What is the Polk Magnifi Mini?
Connections & Control
Features & Specs
In terms of other features the Magnifi Mini includes Polk's Voice Adjust technology, which allows you to customise the voice levels on the soundbar to ensure that dialogue is always clear. There's also the Night Effect mode that reduces bass and volume dynamics whilst improving voice intelligibility for low-volume listening. In addition there are three other audio modes for different content – Movies, Music and Sport.
Setup & Testing
If you want to connect the Mini to your WiFi, you need to press the WiFi button on the back of the soundbar which includes a small LED – slow pulsing for setup, fast flashing for connection and solid for connected via WiFi. To pair with a Bluetooth device, just press the Bluetooth button on the top of the soundbar and a blue light will begin to pulse at the front, then select the Maginifi mini from the list on your device and once paired the blue light will turn solid.
There are five LEDs on the front of the Mini, and different combinations mean different things. For example if the bottom LED is lit then the Mini is connected via HDMI, if the bottom two are lit it's optical and three LEDs means Aux. If the LED at the top is lit then the Mini is connected to Google Cast and if that LED is blue then the soundbar is connected to a Bluetooth device. There are also LED indicators for the power on, the Night Effect mode and if the Mini is receiving a Dolby Digital signal. The LEDs also light up when using the volume, bass or Voice Adjust controls. Although you get used to these indicator lights, a proper front display or an on-screen display would have been useful.
We tested the Polk Magnifi Mini with orange of TV, film and music material using a Samsung UBD-K8500 UHD Blu-ray player, an Apple TV, a YouView set top box and an Apple iPhone 7.
Polk Magnifi Mini Video Review
We started off with some basic TV watching via our YouView set top box and the Mini handled the news, documentaries and TV dramas with ease. We were particularly impressed with the way the Mini handled the police drama No Offence which, with its fast delivery and Manchester accents, can sometimes be difficult to follow. However the Mini delivered every line of dialogue with ease and although it includes Polk's Voice Adjust feature, we never needed it and the same goes for the Sports mode. Although if you are prone to some late night TV watching after the rest of the family have gone to bed, the Night Effect mode can definitely come in handy and is quite effective. If you would rather crank the Mini up, it can go quite loud without sounding brittle or losing cohesion but it will struggle in larger rooms, although clearly that isn't what it's designed for.
When we moved on to TV dramas and films via the Apple TV and Samsung K8500, the Maginifi Mini continued to impress and delivered a suitably big sound for a compact soundbar. Series like Stranger Things or Mr. Robot, with their complex sound design were delivered with solid, well-integrated bass and a great mid-range. The same was true when we moved on the blockbuster movies like Star Wars: The Force Awakens or Jurassic World. The resulting soundstage was wide but retained a sense of detail and good placement for effects, whilst the subwoofer gave the lower frequencies plenty of impact. The lack of any real surround presence was obvious, although the Movie Mode helped and no one is expecting the Mini to work miracles.
The Mini also didn't disappoint with music and listening to the cast recording of David Bowie's Lazarus was a real treat. The Polk handled the surprisingly complex arrangements very well, delivering the overlapping vocals with a pleasing clarity. The mid-range handled the various instruments well, whilst the subwoofer gave the bass and drums some weight. The rearrangement of "Heroes" for a combination of male and female vocals and piano was delivered well, although the Mini did struggle occasionally with higher frequencies as evidenced by Life on Mars, which was performed by a female vocal accompanied by piano. However this was still a great music performance from an ultra-compact soundbar, making it an excellent all-rounder.
- Wide open sound
- Great performance
- Decent bass
- Convenient size
- Useful features
- Might struggle in larger rooms
- No on-screen display
- No remote app
Polk Magnifi Mini Compact Soundbar Review
Should I buy one?
The Polk Magnifi Mini certainly lives up to its billing, delivering big audio from an ultra-compact soundbar. It's nicely designed, well made and small enough that it can fit just about anywhere. There are plenty of connections, some useful cables included in the box and a handy remote. The lack of a proper display or an on-screen display is a shame and the lack of a remote app is surprising but otherwise the Mini is well specified. The set up is simple and the soundbar comes with a matching wireless active subwoofer to give the low-end greater impact. The Mini's four driver and two tweeter design means that it can deliver a surprisingly wide and open front soundstage, whilst the subwoofer provides the lower frequencies.
The positioning of music and effects across the front soundstage is excellent and the solid mid-range means that vocals remain clear and concise, whilst the bass is well integrated thanks to the active subwoofer. The result is an excellent performance with TV, movies and even music, although the Mini did occasionally struggle with higher frequencies and isn't intended for larger rooms. However it's a great little soundbar and subwoofer combination that will be ideal for anyone with limited space who still wants a big sound. The price is slightly high compared to much of the competition but then quality and performance often cost more and the Polk Magnifi Mini is definitely worthy of recommendation.
What are my alternatives?
The ultra-compact soundbar market is relatively new but there have been some products recently announced in this area including the Sony HT-MT300 at £250 and the HT-MT500 at £550. The former doesn't include an HDMI connection but is cheaper, whilst the latter includes HDMI and hi-res audio support but is obviously quite a bit more expense. Of recent compact soundbars that we've reviewed, the Acoustic Energy AEGO Sound3ar is an obvious contender because it's equally as small but also sounds great. The AEGO Sound3ar will only set you back £199 but it doesn't include HDMI and its soundstage isn't as wide as the Polk Magnifi Mini. However for sheer bang for buck, nothing can compete with the Samsung HW-K450, which is currently going for as little as £150. It might be at the end of its life cycle but this soundbar and subwoofer combination sounds good and has a full feature set including HDMI and multiroom audio, making it a hard act to beat.
Ease of use
Value for Money
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