Reviewed on Oct 10, 2019

Samsung HW-Q70R SOUNDBAR REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.0
7.6
Mixed Usage
7.7
Dialogue/TV Shows
7.9
Music
7.3
Movies
Channels
:
3.1.2

The Samsung HW-Q70R is a great 3.1.2 sounding soundbar with stereo content. It has great bass performance and has a neutral sound profile. It gets loud enough for most content and also performs without audible compression at max volume. Due to its configuration, it supports Atmos, but cuts out surround content which isn’t ideal. On the upside, it has plenty of connection options and is very well-built.

Test Results
Design 8.0
Sound 7.4
Connectivity 9.1
Pros
  • Great audio reproduction.
  • Very well-built design.
  • Good for mixed usage.
  • Many connection options.
Cons
  • Doesn’t play surround content.
  • No auto-volume or night mode.

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Market Context

The HW-Q70R is part of Samsung's 2019 flagship lineup. It's a 3.1.2 setup that supports Atmos for an immersive experience for watching movies, which the Samsung HW-Q60R doesn’t support. However, it doesn’t support surround content like the 5.1.2 Samsung HW-Q80R. The Q70R is often compared to models from the same lineup like the Q60R and the Q80R. The 2018 Samsung HW-N850 is also considered a competitor, just like the LG SL8Y.

8.0

Design

Style - Bar

The bar of the HW-Q70R is nearly identical in style to the Q60R. There's a metal grill that covers the front and the top face, and the back and sides are made of good quality plastic.

Style - Subwoofer

The sub is mainly made of wood and has the port on the back. On the right side, there's a fabric covering the speaker. This fabric can easily get dirty or rip if you're not careful.

Style - Satellites

There are no satellites in this setup.

Dimensions - Bar
Bar Width : 43.3" (110.0 cm)
Bar Height : 2.2" (5.5 cm)
Bar Depth : 4.0" (10.1 cm)

The Samsung HW-Q70R/ZA has the same dimensions as the Q60R. It's unlikely that it'll fit between the legs of a 55" TV stand. On the upside, it's not very tall and it won't block any part of your screen unless your TV sits flush on the table.

Dimensions - Subwoofer
Sub Width : 7.9" (20.1 cm)
Sub Height : 15.9" (40.4 cm)
Sub Depth : 15.7" (39.8 cm)

The subwoofer is slightly bigger than the sub of the Q60R. It's about the size of a full-size desktop PC, but maybe slightly shorter. You shouldn't have issues placing it anywhere in the room, as it connects wirelessly to the bar.

Dimensions - Satellites
Sat Width : N/A
Sat Height : N/A
Sat Depth : N/A

There are no satellites in this setup.

Back - Bar
Bar Mounting Type
:
Universal (holes on underside)

The back of the bar is plain and has two openings for the inputs and the power cable. If you want to wall-mount the bar, you have to use the universal holes found on the underside along with the provided brackets.

Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
:
Ported

The back of the bar is wooden except for the port, which is plastic. It's located on the top, while the power cable is on the bottom and should be easy to hide.

Back - Satellites
Sat Mounting Type
:
N/A

There are no satellites in this setup.

8.0 Build Quality

The HW-Q70R has a great build quality. The metal grill and the weight of the bar give off a premium feel, and the overall construction is robust and feels very solid. The only downside is the fabric that covers the speaker of the sub, which can easily get dirty or ripped.

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

  • Manuals
  • Remote & Batteries
  • HDMI Cable
  • Power brick for bar
  • Subwoofer power cable
  • Holder Support (x2)
  • Holder Foot (x2)
  • Wall Mount Guide
  • Bracket Wall Mount (x2)
  • Screws
  • Holder-Screw

7.4

Sound

8.4 Stereo Frequency Response
ST Slope
:
-0.56
ST Std. Err.
:
2.41 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
28.3 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
:
19.9 kHz

The Harman Kardon HW-Q70R's stereo frequency response is great. It has a deep bass and is able to reproduce the rumble, thump, and punch of bass. The overall sound profile is also quite neutral and follows our target curve quite well. It has a fairly similar sound to the HW-Q80R and HW-Q90R. Like the other Samsung soundbars, it'll be suitable for a wide variety of music genres, as well as dialog. There's also a good amount of customization you can apply to this bar, including an available EQ.

