The Samsung N450 is a decent soundbar for music and vocal-centric content like podcasts and audiobooks, but it won’t be the best for movies. This 2.1 setup has a decent overall audio reproduction, but some may feel it lacks a bit of bass. It also doesn’t offer a very immersive listening experience, as it doesn’t have height channels and doesn’t support Atmos. On the upside, it's well-built and most users will find it loud enough for most uses.
The Samsung HW-N450 is an entry-level soundbar in Samsung's 2018 lineup. It's the newest version of the Samsung HW-M450. While it has a 2.1-channel setup like the similar Samsung HW-N550, it has fewer drivers and doesn't have back satellites like the high-end Samsung HW-N950. Its main competitors are the Yamaha YAS-207 and the LG SK5Y.
The Samsung N450's bar is simple, has a dark gray color, and looks nice overall. The front is covered with a metal grill, but the rest is solid plastic. On the right edge, four physical buttons control the soundbar's functions. It has a premium feel overall thanks to its solid construction.
The Samsung HW-N450's subwoofer is dark gray, just like the bar. It's made of solid plastic and has the port on the back so you don’t see it. The speaker is on the left side and it's entirely covered with a fabric that can easily collect dirt or get damaged.
The Samsung N450's bar is fairly wide. It's unlikely that it'll fit between the legs of the stand of most 55-inch TVs, so you might need a wider table to accommodate both the TV and the bar. On the upside, the bar isn't that tall, so you shouldn't have problems with it blocking part of your screen unless you have a TV that sits flush on the table, like the Sony A9F or the Sony A9G.
The subwoofer of the Samsung HW-N450 has an average size, similar to that of a desktop computer. You can easily place it next to your couch or your TV stand.
There are no satellites in this setup.
The back of the bar is plain. It has two openings for the input ports and the power cable. If you want to wall-mount it, you have to use the universal holes found on the underside.
The back of the HW-N450's subwoofer is fairly simple. The port is located at the top, and at the bottom, you'll find the power cable input and the wireless pairing button.
The Samsung HW-N450 has a good overall build quality. The bar is made of metal and solid plastic, while the subwoofer is made of solid plastic and has one face covered in fabric. The entire build feels robust and a little premium and resembles the Samsung HW-R550 and the Samsung HW-R650. We don't expect you to have any issues with its build quality.
The Samsung N450 has a decent frequency response. It's a bit on the warm side, but this shouldn’t bother most people. However, it doesn’t have a great low-frequency extension and is lacking a bit on overall bass. This won’t be ideal for bass-heavy content like movies and some music genres, but won’t affect voice-oriented content like podcasts and audiobooks.
When listening to the HW-N450, the soundstage is decent. It's about as wide as the bar itself, and the bar isn’t doing any tricks to widen the soundstage. Also, the focus is very good, and the soundstage doesn’t sound diffused, which is good and typical of most soundbars. Objects seem to be coming from a more accurate pinpoint location rather than a general area.
The Samsung N450 can get loud enough for most uses, like in a crowded environment or a large room. It doesn’t get as loud as some higher-end models like the Samsung HW-Q90R, but it will still be more than enough for most people. When pushed at the max volume, there's a bit of compression in bass and treble, but not enough to be an issue for most people.
The HW-N450 soundbar has good THD performance. It performs well and produces clear and pure sound at a normal volume, at around 80dB. However, when pushing the bar to its maximum capacity, you might notice there's a big jump in THD in the high-bass range, but it might not be as noticeable as with real-life content, and most people probably won't use the soundbar at max volume very often.
The center channel performance of this soundbar is sub-par. It's a 2.1 setup, meaning that it doesn’t have a discrete center speaker. It uses the left and right speakers to create a sound in the center, which will sound more diffused and less clear compared to a discrete one. The graph shows a pretty dark-sounding profile, but since there’s hardly any bass on the center channel, this shouldn’t affect the performance too much. Voices will still sound fairly clear and accurate.
The Samsung N450 is a 2.1 setup, so it'll downmix surround content, but it sounds very dark and bass-heavy. However, this might be wanted, to put more emphasis on the bass sounds found on surround content instead of the higher frequencies. This soundbar can only use its left and right speakers, which won’t do an accurate and clear representation of surround objects. This means the result won't be very immersive and the objects will be perceived to come from the front instead of to your sides or behind you.
This soundbar doesn’t have height channels and doesn’t support Atmos.
The Samsung N450 has sub-par sound enhancement features. It's missing room correction, which means this soundbar may sound differently depending on your room. It also lacks a dialogue enhancement feature, so if you have difficulty hearing voices and speech, especially at low volume, this soundbar won’t be able to help you with that. On the upside, you can adjust the amount of bass coming from the sub, and you have a 7-band graphic EQ, which is decent but doesn’t allow for that much control over the general frequency response.
The Samsung HW-N450 has only the most common inputs. You have an Optical Audio In, which is great for surround sound, but you also get an HDMI ARC to connect to your TV and a Full HDMI In to connect to one external device like a game console. For those who prefer wired connections over Bluetooth, the HW-N450 offers an Analog 3.5mm jack in to help you connect to your portable media player or phone. Finally, the soundbar has a micro USB port that can play files and also appears in the inputs list.
