Samsung HW-A450 Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Apr 26, 2021 at 10:05 am
Samsung HW-A450 Picture
7.0
Mixed Usage
7.7
Dialogue/TV Shows
7.7
Music
6.1
Movies
Channels
2.1

The Samsung HW-A450 is a budget-friendly 2.1 setup from 2021. Out-of-the-box, it has a neutral sound profile with a touch of extra boom. If you prefer a different sound, it also has quite a few sound enhancement features like a graphic EQ and presets. However, it still lacks low-bass, even after calibrating it. That said, the bar can get loud without too much compression. It has a simple design with an Optical In and USB port. It also supports Bluetooth for wireless streaming from your mobile device. However, it doesn't support Dolby Atmos, and its surround performance is poor.

Our Verdict

7.0 Mixed Usage

The Samsung HW-A450 is satisfactory for mixed use. It has a neutral sound profile suitable for a variety of audio content, and you can customize its sound to your liking using its graphic EQ or presets. The bar can also get quite loud and supports Bluetooth, so you can easily stream your favorite music to the bar. However, while it has a touch of extra boom, it still lacks low-bass, so action movies and genres like EDM lack thump and rumble. It also doesn't support Dolby Atmos content.

Pros
  • Graphic EQ and presets available.
  • Can get loud.
Cons
  • Doesn't support Dolby Atmos.
  • Poor surround performance.
7.7 Dialogue/TV Shows

The Samsung HW-A450 is good for dialogue and TV shows. While it lacks a dedicated center channel, it has a neutral sound profile, so vocals and lead instruments sound accurate and detailed. There's also a dialogue enhancement feature if you want to further improve vocal clarity. The bar supports Bluetooth, too, which makes it easy to wirelessly stream audio to the bar.

Pros
  • Can get loud.
  • Dialogue enhancement feature available.
Cons
  • Doesn't support Wi-Fi, Chromecast, or Apple AirPlay.
7.7 Music

The Samsung HW-A450 is good for music. It has a neutral sound profile that's well-suited for many genres, a decently immersive soundstage, and it can get loud enough for a house party or to fill a large room. If you prefer a different sound, it comes with a graphic EQ and presets. That said, even though it has a little bit of extra boom to its sound, it still lacks low-bass, which fans of EDM and hip-hop may find disappointing.

Pros
  • Graphic EQ and presets available.
  • Can get loud.
Cons
  • Doesn't support Wi-Fi, Chromecast, or Apple AirPlay.
6.1 Movies

The Samsung HW-A450 is mediocre for movies. While it has a fairly neutral sound profile that delivers a bit of extra boom, it struggles to reproduce a thumpy, rumbly low-bass. The bar also doesn't support Dolby Atmos content, and its surround performance is poor. That said, it has low latency via Optical so your video is in sync with your audio. The bar can also get pretty loud without much compression, and it can create a decent soundstage, which can help immerse you in your movie.

Pros
  • Graphic EQ and presets available.
  • Can get loud.
Cons
  • Doesn't support Dolby Atmos.
  • Poor surround performance.
  • 7.0 Mixed Usage
  • 7.7 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 7.7 Music
  • 6.1 Movies

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The Samsung HW-A450 isย an entry-level soundbar from this manufacturer's 2021 lineup. It's the next generation of the Samsung HW-T450 and has a similar design, although now it has a graphic EQ as part of its sound enhancement features. That said, this bar is still fairly barebones in terms of design and unlike the Samsung HW-A550, it doesn't have an HDMI port. Its competitors include the Yamaha YAS-209, the TCL Alto 8+, and the Vizio V Series V21-H8.

Design
Design
Style - Bar

The Samsung HW-A450 looks very similar to the Samsung HW-T450. It has a rectangular design with its front and top sides covered in a thin, slightly shiny fabric. There's black plastic everywhere else on the bar.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

The subwoofer is mostly made from wood. Its front face is covered in fabric. However, the fabric feels thin and can easily get dusty or dirty.

Design
Style - Satellites

This soundbar doesn't come with satellites, but you can purchase Samsung's Wireless Rear Speaker Kit separately.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Width 33.9" (86.0 cm)
Height 2.1" (5.3 cm)
Depth 3.0" (7.6 cm)

The Samsung HW-A450 is a bit long but it should fit between the legs of most 55 inch TVs. It shouldn't obscure your view of the screen either unless your TV sits flush to the table.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Width 7.2" (18.2 cm)
Height 13.4" (34.1 cm)
Depth 10.7" (27.3 cm)

The Samsung HW-A450's subwoofer is about the same size as an average desktop computer. Since it connects to the bar wirelessly, you can place it anywhere in your room, as long as it's connected to a power source.

Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Back - Bar
Bar Mounting
Universal (holes on underside)

The back of the Samsung HW-A450 is pretty plain. There are two openings. The left side is for the power cable, while the right side has the inputs. There are also universal holes on its underside so that you can wall-mount it.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
Ported

The back of the subwoofer is very simple. There's a port located at the top. Below, it has a power cable input and a wireless pairing button.

