Samsung HW-Q800A assessment: Sonically tough all-rounder

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(Pocket-lint) – The Samsung HW-Q800A soundbar replaces the former HW-Q800T, however gives a virtually an identical set of options. That features a 3.1.2-channel speaker format, a formidable subwoofer, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-based deciphering, eARC, and integrated Amazon Alexa for voice keep an eye on.

New this era is the inclusion of Apple AirPlay 2, and not obligatory wi-fi rear audio system with upward-firing drivers, permitting enlargement to a 5.1.4-channel device. House owners of supporting Samsung TVs no longer simplest have the benefit of Q Symphony integration – which will use the TV’s audio system along with the soundbar for extra immersion and top – but additionally SpaceFit Sound for optimised setup that mechanically tunes sound profiles anyplace your TV is setup within the room.

Are those small further advantages explanation why sufficient to shop for the HW-Q800A or would it not make extra sense to have a look at the HW-Q800T as a substitute to save lots of a couple of quid?

Design & Setup

  • Ports: 1x HDMI enter; 1x HDMI (eARC) output; 1x optical enter
  • Controls: incorporated faraway; SmartThings app; four-button top-of-‘bar panel
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi; Bluetooth; AirPlay 2; Alexa voice keep an eye on built-in
  • Dimensions (soundbar): 980mm (W) x 60mm (H) x 115mm (D); 3.6kg
  • Dimensions (sub): 205mm (W) x 403mm (H) x 403mm (D); 9.8kg

The Samsung HW-Q800A makes use of precisely the similar cupboard as the sooner Q800T, protecting a swish form-factor designed to suit below your TV with out blockading the display screen. It is a smart width, however can nonetheless take care of greater display screen sizes as much as 65 inches. The full glance is trendy, with forged building and a matte black end.


There is a steel wrap-around grille, in the back of which you’ll be able to to find 3 audio system on the entrance, and the Acoustic Beam holes alongside the highest entrance edge – those are used to output sound so it seems that to come back from the place the motion is going on on display screen, made conceivable through artful processing.

There is a show situated on the entrance appropriate, which gives elementary data, and a selection of stand- or wall-mounting, with brackets equipped for the latter incorporated within the field.

The incorporated wi-fi energetic subwoofer makes use of a rear-ported enclosure and a side-firing 8-inch motive force that Samsung claims can move all the way down to 35Hz. It is properly made, with equivalent styling and a matte black end. The sub will have to pair mechanically with the soundbar, but when no longer there are buttons on each devices for handbook setup.

Pocket-lintSamsung HW-Q800A soundbar review photo 2

The Samsung HW-Q800A sports activities an HDMI enter and an HDMI output that helps eARC, permitting lossless audio to be despatched again from a appropriate TV. The HDMI connections additionally move resolutions as much as 4K/60p and each model of top dynamic differ (HDR10, HLG, HDR10+, and Dolby Imaginative and prescient).

The one different bodily connection is an optical virtual enter, however there is additionally Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and the newly added AirPlay 2, taking into consideration agnostic tune streaming out of your community or third-party services and products. Bluetooth is paired the usage of the devoted button at the faraway, whilst the Wi-Fi setup makes use of the Samsung SmartThings app by means of your telephone/pill.

There are elementary controls centrally situated at the peak of the soundbar for on/off, supply choose, quantity up/down, and far-field mic on/off. The incorporated faraway is similar zapper from earlier years, however stays well-designed, comfy to carry, and simple to make use of, with all of the vital buttons specified by a smart model.

Pocket-lintSamsung HW-Q800A soundbar review photo 11

The SmartThings app is not only for setup, but additionally gives some extent of keep an eye on. The slick and intuitive interface permits for converting inputs, adjusting the amount, opting for between sound modes, optimising the equaliser (EQ) and woofer, and settling on the complex settings (voice enhancement, bass enhancement, and night time mode).

Setup is simple, however some extent of tweaking is needed in the case of getting the centre and entrance top channels adjusted so the whole soundstage is balanced. The HW-Q800A does not generate its personal take a look at tones, which means you’ll be able to want to to find the ones your self, and the degrees paintings at the left and appropriate channels concurrently, which will also be a subject matter in uneven rooms.

It could be higher if it is advisable to set the left and appropriate entrance heights independently, together with the surrounds and rear heights when you upload the wi-fi rear audio system, and it could even be helpful if it is advisable to set them the usage of the SmartThings app reasonably than the faraway and entrance show.

