Samsung HW-Q800B


Samsung HW-Q800B main

The HW-Q800B delivers yet another impressive immersive performance for a Samsung soundbar, delivering a big, wide and spacious sound and powerful bass performance. With scope to add rear speakers and the Q800B less tied to needing a QLED TV to draw out its best performance, it offers a friendlier path to creating an Atmos home cinema system than Samsung’s previous mid-range effort.

Pros

  • Spacious, wide performance
  • Rear speaker upgrade supported
  • Room calibration
  • Big bass performance
Cons

  • Bass can be overpowering
Availability

  • UKRRP: £849
  • USARRP: $999
  • EuropeTBC
  • CanadaRRP: CA$1099
  • AustraliaRRP: AU$1099
Key Features
  • SpaceFit Sound Gen IISoundbar equalises performance in according to room acoustics
  • Wireless connectivityAirPlay 2, Chromecast, Spotify Connect and Bluetooth playback
  • 5.1.2 Atmos5.1.2 speaker configuration with support for additional rear channels

Introduction

Samsung is one of the biggest brands in the soundbar market, offering bars at various price points and catering to both home cinema enthusiasts and lifestyle users.

The HW-Q800B falls in the former camp, following the HW-Q800A reviewed earlier in the year, and the Q800B features upgrades both in its appearance and number of speaker drivers, taking a similar approach to the 2021 HW-Q900A in how it fires out sound.

That bar put in a strong immersive performance, so what’s the HW-Q800B got up its sleeve?

Design

  • Front-facing display
  • New side-firing speakers
  • Redesigned remote control

The appearance of the HW-Q800B isn’t what you’d call graceful or elegant; more of a functional-looking unit that doesn’t draw much attention to itself.

Samsung HW-Q800B side firing drivers

The grilled finish from the Q800A has been toned down, the black colourway takes on a greyer appearance while the design at the edge of the bar borrows from the Q900A, the angular corners help to spread sound from the new side-firing drivers.

On the top surface and visible through the grille are upfiring drivers for delivery of Atmos and DTS:X audio, while in the centre are the multi-function, volume and microphone buttons, the latter disables the built-in microphones Alexa uses.

Samsung HW-Q800B top panel controlsImage Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The display placement issue that affected the Q900A soundbar is not apparent on this 800 series model, with the LED sensibly placed on the front (right from centre as you’re facing the bar), which makes it easier to read, make set-up changes and know what mode the soundbar is in. Here’s hoping the Q930B and above models follow the same path.

Samsung HW-Q800B displayImage Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The remote has changed from the ergonomically shaped model of 2021 to an effort that more closely resembles the zapper that comes with Samsung’s TVs. Its functionality seems to have grown too (or perhaps I simply wasn’t paying attention) with the christened Smart One Remote Control able to control TVs (compatible Samsung models I should add) and connected devices.

There’s a bit more to control with the inclusion of Tone Control (adjusting bass and treble by -6/+6) and CH Level (changing the volume of each speaker). CH Level actually pilfers a few audio modes from the Sound Control button, which now governs other modes such as Active Voice Amplifier, Night Mode, Voice enhance among others.

Samsung HW-Q800B remote controlImage Credit (Trusted Reviews)

With the main bar measuring 1110.7 x 60.4 x 120mm, this is still a fairly meaty piece of home cinema kit to find space for, though the step-up HW-Q930B has the same dimensions if that’s of any value. At 5.1kg it’s not too heavy, though the active wireless subwoofer is a similar looking heavy beast to the 2021 range.

Features

  • Room calibration possible
  • HDMI input for sources
  • Alexa smarts
  • Q-Symphony sound with Samsung TVs

The feature set carries plenty over from last year with a few tweaks and changes. The driver configuration has been pushed from 3.1.2 to 5.1.2 thanks to the new side-firing speaker units. There’s an upgrade path possible by adding rear channels in the SWA-9000S wireless surround package to create a 7.1.2 channel system.

Samsung HW-Q800B upfiring speakersImage Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The HW-Q800B no longer needs a Samsung TV to assist in calibrating its sound, with built-in microphones in both the subwoofer and soundbar meaning the SpaceFit Sound Gen II feature can equalise the soundbar’s performance to your room’s acoustics on its own. That’s helpful, and sidesteps an annoying quirk of last year’s models where this tuning was exclusive to some Samsung QLED TVs.

There’s a variety of smart features in Active Voice Amplifier and Adaptive Sound. The former raises the volume of dialogue above any external sounds the bar senses in the room to ensure dialogue from the centre channel remains audible. Adaptive Sound uses artificial intelligence to automatically optimise the performance for dialogue heavy content, sports and movies. For example, watching sports might make the soundbar emphasise the crowd noise to give the impression of a bigger, room-filling sound.

Other modes include Game Mode Pro which achieves a similar effect as Adaptive but with gaming, along with Standard and Surround options. Q-Symphony is only compatible with Samsung TVs, synchronising the bar’s sound with the TV to place effects and dialogue around the soundstage for a bigger, expansive performance.

Samsung HW-Q800B connectionsImage Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Physical connections are hidden in the recessed area with an HDMI eARC output, HDMI input, and Optical port – the input can pass through 4K HDR (HDR10+) content. Wireless offers AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect and Chromecast (which is a new addition), as well as Bluetooth (SBC codec). Worth a mention is that the soundbar’s performance could be a bit finickity, as it disconnected from the Wi-Fi a few times and wouldn’t connect to the TV, needing a few soft reboots to return to normal.

Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD/Dolby MAT/Dolby Digital+) and DTS:X (DTS Master Audio) immersive formats naturally feature; as well as legacy Dolby and DTS tracks. There’s Hi-res decoding for music, with audio formats including AAC, MP3, OGG, WAV, FLAC, ALAC and AIFF. There’s also wireless Atmos performance through casting content from streaming services such as Tidal, Apple Music or though 4K HDR/Atmos content from Netflix and Prime Video.

Samsung HW-Q800B SmartThingsImage Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The SmartThings app is a part of the experience that you could skip altogether, but if you have other Samsung devices and smart IoT products then it’s certainly worth perusing as the app has the means to kickstart Spotify Connect and Alexa integration. Elsewhere are options to alter the equaliser settings, audio synchronisation, volume/woofer settings, sound modes, voice/bass enhancement and to put the bar into Night mode.

The Tap Sound feature is still around, but only has relevance to Galaxy smartphone owners, allowing music to be transferred to the bar via a single tap on the top panel.

Samsung HW-Q800B equaliserSound Quality

  • Wide and spacious performance
  • Room shaking bass
  • Crisp, clear sound with music

While I did not test the HW-Q800A, judging by the spec it feels fairly obvious to discern where the HW-Q800B has

Go to Source