Samsung HW-A650 Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Apr 20, 2021 at 07:12 am
Samsung HW-A650 Picture
7.3
Mixed Usage
8.0
Dialogue/TV Shows
7.6
Music
6.8
Movies
Channels
3.1

The Samsung HW-A650 is a 3.1 soundbar from the manufacturer's 2021 lineup. Out-of-the-box, this soundbar offers a very neutral sound profile that's suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content, though it struggles to reproduce a thumpy low-bass. It comes with lots of sound enhancement features, including a graphic EQ and several presets like 'Adaptive Sound Lite', which can enhance dialogue, and 'Bass Boost', which can add more punch to your audio. It also supports surround content, but unfortunately, it has to downmix it into stereo to play it.

Our Verdict

7.3 Mixed Usage

The Samsung HW-A650 is satisfactory for mixed usage. Out-of-the-box, this soundbar has a pretty neutral sound profile suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content, and it comes with lots of sound enhancement features. However, it still struggles to reproduce a thumpy low-bass, so you don't feel the rumble in bass-heavy music or action-packed movies. It also has to downmix surround content into stereo to play it, which doesn't sound as immersive.

Pros
  • Graphic EQ and presets.
  • Gets loud.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • No Dolby Atmos support.
8.0 Dialogue/TV Shows

The Samsung HW-A650 is great for dialogue-centric content like TV shows. Thanks to its dedicated center channel and balanced mid-range, it can reproduce clear and accurate dialogue. There's also a feature called Adaptive Sound Lite, which can help make voices more clear and crisp. It gets pretty loud, too, and it's Bluetooth-compatible, so you can wirelessly stream podcasts and audiobooks from your phone to the bar.

Pros
  • Gets loud.
  • Bluetooth-compatible.
Cons
  • Doesn't support Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay, or Chromecast built-in.
7.6 Music

The Samsung HW-A650 is good for music. Out-of-the-box, it has a pretty neutral sound profile that makes it suitable for listening to lots of different genres. It gets loud, and it comes with lots of sound enhancement features like a graphic EQ and several presets, including a 'Bass Boost' mode. However, it still struggles to reproduce a thumpy low-bass, so you don't really feel the deep rumble in bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop.

Pros
  • Graphic EQ and presets.
  • Bass and treble adjustment features.
  • Gets loud.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
6.8 Movies

The Samsung HW-A650 is reasonable for movies. Its balanced mid-range can reproduce clear and accurate dialogue, but it lacks some low-bass, so you don't feel the deep thump and rumble in action-packed scenes. While it supports surround content, it has to downmix it to stereo to play it, which doesn't sound as immersive. It also doesn't support Dolby Atmos content. On the upside, it gets pretty loud, so it's suitable for watching movies in large rooms.

Pros
  • Graphic EQ and presets.
  • Gets loud.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • No Dolby Atmos support.
  • 7.3 Mixed Usage
  • 8.0 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 7.6 Music
  • 6.8 Movies
  1. Updated Apr 20, 2021: Updated DTS support via Full HDMI In to 'Yes'.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The Samsung HW-A650 is a more budget-friendly 3.1 soundbar from the manufacturer's 2021 lineup. It replaces the 2020 Samsung HW-T650. It comes with a few additional sound features, which we don't test for, including Adaptive Sound Lite, which automatically optimizes audio reproduction based on the content you're listening to, and a Bass Boost mode that's advertised to add more punch to your audio. Unlike the manufacturer's more premium 3.1.2 speakers from 2021, the Samsung HW-Q700A and the Samsung HW-Q800A, it doesn't come with any height channels and doesn't have Acoustic Beam technology. Its competitors include the LG GX Soundbar, the TCL Alto 9+, and the Klipsch Cinema 600.

Design
Design
Style - Bar

The Samsung HW-A650 has a similar design to the Samsung HW-T650. The top and the front are covered by a metal grille, and the rest of the bar is plastic.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

The sub is mostly made of wood. The port is located in the rear, and there's a fabric covering the front.