Stereo Raw Frequency Response
7.0 Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
:
2.67 dB

When listening to the Harman Kardon HW-Q70R, the soundstage is decent. It sounds just as wide as the bar itself, and the bar doesn’t do any tricks to try to widen it. It's also decently focused, but objects don’t seem to come from an accurate pinpoint location like some other bars, such as the HW-Q90R.

8.0 Stereo Dynamics
ST SPL @ Max Volume
:
93.7 dB SPL
ST DRC @ Max Volume
:
1.25 dB

The HWQ70R can get pretty loud and will be suitable for large rooms or crowded environments. Also, at max volume, it performs quite well and you shouldn’t hear any thumping or compression artifacts with real-life content.

7.5 Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
ST Weighted THD @ 80
:
0.52
ST Weighted THD @ Max Volume
:
1.91

The THD performance of the HWQ70R is good. At a normal listening volume, which is around 80dB, the amount of THD is within very good limits. You get a clean and pure audio reproduction. However, there's a jump in THD under heavier loads and when pushing the bar to its max volume. This is still very difficult to hear with real-life content.

8.6 Center
C Localization
:
Discrete
C Slope
:
-0.32
C Std. Err.
:
2.66 dB
C SPL @ Max Volume
:
88.0 dB SPL
C Weighted THD @ 80
:
1.94
C Weighted THD @ Max Volume
:
2.45

This is a 3.1.2 setup that has excellent performance in the center channel. Due to its configuration, the Samsung Q70R soundbar has a dedicated center speaker, which results in a clearer and more accurate audio reproduction of the dialog in movies. The frequency response is great across the whole range, but the max volume is just okay, noticeably quieter than other Samsung soundbars in the same lineup. There’s also a bit more bass than the Q60R, but there usually aren’t a lot of bass frequencies on the center channel, so the difference will barely be audible for most.

0 Surrounds
Sr Localization
:
N/A
Rears
:
No
Sr Slope
:
N/A
Sr Std. Err.
:
N/A
Sr SPL @ Max Volume
:
N/A
Sr Weighted THD @ 80
:
N/A
Sr Weighted THD @ Max Volume
:
N/A

While you’re able to send surround content to the HW-Q70R, the bar itself doesn’t play the content. Surround noises don’t fire out of any speakers.

6.0 Height (Atmos)
H Localization
:
Phantom (Up Firing, Bar)
H Slope
:
0.99
H Std. Err.
:
4.66 dB
H SPL @ Max Volume
:
96.3 dB SPL
H Weighted THD @ 80
:
0.96
H Weighted THD @ Max Volume
:
2.54

The Harman Kardon HW-Q70R supports Atmos, but its performance isn’t the most impressive. The bar has two up firing speakers that make the sound ricochet off the ceiling to give you the impression of height. However, the effect is fairly minimal and sounds a bit bright. Also, the localization of objects is diffused. It doesn't sound as real as a discrete localization provided by down-firing speakers.

6.1 Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
:
No
Dialog Enhancement
:
Yes
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
:
No
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
:
Yes
Bass Adjustment
:
Yes
Treble Adjustment
:
Yes
EQ
:
Graphic
Surround Level Adjustment
:
N/A
Rear Level Adjustment
:
Yes
Height Level Adjustment
:
Yes
Virtual Surround
:
Yes

The HW-Q70R has mediocre sound enhancement features. Like the Q80R and the Q90R, it doesn’t have a dynamic range compression feature, which the lower-end Q60R, R550, and R650 have. It also lacks a room correction feature, so it might sound differently depending on your room. On the upside, it has an adaptive sound mode, which helps with dialog at lower volumes. There are also a few customization options to make it sound like you want.

9.1

Connectivity

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

The HW-Q70R supports the most common connections for most of the modern external devices and consoles. Unfortunately, you won't be able to connect devices that lack HDMI or Optical Out. On the upside, you can place the bar between your PC and your TV thanks to its HDMI In port.

