Samsung HW-Q700B review: a super mid-price soundbar and sub combo

·6 min read
 Samsung HW-Q700B
Samsung HW-Q700B

The Samsung HW-Q700B is a Dolby Atmos soundbar and wireless subwoofer combo that outperforms its price tag, offering a variety of new niceties, including improved Q-Symphony support for Samsung QLED TV owners.

Officially designated as 3.1.2 – that's centre/left/right at the front (3), a central subwoofer (1), and twin upfiring channels (2) – it’s a solid, cinematic option for the Samsung faithful and movie fans in general. Fashionistas might be less impressed though, as our Samsung Q700B review reveals all...

Samsung HW-Q700B: Price and availability

Samsung HW-Q700B
Samsung HW-Q700B

The Samsung HW-Q700B straddles the dividing line between upper-budget and mid-range (take your pick), with a list price of £/$699.

If you want to spend more, Samsung’s step-up HW-Q800B soundbar is a 5.1.2 channel design, a configuration made possible with additional side speakers. It typically sells for around £/$150 more though.

If you’re tracking the lineage, 2022's Q700B is for all intents and purposes 2021’s Q800A, so performance and value are clearly heading in the right direction.

Not sure which to go for? See the live shopping widget, embedded below, which shows you difference between those three soundbar options at their best current prices:

Samsung HW-Q700B review: Features & what’s new

Samsung HW-Q700B
Samsung HW-Q700B

The Q700B features a number of upgrades that differentiate it from its predecessor, the HW-Q700A, most significantly a pair of wide range up-firing tweeters for Dolby Atmos height duties, which replace the Acoustic Beam technology favoured last season.

Many of the 2022 soundbar’s more esoteric tricks, like Q-Symphony and SpaceFit room calibration, are designed to work with a partnering Samsung TV.

Q-Symphony cleverly allows the soundbar to operate in tandem with Samsung TV speakers. The Gen II version in use here will utilise all available screen speakers, whereas last season’s model only worked those drivers at the top of the TV.

Another Samsung ecosystem innovation is the Dolby Atmos dongle that enables immersive audio over Wi-Fi; the codec is carried in a Dolby Digital Plus wrapper, as offered by the likes of Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video.

The HW-Q700B can also be upgraded with optional wireless rears, the SWA-9500S kit, giving a full 5.1.4 experience. Those will cost an extra £249/$299, however, by which point you might want to consider the total price of one of Samsung's even higher-end soundbar options, or an older-gen option such as the Q950A, as you can see in below's price widget:

Samsung HW-Q700B review: Audio performance

Samsung HW-Q700B
Samsung HW-Q700B

The HW-Q700B looks hard and angular, but its performance is a good deal more rounded. The default EQ and sonic balance of this soundbar-and-sub combo is satisfying straight from the box. The 'bar doesn’t just offer a gutsy cinematic performance, there’s welcome levels of musicality and nuance to its performance too.

Samsung’s decision to pivot away from its Acoustic Beam solution up top, to actual physical drivers, brings obvious benefits in clarity and precision. The Q700B doesn’t just make a noise; you can track movement and sense depth within the soundstage, making it great for fast-moving action movies.

The sub, while compact, also has a deep bass extension, ideal for delivering dramatic gun retorts and explosions. It can also add weight to synthy soundtracks. Some wireless subs sound lethargic and leaden, but this rear-ported enclosure is light on its feet.

The Q700B features a number of audio presets and sound modes. These include Standard, Adaptive Sound, Surround, and Game. The Adaptive mode also makes full use of the speaker array, even when the source material has not been Dolby Atmos encoded.

When the soundbar receives a Dolby Atmos signal, confirmation is spelt out on the LED display.

You can also tweak the output using Voice Enhance and Virtual surround. A Sync adjustment should you have lip sync issues. The 'bar also offers a simple manual adjustment of treble and bass tones.

It may not have audiophile pretensions, but the HW-Q700B is hi-res capable. It performs perfectly well as a wireless music system.

Samsung tells us that it’ll be ready to work with Spotify Hi-Fi whenever it comes to market, too, which is good to know.

Samsung HW-Q700B review: Design and usability

Samsung HW-Q700B
Samsung HW-Q700B

The HW-Q700B adopts a revised, more angular cosmetic design than its predecessor, which could prove a little divisive.

It’s undoubtedly solid, but the finish looks a bit budget, with hard plastic surfaces and no hint of fabric to be seen. It’s also wide, at over a metre (actually 1111 x 60 x 120mm), making it a match for larger screens (probably 65-inches upwards). The soundbar weighs 5.1kg.

The wireless subwoofer is compact rather than hulking, with a fabric front and generous rear port.

Connectivity is good. In addition to HDMI eARC/ARC, there’s an HDMI source input that supports 4k pass-through with HDR10+, and optical digital audio input. Increasingly, brands are dropping this extra HDMI input (we’re looking at you Bowers & Wilkins and Devialet), so it’s good to see it retained here.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support caterer for wireless connections. If you have a Samsung Galaxy mobile you can take advantage of Tap Sound, for easy Bluetooth pairing.

While there’s no on-screen user interface, the bar does have a front-facing LED display which can be read through the perforated grille, provided you’re square on – legibility is poor when seen from the side. The slimline remote is simple enough to wield, so navigation isn’t really a challenge. It has rocker bars for Volume, and a circular navigation pad to delve into menus.

The Q700B supports Airplay 2, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so there’s a level of smartness on board too.

Samsung Q700B review: Verdict

Samsung HW-Q700B
Samsung HW-Q700B

The Samsung Q700B is a well-equipped cinematic soundbar that presents a wide, high soundstage with excellent clarity and heft. It’s good for movies and everyday TV.

The provision of an HDMI input, with DTS X support provides a welcome hook-up option for Blu-ray disc owners, and it will integrate with popular voice assistants.

Highly recommended, particularly if you plan on partnering one with a 2022 Samsung QLED TV for Q Symphony output.

Also consider

As pointed out towards the beginning of this Q700B review, if you're sold on buying a Samsung and can find yesteryear's Q800A for much less cash then those two bar-and-sub combos are mighty similar.

If you're looking for something even more expansive, that can also take benefit from Samsung's Q Symphony tech to match with its recent TVs for an improved wall of sound, then the newer Q800B and top-end (and far pricier) Q990B deliver heaps more speakers best matches to larger TV sets looking for best-of-best surround.