Ultimea Nova S50 review: this ultra-cheap, ultra-compact Dolby Atmos soundbar brings big sound

You won’t have to fork out much for this Atmos soundbar, but it’s probably not going to rock your world

Ultimea Nova S50 soundbar with remote resting on top of it. There is an Amazon Fire TV behind the soundbar, and the Nova S50 subwoofer is positioned to the right of the TV
(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

The Ultimea Nova S50 isn’t going to blow your socks off with stunning audio and meaningful bass, but for a very low price you still get a powerful mini soundbar along with a solid subwoofer. You don’t get the striking, immersive output you might expect when adding a Dolby Atmos soundbar to your TV, but the Nova S50 still provides enough depth and scale for those wanting a room-filling upgrade over a TV’s meager built-in speakers.


  • +

    Ultra-low price

  • +

    Wide array of connectivity options

  • +

    Super easy setup


  • -

    Sound not particularly three-dimensional

  • -

    Audio quality not going to wow

  • -

    A little cheap looking

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The Ultimea Nova S50 is pitched as a budget soundbar that can offer 'cinematic' audio from the comfort of your own home. Although this ultra-slim soundbar and subwoofer combo undoubtedly packs plenty of power for its small size, and it can definitely beat the scale of sound you get from mid-range or budget TV speakers, the sound quality on offer won’t blow you away. Considering the soundbar’s very modest price, though, it may still be worth buying. 

Perhaps the biggest selling point of the Ultimea Nova S50 is that it claims to support Dolby Atmos content, implying that you will be able to experience three-dimensional, immersive sound. Let’s be realistic: given that this soundbar is available for less than $100 / £150, you’re not going to expect it to supply top-drawer expansive audio. Even with that in mind, I really couldn’t get much of a sense for the layered, positional audio you’d hope to experience from Dolby Atmos or similar technology, in part because the Ultimea Nova S50 doesn’t have upfiring or side-firing speakers – a staple of ‘true’ Dolby Atmos. But although the Nova S50’s digital processing isn’t able to emulate the sense of sitting right in the center of the mix for true Atmos feels, you’ll certainly sense more depth and dynamic range than you’d typically get from your TV’s modest drivers alone – remember, you’re receiving audio from both the soundbar and an included subwoofer with the S50.

It’s important to note that the Nova S50 has three different EQ presets – Movie, Game, and Music – and I switched between each according to the activity I engaged in. Of course, Movie mode has to cover a broad swathe of things out of those three options, so I tried watching a UEFA Euro 2024 match in it, and despite instantly being hit with powerful volume levels, I felt that crowd noise was pretty lacking in clarity and expansiveness. Furthermore, commentary wasn’t very defined in the overall mix, though it was certainly passable.

Movie mode was not grating or offensive quality-wise, and was more atmospheric than my 55-inch mid-range TV’s audio – it’s just that it failed to offer striking spatial or 'cinematic sound' – an aspect which the best soundbars typically excel in. For example, when I took a step up by testing the $399 / £299 (about AU$600) Sony HT-S2000 in comparison, I was struck by its ability to more effectively disperse sound across the width of my room.

Ultimea Nova S50 soundbar on a wooden surface in front of a TV

(Image credit: Future)

Watching an episode of Cowboy Bebop on Netflix, things were largely similar. When one character stepped through a corridor area, the echo of footsteps sounded more natural and realistic than it did with TV audio, but I didn’t get the depth you’d expect from more expensive Dolby Atmos speakers. Another thing I realized when watching the show was that Movie mode was pretty noisy; with the volume set to only 3 or 4 I was getting more than enough loudness. Even with volume set to 1, the soundbar wasn’t exactly quiet, and I would’ve preferred a sound level between 0 and 1 for playing videos, movies, or shows in the background in my apartment.

Onto the second EQ preset: Game. As a pretty keen gamer, this was one of the more important modes for me. Happily, here the volume levels were far less imposing than they were in Movie mode – as a result, I felt comfortable knowing that my neighbors could get some beauty sleep if I wanted to play during unsociable hours. 

When playing Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance on the PlayStation 5, the Nova S50 was responsive throughout action-packed segments and I was never troubled by latency. The subwoofer produced more powerful, fuller bass frequencies than my TV’s speakers, which complimented the game’s ambient atmosphere pretty well. However, it did sound a little muddy – something I also sensed when playing EA Sports FC 24, with commentary lacking clarity when crowd noise ramped up. 

If you want a soundbar that can offer high-quality audio when listening to music, this isn’t it, unfortunately. When using the Music EQ preset, I found that the Nova S50 produced a pretty condensed sound, in which individual sonic elements were sometimes lost in a confused mix. For instance, when I played Young Blood by The Naked and Famous via Bluetooth, the line between guitars in the lower-mid frequency range and the bass was bloated, resulting in a bit of a congested, compressed-sounding output. In addition, the cymbal beat that runs through much of the track lacked definition, and more generally, the treble clarity felt impacted.

