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Review: Polk Audio’s MagniFi Mini is a Chromecast soundbar smaller than any other, w/ sound that doesn’t dissappoint

There are about a million different soundbars on the market today, but most share one thing in common – they don’t hide their presence all that much. To fit most soundbars, you need to adjust something or take up valuable space on the TV stand to fit it. Polk Audio sets out to fix that with its MagniFi Mini system, and it actually ends up creating something more flexible than most would expect.

First and foremost, we really need to talk about just how small this speaker is. The Polk Audio MagniFi Mini is a 13.5-inch sound bar with a wireless subwoofer. Your typical high-end TV soundbar is generally somewhere between 30 and 40-inches, so just based on the size you’d be forgiven if you thought the MagniFi Mini wasn’t as capable.

But you’d be very wrong. This speaker will blow you away when it comes to no just the quality of the sound, but the volume as well. Compared to my 38-inch Vizio soundbar, Polk’s option is just as loud, and it comes close to matching other speakers I’ve reviewed as well. If you’re at all familiar with Polk Audio’s products, it should come as no surprise that the sound quality is nothing short of fantastic, either.

This speaker shines mostly when it comes to movies and videos, where the bass from the wireless subwoofer can stand out. For music, it’s probably not the best speaker, but it still sounds excellent. The lows are solid, and dialogue sounds good, but the system sometimes trips a bit when it comes to mids and highs at times. Overall, though, the sound quality is nothing short of fantastic.

With its size and sound quality, there are a few different use cases for the MagniFi Mini. You can, of course, use it with your TV, and it will work brilliantly. The sound will easily fill a room and keep you entertained, all while minimizing the footprint on your console.

However, in my case, I opted to use the system with my computer. To me, this is a place where it can really shine. Not only are you getting a full speaker system that sounds great while barely taking up room on your desk, but you’re getting a speaker which is great for use in an office setting as well, thanks to its built-in Chromecast integration.

Being able to quickly grab my phone and cast tunes from Spotify to the MagniFi Mini or even use the system in a multi-room group is just fantastic. This isn’t something I’d honestly do often if I had the speaker hooked up to a TV, but it works great in the setting I’ve been using it in daily.

Regardless of where you use it, the MagniFi Mini is a fantastic option for improving sound quality. For TVs, it can use optical audio, HDMI ARC, and of course your standard auxiliary port, which also works with computers and other devices. The speaker can also connect to WiFi using the Google Home app on your phone to accept audio via Chromecast (it also accepts ethernet).

At $299, I can honestly say you’re getting an excellent value here, but what’s potentially the best thing about this system is that it goes on sale quite often. In the past couple of months I’ve been testing the system, I’ve already seen pricing in the realm of $200-250. If you get the timing right, you’re getting an absolute steal here. At the time of writing, it’s currently on sale for under $250 at Best Buy and Amazon, which is well worth in my opinion.

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Ben is a writer and video producer for 9to5Google.

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