Samsung HW-Q700B: review in one minute
The Samsung HW-Q700B Dolby Atmos soundbar is a 3.1.2 sound system, comprising a soundbar and a subwoofer, and it includes support for the Dolby Atmos and DTS:X codecs, as well as a port HDMI passthrough. It’s well-specified for all TVs, but it can also be used with Samsung TVs with Q-Symphony technology to create an even bigger soundstage by combining the soundbar’s speakers with those of the TV.
Really, the Samsung HW-Q700B is essentially a discounted version of last year’s Samsung HW-Q800A model, and it turned out to be one of the best soundbars of the year.
Sonically, the Samsung HW-Q700B is a big improvement over the equivalent 700-series soundbar from last year. Samsung has replaced the Acoustic Beam technology it used to deliver Dolby Atmos height channel sound against a pair of wide-firing-range tweeters. The result is a much more cinematic presentation that rivals many of the best Dolby Atmos soundbars you can buy today, but for an extremely reasonable price.
Although primarily optimized for movie audio, the HW-Q700B doubles as a powerful sounding Bluetooth speaker. High-Resolution Audio compatible, the bar sports a crisp full-range tweeter for smooth, fine detail. If you have one of Samsung’s best TVs between 55 and 75 inches, this soundbar is an especially fantastic choice, but it’s a great buy for everyone.
Samsung HW-Q700B review: price and release date
- Released August 2022
- Official price £699 / $699 / AU$899
The Samsung HW-Q700B is on sale now, and the official price is $699 in the US, £699 in the UK and AU$899 in Australia. However, right now it’s on sale fairly regularly for much less than that – we’re seeing it for upwards of $400 / £500 / AU$500. It’s an incredible deal for this price.
The model sits just below the HW-Q800B soundbar in Samsung’s 2022 soundbar lineup. This step-up model adopts a 5.1.2-channel setup, thanks to the inclusion of side speakers – that extra width is the main thing missing here.
Samsung HW-Q700B review: features
- Q Symphony with Samsung TVs
- SpaceFit Sound Room Calibration
- AirPlay 2 and Google Chromecast support
The Samsung HW-Q700B works with both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks, and some more expensive soundbars don’t support both (ahem, Sonos Arc).
HDMI eARC is the preferred connection method for this, and it includes a 4K HDR HDMI passthrough port, so you don’t lose use of a port on your TV.
The Q700B is recognized as a SmartThings device and will work with Amazon Alexa (it’s non-resident, so you’ll need a separate Alexa smart speaker on your network). It also supports Google Chromecast, Spotify Connect and Apple AirPlay for streaming music over Wi-Fi. And there’s good old Bluetooth.
Samsung Q-Symphony support is interesting here, if you have a compatible Samsung TV. Typically, a soundbar is used to replace a set’s internal speaker system. Once connected, the screen will flash a message informing viewers that “external speakers are active”. However, Q-Symphony intelligently allows the soundbar and the internal speakers of a compatible Samsung TV to work together, creating a bigger and louder soundstage.
The soundbar also offers SpaceFit Sound room calibration, to better optimize performance based on reflections and obstructions in your room. Samsung smartphone owners can even take advantage of Tap Sound, a very convenient way to Bluetooth pair your mobile with the soundbar.
Samsung HW-Q700B review: Design
- Good connectivity
- 44 inches / 1,111 mm wide
Samsung has opted for a more angular design with its 2022 soundbars, which is distinctive if not overtly fashionable (softer curves are more fashionable, we think). The overall build quality is good, but there’s no nice exposed acoustic fabric, it’s really just a piece of hard plastic.
The Q700B is designed for larger screens (55 inches and above). It measures 44 inches / 1111 mm wide.
The associated wireless subwoofer is relatively compact and user-friendly, with a fabric front and rear port.
Connectivity is more accommodating than it has become the norm. In addition to HDMI eARC/ARC, there’s an HDMI source input that supports 4k HDR10+ pass-through, ideal for plugging in a games console or 4k UHD Blu-ray player. There’s also an optical digital audio input for legacy TV connections.
