Samsung HW-Q700B: one-minute review
The Samsung HW-Q700B Dolby Atmos soundbar is a 3.1.2 sound system, featuring a soundbar and subwoofer, and it includes Dolby Atmos and DTS:X codec support, plus an HDMI passthrough port. It’s well specced for any TVs, but it can also be used with Samsung TVs that feature Q-Symphony technology to create an even bigger soundstage by combining the speakers in the soundbar with those in the TV.
Sonically, the Samsung HW-Q700B a big improvement on last year’s equivalent 700-series soundbar. Samsung has swapped the Acoustic Beam technology it used to deliver Dolby Atmos height-channel sound for a pair of wide-range up-firing tweeters. The result is a far more cinematic presentation that competes with several of the best Dolby Atmos soundbars you can buy today, but for an extremely reasonable price.
While principally optimized for movie audio, the HW-Q700B also doubles as a big-sounding Bluetooth speaker. High-resolution audio capable, the bar sports a crisp wideband tweeter for sweet, fine detail. If you have one of the best Samsung TVs that’s between 55 and 75 inches, this soundbar is a particularly fantastic choice – but it’s a seriously good buy for anyone.
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, by now it’s on sale pretty regularly for much less than that – we’re seeing it for more like $400 / £500 / AU$500. It’s an incredible deal for that price.
The model sits just below the HW-Q800B soundbar in Samsung’s 2022 soundbar line-up. This step-up model adopts a 5.1.2 channel configuration, thanks to the inclusion of side speakers – that extra width is the main thing lacking 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 method of connection for this, and it includes a 4K HDR HDMI passthrough port, so you don’t lose the use of a port on your TV.
The Q700B is recognised as a SmartThings device, and will work with Amazon Alexa (it’s not resident, so you’ll need a separate Alexa smart speaker on your network). It also has support for Google Chromecast, Spotify Connect and Apple AirPlay for streaming music to it over Wi-Fi. And there’s good ol’ fashioned Bluetooth.
The 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. When connected, the screen flashes up a message informing viewers that ‘external speakers are active’. However, Q-Symphony intelligently allows both the soundbar and the internal speakers in a compatible Samsung TV to work together, creating an altogether larger, louder soundstage.
The soundbar also offers SpaceFit Sound room calibration, to better optimize performance based on reflections and obstructions in your room. Owners of Samsung smartphones can even take advantage of Tap Sound, a super convenient way to Bluetooth pair your mobile with the soundbar.
- Features score: 4.5/5
Samsung HW-Q700B review: Design
- Good connectivity
- 44 inches / 1,111mm wide
Samsung has gone for a more angular design with its 2022 soundbars, which is distinctive if not overtly fashionable (softer curves are more on trend, we feel). Overall build quality is fine, but there’s no nice acoustic fabric on show, this is very much a sliver of hard plastic.
The Q700B is designed with larger screens in mind (55-inches upwards). It measures 44 inches / 1111mm wide.
The partnering wireless subwoofer is relatively compact and decor friendly, with a fabric frontage, and port to the rear.
Connectivity is more accommodating than has become the norm. In addition to HDMI eARC/ARC, there’s an HDMI source input that supports 4k HDR10+ pass-through, ideal for hooking up a games console or 4k UHD Blu-ray player. There’s also an optical digital audio input for legacy TV connections.
The Q700B doesn’t have a detailed status display or onscreen interface. Instead it communicates via a front-facing LED display that’s designed to be read through the perforated grille. This is fine if you’re sitting face-on, but it becomes less legible when viewed from the side. There’s also limited on-body controls for volume, source selection and power.
The soundbar ships with an uncomplicated remote control (which you probably won’t need if you’re using HDMI ARC), with a circular menu navigation pad, and rocker bars for volume.
- Design score: 4/5
Samsung HW-Q700B review: Sound quality
- Excellent dialogue clarity
- Agile bass performance
- Misses side-fills and rear surround
The Samsung HW-700B is a great all-rounder entertainer. It’s able to deliver crisp dialogue (which has long been a strong point of Samsung’s better bars), but can slam hard when the action demands it. It can also cut a rug with streamed Bluetooth music.
We found this two-piece impressively cinematic (straight from the box, and not augmented with any Q-Symphony embellishment). The subwoofer does a fine job filling out the lower mid-range and adding gutty thumps. It doesn’t drop excessively deep, but explosions and gunfire sound reassuringly sharp and dynamic.
There’s plenty of subtle detail in the wider soundstage too. Spatial placement is wide, and panning is speedy. The result is an exciting, entertaining listen.
3D audio immersion is good, to a point. The adoption of decent drivers for Atmos height channels warrants an unambiguous thumbs-up. Last year’s Acoustic Beam solution did the job, but on this model those dedicated drivers bring clear benefits when it comes to relating detail and creating presence. Audio upscaling of stereo and 5.1 sources is impressive too.
Inevitably, what you don’t get is a sense of front to rear movement, or side-fills. This is more a consequence of the soundbar form factor than anything else. For full surround sound, you can’t beat actual physical speakers placed at the rear of a room.
The HW-Q700B boasts a number of audio presets and sound modes which are worth exploring. These include Standard, Adaptive Sound, Surround and Game. The Adaptive mode is particularly useful, as it makes full use of the speaker array, regardless of the source material. After all, not everything comes mixed for Dolby Atmos or DTS:X. You’ll know that you’re listening to native Dolby Atmos, as the front facing display spells it out for you.
There’s manual adjustment of treble and bass tones, plus Voice Enhance and Virtual surround modes.
A run through of The Gray Man on Netflix (Dolby Atmos) provides plenty of opportunities for the HW-Q700B to impress, as an example. Intelligibility is consistently good, without dialogue sounding overly sharp. There’s genuine heft to the presentation too.
The movie’s opening nightclub scene features a thumping industrial beat, followed by a dramatic explosion. The soundstage is convincingly spacious; you sense the high ceilings and ambient space of the nightclub that Ryan Gosling finds himself in.
We found the HW-Q700B also doubles as a decent music speaker. It’s hi-res audio capable, and sounds fine with all streaming sources. We’ve been told by Samsung that it’ll work with Spotify Hi-Fi, whenever that comes to market.
- Sound quality score: 4/5
Samsung HW-Q700B review: Value
- Entertaining Dolby Atmos performance
- HDMI passthrough
- Hi-Res Audio capable
The HW-Q700B punches well above its weight when it comes to performance and functionality, particularly if you can pick one up for less than list price (which isn’t hard right now). Even as rival soundbars makers reduce their HDMI provision to a single eARC connection, Samsung offers the option to directly connect a games console or media player and pass the video through to your TV.
Performance is above average for this price point. The balance between the bar and the relatively compact subwoofer has been nicely judged, and the soundstage is brawny and dynamic.
The icing on the cake is Samsung ecosystem bonus features like Q-Symphony, SpaceFit Sound and Tap Sound – as long as you have a Samsung TV to make the most of them, of course.
- Value score: 5/5
Should I buy the Samsung HW-Q700B?
|Features||Great range of features – just a shame Q Symphony is for Samsung TVs only.||4.5/5|
|Design||Build quality is good, but not exciting or luxurious in any way. It’s perfectly easy to use, too.||4/5|
|Sound quality||Dynamic audio performance with great detail and height, but lacks side-firing drivers.||4/5|
|Value||Punches well above its weight in terms of both performance and functionality.||5/5|
Buy it if…
Don’t buy it if…
If our Samsung Q700B soundbar review has you considering other audio options to upgrade your TV’s sound, then take a look at these three alternative devices.