LG’s SoundPlate reviewed

Switching to movies and video games, we move to the optical input, which is the only other way the LG SoundPlate can take input. Most TVs support this way of sending out sound, but if yours doesn’t, you won’t be able to use the SoundPlate.

For movies, we tested Neill Blomkamp’s “Elysium” and found that the sound was mostly clear, with strong obvious explosions and decent dialogue, though it lacked the richness and strong depth we expect from a multi-channel home entertainment system.

Just like with some of the music tests, however, the bass was clearly the part that was heavier than the rest, pushing out more boom than we expected.

And that’s something you learn about the subwoofers in the LG SoundPlate early on: they are how they are, and if you think they should change, too bad, because LG doesn’t let you pull them down or increase the amount of attention the bass plays.

For some people, that will be fine, but for others, the lack of control is concerning, especially since you can’t decide if the bass should be lesser or greater, something other soundbars generally offer. Granted, other soundbars generally don’t include the subwoofer built directly into the body and are separate devices, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the bass shouldn’t have some form of control exerted over it, and LG’s lack of control here is a touch frustrating.

Also annoying is the lack of connectivity options, and with only optical or Bluetooth supported, there isn’t much the SoundPlate will connect to. In fact, it’s pretty much either your TV or your phone and tablet. If you want to take an RCA connection from something else, you can’t, nor can you send HDMI the way of the SoundPlate, and a 3.5mm stereo jack isn’t supported either. It’s optical or Bluetooth only, and that’s a fair bit limiting on a $600 condensed sound system.

With the audio forced through optical for your home theatre, you’ll likely take a feed from your TV, but this proved interesting, as parts of the optical audio stream went missing as we ran through the menus of our PlayStation 3 and Apple TV.

They’re minor missing sounds, mind you — the blip noises as you navigate the menus of the console and media streamer — but the LG SoundPlate was clearly dropping them, playing back a few, but silencing the rest, suggesting the SoundPlate had troubles with small clips of audio and clearly wanted longer streams.

The lack of an LCD on the SoundPlate can also be frustrating, as you’re really just dependent on a blinking red light to find out how loud your volume is, or when you’re hitting any of the buttons on the remote, and it doesn’t really tell you how loud you are, giving you only an indication that you are pressing volume up or down with a blinking red light.

Perhaps we’ve been spoiled, but on a $600 system, a better notification than a tiny red light at the front would be nice.

Ultimately, our biggest dilemma with the SoundPlate comes down to the price, and while the sound is decent, it’s not as full or rich as we’d expect on a device sporting a $599 price tag. Street price will likely be a little lower, sure, but given the combination of features and flaws, the $600 mark seems a touch high, especially in comparison to the soundbars the SoundPlate competes with.


LG’s way of making a soundbar disappear into the furniture is definitely an interesting idea, and people who want more than what their TV sound can offer will surely be intrigued by the idea LG is offering here.

Ultimately, we’re intrigued too, but would like to see some things ironed out, like better optical audio tracking, and a subwoofer that you can change the levels on.

There are loads of soundbars out at the moment, many of which not just offer more control but more ways to connect, and that makes the $599 price of the LG SoundPlate hard to justify.

Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating0 Votes
Clean design; Sits under the TV making it hard to see; Supports Bluetooth;
Only supports TVs up to 55in; Subwoofer cannot be controlled at all; Sound can be a little hollow; No screen means there's no indicator as to how loud your volume is; Only one form of wired connection; Expensive;