The Q700B does not have a detailed status display or on-screen interface. Instead, it communicates via a front-facing LED display designed to be read through the perforated grille. It’s fine if you’re sitting face to face, but it becomes less readable when viewed from the side. There are also limited controls on the body for volume, source selection and power.
The soundbar comes with a simple remote control (which you probably won’t need if you’re using HDMI ARC), along with a circular menu navigation pad and rocker bars for volume.
Samsung HW-Q700B review: sound quality
- Excellent dialogue clarity
- Nimble bass
- Missing side infills and back outline
The Samsung HW-700B is a great all-around entertainment. It’s capable of delivering crisp dialogue (which has long been a forte of Samsung’s best bars), but can snap loudly when the action calls for it. It can also cut carpet with Bluetooth music streaming.
We found this two-piece to be incredibly cinematic (straight out of the box, and not augmented with any Q-Symphony embellishments). The subwoofer does a great job of filling out the low-midrange and adding thuds. It doesn’t drop too deep, but the explosions and gunfire sound reassuringly crisp and dynamic.
There’s plenty of subtle detail in the wider soundstage too. Spatial placement is wide and panning is fast. The result is an exciting and entertaining listen.
3D audio immersion is good, up to a point. Adopting decent drivers for the Atmos height channels warrants an unambiguous boost. Last year’s Acoustic Beam solution got the job done, but on this model those dedicated speakers bring clear benefits when it comes to tying together details and creating presence. Audio upscaling of stereo and 5.1 sources is also impressive.
Inevitably, what you don’t get is a sense of back-and-forth motion or side-to-side filling. This is more a consequence of the soundbar’s form factor than anything else. For full surround sound, you can’t beat real physical speakers placed in the back of a room.
The HW-Q700B offers a number of audio presets and sound modes worth exploring. These include Standard, Adaptive Sound, Surround and Game. Adaptive mode is particularly useful, as it makes full use of the speaker array, regardless of the source material. After all, not everything is mixed for Dolby Atmos or DTS:X. You’ll know you’re listening to native Dolby Atmos because the front display speaks it out for you.
There’s manual treble and bass adjustment, as well as Voice Enhance and Virtual Surround modes.
A run of The Gray Man on Netflix (Dolby Atmos) offers plenty of opportunities for the HW-Q700B to impress, for example. Intelligibility is always good, without the dialogues being too clear. There is also a real weight in the presentation.
The film’s opening nightclub scene features a punchy industrial beat, followed by a dramatic explosion. The soundstage is convincingly spacious; you feel the high ceilings and ambient space of the nightclub that Ryan Gosling is in.
We found that the HW-Q700B also doubles as a decent music speaker. It is compatible with Hi-Res Audio and sounds great with all streaming sources. Samsung told us it will work with Spotify Hi-Fi, whenever it comes to market.
Samsung HW-Q700B review: value
- Entertaining Dolby Atmos performance
- HDMI pass-through
- Hi-Res Audio compatible
The HW-Q700B punches well above its weight when it comes to performance and features, especially if you can pick one up for less than the list price (which isn’t hard at the moment). Even though competing soundbar makers are reducing their HDMI supply to a single eARC connection, Samsung offers the ability to directly connect a games console or media player and stream the video to your TV.
Performance is above average for this price. The balance between the bar and the relatively compact subwoofer was well judged, and the soundstage is muscular and dynamic.
The icing on the cake is bonus Samsung ecosystem features such as Q-Symphony, SpaceFit Sound and Tap Sound – as long as you have a Samsung TV to get the most out of it, of course.
Should I buy the Samsung HW-Q700B?
|Features||Great range of features – too bad Q Symphony is only for Samsung TVs.||4.5/5|
|Design||Build quality is good, but not exciting or luxurious in any way. It is also perfectly easy to use.||4/5|
|Sound quality||Dynamic audio performance with lots of detail and height, but lacks side drivers.||4/5|
|Assess||Punches well above its weight in terms of performance and features.||5/5|
Buy it if…
Don’t buy it if…
If our Samsung Q700B soundbar review has you considering other audio options to improve your TV sound, take a look at these three alternative devices.