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Samsung HW-Q800C Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.3
Reviewed May 29, 2023 at 09:50 am
Latest change: Writing modified Apr 30, 2024 at 09:44 am
Samsung HW-Q800C Picture
8.2
Mixed Usage
8.6
Dialogue/TV Shows
8.2
Music
8.0
Movies
This soundbar was replaced by the Samsung HW-Q800D

The Samsung HW-Q800C is a 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos soundbar released in 2023 as the next generation of the Samsung HW-Q800B. It's a more affordable alternative than the manufacturer's flagship models, including the Samsung HW-Q990C. While it has many of the same features, it lacks satellites, which is ideal if you're low on space in your living room. If you own a compatible Samsung TV, you can hook up the bar to enjoy Q-Symphony, which the manufacturer advertises to create a more immersive sound. Built-in Alexa offers hands-free control, too.

Our Verdict

8.2 Mixed Usage

The Samsung Q800C is great for mixed usage. This 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos soundbar offers a versatile performance overall, so it's suitable for everything from music to movies to TV shows. Dialogue in your favorite shows is clearly and accurately reproduced, as are voices and other instruments in music. The sub brings the rumble in action-packed scenes and bass-heavy music genres. There's support for many different audio formats, too. However, more immersive surround sound formats like Dolby Digital aren't quite as clear and real as that produced by bars with discrete satellite speakers.

Pros
  • Extended low-bass.
  • Lots of sound customization tools.
  • Dolby Atmos support.
Cons
  • No satellite speakers.
8.6 Dialogue/TV Shows

This soundbar is excellent for dialogue-centric content like sitcoms and podcasts. It's a 5.1.2 setup with a discrete center channel that's designed to improve vocal quality in the mix overall. As a result, it's easy to follow along with conversations taking place on screen. The bar comes with two dialogue enhancement tools: a more traditional Voice Enhance mode and an Active Voice Amplifier designed to analyze the sounds of your room to adjust the voices in the mix accordingly.

Pros
  • Lots of sound customization tools.
  • Lots of wireless playback options.
Cons
  • Compression at max volume.
8.2 Music

The Samsung Q800C is great for music. This soundbar offers many premium sound enhancement features, including a room correction tool called SpaceFit Sound that optimizes its output to your room's unique acoustics. The resulting sound is very even and balanced, with clear and accurate reproduction of voices and lead instruments in the mix. The sub also brings all the rumble in bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop. Customization is easy with the bar's 7-band graphic EQ, too, available in Standard sound mode.

Pros
  • Extended low-bass.
  • Lots of sound customization tools.
  • Gets loud.
Cons
  • Compression at max volume.
8.0 Movies

The Samsung Q800C is great for movies. This soundbar supports many audio formats commonly found on streaming platforms and Blu-rays, including Dolby Digital and Dolby Atmos. It reproduces clear dialogue, and the sub brings excitement to action-heavy scenes. Without satellite speakers, though, the bar can't stretch sound effects all around you for a clearer and more real feel to your audio content. You can always add compatible satellites separately, which is a nice touch.

Pros
  • Extended low-bass.
  • Lots of sound customization tools.
  • Dolby Atmos support.
Cons
  • No satellite speakers.
  • 8.2 Mixed Usage
  • 8.6 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 8.2 Music
  • 8.0 Movies
  1. Updated Apr 30, 2024: We've added a comparison between this soundbar and the Samsung HW-Q700C with SWA-9500S in Sound Enhancement Features.
  2. Updated Jan 29, 2024: Added information to the Wireless Playback and Voice Assistant Support boxes as Chromecast and Google Assistant support is region-specific.
  3. Updated Jan 29, 2024: Updated Stereo Dynamics results with new methodology from TBU 1.3. Added text to Audio Latency: ARC, Audio Latency: HDMI In, and Audio Latency: Optical boxes.
  4. Updated Jan 29, 2024: We've converted this review to Test Bench Update 1.3. If applicable, we've retested stereo sound based on the manufacturer's recommendations. Additionally, we've expanded our audio latency tests to the following boxes: Audio Latency: ARC, Audio Latency: HDMI In, and Audio Latency: Optical. You can see the full changelog here.
  5. Updated Jul 12, 2023: Added market comparison with the Samsung HW-Q900C in the Height (Atmos) box.
  6. Updated Jun 12, 2023: Updated the 4k Max Refresh Rate result to 60Hz.
  7. Updated May 29, 2023: Review published.
  8. Updated May 23, 2023: Early access published.
  9. Updated May 18, 2023: Our testers have started testing this product.
  10. Updated May 12, 2023: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  11. Updated May 02, 2023: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

This soundbar is available in Black; you can see our model's label here.

