Review of the Samsung HW-Q800A, a soundbar located on the border between medium and high-end devices of this type. It has a 3.1.2 sound chip, a wireless subwoofer, supports Dolby Atmos, Spotify Connect, and has many other features, and most of all sounds pretty good. However, you will learn more details after reading the full review, to which I cordially invite you.
Samsung HW-Q800A review in three sentences
Samsung tried hard to design this soundbar. Well-made, very elegant-looking, and above all, good and universal sounding equipment. Thanks to the efficient application, we can quickly adapt it to our sound taste.
Samsung HW-Q800A set and price
The Samsung HW-Q800A comes in a standard, brown cardboard box that looks like a chair from the outside. You need to open it on both sides and remove the strip itself from the longer part, and the subwoofer from the more squat one. Inside you will also find a holder to hang the soundbar on the wall, a remote control, power cables, a power supply for the strip and one HDMI cable.
We will pay less than $850 for the whole thing , which places the reviewed soundbar in the vicinity of many popular devices, such as the JBL Bar 5.1, to which I will compare the main character of today's text.
Samsung HW-Q800A – specification
- Eight speakers
- System 3.1.2
- Power up to 330W
- Wireless subwoofer
- Dolby Atmos support
- Spotify Connect
- Bluetooth with SBC codec
- One HDMI input and one output (unfortunately no HDMI 2.1)
- ARC, HDMI CEC support
- Operation via the SmartThings app
Build quality and build
The 98 cm wide soundbar looks very good. Virtually the entire visible part of the main element is covered with a metal mesh. Thanks to this, the Samsung HW-Q800A is a very elegant device and will fit into most interiors.
For me, it perfectly matched the Ikea cabinet, which is in a very similar style. On the front, behind the grill, there is a small display that informs us about the modes and volume. In turn, on the back you will find all the connectors and a socket for a small power supply. The subwoofer, in turn, looks very standard. A black box with a round fabric cover, most of which will end up in the corner of the room. Is it right? More on that later, because you might be surprised.
In-app operation allows for quite a lot
The SmartThings app perfectly brings together all the elements of the Samsung ecosystem. It is no different in the case of the title soundbar. We can configure it in two ways. The first is through a Samsung TV. It will detect our bar and ask if we want to add it to the application. The second option is standard add via device discovery. This is a faster solution, because in my case the TV had to think a bit.
After adding, we get access to all the essential functions of the Samsung HW-Q800A soundbar. With its help, we can control the music that is playing from Spotify, change the volume, play with the equalizer, set predefined modes and, of course, select the sound source.
Spotify Connect is one of the best features
The Samsung HW-Q800A comes with Spotify Connect, which in my opinion is the perfect solution for most people. The soundbar stays on standby and we just select it in the Spotify app and the music is on. The inclusion itself happens very quickly , which to be honest surprised me a lot. Audiophile streaming players can often and densely have problems with this.
This time, everything starts up and runs smoothly. There are a few minor problems, but they are already caused by Spotify working. Sometimes it is impossible to pause a song without entering the application, because the notification shows an absolutely different song.
But Bluetooth is a bit of an extension
Samsung in the HW-Q800A model also made available the Bluetooth connection option. The connection is stable, but we can only choose the SBC codec . You can read exactly what this means in our article on Bluetooth codecs . In a nutshell, the codec used is characterized by a significant delay and worse quality than we have using Spotify Connect and of course by playing music via the optical connector or HDMI and using applications such as Tidal or Apple Music.
Operation from the remote control
The remote control attached to the Samsung HW-Q800A soundbar reminds me of the remote controls from several-year-old TV sets from this manufacturer. It is small and pleasantly contoured . With its help, we can control practically everything that is necessary.
We can choose sound modes, control the subwoofer, enable Bluetooth pairing and, of course, mute the sound. Basically, we do not need anything else, and I personally hid the remote quickly. I controlled the volume using the TV remote control, and the rest was controlled via the SmartThings application.
The sound modes make a nice difference
In the Samsung HW-Q800A soundbar menu, we have a choice of several modes.
- Standard, which is the most basic mode that basically plays as it should. It does not impose anything on itself and sounds like the soundbar itself, but the time will come for a more detailed description.
- Surround mode makes the sound more blown around the room. It works well in movies, but in music it is not very natural for me . Especially when I listen to songs that I have known very well.
- The “Game” mode, in turn, is designed for gamers. Its operation is very similar to the spatial mode, but additionally it gently raises the sounds of footsteps and shots.
- Night mode, which significantly reduces the bass and makes the sound more nasal, but at the same time does not disturb our neighbors or household members who are trying to sleep.
Adaptive mode that deserves a separate paragraph
Adaptive mode connects the TV speakers to the soundbar and its subwoofer. Samsung proudly named it Q-Symphony. And it works very well. The sound becomes a bit livelier, more dynamic and simply more pleasant, especially when listening to music. The TV set and the soundbar analyze the room in which the equipment is placed on an ongoing basis and, as the name suggests, adjust the sound to it. It works perfectly, especially in small rooms, where there may be too much bass for good morning. After all, waves of this length must have space for them to diverge.
Speaking of bass, how do you set up the subwoofer?