Over the HDMI ARC port, this soundbar supports Dolby Digital and DTS, which are the most common formats supported by soundbars. You shouldn't have issues decoding 5.1 surround sound from any content that supports it, like Blu-ray discs or streaming media. Unfortunately, due to ARC's limitations, you can't play lossless formats.
The Full HDMI In port supports the same formats the HDMI ARC port does. You shouldn't have issues downmixing a 5.1 surround audio from streaming services that support it, like Netflix. Unfortunately, none of the high-end uncompressed sound formats are supported on this soundbar.
As expected, the N450's Optical Port supports both Dolby Digital and DTS. So as long as the content supports it, you shouldn't have issues downscaling a 5.1 surround sound to 2.1. This content is usually available on Blu-ray discs and streaming platforms like Netflix.
The Samsung HW-N450 allows you to play content wirelessly through Bluetooth. You can easily connect your tablet to enjoy your music, but unfortunately you can’t connect to WiFi or cast using Chromecast built-in or AirPlay.
The Samsung HW-N450 has a maximum passthrough of 1080p, so your TV won't display 4k video even if both your PC and TV support it.
The subwoofer connects wirelessly to the soundbar using the small button on the back for pairing. The only wired connection to the subwoofer is its power cable.
The Samsung HW-N450's interface is fairly simple. It consists of a very small screen behind the bar grill. Unfortunately, it's very small and sometimes it needs to scroll to display the entire message. The screen displays basic info like the volume level or the selected input. We didn't experience any lag or other bugs during our testing.
The Samsung N450 has a few physical buttons on the right side. They are used to control the power, volume, and to select the input. When you select a feature from the remote control, like 'lip-sync', the '+' and '-' button can be used to increase or lower the setting.
The remote has the same style as the remotes found on higher-end Samsung TVs like the Samsung Q80/Q80R QLED. It looks sleek and allows you to control all your settings of your soundbar. Each action displays a small message on the interface screen to confirm your button press.
The Samsung Audio Remote is a simple app that can pair with the N450 and allows you to control some settings of your soundbar. Unfortunately, it can’t completely replace the remote control as it's missing the 'Settings' and the 'Bluetooth' buttons. On the upside, it allows you to cast audio files from your phone or tablet, which will be played seamlessly on the soundbar.
The soundbar has an Auto-Off feature, which is great for power saving. Also, thanks to the ARC connection, the TV's remote can control the soundbar.
The Samsung HW-N450 is a better soundbar than the Sony HT-S350. Its overall sound performance is better and more versatile, especially that the S350 has an always-on surround mode, which makes it sound a bit muddy. The N450 also has better connectivity options, as the Sony soundbar doesn't have a Full HDMI In port.
Even with the bar by itself, the Sonos Beam is a better option than the Samsung N450. Without a sub, the Beam has a similar bass performance to that of the N450, on top of having a more neutral sound overall. It is also a 3.0 bar, meaning you have a dedicated center channel for clear voices and dialog. The Beam also has more features and room correction, which is great. It can also be easily upgraded with a separate sub and satellites. On the other hand, it doesn't have a lot of inputs and you can't stream content via Bluetooth to the Beam; only via Wi-Fi.
The Sonos Playbar and Samsung HW-N450 are both decent soundbars, but for different reasons. The N450 has a wireless sub, which helps a bit with the bass performance, while the Playbar has a 3.0 configuration with a dedicated center channel, which is great for dialog and voices. The N450 is more recent and has a bit more ports like Full HDMI In and an ARC port, which the Playbar lacks. If you plan on getting a high-end setup and plan on upgrading, the Sonos Playbar will be the better option since you can add a separate sub and satellites.
The Samsung HW-N450 is a better 2.1 soundbar system than the Sony HT-CT800. Its sound profile is noticeably better and it performs quite well as max volume. The Sony compresses a lot when it gets louder, especially in the bass range. On the other hand, the CT800 has better connectivity options and more sound enhancement features. It's also slightly better built than the N450, but not by much.
Okay for mixed usage. This 2.1 soundbar sounds good with stereo content like music and dialog-oriented content like podcasts and audiobooks. However, it won’t be the best option for movies as it doesn’t provide an immersive experience due to the lack of height channels and Atmos support. The HW-N450 has a decent overall sound profile but might lack a bit of bass for some.
Decent for dialogue and TV shows. This soundbar has a good overall sound profile and accurate mid and treble range performance. It can get loud enough for normal use, but unfortunately, there’s no dialogue enhancement feature available. On the upside, it does have an auto-volume setting, which can help a bit. You’ll also be able to stream content wirelessly with a Bluetooth connection, making this bar a decent option for content like podcasts and audiobooks.
Decent for music. This soundbar lacks a bit of bass, especially lower frequencies, so it might not be the ideal one for bass-heavy music. However, its mid and treble ranges are good, making it a decent option for a wide variety of music genres. You can also push the soundbar to its limits at high volume without getting audible distortion or compression, which is good. You’ll also be able to stream content via Bluetooth and have a few customization options.
Mediocre for movies. This soundbar won’t give you an immersive feel since it doesn’t have height channels and doesn’t support Atmos. It's also a 2.1 setup, which means all 5.1 surround content on Blu-ray discs and Netflix will be downmixed and will feel like it's coming from the front instead of around you. If you’re looking for a soundbar mainly for watching movies, the HW-N450 won’t be the best option.