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Samsung HW-Q700B Review

Verdict

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Designed to partner with larger flatscreens, the HW-Q700B strikes an impressive balance between value and performance. It’s muscular enough for movies and big-budget TV shows while having sufficient inherent musicality to double as a Bluetooth audio speaker when there’s nothing you want to watch.

Both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X compatible, it offers an HDMI input with 4K HDR passthrough for easy system expansion. Owners of compatible Samsung tellies can enjoy it in Q-Symphony mode, which allows the soundbar to work in tandem with the TV’s own speakers (rather than just replacing them). We like it a lot.

Pros

  • Crisp, entertaining presentation
  • HDMI input for local sources
  • Extra features for Samsung TV owners

Cons

  • No sense of deep Atmos immersion
  • Front LED often difficult to read
  • Prosaic design

Key Features

  • Soundbar and wireless subwoofer comboSuited to 55-inch screens and larger
  • Sound:Dolby Atmos and DTS:X compatible
  • Exclusive Samsung features:Q-Symphony ready
  • Wireless streaming:Built-in Airplay 2 and Chromecast

Introduction

The Samsung HW-Q700B is a well specified high-value Dolby Atmos soundbar that offers excellent dialogue intelligibility and moderate bass slam and comes with a raft of neat bonus features for owners of Q-Symphony-compatible Samsung TVs.

The Q700B is a well specified midrange Dolby Atmos soundbar with more than a few tricks up its sleeve. A 3.1.2 configuration, it has dedicated up-firing drivers for height duties (more of which anon), a front-facing LCR array and a compact subwoofer. The latter isn’t too demanding when it comes to footprint, so it should be relatively easy to accommodate, although resist the temptation to distance it too far from the TV and soundbar.

Samsung doesn’t specify power output. While not a volume monster, it’s more than capable of filling the average room with agreeable noise.

Availability

  • UKRRP: £699
  • USARRP: $699
  • EuropeRRP: €719
  • CanadaRRP: CA$899
  • Australiaunavailable

The HW-Q700B is available now, with a list price of £699 / $699, although there are deals to be had that make it considerably more competitive on the street. 

There’s only one colour finish, which we like to call “De Rigueur Black”.

The Q700B is positioned below Samsung’s HW-Q800B model, which adds side-firing drivers for a 5.1.2 listening experience.

Design

  • Comes with a wireless subwoofer
  • Features a hard plastic grille
  • Two HDMI connections

The HW-Q700B would best suit screens of 55-inches and larger. This soundbar can be mounted to the wall or placed below a screen on wide AV furniture or a bench. Measuring 1,110.7mm from wing tip to wing tip, it’s wide and weighs 5.1kg (not too onerous if you want to mount it to a wall). 

It’s well-built but fairly conventional in appearance, with a perforated grille that partially obscures the LED status display. There’s no on-screen GUI.

Underneath, you’ll find two HDMI ports. One provides the eARC/ARC connection to the TV, the other – with 4K HDR passthrough – offers the opportunity to plug in a local AV source. Hooking a Blu-ray player up directly allows the Q700B to decode any DTS:X-encoded discs you may have. This HDMI input could also serve as a games console or a set-top box.

Should you need to connect the soundbar to an older TV, there’s an optical digital audio input.

Samsung HW-Q700B inputs
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The bar offers a few on-body controls – for power, volume and source selection – but it ships with a simplified slimline remote control.

New to Samsung’s 700-series soundbars this year are dedicated up-firing drivers for the height channel. These wideband tweeters are a big improvement on the Acoustic Beam technology used on last year’s 700-series model. That Acoustic Beam array conveyed nothing below 900Hz, while the tweeters deployed here are active from 350Hz.

The partnering wireless subwoofer features a fabric front and is ported to the rear.

Features

  • Q-Symphony ready
  • Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Can be upgraded using a wireless rear speaker kit

The HW-Q700B supports Apple AirPlay 2 and Chromecast and works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, but it saves its most innovative feature – Q-Symphony – for use with select Samsung screens. 

While most soundbars replace a TV’s internal drivers, Q-Symphony works in tandem with them, to create a more formidable wall of sound. Previous iterations of Q-Symphony used only the TV’s height speakers, but this season, everything is thrown into the mix.  