I don’t think the Nova S50 necessarily has to deliver premium musical output for the price you pay, and if you’re not too picky on sound, it may even do the job for you. All three modes confirmed that the Nova S50 won’t wow you for sound quality, but it is a competent enough performer for the money, adding a splash of ambience and depth to the home-theater experience.

Ultimea Nova S50 subwoofer on a wooden surface against a pink background

(Image credit: Future)

Features-wise, the Nova S50 doesn’t set out to do anything game-changing. Other than the three EQ modes, it also has something called BassMax, which can be used to either crank up the bass or turn it down a bit. I found that the latter option was pretty handy in enabling extra clarity for vocals in the mid-range or treble, or if I didn’t want to disturb others in my building with booming low frequency sounds. I very rarely felt the need to turn BassMax up for more low end power, and when I did, it functioned well, though as expected, did come across as quite overbearing.

The Nova S50 has Bluetooth compatibility, meaning that you can connect your other devices remotely to play music or podcasts. However, there are a lot of other ways to connect your soundbar to your TV or other devices, including digital optical, aux-in, USB, and of course HDMI eARC. 

It’s pleasing too, that no matter what connectivity option you’re using, setup is very straightforward. After unboxing the Nova S50, all I had to do was connect an AC adapter to the subwoofer, and then use a (mercifully very long) audio cable to link that to the soundbar itself, which was wired to my TV via HDMI eARC. The Nova S50 also includes a wall-mounting kit that’s easy to install thanks to clear setup instructions.

Ultimea Nova S50 soundbar with remote control balanced on top

(Image credit: Future)

When it comes to usability, the Nova S50 performs well too. It comes with a remote (without AAA batteries included), which is pretty responsive and has clear, well-sized button controls. There are individual buttons to switch between the three EQ presets, turn BassMax levels up or down, and switch between connectivity options. The remote is well-sized and has a pretty clean design too. 

Using HDMI eARC, I was also able to use my standard TV remote to adjust the soundbar’s volume levels, but beware – you’ll still need to use the included controller to switch between EQ presets and adjust BassMax levels. More generally the Nova S50 is a decent-looking product, with both the soundbar itself and the subwoofer being pretty compact. Both are enclosed in relatively cheap-looking (and feeling) plastic, but for the price you pay, this is to be expected. 

All in all, what you see is what you get with the Ultimea Nova S50. Yes, it has a very low price, and in turn, you’re not going to experience game-changing audio quality or hear Dolby Atmos in its full-fledged glory. What you do get, though, is a pretty powerful mini soundbar and subwoofer that will offer adequate sound with plenty of connectivity options to boot. 

If the lack of expansive audio doesn’t bother you too much, the Nova S50 could be a solid choice, but if you want stronger room-filling sound without having to break the bank, it may be worth checking out alternatives in the budget section of our best Dolby Atmos soundbars and speakers guide instead.

Ultimea Nova S50 soundbar on a wooden surface in front of a TV

(Image credit: Future)

Ultimea Nova S50 review: Price and release date

  • Currently priced at $99.00 / £139.99 (about AU$150)
  • Launched on July 25, 2023

 Yes, you’re reading that correctly, you can pick up the Nova S50 for less than $100. That’s much cheaper than the vast majority of budget soundbars out there, and the inclusion of a subwoofer makes the cost even more impressive. It’s worth noting that the product’s original list price was $219.99 / £219.99 (about AU$330), but it’s not being  sold for anywhere near this much across the vast majority of online retailers.  

Ultimea Nova S50 review: Specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
DimensionsSoundbar: 15.7 x 1.5 x 3.0 inches / 400 x 38 x 76mm; Subwoofer: 10.5 x 4.5 x 10.6 inches / 270 x 115 x 270mm
Speaker channels2.1
ConnectionsHDMI eARC, digital optical, AUX, USB, Bluetooth (5.3)
Dolby Atmos / DTS:XYes / No
Sub includedYes
Rear speakers includedNo
Other featuresUltimea BassMax, 3x sound modes

Reverse side of the Ultimea Nova S50 showing the various connectivity ports

(Image credit: Future)

Should you buy the Ultimea Nova S50?

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FeaturesFunctional EQ presets and BassMax feature, Dolby Atmos effects limited.3.5/5
Audio performanceAdequate sound but audio can get muddied and volume levels frustrate.3/5
DesignLooks a little cheap but pleasingly compact.3.5/5
Setup and usabilityEasy to set up and good range of connectivity options.4/5
ValueQuality not especially great, but very low price given subwoofer included.4/5

Buy it if...

