelming.

Which soundbar do you choose?

To decide this you need to be correctly informed:

  • Why do you need a sound bar, anyway?
  • What should you be looking for in a sound bar.
  • Which one fits your needs.

You can check out our detailed post on what factors you should consider before buying a soundbar

When you buy any home theater technology, the wisest choice is always to settle for a company which has invested extensive time, money and research in this sector. LG, while lagging a bit behind Samsung still, is clearly the second strongest player in the market.

Recently they have been focusing on the sound bar market, in an attempt to enter into the complementary smart TV market, and hit the ground running. They would like you to automatically think of them, when this change gains momentum. So, for any sound bar purchase, LG is a smart choice.

Which model though?

LG's most elite model is undoubtedly the NB4530A. However, there is another player worth considering; the NB3530A, which is the latest update of the best-selling NB3520A model, with a proven price/quality/performance appeal to the public.

Essentially, it is the same model, but re-marketed as slim and stylish. Evidently, LG recognised that what was lacking with the old one, was that it was too bulky, and, well, a little clumsy. With the current popularity of the trend towards de-cluttering, and living in minimalist, yet sophisticated decor, living spaces; they figured that light, slim and good-looking was the necessary change to make.

Before discussing the merits, here is a list of the pros and cons, at a run:

PROS

  • Very slim and light; easy to fit into a small, elegant space - yet very robust.
  • Slim dimensions make it unlikely to block your TV sensors.
  • Extremely good looking.
  • Good power output; 300W
  • Bluetooth connectivity is supported
  • Wireless subwoofer
  • Decent remote
  • LG Sound Sync - connect wirelessly to compatible LG TVs
  • Very easy set up
  • Dolby Digital and DTS coding process, Dolby Digital and DTS sound for better DVD and Blu-ray soundtrack listening.
  • 3-D Surround sound system

CONS

  • Not the highest quality surround sound. For this you would need to look at a higher priced model.
  • No HDMI.
  • It's best suited to 42 in flat panel TV's or larger.

First of all, the main reason for re-marketing the first version, was to offer something lighter and slimmer.

How much so?

  • It takes up 10% less space under your flat screen.
  • 5% shrinkage on the width.
  • 20% shrinkage in the sub woofer size.
  • Weighs 30% less.

Many people, when they go after the latest technological craze, might have a general idea about what they need, without understanding in detail what they should really be looking for. This can lead to some seriously misguided impulse buying; especially when you are drawn in by those " buy now, just slashed " prices.

Sound bars are great; but there are some things you need to know - reflecting on the NB3530A model as a reference point.

The obvious reason for buying one is because you want better sound, but can't afford to buy a home entertainment theater and don't want a lot of cables cluttering your living space.

However, the benefits are far greater than these. Being aware of this allows you to make the right choice.

The NB3530A is an ideal mid-range sound bar; with all the audio benefits to make your sound bar work for you in the most awesome way. For most people's needs, you don't need to go much fancier, or higher in price.

HERE'S WHAT THE NB3530A CAN DO FOR YOU

  • Improve the sound of your TV shows significantly. It provides an immersive surround sound.
  • The sub woofer produces a good bass sound; and, because it is wireless, can be placed anywhere in your living room , near an AC power outlet, Many customer reviews express this as high on their list of priorities when buying a sound bar. Most people try to avoid messy looking cables, if they can.
  • The virtual surround feature is quite standard for this range of sound bar: wide, but not really surround sound. If you want a more authentic surround sound impact in a sound bar, you will be moving into a completely different price range. For instance, the Yamaha YSP series of Digital Sound Projector, prices at around $1000.
  • This model is classed as a 2.1 channel. For a real wrap around, true to life sound, you would need to look at a sound bar with a 5.1 or 7.1 system.

WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?

How important is the display panel? Essentially, just to display the output volume levels and other key performance details. You need to be able to check what your sound output is. However, as I said, the NB3530A model is also the minimalist design savant's toy.

Slim, curvy and sleek black, with drivers exposed, and a LED display at center stage, (showing volume output, currently selected options and other important information). Above the displays are touch sensitive controls for various easy adjustments; while below it there is a USB port for MP3 and WMA flash drives.So if you are one of those people who likes to impress the minimalist way, without losing any impact of the design elements, this is the sound bar for you. Why choose ugly, when you can get beautiful for the same price, anyway? The back has the sockets; amongst which , two optical digital inputs, plus a mini-jack input.

THE CHERRY YOU SHOULD BE ON THE LOOK OUT FOR.

Of all the benefits of having a sound bar, one of the most exciting, is the Bluetooth aspect. This makes it way more than just a device to improve your TV viewing experience. This feature is essential for anyone who loves music, and is tied to the hip to their smart phone.If your music interests are focused on your smart phone, this feature is a must. It allows you to stream music wirelessly; not only from your smart phone; but also from tablets and computers, from multiple platforms (android, windows and iphone) to your sound bar. You can seamlessly integrate your smart phone life-style with your living room entertainment pleasure. You can do this not only with your music collections, but also with various apps amongst other exciting options, like streaming from Spotify.

OK, SO WHAT'S MISSING?

There's no HDMI. How important is this? Not really, in fact. This feature is a fairly new development, so you won't find any sound bars in this price range, with this feature. If you want this feature, you need to consider spending over $500.00. Do you need it? What is it? Basically, if you don't have this device, you are not able to connect any AV device directly to your sound bar. Without it, you can still use your TV as a switcher. However, you will need audio optical output on the back- which this model has.

A WORD ABOUT SOUND EFFECTS MODES, WHICH ENHANCE OVERALL SOUND CAPABILITIES.

Of these it is worth mentioning:

  • 3D Surround Processor: experience the music as if it were in depth and horizontally around you.
  • Clear Voice (CLRVOICE): speech clarity enhancement.
  • Night modes: watch TV quietly at night, without disturbing the family.

THE VERDICT?

The ideal choice for those millennial, minimalist design junkies, who love the latest technology, but don't want to be left out of pocket. However, this works for anyone who likes devices to work well, and still be good-looking; without having to spend the family fortune. The set up is really easy. It has all the necessary features to make for an exciting and dynamic sound bar experience, yet at a very contained price. The manufacturer is very reliable, and has a proven track record - this is critical when buying any technology.

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