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Best Overall: Samsung HW-N650 at Amazon
"Offers panoramic sound, which means that it fires out the onboard speakers through unique openings right on top."
Best Budget: Samsung HW-K360 at Amazon
"At just over $200, you get a full-featured soundbar without the need to rack up your credit card bill."
Best Value: Samsung HW-N450 at Amazon
"There's 320W of power, with 4 speakers and their own dedicated amps, plus a core frequency spectrum of 42Hz–20kHz."
Best Design: Samsung HW-MS6500 Curved Soundbar at Amazon
"Has 9 speakers with dedicated amps to give you a substantial set of power."
Best Sound Quality: Samsung HW-N950 at Amazon
"It’s a 17-speaker system that provides frequency coverage as low as 34Hz and as high as 17kHz."
Best for Small Setups: Samsung HW-MS750 at Amazon
"It’s a great choice if you want to bolster a small movie setup."
Runner-Up Best Value: Samsung HW-M4500 at Amazon
"Because of the curved arrangement, it’s ideal if you want a wider sound space."
Courtesy of Amazon
With so many Samsung soundbars on the market, all of which offering subtly different features, it might be difficult to make a claim as to what the very best is. In our opinion, the HW-N650 Panoramic Soundbar strikes a great balance between price and feature set. The central functionality that makes this soundbar so great is that it offers panoramic sound (Samsung’s sound beam technology), which means that it fires out the onboard speakers through unique openings right on top. This means that the speaker tries to place the sound experience in the same places that those corresponding moments are happening on the screen.
There are eight speakers built in, with a couple that fire out to the sides to create intentional acoustic vibrations. The whole system runs approximately 360W of power, so this system really brings a punch. It only covers 42Hz through 20kHz, but the included wireless subwoofer will cover the other frequencies for you.
There’s a dedicated game mode that’s optimized to reinforce soundtracks from your favorite console experience, and there’s even Bluetooth connectivity to cut out the middleman and stream music right from your phone. What’s more, this is one of the Samsung soundbars that does offer 4K passthrough, so you can use it in tandem with your high-end video setup. It isn’t the fanciest offering from Samsung, but it’s certainly our choice for the all-around user.
This soundbar model from 2016 really impresses us for a lot of reasons. First of all, at just over $200 (though you can find it refurbished for even less), you get a full-featured soundbar without the need to rack up your credit card bill. At 200W, the total system power isn’t as substantial as the step-up models, but we are surprised to see so much power from the system. The frequency response covers the expected spectrum (around 43Hz–20kHz), and there is an included 6.5-inch, 130W subwoofer that will cover the rest of the range.
There’s Samsung’s slightly dated Surround Sound Expansion feature, that attempts to virtually localize the sound spread. It seems that this isn’t quite as powerful as the Sound Beam technology on the nicer Samsung models, but it’s really great to see it as an option. There’s Bluetooth connectivity so you can stream audio from your phone or other devices without the need to cue it up on your standard entertainment center.
The unit is also capable of establishing a wireless connection to your compatible Samsung-branded TV, and you can even use the included OneRemote (or the Android apps) to add further control to the unit. The I/O and connectivity here does leave something to be desired, but overall it’s a solid unit for a great price.
The HW-N450 has some few key feature upgrades from other models that might be important to you, depending on your priorities in a soundbar. There’s 320W of power, with four speakers and their own dedicated amps, plus a core frequency spectrum of 42Hz to 20kHz, and with the included wireless sub, the coverage is carried down to the bottom. In fact, with this unit, Samsung has included their Bass Reflex enclosure, which adds good body to the 6.5-inch driver on the unit.
Like the 360 unit, you’ll get Bluetooth connectivity for streaming audio from your smartphone, plus there’s Sound Expansion virtual surround sound tech here, too. What you do get that you won’t get on the cheaper models is more I/O capabilities. There are the requisite audio and optical inputs, plus HDMI 1.4 ins and outs for solid video pass-through (though without 4K capabilities), and there’s even USB playback here. That added functionality makes it a more powerful, more versatile unit to include in your setup.
