Samsung HW-Q80R Review: No ordinary soundbar

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The Samsung HW-Q80R Soundbar is a powerful combination of a mid-range soundbar and subwoofer. The HW-Q80R can play both Dolby Atmos and DTS: X audio formats. That’s not the only benefit of this 5.1.2 soundbar with 370W of power. In this Samsung HW-Q80R review we will try to take a closer look at the merits and demerits of this soundbar.

Samsung HW-Q80R review

Design and build

Even before opening the box, it can already be argued that the HW-Q80R is a serious set. The subwoofer doesn’t look particularly attractive. To some extent, this is just a thick black “box”, although its corners are slightly rounded. Bass lovers will be delighted to see the impressively large (8-inch) speaker positioned on the side of the subwoofer.

Having a bass reflex with substantial airflow located at the rear of the subwoofer will help maintain low frequency flow. The main soundbar looks more attractive. It has a lower profile than previous generation Samsung high-quality soundbars, making it easier to fit under the TV screen.

In fact, Samsung’s 2019 soundbars have been designed to fit under virtually any 2019 brand TV. For those who don’t have a 2019 Samsung TV and want to know if the HW-Q80R will fit their TV, the soundbar is W: 1226 x H: 83 x D: 136mm.

It is also worth noting that due to the side speakers, the consumer cannot fit this soundbar into the niche under the TV. The Samsung HW-Q80R also benefits from rounded corners and a solid metal body. A small LED window on the right side gives information about the selected input, volume settings and when the Dolby Atmos channel is on.

Samsung HW-Q80R design

Remote controller

The Samsung HW-Q80R remote control is pretty cute. Its narrow, slightly curved shape fits comfortably in the hand, and the button layout is minimalist yet effective. The rocker switch, designed to increase the overall volume, is quite easy to accidentally press, and thus activate the mute.

Features of the

The Samsung HW-Q80R speaker system as a whole was developed in collaboration with audio experts from Harman Kardon. The HW-Q80R is in fact capable of delivering a declared total sound power of 372 watts. This is done using 13 speakers operating in a 5.1-channel configuration. The side speakers at each end of the soundbar reproduce surround sound.

The two outermost speakers reproduce frontal sound and sound from above, thereby reflecting the effects of height. This arrangement imposes some requirements on the layout of the premises. For example, vaulted or beamed ceilings can cause problems with height effects.

It is recommended to position the soundbar so that the side speakers have more or less the same distance between the walls, from which they will reflect the sound. Immediately, we note that for the Q80R soundbar, this arrangement will give maximum efficiency. Otherwise, the HW-Q80R will sound very good as well.

Samsung HW-Q80R review

HW-Q90R and HW-Q80R differences

Samsung HW-Q90R and HW-Q80R are distinguished by the absence of additional speakers in this model. SWA-9000 wireless speakers sold separately. They are perfectly compatible with the HW-Q80R and can be added at will. However, they do not bring additional power to the system, and therefore differ from the speakers that are purchased with the HW-Q90R .

Playing music

Despite the fact that the Samsung HW-Q80R soundbar is designed specifically for movies, it plays music very well too. In fact, the panel can play FLAC, WAV, AAC and ALAC files. Another great feature of the Samsung HW-Q80R is the use of its own high frequency tweeters. This allows the sound to spread over a wider range. Consequently, the consumer does not need to sit in a specific place to maximize the effect.

Modes

The Q80R boasts a couple of interesting features to optimize the sound for different content playback. Adaptive Sound is a variation of the Smart Sound feature that was first introduced on Samsung TVs. This option continuously evaluates the attributes of the incoming audio and adjusts the playback accordingly.

In addition, there is a Game Sound mode, which is most often used to create a three-dimensional sound environment in gaming single-player games. Note that none of these features work in Dolby Atmos or DTS: X modes.

Samsung HW-Q80R subwoofer

Performance

The Samsung HW-Q80R is a fantastically powerful and sophisticated soundbar. It delivers an outstanding combination of scale and power. In particular, Dolby Atmos and DTS: X mixes are perfectly reproduced not only through the front channels but also overhead and on the sides.

With actual side and ceiling speakers rather than virtual side and ceiling speakers working close to the center channel, the left and right channels reproduce the subtle details in a multi-channel mix more vividly and accurately. This results in a sound environment that is brighter and more compelling. Another key element to the success of the HW-Q80R Soundbar is the power of its multiple audio channels.

The device can sound very loud without any hint of distortion. The power of the Q80R is also perfectly matched with a wide dynamic range. The treble is great. Voices sound realistic. The mids can display an impressive amount of streams during action scenes.

The most significant improvement over 2018 Samsung soundbars is the subwoofer. The bass from this extremely reworked sub is deeper. The Q80R’s sensitivity also makes it the best soundbar for music.

Samsung HW-Q80R interfaces

Connections

The Samsung HW-Q80R’s connectivity is perfectly acceptable for a system at this price point. Connections consist of two HDMI inputs, one HDMI output, and an optical audio input. There is also support for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The Q80R’s HDMI system supports eARC to receive lossless audio formats. It works with compatible TVs.

Conclusion

To conclude our review of the Samsung HW-Q80R, let’s try to ask ourselves the question: “Should I buy the Samsung HW-Q80R?” As far as the cost of the Samsung HW-Q80R is concerned, this soundbar is quite expensive. However, this is no ordinary soundbar.

Providing actual speakers for all of its 5.1.2 channels of sound, the HW-Q80R soundbar delivers an amazingly powerful, detailed and impactful soundstage for listening to music and watching movies.

The front soundstage sounds perfect. The rear stage on the more expensive HW-Q90R system sounds better. Regardless, the Q80R is much better than any two-piece soundbar solution. With massive power output and high-quality 5.1.2 sound, this is a decent soundbar.