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

Compared To Other Soundbars

The Samsung Q800C is a mid-range 5.1.2 soundbar with a versatile overall performance. It lacks satellites, so it doesn't bring the same immersive feel to surround sound compared to premium models like the Samsung HW-Q990C, but this can be a positive if you're low on space in your living room. It still has good sound quality and offers many of the same premium features as other models in the manufacturer's lineup, like Q-Symphony and SpaceFit Sound room correction.

You can also see our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best Dolby Atmos soundbars, and the best Samsung soundbars.

Sonos Arc

Compared to the standalone Sonos Arc, the Samsung HW-Q800C has a dedicated subwoofer, making it more versatile overall. The Samsung is better built and capable of bringing more thump and rumble in the bass range. It's more customizable, too, and offers a Full HDMI In port, unlike the Sonos. The Sonos is a great option if you're low on space, and it even has a better stereo soundstage. You can also check out the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers or the Sonos Ultimate Immersive Set with Arc to understand how it performs with a sub and satellites added on.

Samsung HW-Q800B

The Samsung HW-Q800C is the next generation of the Samsung HW-Q800B, and it's a bit better overall. These two setups have no major differences, though the Q800C has a slightly improved overall sound. It gets louder, with a touch less compression at max volume, too.

Samsung HW-Q700C with SWA-9500S

The Samsung HW-Q800C offers a slightly better overall performance than the Samsung HW-Q700C with SWA-9500S. While both setups look fairly similar, the HW-Q800C is better built and has a more balanced sound out of the box. It can get louder, too (although there are similar levels of compression at max volume, so your audio doesn't sound as clean). However, the HW-Q700C supports a 4k max refresh rate of 120Hz, which is great if you use the bar to passthrough 4k content from a console or other device.

Samsung HW-Q930C

The Samsung HW-Q930C is better than the Samsung HW-Q800C. They both offer a similar selection of sound enhancement features, and they support many of the same audio formats. However, the Q930C has two satellite speakers, bringing a better surround sound and height experience.

Samsung HW-Q600C/Q60CC

The Samsung HW-Q800C is a more premium alternative to the Samsung HW-Q600C/Q60CC. The Q800C is a 5.1.2 setup that's better for surround sound than the 3.1.2 Q600C. It also has a better build quality and a better stereo soundstage performance. Plus, it comes with more sound enhancement features, like room correction.

Samsung HW-Q990C

The Samsung HW-Q990C is the manufacturer's flagship model and offers better performance than the Samsung HW-Q800C overall. The main difference between these models is that the Q990C includes satellite speakers, so it has a better performance with surround sound. Up-firing drivers on the satellites bring a more immersive feel to Atmos content as well. Plus, the bar gets louder and has less compression at max volume.

Samsung HW-Q900C

The Samsung HW-Q900C is a more premium alternative to the Samsung HW-Q800C—notably, the Q900C is a 7.1.2 setup with two additional surround channels compared to the 5.1.2 Q800C. You notice this difference with surround sound and height content, as the Q900C brings a more immersive sound. It gets louder with less compression at max volume, too.

LG S90QY

The Samsung HW-Q800C is better than the LG S90QY. The Samsung soundbar has a more neutral sound out-of-the-box, which is more suitable for some listeners. It also has a graphic EQ, which gives you more control over its sound compared to the LG. Plus, it's better built.

Samsung HW-Q700A

The Samsung HW-Q800C is better than the Samsung HW-Q700A. The Q800C is a newer model that's better built overall. It comes with a room correction feature, which the Q700A lacks. Plus, since it's a 5.1.2 bar, it doesn't have to downmix surround sound into stereo like the 3.1.2 Q700A.

Samsung HW-Q800A

The Samsung HW-Q800C is a newer iteration of the Samsung HW-Q800A, offering slightly better overall performance. The Q800A is an older model with a 3.1.2 setup, meaning it has to downmix surround sound into stereo to play it. The 5.1.2 Q800C, however, has side-firing drivers to bring a more realistic feel to the sound. It's better built, too, with more enhancement features like room correction.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style - Bar

The bar has a similar design to the previous Samsung HW-Q800C. It's a sleek plastic soundbar with metal grilles covering the bar's front, sides, and top. The physical controls are on top of the bar, and the inputs are underneath.

