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Polk MagniFi Mini AX review: Pint-sized powerhouse

Our Rating :
£389.12 from
Price when reviewed : £429
inc VAT

Its Atmos effects could be better but the Polk MagniFi Mini AX packs a punch for its size and offers a pleasing array of connection options


  • Super-compact soundbar
  • Engaging, impactful cinematic sound
  • Impressive connectivity options


  • Slightly underwhelming Atmos
  • Bulky subwoofer
  • Not the most musical

The Polk MagniFi Mini AX was created for those seeking a way of upgrading their television’s audio without taking up too much space on their TV stand or AV cabinet. the most compact soundbar we’ve tested to support both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, although you’ll also need to find space for a hefty wireless subwoofer.

Despite the soundbar’s diminutive size, it’s able to deliver an impressively large and pleasingly refined sonic performance, with the 10in subwoofer adding real low-end impact when required. Its virtual 3D soundstage could be more convincing but with an impressive array of connectivity options and various ways to customise your listening experience, there’s a lot to like about the Polk MagniFi Mini AX.

Polk MagniFi Mini AX review: What do you get for the money?

The MagniFi Mini AX has a list price of £429, positioning it between our favourite budget soundbars and the heavy hitters found on our best soundbar roundup. It’s a 3.1-channel system comprising a soundbar and subwoofer but can be transformed into a 5.1 system by adding a pair of Polk SR2 rear speakers for another £159.

At 366 x 104 x 79mm (WDH), the soundbar is less bar and more lozenge-shaped speaker, but this supremely narrow profile is central to its appeal. You will want to check the clearance below your TV, however, as the Mini AX is quite tall and may obstruct the IR receiver or bottom of the screen on low-sitting sets. While finding room for the bar shouldn’t prove an issue, the down-firing wireless subwoofer requires significantly more space. Measuring 182 x 396 x 371mm (WDH), it’s surprisingly large given the compact nature of the soundbar.

Polk has squeezed in an impressive number of physical ports. There are HDMI (ARC/eARC), optical and AUX inputs, along with a USB-A port for playing MP3 files. HDMI should be your chosen method of connection as Atmos and DTS:X aren’t supported over optical, and Polk includes an HDMI cable in the box, which is appreciated.

Wireless connectivity is supported via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0. Those with an iPhone or iPad can establish a Wi-Fi connection using Apple AirPlay, while Android users will need to go through the Google Home app and use Chromecast instead. There’s also support for the ever-useful Spotify Connect.

When not streaming from your phone, you have a few choices in how you control the MagniFi Mini AX. Power, source, Bluetooth, mute and volume up and volume down buttons can be found on the top of the soundbar, while most TV remotes can adjust the Mini AX’s volume out of the box. For more granular settings, you’ll need to use the included IR remote control. This requires a couple of AAA batteries but, thankfully, Polk supplies those for you.

Polk MagniFi Mini AX review: What do we like about it?

Setting up the MagniFi Mini AX is about as easy as it gets. It’s a plug-and-play affair with the exception of hooking it up to your Wi-Fi, which took me a matter of seconds using AirPlay. The Google Home route was slightly slower but still a very painless process.

The variety of connection options at your fingertips is commendable, too, particularly given the size of the bar. A single HDMI port means there’s no HDMI passthrough, but otherwise, you’re spoilt for choice in terms of how you connect to the MagniFi Mini AX.

Once set up, the charms of the Mini AX’s miniature soundbar are immediately apparent. This is a bar that will fit onto just about any TV stand and looks perfectly at home in front of smaller tellies. Although it doesn’t look quite as natural as a longer, flatter bar would with larger TVs, its acoustic cloth-wrapped body is suitably demure, and its audio output is big enough to be paired with 55in or even 65in models.

That audio output is not only able to fill a room but is generally well-judged and there are plenty of ways in which you can tweak it. You have four main modes: Movie, 3D, Night and Music. Movie is the loudest of the lot and leans most heavily on the subwoofer. That sub packs a mighty punch. The thumps of a huge dragon landing in Amazon Prime’s “The Legend of Vox Machina” possessed real weight, while magical effects like fireballs exploding and giant walls of water rising from a lake were viscerally impactful.