Just like they did with monitors, Samsung has taken the standard design of a soundbar, with multi-speaker sound and a low profile, and bent it into a curve to add a really interesting design to your system. Of course, just like with monitors, this design is meant to look interesting, but it also offers a wider spread of sound than a soundbar just firing straight. The MS6500 has nine speakers with dedicated amps to give you a substantial set of power. Each of these speakers has been independently optimized to provide sound that fires at each person sitting within the field.
They’ve also extended the frequency range her down to 39Hz to 20kHz, so while the core speaker set offers more spectrum coverage than the lower models, there isn’t an included subwoofer here, so take that for what it’s worth. Samsung has included Sound+ tech into the speaker, which means they’ve taken time to try to ensure that distortion is canceled out of the sound, giving you loud full HD sound without artifacts. There’s an included OneRemote that will, if you use a Samsung TV, control much of your setup. This soundbar is also compatible with Samsung’s unique TV-plus-mount system that pairs them together in a nice package. They’ve even included something called Smart Sound that automatically reads the content you’re playing and optimizes the EQ to fit. That’s a lot packed into a speaker that has a cool design on top of it all.
This 512W speaker system is just about the cream of the crop for what Samsung offers. They’ve thrown everything but the kitchen sink in terms of features (though it’s important to note you can control the kitchen refrigerator with the included Alexa functionality). At its core, it’s a 17-speaker system that provides frequency coverage as low as 34Hz and as high as 17kHz. There’s upscaling HD audio capabilities thanks to the Samsung UHQ tech, and the tech giant has even tapped Harmon Kardon to help tune the speakers, giving you a truly rich system.
With up-firing speakers that bounce sound off your ceiling and walls to simulate some surround, you’ll almost forget that they’ve also included wireless rear speakers and a wireless sub in this kit. And because it’s Dolby Atmos and DTS:X enabled, this will fold really nicely into your movie setup. There’s the afore-mentioned Alexa functionality, giving you built-in voice control, Bluetooth functionality for phone streaming, and 4K pass-through; it really is one of the best options out there. But with this price tag, it’s only for those looking to get the best.
Samsung offers many of their soundbars with an included subwoofer, mostly to round out the lack of low-end sound you normally see in these units. But, if you’re buying a soundbar for a small space — like a dorm room or a small bedroom setup — our pick goes to the MS750 here for a few reasons. First of all, the MS6500 curved option, while full-featured, is a bit overkill for a small space. That curved setup widens the sound field a lot, but you just don’t need that in a small area.
The MS750 gives you the room-filling audio you get from Samsung's Sound+ tech, meaning it’s a great choice if you want to bolster a small movie setup. There are 11 speakers as well, two of them firing upward, which means you’ll get a solid virtual surround vibe without the need for a bunch of speakers crowding your space. They’ve included their impressive Distortion Cancelling technology so that you can get a full, detailed bass response without all the ugliness of lesser options. Samsung has included Amazon Alexa capabilities for voice control, wireless connectivity to compatible Samsung TVs, the OneRemote control functionality, Bluetooth for streaming audio from your phone, and even 32-bit audio upscaling from Samsung’s UHQ. If you’re looking for a single, all-in-one soundbar, this could just be it.
Because Samsung has made so many iterations on their soundbars, and many of them aren’t that much different than the others, there’s actually a lot of value to be had dipping into some older models. The M4500 isn’t the best curved Samsung soundbar out there, but it does occupy a really interesting space in the price range. For a really great deal you get 260W of power, and because of the curved arrangement, it’s ideal if you want a wider sound space. You can make that sound space even wider by utilizing Samsung’s Surround Sound Expansion that attempts to virtualize the surround experience (if you don’t opt to pick up the wireless-ready surround systems that will work with this).
There’s wireless connectivity for compatible Samsung TVs and, with that, comes the ability the Samsung OneRemote or the app to seamlessly navigate as many of your entertainment devices as possible. You can stream audio from your phone easily using Bluetooth connectivity, and there’s even USB music playback functionality.
Plus, you’ll get the expected audio and optical inputs, as well as solid HDMI pass-through. You get all this for half the price of the more premium models, and you really don’t have to sacrifice that much.