8.4 Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
:
No
ARC Dolby Atmos
:
Yes
ARC DTS:X
:
No
ARC Dolby Digital
:
Yes
ARC Dolby Digital Plus
:
Yes
ARC DTS
:
Yes
ARC Dolby TrueHD
:
No
ARC DTS-HD MA
:
No
ARC 5.1 PCM
:
No

The HW-Q70R has a great support for sound format over its HDMI ARC port. You'll be able to play back surround sound formats like Dolby Digital or DTS, but unfortunately, the surround channels won't be downmixed to 3.1, but rather they will be omitted completely. On the upside, thanks to Dolby Atmos support the bar will deliver an immersive sound experience.

Note 11/11/2019: There has been numerous comment about some Samsung's soundbars supporting eARC. We confirmed with Samsung that this is in an upcoming update. At this time, there is still no eARC support. We will retest it when the future firmware update is available.

10 Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
HDMI Dolby Atmos
:
Yes
HDMI DTS:X
:
Yes
HDMI Dolby Digital
:
Yes
HDMI Dolby Digital Plus
:
Yes
HDMI DTS
:
Yes
HDMI Dolby TrueHD
:
Yes
HDMI DTS-HD MA
:
Yes
HDMI 5.1 PCM
:
Yes

The HW-Q70R can play back all of the sound formats we test for when connected to Full HDMI In. Even though it'll still mute the surround channels and not downmix them, it's able to offer an immersive sound experience thanks to its versatility.

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

The HW-Q70R's optical port supports both Dolby Digital and DTS. If your content supports it, the bar will play back those formats. Unfortunately, the surround channels are muted rather than downmixed, which might annoy some people. Content encoded in Dolby Digital or DTS is usually available on Blu-ray discs and streaming platforms like Netflix.

8.0 Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
:
Yes
Wi-Fi
:
Yes
Chromecast built-in
:
No
Apple AirPlay
:
No

The HW-Q70R has great wireless playback connections. You can seamlessly play the music on your phone or tablet through Bluetooth or connect to your Wi-Fi to cast files. In the absence of these, however, you won't be able to cast using Chromecast built-in or Apple AirPlay.

Other Input Specifications
4k @ 60 Hz Passthrough
:
Yes
4k @ 60 Hz @ 10 bit Passthrough
:
Yes
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 Passthrough
:
Yes
HDR10 Passthrough
:
Yes

The HW-Q70R can passthrough the highest quality signal, so if you connect it between your PC and your TV, text on the screen will appear crystal clear.

Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
:
Yes

The sub connects wirelessly to the bar, and all you have is the power cord.

Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
:
N/A

There are no satellites on this setup.

Additional Features

Interface
Display
:
Yes

The interface is very simple. It consists of a small screen behind the grill that displays the volume level and the input you're on.

Bar Controls

The controls are on the side just like on the Q60R. These buttons can control the volume, change the input source, and power the bar on and off.

Remote
Universal Remote
:
No

The remote that accompanies the Q70R is the same as the remote found on the Q60R. It has the same style as the latest high-end Samsung TVs. You can control all of the functions of the soundbar, but you can't use it as a universal remote.

App
App Name : Samsung SmartThings
iOS : Yes
Android : Yes
Acts as the Remote
:
Limited Support
Controls Soundbar's Settings
:
Some
Casts Device Files
:
Audio Files Only

The SmartThings app pairs seamlessly to the HW-Q70R soundbar. It can control many of the bar's functions, but it can't completely replace the remote as it lacks settings and Bluetooth pairing buttons.

Other Features
Power Saving
:
Auto-off
HDMI CEC (TV Remote Control)
:
Yes

The Samsung HW-Q70R/ZA has an auto-off function to save energy. If no signal is detected, it'll power itself off after 5 minutes. Also, thanks to the HDMI CEC support you can control basic functions of the bar using your TV remote.

Compared to other Soundbars

The Samsung HW-Q70R has a unique 3.1.2 configuration that can do Atmos, but doesn't play surround content. It looks the same as the Q60R, but performs more like the Q80R and Q90R with stereo content. Their subwoofer performs quite well too as you get a deep and punchy bass. See our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best Dolby Atmos soundbars, and the best soundbars with a subwoofer.