I’m all for that kind of booming low-end performance as long as it doesn’t overshadow other aspects of the soundstage and I found the MagniFi Mini AX balanced things pretty nicely. Dialogue was presented clearly in the most hectic sonic scenes and the dramatic differences between the voices of Vox Machina’s assembled band of adventurers were appropriately nuanced.

Some may find the Mini AX’s bass reproduction a little overzealous at times and, if that’s the case, you can use the remote to lower the bass (up to five levels are available for reducing or increasing it) and the effect is immediately noticeable. There’s also an option to boost or attenuate voices using Polk’s patented VoiceAdjust technology, which works well, although I was happy enough with the default settings.

Regardless of your bass sensibilities, you’ll want to switch over to the 3D mode when watching Atmos or DTS:X content. This trades a bit of raw power and forward focus for virtualised three-dimensional effects. There’s certainly a sense of where onscreen audio cues are positioned with the soundstage, dialogue remains extremely clear and the treble presentation shines, with the metallic clink of clashing swords in Netflix’s “Dragon Age: Absolution” crisp and well-defined. There is, however, room for improvement when it comes to the delivery of height and surround effects.

Although not an attention-grabbing feature, Night mode is a welcome inclusion. This decreases the Mini AX’s dynamic range to prevent disturbing the neighbours in the small hours and successfully keeps the boisterous bass in check without gutting the overall sound.

Polk MagniFi Mini AX review: What could be improved?

While I enjoyed how the MagniFi Mini AX sounded in both of its main modes, I wasn’t blown away by its virtualised 3D presentation. Polk’s Stereo Dimensional Array (SDA) technology delivers a reasonably broad soundstage but falls short of the promised “enveloping 3D sound experience”. Was I impressed by the clarity and impact of audio? Yes, but I didn’t feel wrapped in sound or taken aback by the breadth of it. You’ll definitely want to add Polk’s rear speakers if you’re looking for true cinematic immersion.

The limitations of the Mini AX’s 3.1-channel system were most obvious when trying to virtualise Atmos height effects. Without up-firing drivers, the Mini AX wasn’t able to communicate action above my head with real authority. The virtualised effects give you the impression of action taking place somewhere above eye level but that’s about it.

My other criticism about the Mini AX’s sound relates to its Music mode. The mid-range is pushed to the fore, which certainly helps with vocal clarity but it also impinges on the two other ends of the frequency spectrum. Transitions in tempo and volume could also be handled more adeptly and I actually found I enjoyed most music more using the 3D sound mode rather than the dedicated music mode.

This one’s a very minor grumble but I’d have liked to have seen discrete buttons for each mode on the remote. There’s enough space on the zapper to fit them in and not having to cycle through the four modes would have made the experience that little bit smoother.

Finally, there’s the size of the subwoofer. Polk has gone to great lengths to produce a pint-size soundbar but then paired it with a bulky, blocky, beast of a sub. It’s not particularly easy on the eye (not that many subs are, mind) and its size means some may struggle to find somewhere to put it out of sight. Given the bass reproduction is ample, I think Polk could probably have trimmed it down in size, matching the bar slightly better, without losing out too much on the bass.

Polk MagniFi Mini AX review: Should you buy it?

If you’re after a compact soundbar capable of delivering room-filling sound, the Polk MagniFi Mini AX is hard to beat. The footprint the bar leaves on your TV stand is minimal, but this belies its diminutive stature when it comes to audio output and provides an impressive range of connectivity options, too.

If you’re after the best Atmos presentation, you’ll want to spend a bit more on a soundbar with up-firing drivers, while for greater sonic envelopment you should definitely consider adding rears to the Mini AX package. Within the limitations of what a 3.1-channel system can do, however, the MagniFi Mini AX is a strong performer. Assuming you’ve got enough clearance under your television and the space to accommodate the rather large subwoofer, you’ll be very pleased with what it does to your TV’s audio output.

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