Vizio S4221W-C4 Review


InputsStereo RCA, Stereo 3.5mm, Optical, Coaxial, USB
Review DateNovember 12, 2013
PriceOut of stock

Vizio really wanted to make an impression with their updated sound bars at the 2013 CES show. With a custom demo room setup to show them the sound was very impressive and made a lot of people take notice. Their 5.1 channel sound bar, the S4251W-B4, has set a high bar for performance and value in a true surround sound system.

The S4221W-C4 is very similar to that model. It removes the two center-channel drivers and the surround speakers, but keeps the same speakers for the left and right channels and the subwoofer. In doing so Vizio has sacrificed none of the quality that made the 5.1 channel version a success. The Vizio S4221W-C4 offers the best performance for both audio and video that I have heard from a sound bar in this price range.

Thinking outside, and about, the box

Inputs:Stereo RCA, Stereo 3.5mm, Optical, Coaxial, USB
Review Date:November 12, 2013
Price:Out of stock
Company Website

Buy From Amazon

Why Amazon Links?

From the first look at the packaging you will see that the Vizio S4221W-C4 is a different bar. There is no basic square or rectangular package here, but an odd-shaped box that saves a lot of wasted space compared to other models. The boxes still nest well for shipping on a palette but they can likely fit more that competitors. This isn’t the only area where Vizio will think differently to good results.

The included remote for the Vizio S4221W-C4 is a good example of this as well. Vizio has done a good job with their remotes recently, including on the M401i LCD TV that I reviewed, with a good rubberized back and a nice feel in the hand. The remote for their sound bar goes beyond that with an integrated LCD screen for making adjustments. Some sound bars, like the Sony HT-CT260H, have a small screen on the bar you have to use to make adjustments. Others like the Pioneer SP-SB23W, have no LCD at all on the front or the remote.

The small LCD on the remote lets you easily adjustment all the settings. LEDs on the front of the sound bar light up to show your adjustment and are easy to make out from a distance. Another good touch is the box of included accessories. All the cables you need to connect the S4221W-C4, from RCA Stereo to Optical and Coaxial, are included. No one will need to pick up another cable to use the Vizio with their system as they are all in the box. The only thing you might need are screws to wall mount the bar.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The only input missing from the Vizio is an HDMI input. With sound bars I typically don’t care much about HDMI inputs and lossless audio as the performance difference on them will be slight. However some TVs are starting to drop optical audio outputs and so you might need an HDMI port with ARC support to get the best sound from your display. These still aren’t that common but they are starting to appear more often. Next year HDMI with ARC might be essential on a sound bar, but you probably won’t need it today.

Bigger Than Its Size

At 42” wide the Vizio S4221W-C4 isn’t the smallest sound bar and might be wider than your TV is. The sound stage that it projects is even wider than that. The im