Polk React: the charm of an expandable rig for a sound that surrounds

This cute and compact sound bar can be accompanied by two speakers and a subwoofer from the brand itself. And it includes Alexa.

Because Alexa is an indissoluble part of this Polk React soundbar. The truth is that, if you don’t already have a smart speaker in your home, sooner or later it will become part of your connected home ecosystem, since it has multiple advantages and utilities. A good option is that it is integrated into an audio equipment, with what you gain in space and puts at your disposal different extra possibilities.

Construction and design

The Polk React is a compact soundbar that fits perfectly in medium-sized furniture. Its low height (5 cm) stands out, which is a virtue so that it can be adjusted under televisions that have double legs, one on each side. It is finished in a discreet gray, with a strong fabric covering the front and top.

Controls

On its upper face we find physical controls for different functions: buttons to raise and lower the volume, an action button that is used to wake up Alexa and another to mute the microphones when you want or need privacy.

It has a small circular LED on the front with an informative function: blue, in Bluetooth connection; orange, PCM; green, Dolby; yellow, DTS; and violet, night mode. That is, it shows what format or audio connection is being used. Almost on the edge, another LED light, in this case elongated, also informative: blue when you interact with Alexa; White ascending or descending when you raise or lower the volume and other variables.

Using the mobile, the operation of the bar is also managed, as well as it comes standard with a very minimalist remote control.

It proposes three main sound profiles to select from: Music, Movies, and Sports.

Connections

From a physical point of view, we find the HDMI, optical and USB ports (one of each) located on the back of the bar. The first is of the ARC type, that is, it allows you to use the React to play from any source connected to your television, as well as control the volume of this with the remote control of the television.

In terms of wireless connectivity, the React absolutely needs a WiFi network, mostly because, without it, it can’t take advantage of its Alexa functionality. As mentioned above, it also has Bluetooth.

Thanks to its four far-field microphones, the React picks up your voice and understands you even if you have your own living room. Of course, the further away you are from her, try to increase the volume of your words. Even when the bar itself is broadcasting at a high volume, it also picks up voices.

The React Sub subwoofer.

Includes Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1; not Dolby Atmos, we assume it is because it would increase the RRP considerably. Now the React can function as a center channel in a surround sound system. Just add speakers and subwoofer; Polk comes to the rescue and offers you his own elements: the React SR2 wireless surround speakers and the React Sub subwoofer.

As for the range of smart functions that the React offers, via Alexa, it is very wide, from the basic control of the soundbar (volume and bass adjustment) to Alexa Skills and the management of devices or household appliances. connected. One step further, it also supports more advanced functions, such as Alexa Communications (to use the bar as an intercom and talk with the rest of the family through other compatible speakers at home, as well as make phone calls) and Alexa Multi-Room Music (to pair the bar with other Alexa-compatible speakers and enjoy music in multiple rooms).

Setting

Technically configuring the Polk React is really simple, accessible to any type of public. And you just have to follow the steps of the Alexa app: add the device, connect the bar to the WiFi network, scan a barcode that comes on the back of the device and … nothing more.

One of the React SR2 speakers.

Gadget thinks

That the Polk React includes Alexa is an interesting factor, very much to take into account, but we must be aware that this product is a sound bar. We now analyze this facet. We started the test with the bar independently. The sound it generates by default is of very high quality, always taking into account its price range. The good experience increases once you start to customize the playback, with slight nuances that result in an improvement in the audio experience depending on what you are watching.

Music mode works pretty well in general terms. We appreciate a greater taste for mid and high tones than bass. This results in that songs with a clear vocal component benefit.

Sports mode is committed to simulating the atmosphere of a stadium, so that the noise and chants of the spectators are the protagonists but also the voice of the narrators. This is fine as long as they provide interesting arguments about the game …

The positive surprise comes with the Movie mode. Here, the Polk React offers the widest and most immersive soundstage. Every detail is heard, with powerful bass when needed, yet the clarity of voices and dialogue remains exceptional. Superb performance in this regard. In short, you understand perfectly what the actors are saying while you perceive the skidding, gunfire, explosions or background music. Yes, the technology that the Polk React treasures to optimize the reproduction of the dialogues has amazed us. In addition, you can increase and decrease its definition up to four points.

There is a fourth mode of reproduction, the so-called Night. In this case, bass is reduced and dialogue clarity is maintained. His goal is to keep the rest of the family from waking up while Bruce Willis detonates the bombs left and right.

In any of the modes that the bar is configured, you can also strengthen or weaken the bass, both through the Alexa app and with the remote control.

All that said, the exponential leap comes when you pair the bar with the SR2 speakers and the Sub subwoofer, also from Polk. At this point, the React system generates a virtual and immersive surround sound; It is what the manufacturer promises and of course it delivers. In addition to perceiving all the nuances, you no longer have to guess where the bad guy or the shot is approaching, and in which area of ​​the open sky the helicopter is waiting to rescue the soldiers who, although they scream, their voices are not hidden with the noise from said aircraft. Without a doubt, it is another way of seeing series, movies and, beware, concerts. Of course, it is essential that the content you are going to reproduce has its own quality and the necessary audio codecs to achieve these effects.

In short, the Polk React is a highly recommended soundbar. It offers solid sound quality globally (the dialogues – sorry to repeat us – are of exceptional clarity) along with full integration with Alexa, all at a very competitive price. Now, if your budget allows it, install the complete React kit (bar + speakers + subwoofer), which is worth it.

We also likeGeneral ease of use. Full Alexa Possibilities. It seems like a good idea to be able to go step by step: buy the bar first and, later, its ‘companions’. SR2 speaker compactness.We don’t like it eitherNumber and variety of physical connections. It does not integrate the newer ARC format, eARC. Subwoofer size.

Polk React PVP: 299 euros
Polk SR2 RRP: 179 euros
Polk React Sub PVP: 199 euros

More information and details of the Polk React kit at this link.
en.polkaudio.com