Design
Style - Satellites

The Samsung HW-A650 doesn't come with any satellites. However, it's compatible with Samsung's Wireless Surround Kit, so you can add on surround speakers if you purchase them separately.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Width 38.6" (98.0 cm)
Height 2.3" (5.8 cm)
Depth 4.1" (10.5 cm)

The Samsung HW-A650 is pretty wide, so it likely won't fit between the legs of a 55" TV. That said, it also isn't very tall, so it shouldn't block your TV screen unless it sits flush on the table.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Width 8.0" (20.4 cm)
Height 13.9" (35.3 cm)
Depth 11.9" (30.3 cm)

The Samsung HW-A650's sub is about the size of an average desktop PC. It connects to the bar wirelessly, so you can place it anywhere in your room.

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

On the back of the bar, there are two openings for the power cable and the inputs. You can also wall-mount it using the universal holes on the underside.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
Ported

There's a port on the back of the subwoofer that's made of plastic. There's also a connection for the power cable, as well as a pairing button.

Design
Back - Satellites
Mounting
No
8.0
Design
Build Quality

The Samsung HW-A650 has an impressive build quality. The bar itself has a metal grille covering the top and the front, which helps to protect the drivers. The rest of the bar is made of plastic, which feels quite solid and durable. The sub is mostly made of wood, but unfortunately, the fabric covering on the front seems like it could rip or get dirty easily.

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

  • User Manual
  • Remote with batteries (2xAA)
  • Mounting brackets screws and template
  • Adapter
  • 2x power cables
  • Optical cable

Sound
7.9
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
Standard
Slope
-0.34
Std. Err.
2.10 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
41.8 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

The Samsung HW-A650 has a very good stereo frequency response. Out-of-the-box, it has a pretty neutral, balanced sound profile that's suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content. However, it struggles to reproduce a deep low-bass, so you don't feel the deep thump and rumble in bass-heavy music like EDM or action-packed movie scenes. Fortunately, there are sound customization features available, including a graphic EQ and presets and bass and treble adjustments.

7.9
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
Standard
Suggested Bass Setting
-1
Suggested Treble Setting
2
Slope
-0.07
Std. Err.
2.05 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
41.8 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

With calibration, this soundbar has a very good stereo frequency response. With the Bass set to '-1' and the Treble set to '+2', it has a very neutral, balanced sound profile suitable for listening to a wide range of audio content. However, it still struggles to reproduce low-bass, so you don't feel the deep thump in genres like EDM and hip-hop.

7.0
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
2.45 dB

The Samsung HW-A650 has a decent stereo soundstage. The soundstage is perceived to be about as wide as the bar itself, which isn't as wide as the Samsung HW-T650. The bar doesn't have any tricks to make it sound wider than that, though. That said, it has good focus. Objects in the soundstage, like voices and footsteps, aren't as easy to follow, but they still seem to come from a pretty accurate location.

7.8
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
93.0 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
1.49 dB

The Samsung HW-A650 has a very good stereo dynamics performance. It gets pretty loud, so it's suitable for use at crowded parties and in large rooms. When you play it at max volume, there aren't many compression or pumping artifacts present, which is nice.

7.3
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.46
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
3.87

The Samsung HW-A650 has a decent stereo THD performance. At normal listening volumes, it falls within good limits, resulting in a clean and pure audio reproduction. When you play the bar at max volume, there's a noticeable jump in THD. However, this may not be audible with real-life content.

8.1
Sound
Center
Localization
Discrete
Slope
-0.98
Std. Err.
3.26 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
87.9 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.41
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
2.70

The Samsung HW-A650 has an impressive center channel performance. Unlike the Samsung HW-A450, this 3.1 setup has a dedicated center channel, so dialogue is reproduced more clearly and accurately. While the frequency response is a bit bass-heavy, it shouldn't be too noticeable since there typically isn't a lot of bass reproduced on the center channel. The mid-range is also balanced, resulting in clear and detailed vocals. However, the center channel doesn't get very loud, which can be disappointing for listeners who want to listen to audio in large rooms.

