Samsung HW-S800B: Two-minute review
To work this Samsung HW-S800B reappraisal is to observe a occupation solver. And the occupation is size. In their efforts to look chill and minimalist, immoderate TVs support their screens precise debased connected their stands. This is great, unless you privation a large beefy soundbar, due to the fact that erstwhile it sits successful beforehand of the TV, it tin extremity up cutting disconnected the bottommost of the surface from your presumption erstwhile you're sitting connected the sofa. This isn't a hypothetical – it's precisely the concern this reviewer has been in.
But the Samsung HW-S800B cancels this problem. Its full instrumentality is that it packs successful aggregate talker angled speakers and large dependable to rival the best soundbars, but the soundbar is astir a 4th of the carnal measurement of the class-leading Sonos Arc. That's supplemented by a reasonably tiny subwoofer, to adhd the low-end grunt that a compact soundbar portion can't.
It's afloat equipped for Dolby Atmos (including upfiring drivers), and really ranks truly powerfully for delivering that positional audio. Overhead sounds truly travel from the ceiling, and effects person convincing width and question crossed the screen.
The wide dependable prime feels borderline intolerable for specified a slim barroom erstwhile compared to overmuch bigger units, and the sub helps by providing a controlled but impactful low-end. Compared to likewise priced but bigger units, the mid-range is simply a small little dynamic, but if you privation thing this small, thing does it better.
The features are wherever it gets a spot weird. You've got Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for euphony streaming, and with Samsung TVs it supports wholly wireless connection with the TV and Samsung's Q-Symphony diagnostic (if your TV is compatible with these)… but due to the fact that of its tiny size it not lone doesn't enactment HDMI passthrough (a shame astatine this price), but it besides an antithetic mini-HDMI connector. It comes with a cable, mercifully, but it means it doesn't enactment lossless HDMI eARC sound. There's besides nary optical connection.
So it has its quirks, and its limitations, but we were blown distant the standard of the dependable that this super-svelte soundbar spits out.
Samsung HW-S800B review: Price and merchandise date
- Released successful June 2022
- $899 / £749 / AU$999
The Samsung HW-S800B was released successful summertime 2022, and with a terms of $899 / £749 / AU$999, it's targeting the much premium extremity of the soundbar market.
The terms puts it successful enactment with the Sonos Arc, which is simply a cleanable illustration of the benignant of hefty, gangly soundbar the HW-S800B is trying to connection you an alternate to. It besides tells you a batch astir the benignant of prime Samsung is wide aiming for with the audio here, which it mostly nails.
There's not overmuch that's a nonstop rival to the S800B successful presumption of being so small, but the biggest information astir apt comes from Samsung itself: the Samsung HW-Q800A is lone a small taller, and besides comes with a subwoofer and Dolby Atmos support, but is present disposable for astir $600 / £550.
Samsung HW-S800B review: features
- 3.1.2-channel Dolby Atmos and DTS:X sound
- Mini-HDMI connector lone – nary optical, nary passthrough, nary eARC
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi streaming, positive Samsung-specific features
The S800B is designed to present 3.1.2 channels of Dolby Atmos oregon DTS:X audio, which means front, halfway and close sound, the subwoofer bass channel, and 2 upfiring Dolby Atmos channels.
To bash this, it includes 8 abstracted talker drivers successful the soundbar unit, and different 2 successful the subwoofer. That's a immense fig for the magnitude of abstraction it takes up, and it explains the prime of the directional audio.
As mentioned above, carnal audio connectivity is constricted to the mini-HDMI connector – there's nary optical connector, and nary HDMI passthrough. It besides means that there's lone HDMI ARC support, and not eARC. This means that it lone takes a much compressed, 'lossy' mentation of Dolby Atmos dependable alternatively than the afloat lossless Dolby Atmos that eARC supports.
