Polk MagniFi Mini Soundbar with Google Cast at CEDIA 2016

By the third day of CEDIA, audio demos in various product categories start to sound similar to one another. From the numerous $100,000+ systems that make your pants flap against your legs and zap your ears with razor-sharp transients, to all the lifestyle audio products that can barely play louder than the background noise on the show floor, it’s surprisingly uncommon for a demo to stand out. In that context, the fact the Polk MagniFi Mini soundbar ($300) caught my attention with its robust and engaging performance, before I heard retail price, meant it stood out from the soundbar crowd. Now here’s the kicker; when told it cost $299.95, I was like, “please repeat that” and the reply kept being “two hundred and ninety-nine dollars and ninety-five cents.” Wow.

 


Polk’s latest soundbar has a small price, small form factor, but big performance.

The MagniFi Mini lives up to its name, it is a tiny device (for a soundbar) and yet the sound quality it offers is magnificent. Measuring 3.11″ (high) x 13.4″ (wide) x 4.25″ (deep), the soundbar itself sports four 2.25″ full-range drivers and two 2.5″ tweeters. The included wireless sub has a 6.5″ woofer in it, and measures 14.5″ (high) x 6.5″ (wide) x 4.25″ (deep). Polk rates frequency response at a healthy 40 Hz to 24 kHz. Plus, it comes with a nice remote, not one of those crappy credit-card remotes you sometimes get with affordable gear.

 


A look inside the MagniFi Mini.

You can wall-mount the MagniFi Mini, but it’s so small it can sit in front of a TV without blocking it. But based on what I heard at the show, it would be a shame to think of it as strictly a soundbar. This is a music-making machine, and Wi-Fi support with Google Cast means that it can stream audio from just about any portable device (iOs, Android) or PC (Windows or Mac). Furthermore, the inclusion of Bluetooth means you can connect to it directly when a network is not present.

On the wired side of things, the MagniFi offers one HDMI input (with ARC), USB, optical-digital input, plus an Ethernet port. There’s even a 3.5mm stereo analog input. In a very real sense, the connectivity options offered by Polk’s MagniFi puts many larger and more expensive networked soundbars to shame. And when it comes to fidelity, it ranks above any networked lifestyle speaker system I’ve heard at its price point thus far. Way to go, Polk.

Polk’s MagniFi Mini soundbar rear panel.