3.7
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Stereo (Downmix)
Slope
-1.43
Std. Err.
4.43 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
89.9 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.48
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
2.48
7.1 Rears
No

The Samsung HW-A650 has poor surround performance. It has to downmix surround content into stereo using its left and right speakers, so objects like voices and footsteps aren't as clearly or accurately represented in the soundstage as they would be with discrete localization. As a result, audio may seem like it's coming from in front of you, rather than from speakers placed all around 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
6.7
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
Yes

The Samsung HW-A650 has a fair selection of sound enhancement features. There's a graphic EQ to help you customize its sound, as well as some EQ presets: 'Standard', 'Surround Sound', 'Bass Boost', 'Game', 'Adaptive Sound Lite', and 'DTS Virtual X'. The 'Adaptive Sound Lite' mode can enhance audio like dialogue by making voices sound more clear and crisp. The 'Game' preset is advertised to adjust your audio settings to improve directionality so you can keep track of sound cues in your games, though we don't test for this. You can also turn its auto-volume mode on or off by holding the SOUND MODE button on the remote while the bar is turned off.

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

The Samsung HW-A650 has several physical inputs. There's a Full HDMI In port, which lets you use the bar as a hub between different devices. However, it doesn't have an AUX port, so you can't wire older devices like smartphones to the bar to play audio.

7.1
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
No
Dolby Atmos
No
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
No
DTS
Yes
DTS:X (eARC only)
No
Dolby TrueHD (eARC only)
No
DTS-HD MA (eARC only)
No
5.1 PCM (eARC only)
No

The Samsung HW-A650 supports both Dolby Digital and DTS content via ARC, commonly found on Blu-ray discs and streaming platforms. However, it doesn't support object-based surround formats like Dolby Atmos.

7.4
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
No
DTS:X
No
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
No
DTS
Yes
Dolby TrueHD
No
DTS-HD MA
No
5.1 PCM
No

Update 04/20/2021: After adjusting our setup, we were able to confirm that this soundbar does support DTS content via Full HDMI In.

The Samsung HW-A650 has decent audio format support via Full HDMI In. It can playback Dolby Digital and DTS content, which are commonly found on streaming platforms and Blu-ray discs.

10
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
Yes
DTS
Yes

Via Optical, the bar can play Dolby Digital and DTS content, which are commonly found on Blu-ray discs and streaming platforms.

7.1
Connectivity
Latency
ARC
80 ms
Optical
84 ms
Full HDMI In
102 ms

The Samsung HW-A650 has a decent latency performance. Its latency is a bit high via ARC, Optical, and Full HDMI In, so your video and audio may be out of sync. As a result, it may not be suitable for watching videos. That said, some apps and some 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

You can wirelessly connect the Samsung HW-A650 to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth, so you can play audio from these devices without needing a wired connection. However, you can't wirelessly playback audio via Wi-Fi, Chromecast built-in, or Apple AirPlay.

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-A650 can't passthrough the highest bandwidth signals, which can be disappointing if you want to use it as a hub between your TV and your PC to play video games.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Yes

The subwoofer connects to the bar wirelessly, so you just need to plug it into an outlet to use it.

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

There's a small display on the right side of the bar behind the metal grille. It indicates the volume level and the current input. Since it's only a four-character display, you may need to wait to let it scroll through longer words.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

On the top of the bar, there are four physical buttons that let you power the bar on/off, adjust the volume, and switch the input source.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

The remote is quite simple, and it can control all of the bar's settings. That said, it isn't a universal remote, so you can't use it to control your TV. The manufacturer says that it's compatible with some Samsung TVs, but we don't 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)
Yes

The Samsung HW-A650 comes with an auto-off feature that automatically shuts the bar off after a certain period of inactivity. It also supports HDMI CEC, so your TV remote can control some of the bar's basic functions.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Samsung HW-A650 is available in 'Black', and you can see the label for the model we tested here.