Design
Back - Satellites
Mounting
No
6.5
Design
Build Quality

The Samsung HW-A450 has an okay build quality. The bar is made with a thin plastic that doesn't feel very durable while the subwoofer is made of wood. On both the bar and subwoofer, there's a fabric cover to protect the speakers. However, it feels loose, and it seems like it could rip easily or collect dust.

Design
In The Box
HDMI Cable Length
N/A
Digital Optical Cable Length
1.5 m (4.9 ft)

  • Manual
  • Optical cable
  • Remote (with 2x AA batteries)
  • 2x AC power cables
  • Wall-mounting brackets with screws

Sound
7.9
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
Standard
Slope
-0.45
Std. Err.
2.31 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
40.0 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

The Samsung HW-A450 has a very good stereo frequency response. It has a fairly neutral sound profile with a touch of extra boom to bring out sound effects in movies. That said, it lacks a thumpy low-bass, which can be disappointing if you like to feel the deep rumble in bass-heavy music. If you prefer a different sound, this bar comes with a variety of sound enhancement features including a graphic EQ and presets.

8.0
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
Standard
Suggested Bass Setting
-3
Suggested Treble Setting
2
Slope
-0.19
Std. Err.
2.20 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
40.0 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

With calibration, this soundbar has a great stereo frequency response. With the Bass set to '-3' and the Treble set to '+2', the bar has a very neutral sound suitable for a variety of audio content. However, it still struggles to reproduce a thumpy low-bass.

7.0
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
2.65 dB

The Samsung HW-A450 has a decent stereo soundstage. It sounds about the size of the bar, but it doesn't do any tricks to widen the soundstage. It also has good focus for a 2.1 setup, although objects seem to move in regions rather than from accurate pinpoint locations.

8.1
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
93.1 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
0.91 dB

This soundbar has a great dynamics performance. It can get loud enough to fill a large or crowded room. There are also few compression artifacts at max volume, so your audio sounds clean.

7.5
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.47
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
2.49

The Samsung HW-A450 has a good THD performance. At a normal volume, it performs quite well as it can produce a clear and pure sound. However, when pushed to its max volume, there's a jump in THD, especially in the bass range. However, it may not be as noticeable with real-life content.

5.8
Sound
Center
Localization
Phantom
Slope
-1.41
Std. Err.
4.74 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
84.4 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.52
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.88

The Samsung HW-A450 is a 2.1 setup so it doesn't have a dedicated center speaker. Instead, it uses its left and right speakers to create a sound in the center, which sounds more diffused and less clear than a discrete center speaker. While it has a very bass-heavy sound profile, there isn't a lot of bass on the center channel anyway, so voices should still sound fairly clear and accurate.

3.2
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Stereo (Downmix)
Slope
-1.46
Std. Err.
4.93 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
81.7 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
1.15
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.46
7.1 Rears
No

The Samsung HW-A450 is a 2.1 setup so it has to downmix surround content into stereo to play it. It uses its left and right speakers to simulate a more immersive audio experience, but it doesn't sound as immersive or clear as discrete localization. Surround objects are perceived as coming from in front of you rather than from your sides or behind you.

0
Sound
Height (Atmos)
Localization
Not Supported
Slope
N/A
Std. Err.
N/A
SPL @ Max Volume
N/A
Weighted THD @ 80dB
N/A
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
N/A
6.5
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
No
Dialogue Enhancement
Yes
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
Yes
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
Yes
Bass Adjustment
Yes
Treble Adjustment
Yes
EQ
Graphic + Presets
Surround Level Adjustment
No
Rear Level Adjustment
No
Height Level Adjustment
No
Virtual Surround
No

This soundbar has okay sound enhancement features. It has a graphic EQ as well as presets to help you tweak its sound to your liking: 'Standard', 'Surround Sound', 'Bass Boost', 'Game', and 'Adaptive Sound Lite'. The Adaptive Sound Lite preset also acts as a dialogue enhancement feature. If you press and hold the 'SOUND MODE' button while the soundbar is powered off, you can turn on or off its auto-volume mode.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Physical Inputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
1
HDMI ARC
No
HDMI Out
No
Full HDMI In
No
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
No
RCA In
No
USB for Files
1
Ethernet
No

This soundbar doesn't come with very many inputs. There's only an Optical Audio in and a USB input. Since it lacks a Full HDMI In port, you can't use it as a hub between devices.

0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
No
Dolby Atmos
No
Dolby Digital
No
Dolby Digital Plus
No
DTS
No
DTS:X (eARC only)
No
Dolby TrueHD (eARC only)
No
DTS-HD MA (eARC only)
No
5.1 PCM (eARC only)
No
0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
No
DTS:X
No
Dolby Digital
No
Dolby Digital Plus
No
DTS
No
Dolby TrueHD
No
DTS-HD MA
No
5.1 PCM
No
10
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
Yes
DTS
Yes

The Samsung HW-A450 can support Dolby Digital and DTS content normally found on Blu-ray discs and some streaming platforms via Optical Audio in. However, it has to downmix this content into 2.1.