Depending connected your source, this whitethorn not beryllium overmuch of a occupation – the Dolby Atmos mentation utilized by streaming services is 'lossy' anyway, truthful not having eARC isn't the extremity of the world. But if you emotion 4K Blu-rays for their maximum fidelity, which connection lossless Atmos sound, you don't rather get the champion of them here.
Other ways to get dependable implicit to the S800B see Bluetooth, and if you occurrence up the Samsung SmartThings app, you tin link the soundbar to your Wi-Fi network, enabling Apple AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect streaming (but nary Google Cast). It besides has Alexa built-in, including a mic, truthful it functions afloat arsenic a astute speaker.
I had a occupation wherever it didn’t amusement up consistently arsenic a Bluetooth people connected my iPhone, contempt being connected successful the Bluetooth settings, but it's hard to cognize whether to blasted Apple oregon Samsung. It was frustrating, either way.
It has aggregate listening modes, including a Night Mode for capping however large things tin be, a DTS Virtual:X mode for upscaling stereo to 3D sound, and a Game mode, among others. It besides includes Samsung's SpaceFit tech, which listens to the output of the soundbar and set it to compensate for immoderate quirks caused by the layout of your room.
The subwoofer connects wirelessly to the main unit, and some units enactment wireless connection with compatible 2022 Samsung TVs, arsenic agelong arsenic some are connected the aforesaid Wi-Fi network, truthful you wouldn't request an HDMI cablegram astatine all.
It besides works with Samsung's Q-Symphony feature, wherever the soundbar and TV speakers enactment successful tandem to make an adjacent larger dependable field.
You tin adhd Samsung wireless rear speakers successful the future, if you privation to make a afloat situation dependable system.
- Features score: 4/5
Samsung HW-S800B review: dependable quality
- Superb Dolby Atmos question and tallness effects
- Mid-range struggles erstwhile it's busy
- Controlled yet affluent bass
If you're looking for a comparatively discreet soundbar that inactive provides a showpiece Dolby Atmos experience, this is perfectly it. There's width, there's height, there's question successful scenes… it truly makes the astir of object-based audio.
It's a precise well-balanced dependable too. We were disquieted that the tiny soundbar wouldn't beryllium susceptible of moving capable aerial for a convincing lower-midrange, meaning that it and the subwoofer wouldn't smoothly integrate, but this wasn't a occupation – the dependable feels perfectly afloat and blends neatly betwixt the 2 units. Having said that, we weren't wholly incorrect to beryllium suspicious of the mid-range, but we'll travel backmost to that successful a moment, due to the fact that we're inactive enjoying however salient the Dolby Atmos effects are.
During Kylo Ren’s flyby of the span successful The Last Jedi, the acquainted TIE whining sound streaks from near to close adjacent the apical of the TV, and past the metallic of the vessel rumbles and creaks from the after-effect with convincing menace, acknowledgment to the subwoofer. In the Crait conflict astatine the end, the Millenium Falcon arrives with a shadiness connected the screen, but the motor howls from close up connected your ceiling.
This tallness effect is amended than you get from the likewise priced Sonos Arc, which struggles to enactment the dependable close connected the roof. The S800B nails it close to the ceiling conscionable successful beforehand of you, though.
It besides bests the Sonos Arc erstwhile it comes to bass, simply due to the fact that it has a subwoofer and the Arc doesn't, and there's nary substitute for a due sub (well, but for the Devialet Dione, but that's a peculiar case).
The gentle rumble of Kingpin's instrumentality successful Into The Spider-verse truly shows the subtle powerfulness of a subwoofer. Without being large and without shaking the room, it makes wide the standard of the elephantine spinning instrumentality arsenic the sub mildly thrums successful the corner, successful a mode that a single-unit soundbar can't truly match.
When the instrumentality explodes minutes later, the sub adds the nutrient to the sound, but the sound of the shockwave races retired of the surface and close implicit you acknowledgment to the subwoofer. In films that marque the astir of it, it's a thrill.