Samsung HW-Q60R
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Samsung HW-Q70R is an overall better sounding soundbar setup than the Samsung HW-Q60R. The Q70R has a better stereo performance and it also supports Atmos, which the Q60R can’t do. However, the Q60R can play surround content while the Q70R can't. On the other hand, the Q70R has more audio formats supported and can also be used via Wi-Fi.

Samsung HW-Q80R
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Samsung HW-Q80R is a slightly better setup than the Samsung HW-Q70R. It can get louder and its stereo soundstage feels a bit wider too. However, we didn’t test either with satellites. The Q80R soundstage sounds a bit wider, and it has side-firing speakers on the bar to play surround content, which the Q70R can’t do. The Q80R also has a better Atmos performance and gives you a better height impression, which is great for movies.

Sonos Playbar
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Samsung HW-Q70R is a better soundbar than the Sonos Playbar. It has a great subwoofer that gives you a great bass, which the Playbar lacks. It also has a better sound profile and stereo performance. The Q70R has multiple inputs, including Full HDMI Ins, which the Playbar lacks. On the other hand, the Playbar can play surround content and has a wider soundstage thanks to the side-firing speakers.

Vizio SB36512-F6
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Vizio SB36512-F6 is a slightly better soundbar setup than the Samsung HW-Q70R without satellites. The sub of the Q70R performs better and both support Atmos. However, the Q70R completely cuts out surround content rather than downmixing, which is frustrating while the surround performance of the Vizio is decent thanks to the dedicated satellites.

LG SK9Y
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Even though the LG SK9Y is a 5.1.2 setup and the Samsung HW-Q70R is a 3.1.2 setup, the Samsung is a better mixed usage bar. It can get louder than the LG and has a noticeably better stereo performance, especially because of the great bass the sub provides. However, the SK9Y has side-firing speakers and the Q70R can’t play surround content due to its configuration. The Atmos performance is also slightly better on the LG.

Samsung HW-R650
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Samsung HW-Q70R is very similar to the Samsung HW-R650, but it has two up-firing speakers since it supports Atmos. Additionally, the sub of the Q70R performs better and creates more low-bass frequencies as well. However, the Q70R completely cuts off surround content instead of downmixing like the R650, which is frustrating. The Q70R also supports Wi-Fi wireless playback.

Yamaha YAS-408
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Samsung HW-Q70R is a slightly better soundbar system than the Yamaha YAS-408. It's more versatile thanks to its 3.1.2 speaker configuration. This means it has a dedicated center channel, which makes voices and dialog easier to understand, and also has two up-firing speakers for Atmos content. On the other hand, the Q70R cuts out surround content, while the YAS-408 is able to play it, but not Atmos content.

+ Show more
7.6 Mixed Usage

Good for mixed usage. The HW-Q70R has a great stereo sound profile with extra bass, which will be suitable for different types of content. Whether you listen to stereo music, audiobooks, or podcasts, this soundbar gets loud enough and has an accurate audio reproduction. However, while it supports Atmos, its performance isn’t impressive, and it also completely cuts out surround content. On the upside, the Q70R has plenty of connectivity options, wired or wireless.

7.7 Dialogue/TV Shows

Great for dialog and TV shows. The Samsung HW-Q70R/ZA has a great sound profile that sounds neutral and well-balanced. There’s also a dialog enhancement feature that will make dialog clearer, even at a lower volume. The bar gets loud enough for voice-oriented content like podcasts and audiobooks, which you'll be able to easily stream via your smart device.

7.9 Music

Very good for music. The stereo frequency response of the Q70R is great and will be suitable for a wide variety of music. Its sound profile is well-balanced and has quite a bit of bass, but without overdoing it. The overall stereo performance of this bar is great and you'll be able to get a good loudness level, too. However, the soundstage is only decent and doesn’t sound wider than the bar itself.

7.3 Movies

Decent for movies. The sound quality of the soundbar is quite good, especially that it has great bass performance, which is nice for action-packed movies. It also supports Atmos, although the height performance isn't very impressive. On the upside, it has a dedicated center channel so voices and dialog will be clear and you get plenty of connectivity options. Unfortunately, this soundbar completely cuts out surround content.

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