8.7
Connectivity
Latency
ARC
N/A
Optical
39 ms
Full HDMI In
N/A

The Samsung HW-A450 has an excellent latency performance. It only supports Optical, but it has very low latency using this connection, so your audio and visuals are in sync. That said, some apps and TVs compensate for latency differently, so your real-world experience may vary.

6.0
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Chromecast built-in
No
Apple AirPlay
No

The Samsung HW-A450 have mediocre playback options. It only supports Bluetooth, so you can easily stream your favorite content to the bar wirelessly.

Connectivity
Other Input Specifications
4k @ 60 Hz Passthrough
No
4k @ 60 Hz @ 10 bit Passthrough
No
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 Passthrough
No
HDR10 Passthrough
No

The Samsung HW-A450 doesn't have an HDMI In port, so it doesn't support passthrough.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Yes

The subwoofer connects wirelessly to the soundbar. It has a pairing button on the lower right of its back. It has a wired power cable connection.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
No
Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
Yes

The Samsung HW-A450 has a simple interface. It's a small screen located in the middle of the bar, behind the fabric covering. It can only display a max of six characters at a time, so it needs to scroll to complete words. When you're not adjusting anything, the screen isn't visible. However, it displays the volume number as well as the sound mode as you're adjusting it.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

This bar has four buttons on the top middle of the bar. You can turn the bar on or off, adjust the volume, and switch inputs.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

The remote is the same style as the Samsung HW-T450. It allows you to control all the soundbar's settings. Samsung also advertises a 'One Remote' feature, which allows you to use the soundbar's remote to control compatible Samsung TVs. However, we don't currently test for this.

Additional Features
Voice Assistants Support
Amazon Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Apple Siri
No
Additional Features
App
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
Acts As A Remote
No
Controls Soundbar's Settings
No
Casts Device Files
No
Additional Features
Other Features
Power Saving
Auto-off
HDMI CEC (TV Remote Control)
No

The Samsung HW-A450 turns off after receiving no audio signal after 18 minutes. However, you can't control the bar's basic functions with your TV's remote as the bar doesn't have an HDMI ARC port.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Samsung HW-A450 comes in one variant: 'Black' and you can see its label here. If you come across another variant of this soundbar, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The Samsung HW-A450 is a budget-friendly 2.1 setup and is the next generation of the Samsung HW-T450. Unlike some of the other soundbars from this manufacturer's 2021 lineup, like the Samsung HW-Q700A, it's a bit more barebones in terms of extra features. It lacks Q-Symphony and Acoustic Beam technology. It doesn't support Dolby Atmos or have voice assistant support, but it has a neutral sound profile suitable for a variety of audio content, and it can get loud with few compression artifacts.

Check out our recommendations for the best soundbars under $200, the best budget soundbars, and the best soundbars with subwoofer.

Samsung HW-T550

The Samsung HW-T550 and the Samsung HW-A450 are similarly performing soundbars but the HW-T550 has a slight edge. While both soundbars have a very neutral default sound profile and have very comparable overall performances, the HW-T550 is better-built and has a virtual surround feature. It also has more inputs including a Full HDMI In port. However, the HW-A450 can get a bit louder.

Samsung HW-T450

The Samsung HW-A450 is the next generation of the Samsung HW-T450. While the HW-A450 performs similarly to its predecessor in most regards, it now comes with a graphic EQ in addition to its presets, which is nice if you like to customize your audio experience. Its latency performance is better too. However, the HW-T450 comes with a virtual surround feature. 

Samsung HW-A650

The Samsung HW-A650 is a better soundbar than the Samsung HW-A450. The HW-A650 is a 3.1 setup, so it comes with a discrete center channel that can reproduce clearer and more accurate dialogue in TV shows than the 2.1 HW-A450. It's also better-built, and it comes with a virtual surround feature, as well as an ARC port and a Full HDMI In port.

Samsung HW-T650

The Samsung HW-T650 is a better soundbar than the Samsung HW-A450. The HW-T650 is a 3.1 setup with better build quality and a better center channel performance. It also has HDMI ARC and Full HDMI In ports. However, the Samsung HW-A450 is a 2.1 setup, and it has a graphic EQ so you can customize its sound to your liking.

Vizio V Series V21-H8

The Samsung HW-A450 is a slightly better soundbar than the Vizio V Series V21-H8. The Samsung has a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, which some users may prefer, it can reach its max volume with fewer compression artifacts, and it has a graphic EQ so that you can customize its sound. However, the Vizio is better-built, offers more inputs such as an HDMI ARC port, offers a better surround performance. 

TCL Alto 8+

The Samsung HW-A450 is a better soundbar than the TCL Alto 8+. The Samsung has a more neutral default sound profile, which some users may prefer, a better dynamics performance, and offers more sound enhancement features like a graphic EQ. However, the TCL has an HDMI ARC port. 

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