Pocket-lintSamsung HW-Q800A soundbar review photo 1

The sub is a formidable beast so you’ll be able to want to dial the woofer surroundings again to verify it does not swamp the mid-range. As the driving force fires sideways, keep away from placing it within the right-hand nook of a room, or it will get boomy. Positioning against the entrance, midway between the ‘bar and wall works perfect, with this growth field producing greater than sufficient low-end juice to take care of sizeable rooms.

A integrated automatic setup function could be welcome at this worth level, however when you personal a appropriate Samsung TV you’ll be able to a minimum of have the benefit of SoundFit. This makes use of the TV’s microphone and processor to analyse the sound reverberations within the room and modify them accordingly to optimise the whole sonic efficiency of the soundbar.

The inclusion of Amazon Alexa makes this soundbar a fully-functioning good assistant, permitting customers to invite questions, pay attention to tune or podcasts, and experience hands-free voice keep an eye on. There is a far-field microphone constructed into the soundbar itself, which will also be muted for privateness, and fortunately Alexa interacts at a smart quantity (unlike in the Polk React, for example, where she’s very shouty).

Sound Quality

The Samsung HW-Q800A decodes the Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-based audio formats, and delivers both with an actual 3.1.2-channel speaker layout. This means it doesn’t need to rely on psychoacoustic trickery to create a sense of immersion, and if you take the time to setup the system properly, the results are often spectacular.

The effectiveness of the Acoustic Beam tech, which literally fires sound waves upwards to create the illusion of overhead channels, will depend on your type of ceiling – but the more reflective it is, the better the effect. Watching a dynamic object-based mix like the 4K disc of Midway reveals an expansive front soundstage, with precise placement of effects and plenty up top.

The subwoofer handles the low frequency effects with great skill, producing a foundation of bass on which the rest of the system is built. If you like plenty of subsonic impact in your movies, you’ll enjoy this particular woofer, which enthusiastically digs deep. It’s also well integrated with the ‘bar, smoothly crossing over with the mid-range drivers, and creating a cohesive overall soundstage.

The performance is energetic, with clear dialogue and a pleasing width to the delivery. The only limitation is that the soundstage is very front-heavy, due to the lack of actual surround speakers. However this can be addressed by buying the optional SWA-9500S wireless rear speakers that now include upward-firing drivers, allowing expansion to a full 5.1.4-channel configuration.

Samsung’s Q Symphony feature integrates the soundbar with compatible Samsung TVs, synchronising sound from both devices and utilising the additional speakers in the TV to create a more expansive and immersive front soundstage.

There’s also the Active Voice Amplifier which detects ambient noise, analyses the audio signal, and adjusts and amplifies the dialogue with respect to the other channels to improve intelligibility. So if you’re trying to watch TV while someone else is hoovering, for example, this could come in handy.

There are five dedicated sound modes, with the default Standard making no changes to the incoming signal. The Surround mode up-mixes the audio to take advantage of the additional channels, while the Game Pro enhances effects to create a more immersive gaming experience. For general TV viewing the Adaptive Sound is a great choice, analysing the incoming signal and automatically optimising it. Finally, Night mode compresses the dynamic range, so you won’t disturb the rest of the household during a late-night bingeing session.

There’s a pleasing musicality to this system’s delivery, with the width producing some excellent stereo imaging, and the sub giving drums a driving beat. You can stream from a number of services too, including Amazon Music, Spotify, Deezer, TuneIn and Samsung Music, plus Apple Music via AirPlay.

Also consider

Samsung HW-Q800T

It’s more or less the same soundbar, with the same sound quality. Buy if you want to save a few quid and don’t care about AirPlay 2. Don’t buy if you want future expandability – as it’s the Q800A’s optional speaker add-ons that help to set it apart from this older model.

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Sonos Arc

This highly-accomplished soundbar is worth considering not only because it brings the Sonos ecosystem to the party, but because it has Dolby Atmos, eARC, and AirPlay 2 as well. Like the Samsung there’s integrated Alexa, plus Google Assistant for completists. It’s not cheap, doesn’t support DTS:X, and has no HDMI inputs or a separate subwoofer, but if you’re already invested in Sonos this compelling ‘bar can elevate your sonic experience.

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JBL BAR 9.1

This awesome 5.1.4-channel ‘bar-and-sub combo includes detachable and rechargeable rear speakers, resulting in a genuinely immersive Dolby Atmos and DTS:X experience with the minimum of fuss. There’s an automated audio calibration feature, eARC support, Chromecast, AirPlay 2 and Dolby Vision passthrough. There’s no dedicated remote app, nor can it pass HDR10+, but in most other respects this impressive soundbar system is hard to fault.

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Writing by Steve Withers. Editing by Mike Lowe.





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