In the astir utmost bass-heavy scenes, the sub tin consciousness similar it's knocking connected your receptor a small more, but the distant makes it casual to rapidly dial it backmost if needed (and past you tin reset it to mean with conscionable a button-press, smartly).
However, arsenic alluded to above, the S800B isn't perfect. In dense, music-led movie soundtrack moments, it tin consciousness weaker than the likes of the Sonos Arc, oregon different large Samsung soundbars. It seems to conscionable deficiency the abstraction to beryllium arsenic dynamic arsenic others tin – sometimes salient code and engaged euphony consciousness tied together, neither popping arsenic overmuch arsenic it ideally would. The effect is astir salient erstwhile idiosyncratic is yelling implicit an energetic soundtrack – the yelling is somewhat swallowed into the mix, astir similar the histrion wasn't giving it their all.
With much ambient music, code is precise wide and precise, truthful it's not a clarity contented much generally.
Treble-led effects particularly ever assistance close retired of the premix – successful immoderate cases, this conscionable serves to marque it adjacent clearer erstwhile the mid-range struggles to rather bash the same. But the beardown treble adds prominence and thrills successful galore cases – a brighter and sharper effect to gunshots, laser occurrence oregon the a doorway slam.
Of the aggregate dependable modes, we were mostly happiest with 'Standard' (the plain, no-fussin' mode) oregon 'Adaptive', which tweaks the output based connected the benignant of contented it detects. 'DTS Virtual:X' mostly felt hollow and unnatural, and the 'Surround' mode for a "wider" dependable tract conscionable felt unnecessary. The 'Game' mode besides didn't mostly consciousness necessary.
The S800B besides isn't atrocious with euphony – it doesn’t person a euphony mode, but I enjoyed the modular mode reasonably well. However, it doesn’t person rather the aforesaid bushed and vigor arsenic the Sonos Arc for music, which is astir surely down to that somewhat choky mid-range.
- Sound prime score: 4/5
Samsung HW-S800B review: Design
- Ridiculously tiny volume, but wide
- All coagulated grille down the front
- Subwoofer is compact, too
We whitethorn person mentioned this already, but the Samsung S800B is small. Very small. In 2 dimensions, astatine least. With dimensions of 1160 x 38 x 40mm / 45.7 x 1.5 x 1.6 inches for the soundbar, it's arsenic wide arsenic the biggest of them. You'll request a TV of 55 inches oregon larger for this – it volition instrumentality retired past the edges of thing smaller.
As portion of keeping the subwoofer small, there's really an outer powerfulness box, which is antithetic for products similar this. It's nary problem, but volition privation hiding away.
The subwoofer is little obsessed with being tiny, but is inactive impressively compact astatine 238 x 240.8 x 238 mm / 9.4 x 9.5 x 9.4 inches – we had nary occupation conscionable dropping it into a abstraction adjacent to a TV basal without needing to rearrange our setup.
The extracurricular of the soundbar is fundamentally each acheronian grey grille connected the beforehand and sides, with different small grille conception connected apical astatine each extremity for the upward drivers. Under the grille connected the beforehand is simply a acceptable of 4 LED lights, which are utilized to bespeak erstwhile you alteration modes, oregon alteration the volume. We'll travel backmost to that successful a moment.
The subwoofer is black, and has exposed drivers with nary protective grille oregon screen included.
We deliberation some units are beauteous bully looking, but arsenic are some truthful discreet that it doesn't substance excessively overmuch if you're little keen.
The powerfulness and HDMI transportation connected the soundbar are separate, and some are side-angled inputs. They're casual to find if you request them.
The distant is simply a achromatic portion with a astonishing fig of buttons for specified a theoretically elemental instrumentality arsenic a soundbar. The soundbar supports HDMI CEC, truthful you astir apt won't mostly request (or want) to usage the measurement power here, but you besides person the quality to summation oregon alteration the subwoofer's contribution. You've besides got buttons for assorted dependable modes, though knowing rather what you're doing isn't ever easy. Let's speech astir that.
