5 of the best soundbars under £200

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We've come to expect poor, dull sound from flatscreen TVs in the last few years. For a time, the best way to improve sound was to invest in an expensive 5.1 surround sound package - but giving your TV that much needed boost is now more affordable than ever with the emergence of the soundbar, and subsequently the soundbase.

Here we have five of the best options currently available, all costing £200 or less, and all with plenty of other reasons to grab your attention, too.

Q-Acoustics Q-TV2

Four stars

Tested at £330, now available for £150 - Compare Prices

The Q-Acoustics Q-TV2 is a soundbar but not in the conventional sense. Rather than be a physical bar that sits beneath your TV, this connects to the back of it. An ultra-slim, 38mm 100W subwoofer sits behind the TV, while two satellite speakers can be seen on either side.

It's designed for use with 32-42in TVs due to the subwoofer connecting to the wall-mounting holes already found on the back of the TV. It can also be used with ultra-slim LED TVs and can be mounted on a table stand or wall bracket behind the TV - either of these are supplied free of charge.

When we reviewed it back in 2009, we noted that "the improvement over your flatscreen's own audio performance is huge".

Now that the Q-TV2 has had such a huge price reduction, it's definitely worth your attention.

MORE: Q-Acoustics Q-TV2 review

Pioneer SBX-N700

Four stars

Tested at £350, now available for £200 - Compare Prices

Pioneer has packed a wealth of features into its flagship soundbar. These include Bluetooth and wi-fi direct for streaming content from a mobile device and Miracast to allow you to send content to your TV.

YouTube videos can also be sent to your TV and DLNA compatibility will grant you access to content stored on a home network. There's also two optical connections, a 3.5mm auxiliary and USB. Unfortunately, there's no HDMI input, but there is a sole HDMI output to connect to your TV.

Pioneer has employed three equaliser settings: 'Gaming', 'Movie' and 'Music' - and a 'surround' mode, Lip-sync function and a 'night' mode.

What's pleasing is that the audio performance is rather good too. It might not be on par with some of the other options on this list, but its extensive feature list more than makes up for it.

MORE: Pioneer SBX-N700 review

Cambridge Audio TV2

Five stars

Tested at £200 - Compare Prices

Being a soundbase, the TV2 is the perfect all-in-one solution to improving your TV's sound. The speaker drivers and subwoofer are all housed within the cabinet, and these produce a punchy, agile and balanced sound.

There's detail aplenty and sound effects are textured and lifelike. The inclusion of the higher quality aptX Bluetooth mean the TV2 can be used as a music system with compatible mobile devices. In this mode, sound is just as balanced as it is with movies and TV programmes.

Other upgrades over its predecessor include a redesigned housing and a new auto-off feature.

MORE: Cambridge Audio TV2 review

Cambridge Audio Minx TV

Five stars

Tested at £200 - Compare Prices

Alternatively, if you want to save yourself £20 then you can pick up the Minx TV for £180.

This was one of the first soundbases we heard and one of the first we absolutely loved. It sparked a genuine interest into a new product category.

The Minx TV delivers a spacious and vibrant sound that will instantly improve the sound produced by your TV. Bluetooth is onboard, albeit the non-aptX variety, but it's still able to stream your tunes with a lively sense of rhythm.

MORE: Cambridge Audio Minx TV review

Maxell MXSP-SB3000

Four stars

Tested at £220 - Compare Prices

This Maxell soundbar can be had for well under £200 now and for that, you get a lot of 'bar - not just in terms of sound, but in terms of physical size, too. It's big, possibly too big for some rooms - but, thanks to its large footprint, it can support TVs up to 80kg compared to the 30kg the Cambridge Audio is able for.

The sound is decent, too: our reviewers said they loved how easy it is to listen to. Frequencies are well balanced, with the midrange particularly excelling. Bluetooth streaming is good too, although it isn't the most spacious soundstage ever.

For the money and capabilities though, this Maxell demands some attention.

MORE: Maxell MXSP-SB3000 review