When we tested the Samsung DA-E750 wireless audio system earlier this year we were impressed by its superb sound quality and generous range of features, which includes AirPlay support and the first ever dual dock for Android and Apple devices. Great though it is, the Samsung DA-E750 is a bit on the pricey side, but thankfully Samsung has a number of cheaper versions that also provide dual docking, alongside other tasty features. Among them is the Samsung DA-E550, an absurdly stylish entry-level unit that lacks AirPlay but hangs on to its ‘wireless’ status by virtue of its Bluetooth streaming functionality.
Samsung DA-E550 Design
We’ll come to the spec in a bit, but we can’t go any further without talking about the design of the Samsung DA-E550. It’s shaped like a horn that curves round and sports a speaker at either end – not forward facing like the Samsung DA-E750 but angled outwards for better dispersion.
The exterior of the Samsung DA-E550 is coated in a lovely gloss white finish, while the speaker cones are fashioned from a dappled silver material (not glass fibre like the Samsung DA-E750) with a shiny silver phase plug sticking out of the middle – all of which makes it an obscenely attractive piece of kit. Its build quality is solid too, although the slightly plasticky finish is nowhere near as luxurious as the DA-E750’s gorgeous lacquer.
The dual dock is located on the inside of the bend, bang in the middle. One firm press makes it pop out smoothly and there you’ll see the two connectors, one in front of the other. There’s a rubber skin that slots over the connectors to protect your device, as well as stick-on supports to stop it coming in contact with the unit.
There’s a row of touch-sensitive controls on the right-hand side for controlling volume, play/pause for Bluetooth/dock playback and activating the Bass mode. There’s no display panel, something the Samsung DA-E750 could have benefitted from, but with the Samsung DA-E550’s more simple range of talents it’s not as crucial. There is a tiny red light on the dock tray that flashes when there’s any activity.
On the rear panel is just a single socket – a 3.5mm minijack input for your external sound devices. That might sound stingy but it’s designed to be a self-sufficient sound system with its built-in docks and Bluetooth, so anything else isn’t really necessary.
Samsung DA-E550 Features
The Samsung DA-E550 feature list is led by the dual dock, one of which supports Samsung Galaxy S3, Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and the Samsung Galaxy S Wi-Fi 4.2, the other supports the likes of the iPhone 4S and iPods (Touch/Nano/ Classic). The Galaxy dock is a micro USB port so you can dock any Android phone with that connection, although to make them work you need to install the Samsung Wireless App on your phone first. For those who boast the new iPhone 5, however, an adaptor will be needed as the Samsung DA-E550 features Apple's now dated 30-pin connector as opposed to the new, 8-pin Lightning port.
Bluetooth is another eye-catching feature, but this isn’t any old Bluetooth – it’s Bluetooth 3.0, the most recent version that supports the apt-X csr codec to deliver higher-quality sound than earlier versions. Other benefits include faster data transfer, greater transmission distance, lower power consumption and no latency.
Due to its price, the Samsung DA-E550 lacks key features found on the 6 and 7 series docks, including AllShare Play, AirPlay and USB connectivity. You also miss out on the Samsung DA-E750’s vacuum tube amp and the built-in subwoofer. The DA-E550’s power output is quoted at 10W, a big drop from the 100W offered by the DA-E750 or the 40W of the Samsung DA-E650.