- Design score: 4/5
Samsung HW-S800B review: Usability and setup
- Perfect HDMI ARC plug-and-play simplicity
- Requires app to acceptable up Wi-Fi
- No screen, truthful you request to recognize dots
Setting up the Samsung HW-S800B conscionable for moving with your TV is arsenic casual arsenic it gets: plug it into the wall, plug it into your TV, and plug the subwoofer successful separately. You're consecutive off, with the 2 units instantly syncing wirelessly, and TV dependable coming consecutive implicit HDMI ARC.
To get a instrumentality connected to it implicit Bluetooth, you'll request to usage its ain remote, and deed the pairing fastener usefully located close there. That was instant for us. And then, if you privation to link it to the Wi-Fi, you request to usage the Samsung SmartThings app, which volition locomotion you done the process – truthful it becomes a spot of a multi-stage thing. We had a occupation with the app that connected 1 network, we couldn't get it to connect, and determination was nary wide problem. We could archer if the occupation was with the soundbar, the app, oregon the web itself being a symptom – immoderate transparency from the app would person helped.
We've mentioned that the soundbar's distant has tons of buttons, and utilizing them to alteration modes tin beryllium rather deed and miss. Part of the occupation is that the soundbar doesn't person a screen, but alternatively a bid of dots that flash successful antithetic colors and patterns to bespeak things, which is… not thing I'm ever going to learn. While trying modes for the review, I was sitting with the manual unfastened connected my lap, looking astatine diagrams of dots and flashes similar I was trying to defuse a peculiarly whimsical bomb.
When you rhythm done modes, you get a dependable announcement arsenic to what each 1 is, which is bully and clear. But erstwhile you rhythm done options that tin beryllium turned connected an off, it feels overmuch little wide – including what you property to crook it connected oregon off. It's each understandable with the manual and immoderate time, but it's not what we'd telephone intuitive. Of course, if you don't program to messiness with the modes much, you won't request to worry.
- Usability and setup score: 3/5
Samsung HW-S800B review: Value
- Compares good to likewise priced soundbars
- Can inactive get astir of the show for less
The S800B is comfortably astatine the much premium extremity of the soundbar marketplace but it mostly delivers the dependable and features to match. Yes, we'd truly similar it to see an HDMI passthrough port, but it's not unsocial successful lacking this diagnostic astatine this price, truthful we won't justice it excessively harshly – particularly erstwhile it's designed for radical with a antithetic precedence successful mind.
It's a akin communicative with the sound. It does consciousness similar a mild compromise connected dependable prime successful the mid-range to get the soundbar to beryllium this small, but it's lone a insignificant one, and we deliberation it's comfortably balanced retired by conscionable however effectual its Dolby Atmos tallness and positioning is.
This is made for radical who privation a premium soundbar that won't predominate their TV setup, and delivers that, but with audio that feels similar it's astatine a overmuch larger scale. We deliberation it's competitory with soundbars astatine the aforesaid benignant of terms successful that respect – but marque nary mistake that you tin get reasonably adjacent to its dependable prime from thing overmuch cheaper, if you tin spell a spot chunkier.
- Value score: 4/5
Should I bargain the Samsung HW-S800B?
|Features||No HDMI passthrough oregon eARC, but large for different features||4/5|
|Sound quality||Dramatic Dolby Atmos tallness and positioning, and good balanced. Slightly constrained successful the mid-range.||4/5|
|Design||Ridiculously small, though inactive wide. Simple plan – it looks nice, if not dazzling.||4/5|
|Usability and setup||Easy to acceptable up with your TV, but could bash with a surface to assistance you navigate the remote's options.||3/5|
|Value||Balances good against different premium soundbars astatine this price, particularly erstwhile you see the size.||4/5|
Buy it if…
Don't bargain it if…
- First reviewed: June 2022
- How we test: read TechRadar's reviews guarantee