Samsung HW-Q700B remote
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The Q700B soundbar also supports Tap Sound. If you own a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, you can simply touch the bar to make a Bluetooth connection using the SmartThings app.

The set also offers SpaceFit Sound room calibration, to better optimise performance for your listening room. But you’ll need a Q70B or higher Samsung TV model to use the feature.

Sound Quality

  • Excellent dialogue clarity
  • Compact, punchy subwoofer
  • Lacks 360° immersion

The HW-Q700B has several standout traits. Dialogue intelligibility is good, making it easy to follow the plot even when the sound mix gets a little busy.

The crossover point between the bar and sub is smooth too, and those new height drivers do a great job creating spatial ambience with Dolby Atmos mixes. When Ryan Gosling enters the nightclub early in The Gray Man (Netflix), the sense of ambient space makes the inevitable explosive action all the more dramatic and convincing.

Bass delivery is effective but not overly deep. The sub hits like a middleweight eager to get home for his tea. 

There are, of course, caveats. While the height drivers add convincing scale, there’s little sense of deeper immersion. The Q700B lacks side-facing drivers for additional reflectivity, so everything is very L/C/R-focused.

Samsung HW-Q700B grille
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

If you have the space and inclination, you can augment the default configuration with the optional SWA-9500S wireless rear speaker pack. That opens the door for front-to-rear panning (and vice versa). These were not supplied for review.

This soundbar offers a variety of audio presets and sound modes, including Standard, Adaptive Sound, Surround and Game. For non-Atmos or DTS:X mixes, Adaptive proves the most consistently entertaining. Audio upscaling is well handled, particularly when it comes to sporting events.

The HW-Q700B also performs well as a glorified Bluetooth speaker. It’s high-res audio capable (although certainly not audiophile calibre), offers decent separation and is apparently ready for Spotify HiFi. Aren’t we all?

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Should you buy it?

You already own a Q-Symphony-enabled Samsung TV: Surely any brand of Dolby Atmos soundbar will do, but having the option to use all the speakers at your disposal is too good an opportunity to miss.

If space is an issue: This is a big soundbar for larger screens. You’ll need wide furniture to accommodate it…

Final Thoughts

There’s no doubt that the Samsung HW-Q700B is a fine-value Dolby Atmos soundbar that outperforms its price tag. It works great with movies, thanks to a combination of crisp treble detail, good vocal fluency and effective bass slam, and performs better than most standalone smart speakers when it comes to music.

We’re not convinced the rather utilitarian design will win over floating voters, but the Q700B is certainly well made and the subwoofer won’t dominate your viewing room.

If you own a compatible Samsung TV, then Q-Symphony and SpaceFit Sound merely add to its broad appeal.

How we test

We test every soundbar we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.

Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.

Tested for more than a week

Tested with real world use

FAQs

What’s the difference between the HW-Q700B and the Q800B?

The main differences between the Q700B and Q800B are the number of speakers and channels the bar support, with the Q800B offering 5.1.2 channels of sound compared the Q700B’s 3.1.2 channel based output. The Q800B also has side-firing speakers for a wider soundstage

Full specs

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AUD RRP
Manufacturer
Size (Dimensions)
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ASIN
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Driver (s)
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Subwoofer?
Rear Speaker

Jargon buster

Dolby Atmos

Dolby Atmos is an object-based audio format. It expands on 5.1 and 7.1 soundtracks by adding overhead channels. Sounds are referred to as “audio objects”, of which there can be up to 128 audio channels, and these ‘objects’ can be accurately positioned within a 3D soundscape. This allows soundtracks that support the technology to place sounds above and around the listener with compatible kit.

DTS:X

DTS:X is an object-based audio format created in 2015 for the home. The premise is similar to Dolby Atmos in that it creates a hemisphere of sound that’s more lifelike and natural in its presentation.

Q-Symphony

Q-Symphony combines a TV and soundbar speakers to play sound at the same time. They work in concert to track objects across the screen and produce a bigger soundstage. This is only supported by specific Samsung soundbars and premium QLED TVs.

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