The correct setting of the subwoofer is a very important element of the sound, and many people do not know how to set it up. Perfectly inserted into the corner, or left behind the TV cabinet. Not the way.
The best option is to swap roles with the subwoofer. It should be placed on the couch, in the place where we sit most often and wandering around the room. We should look for a place where that bass sounds best for us, and then put the subwoofer there. It is also very important to turn it sideways, because it can change a lot in the overall calculation. Due to the location of the bass reflex on the back and the diaphragm on the side, we should provide it with several dozen centimeters of space at the back and from the sides. This will allow you to significantly reduce the rumble of the bass, and at the same time it will sound much more natural. Really, it’s worth the fun, at least for a few minutes.
What does the Samsung HW-Q800A sound like?
That sounds very good. The sound is, of course, what we could expect from a soundbar in this price range. Thick, bass, even cinematic sound that works very well in movies and a bit worse with music, but still pretty good.
On the occasion of this test, I decided to go back to my favorite movie genre – war movies. Both Dunkirk and “The Hurt Locker” made an even greater impression on me than before. The explosions delighted me, and the neighbor downstairs probably irritated me a lot. Each shot was perfectly marked, fast and pleasant. Plus, by turning on the spatial mode, there were times when I had the feeling that the bullets were really flying right next to my head. The dialogues that are most important in the movies were of course put perfectly to the front, so that they were constantly heard.
Dune like in the cinema, and even better
Dune is a film that made an amazing impression on me, almost as good as Blade Runner 2049. I watched the first one in the cinema, though average, but in the cinema. And personally, I had a better time watching it again on the reviewed Samsung QN91A and the eponymous Samsung HW-Q800A soundbar. Both the sound and the picture were just much better than in the average cinema quality . The bass produced by the subwoofer from the set is more dynamic, pleasant and much more effective.
How does Samsung HW-Q800A handle sports and games?
Another moment when Samsung impresses with its soundbar. Personally, I preferred to use it with the F1 instead of my stereo, which is more than three times more expensive. The new cars sounded wonderful even though they are not the old V10 engines.
Thanks to the dedicated mode, games have gained a lot in terms of positioning. You can quite accurately determine where the shots are coming from, where the opponent is running, or just have fun in single player games.
Is this soundbar suitable for music?
The Samsung HW-Q800A is definitely one of those models that fits. And this is for virtually any music, all you have to do is adjust the subwoofer in the meantime . I added two decibels to Indian rap, but while listening to jazz, I preferred to go down a few degrees, because the double bass could be overwhelming, but let’s admit that sound bars are not made for such music. It’s time, however, for a more detailed description of the sound
Bass can be a nuisance at times
But this can be adjusted quickly, as I did when I listened to the music. Sometimes the bass is just a bit too much, or it was not created for a system with subwoofers, which can be felt strongly. A perfect example is Billie Eilish’s album “Happier Than Ever”. Some songs are downright overwhelmed with the amount of bass that doesn’t always make up with the pace. This does not surprise me, because for Billie to sound good, you need a really decent audio system. But I really liked it in slightly different climates, because it was in India rap. It’s the perfect combination to get the party going or simply immerse yourself in the music.
The midrange and top are smooth but nice
Both male and female vocals are very smooth, slightly sweetened. The low, male vocals can sometimes be drowned out by the bass coming out of the sub, which can happen even with a fairly strong drop in bass, but the problem disappears in night mode. The female vocals are no longer drowned out by the subbass, but they are just slightly sweeter and therefore will be a bit more pleasant for many people. However, I prefer a bit more claw and crunch in my voice.
Is system 3.1.2 not enough?
Not to me, but I’m a stubborn stereo fan. However, if someone would like to improve the sound of the soundbar, they can buy Samsung SWA-9500S speakers, which not only serve as two additional speakers on the back, but also play upwards. They do it wirelessly, so we don’t have to worry about cable planning problems. This allows you to create a 5.1.4 system at a relatively low cost, because such speakers cost $350.
Samsung HW-Q800A or JBL Bar 5.1?
I know many people who would look in the direction of the JBL company when buying audio equipment, because they have an approach that electronics companies will not be able to cope with this. In this case, I cannot agree with it. The JBL sounds just like the JBL, a lot of flooding bass that is not qualitatively as good as that of Samsung. Bar 5.1 can satisfy fans of pit, light music and rap. Samsung is, in my opinion, a more universal set , because in the case of series it is better. It takes more out of the sound, plays with the space a bit better and differentiates sounds much better. In the case of JBL, the sound sometimes blends together. This is important in scenes where a lot is happening and where dialogue is taking place at the same time. We can lose quite a lot because of this.
Samsung HW-Q800A review – summary
Samsung HW-Q800A is a really good and universal soundbar. It can cope with a variety of conditions, from simple sitcoms, through heavier movies like Dunkirk or Dune, to games and sports. In music, the Samsung HW-Q800A also works very well, although it should be borne in mind that it is not a device for classical music or jazz. Finally, there is a design that makes it fit almost anywhere we could put it.
Advantages and disadvantages
- The versatility of sound
- Ease of use
- HDMI CEC, SmartThings supported
- Spotify Connect
- Powerful subwoofer
- Which sometimes exaggerates
- No HDMI 2.1
- Poor quality Bluetooth