If you come across another version of this soundbar, please let us know in the discussions so we can update our review.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The Samsung HW-A650 is a 3.1 setup that can be upgraded with Wireless Surround Kit speakers, which are sold separately. It replaces the Samsung HW-T650 from 2020, and it comes with a few additional sound features, including Adaptive Sound Lite, Game Mode, and Bass Boost, though we don't test for these. Unlike some of Samsung's more premium soundbars, like the Samsung HW-Q700A, it doesn't support Dolby Atmos, and it doesn't come with Q-Symphony or Acoustic Beam technology built-in to the bar.

See also our recommendations for the best Samsung soundbars, the best soundbars under $500, and the best soundbars with a subwoofer.

Samsung HW-T650

The Samsung HW-T650 and the Samsung HW-A650 have similar overall performances, so you may prefer one over the other. The HW-A650 is better built, and it has a better surrounds performance. However, the HW-T650 has a better soundstage performance, and it can get a bit louder.

Samsung HW-Q600A

The Samsung HW-Q600A is a better soundbar than the Samsung HW-A650. The HW-Q600A is a 3.1.2 setup that supports Dolby Atmos, unlike the 3.1 HW-A650. It can also passthrough the highest bandwidth signals, and it comes with a few sound enhancement features that we don't test for, including Acoustic Beam and Q-Symphony.

Samsung HW-Q60T

The Samsung HW-Q60T and the Samsung HW-A650 are very similarly performing soundbars, but the HW-A650 is a bit better overall. It has a slightly more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, which some listeners may prefer.

Samsung HW-A550

The 3.1 Samsung HW-A650 is a better soundbar than the 2.1 Samsung HW-A550. The HW-A650 offers a discrete center channel that can reproduce dialogue more clearly and accurately in movies and TV shows. Also, it's better-built.

Sonos Arc

The Sonos Arc is a better soundbar than the Samsung HW-A650. The Sonos is a 5.0.2 setup that offers better center, surround, and soundstage performances. Unlike the Samsung, it supports Dolby Atmos content, offers built-in voice assistant support, and comes with a room correction feature. You can even upgrade it as the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers for better performance. However, the Samsung comes with a graphic EQ and presets for sound customization and a Full HDMI In port, unlike the Sonos.

Samsung HW-A450

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-Q700A

The Samsung HW-Q700A is a better soundbar than the Samsung HW-A650. The HW-Q700A has a better soundstage performance, and it supports Dolby Atmos content thanks to its two up-firing speakers. It offers more wireless playback options, and it can passthrough the highest bandwidth signals.

Samsung HW-Q70T

The Samsung HW-Q70T is a bit better soundbar for mixed usage than the Samsung HW-A650. The HW-Q70T supports Dolby Atmos content and offers a better surround performance. It also supports more wireless playback options. That said, the HW-A650 may be better for users who like dialogue-centric content like TV shows since it comes with an auto-volume mode, unlike the HW-Q70T.

Samsung HW-T550

The Samsung HW-A650 is a better soundbar than the Samsung HW-T550. 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-T550. It's also better-built, and it can get louder.

Klipsch Cinema 600

The Klipsch Cinema 600 is a better soundbar than the Samsung HW-A650. The Klipsch has a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box with a more extended low-bass, so you can feel the deep thump and rumble in bass-heavy music. It also has a better soundstage performance. However, the Samsung is better-built with more sound enhancement features and a Full HDMI In port.

LG GX Soundbar

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Samsung HW-A650 or the LG GX Soundbar. The Samsung has a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, and it comes with a graphic EQ for sound customization. It's also better-built. However, the LG has a better soundstage performance, supports Dolby Atmos content, and offers support for more audio formats. It can also passthrough the highest quality bandwidth signals.

TCL Alto 9+

The Samsung HW-A650 is a better soundbar than the TCL Alto 9+ for most uses. The Samsung is better-built, with a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box and more sound enhancement features. It gets louder and also has a better soundstage performance. However, the TCL supports Dolby Atmos content, offers more wireless playback options, and can passthrough the highest bandwidth signals.

+ Show more

Discussions