Samsung HW-Q800T soundbar review: A cinematic all-rounder

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The Samsung HW-Q800T is a mid-range soundbar, which replaces the outgoing HW-Q70R. The two are similar, with 3.1.2-channel speaker layouts, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X immersive audio decoding, and an HDMI output with eARC. However, Samsung has made a number of changes and additions for this 2020 model. 

For a start, the Q800T boasts a more slimline design that moves the Acoustic Beam tech towards the front of the cabinet, making it easier to position the soundbar in front of modern TVs without blocking the drivers or the screen. It also adds Q Symphony for an integrated sonic experience with supporting Samsung TVs, and built-in Amazon Alexa voice control. 

Design

  • Soundbar: 980 x 60 x 115mm; 3.6kg
  • Subwoofer: 205 x 403 x 403mm; 9.8kg
  • Available in black only

The Samsung HW-Q800T uses a slightly revised cabinet, with a low form-factor designed to fit snugly in front of a modern TV without blocking the screen. The reduced width also makes this soundbar ideal for smaller TVs, but it can still handle screen sizes up to 65 inches.

The overall appearance is sleek and stylish, with a solid construction and a black finish. There’s a metal wrap-around grille, behind which you’ll find three forward-firing speakers and the Acoustic Beam holes, which Samsung has moved forwards to avoid being blocked by any TV.

The Q800T has a proper display, which is always a relief, and it’s located at the front right, providing basic information on the volume level, the selected input, and various sound modes. Samsung offers the choice of stand- or wall-mounting, and provides brackets for the latter.

Samsung HW-Q800T Soundbar Review | AVForums

Connections and control

  • 1x HDMI input; HDMI-eARC output
  • Optical digital input
  • Wi-Fi; Bluetooth

The Samsung HW-Q800T comes with an HDMI output, and a single HDMI input. It’s a shame there isn’t a second HDMI input, but at least the HDMI output supports eARC, which means you can send lossless audio back from a compatible TV.

The HDMI connections also pass resolutions up to 4K/60p and every version of high dynamic range (HDR10, HLG, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision) – which is something of a rarity.

The only other physical connection is an optical digital input, but in terms of wireless connections there’s built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, allowing you to stream music from your home network or via third-party services. A Bluetooth connection is made using the pairing button on the remote, while the Wi-Fi is simply setup using the SmartThings app. Unlike some of the competition, Samsung doesn’t include support for Chromecast or Apple AirPlay.

There are basic controls centrally located on the top rear of the soundbar for multi-function (on/off and source select), volume up/down, and mic on/off.

The included remote is the same as previous years, but that’s not a bad thing because it’s ergonomically designed, comfortable to hold, and easy to use. All the necessary buttons are laid out in a sensible fashion, and are easy to reach when using the zapper with one hand.

Features

  • Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
  • Q -Symphony
  • Hi-Res Audio support
  • Built-in Amazon Alexa voice assistant

The Samsung HW-Q800T’s headline feature is its ability to decode both the Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-based audio formats for a more immersive sonic experience.

Performance

  • 3.1.2-channel audio
  • Acoustic Beam 2.0
  • Wireless active subwoofer
  • 330W of Class D digital amplification
  • Optional wireless rear speakers

The Samsung HW-Q800T employs a 3.1.2-channel speaker layout based around three front channels, a wireless subwoofer, and the company’s Acoustic Beam technology. The front left and right speakers are composed of a mid-range driver and wide-range tweeter, the centre channel employs a wide-range tweeter, while the Acoustic Beam tech uses 56 holes acting as individual speakers that create a panoramic spread of sound overhead.

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