You’re a little low on space
If you’re not working with a lot of room for audio equipment then fear not – the Ultimea Nova S50 has you covered. The soundbar itself is particularly diminutive at just 15.7 x 1.5 x 3.0 inches / 400 x 38 x 76mm and even the subwoofer can be easily tucked away in smaller rooms. 

You want an easy-to-use plug-and-play soundbar
It doesn’t get much more straightforward than the Nova S50 when it comes to setup and usability. It will likely only take a total of about five minutes to get the soundbar and subwoofer out of the box and plugged in. The remote is also simple and easy to navigate, and there’s a simple wall-mounting kit that you can use if you’d like.

Don't buy it if...

You’re in the market for strong audio quality
The Nova S50 doesn’t sound very impressive in any of its three EQ modes. If you want to be wowed by beautiful treble, rich mids and controlled bass, you’ll need to look elsewhere. As a result, it’s not an ideal option if you’re mainly going to use this to play music with muddied audio causing sonic details to get lost. 

You want the true Dolby Atmos experience
The Nova S50 doesn’t have upfiring speakers and its digital processing doesn’t give much of an impression of additional height or expansiveness. If you want ‘true’ Atmos, you’ll be best served by a soundbar with upfiring speakers, but there are budget options without this that can produce great results too, such as the Sony HT-S2000, which has dropped to as low as £299 in the UK, though is more like $399 in the US.  

Ultimea Nova S50: Also consider

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Ultimea Nova S50Roku StreambarYamaha SR-C30A
Price$99.00 / £139.99 (about AU$150)$129.99 / £129.99 (about AU$200)$279 / £269 / AU$399
DimensionsSoundbar: 15.7 x 1.5 x 3.0 inches / 400 x 38 x 76mm; Subwoofer: 10.5 x 4.5 x 10.6 inches / 270 x 115 x 270mm14 x 2.4 x 4.2 inches / 356 x 61 x 107mmSoundbar: 23.6 x 2.5 x 3.8 inches / 600 x 64 x 94mm; Subwoofer: 13.3 x 6.3 x 14.4 inches / 335 x 160 x 364mm
Speaker channels2.12.02.1
ConnectionsHDMI eARC, digital optical, AUX, USB, Bluetooth (5.3)HDMI, digital optical, USB, Bluetooth (5.0)HDMI, digital optical, AUX, USB, Bluetooth (5.0)
Dolby Atmos/DTS:XYes/NoNo/NoNo/No
Sub includedYesNoYes
Rear speakers includedNoNoNo
Other featuresUltimea BassMax, three EQ modesVoice controls (remote), clear voice/bass boost settings, Roku app compatibility (enables EQ adjustment), inbuilt Roku streaming playerYamaha app compatibility, clear voice/bass boost settings, four EQ modes

Roku Streambar
The Roku Streambar will provide a step up from standalone TV audio without setting you back too far financially. There’s no subwoofer included, which might be better for you if you have very limited space – but you can purchase a Roku Wireless subwoofer to pair with it if you’d prefer. The soundbar has Roku streaming built in too, enabling you to watch your favorite TV shows and movies in 4K quality. Read our full Roku Streambar review


Yamaha SR-C30A
At a glance, you may think the Yamaha SR-C30A is far too expensive to be pitted against the Ultimea Nova S50. And although its list price is considerably higher, the soundbar often holds a far lower price tag in the UK and Australia, coming in at less than £200 / AU$300 with certain online retailers. This is an impressive budget soundbar which comes with a wireless subwoofer and boasts strong full-range audio. It doesn’t have Dolby Atmos support and it’s larger than the Ultimea and Roku alternatives, but if you’re working with more space, it's worth checking out. Read our full Yamaha SR-C30A review for more.

Ultimea Nova S50 review: How I tested

  • Tested over the course of a week
  • Connected to my Hisense U7K TV at home
  • Predominantly used the HDMI eARC connectivity option

I tested the Ultimea Nova S50 at home across the span of a week. I used the HDMI eARC connectivity option to connect the soundbar and subwoofer to my Hisense U7K TV.

In order to judge audio across the three main presets, I watched a variety of TV shows, videos and movies across streaming services, including Netflix and YouTube, among others. I also played multiple video games on the PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch consoles, and I listened to music from the TechRadar testing playlist on Spotify when connecting my Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 to the Nova S50 via Bluetooth.

Harry Padoan
Staff Writer

Harry is a Reviews Staff Writer for TechRadar. He reviews everything from party speakers to portable battery packs, but has a particular interest in the worlds of gaming and smartphones. Harry has a background in business tech journalism, particularly around the telecoms industry.