Design
Style - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Yes
Enclosure
Ported

The bar comes with a sub that's mostly made of wood. A plastic plate covers the back, where you also find the port. One side is covered in a round piece of fabric, too.

Design
Style - Satellites
Satellite Wireless
No

You can add a separate wireless speaker kit via the manufacturer. You can also check out models like the Samsung HW-Q990C which come with satellites included with purchase.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Width 43.7" (111.1 cm)
Height 2.3" (5.9 cm)
Depth 4.7" (12.0 cm)

The bar is rather long, so it doesn't fit between the legs of an average 55" TV. It isn't very tall, so unless your TV sits flush on your table, your screen isn't obscured.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Width 8.1" (20.6 cm)
Height 15.7" (40.0 cm)
Depth 15.8" (40.2 cm)

The sub's size is comparable to an average desktop computer. It's wireless, too, so it only needs to be plugged into a power outlet to work.

Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Mounting
Mountable Bar
Yes
Bar Brackets Included
Yes
Mountable Satellites
No
Satellite Brackets Included
No

Included brackets make it easy to mount the soundbar to your wall. Screws are included, too, so you don't need to purchase anything separately.

8.5
Design
Build Quality

The Samsung HW-Q800C has excellent build quality. The bar itself has a solid and durable feel. It's mostly made of plastic, and the metal grilles covering the bar help to protect the drivers inside. The wooden sub feels sturdy, too. However, the fabric circle covering one side is prone to collecting dust and debris over time.

Design
In The Box

  • User Manual
  • Remote with batteries (2x AAA)
  • HDMI cable (4.9 ft / 1.5m)
  • 2x power cord (4.9 ft / 1.5m)
  • 4x rubber feet
  • Wall mount template
  • 2x wall-mount brackets
  • 2x holder screws
  • 2x screws

Sound
8.3
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Channels
5.1.2
Tested Preset
Standard
Slope
-0.45
Standard Error
2.83 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
28.3 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

The bar has a great stereo frequency response. Its room correction feature puts it on par with other premium models on the market, as it automatically optimizes the bar's sound based on your room's unique acoustics. With it on, you get a good, well-balanced sound, especially in the mids, where vocals and lead instruments are reproduced. The sub brings plenty of rumble in the bass, too, and while it struggles with very low-bass on some tracks, it's not very noticeable to those who aren't avid audiophiles. Overall, it's suitable for listening to lots of different audio content.

8.3
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
Standard
Suggested Bass Setting
0
Suggested Treble Setting
0
Slope
-0.45
Standard Error
2.83 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
28.3 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

We recommend using the bar's default settings if you prefer a more neutral sound with stereo content. However, as you can see here, our treble level adjustment didn't change the bar's sound when on Standard mode. We aren't sure if this issue is unique to our model, but you can leave a comment in the forums if you experience a similar issue.

7.5
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
2.34 dB

The Samsung HW-Q800C has a good stereo soundstage. The soundstage is perceived to be about the size of the bar itself, and the bar is rather wide, to begin with. Plus, focus is very good. This means that instruments are clearly separated into the left or right channels based on how the original audio engineers mix the audio.

8.2
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
97.6 dB SPL
DRC @ 90dB
0.59 dB
DRC @ Max Volume
2.99 dB

The Samsung HW-Q800C gets loud enough for larger and more open living rooms. It does have some compression when you push it to max volume, which impacts the overall sound clarity, so you may prefer to listen at a more moderate volume.

8.5
Sound
Center
Localization
Discrete
Slope
-0.12
Std. Err.
2.53 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
90.5 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.23
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.15

The Samsung HW-Q800C is a 5.1.2 soundbar, and it comes with a discrete center channel to improve vocal reproduction in the mix. The frequency response on this channel is very even and balanced, especially in the mids, where most voices are reproduced. Dialogue is clear and easy to follow as a result.

6.4
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Phantom (Side Firing, Bar)
Slope
-0.54
Std. Err.
3.24 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
95.6 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.46
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
3.71
7.1 Rears
No

The Samsung HW-Q800C uses two side-firing drivers built into the bar to simulate a phantom surround sound. Since the frequency response on these channels is quite even, sound effects are clear and easy to hear. However, a phantom surround doesn't provide as clear or real a feel as you find with discrete satellite speakers like those with the Samsung HW-Q990C. You can always add a compatible model to the bar separately.

5.8
Sound
Height (Atmos)
Localization
Phantom (Up Firing, Bar)
Slope
0.37
Std. Err.
5.22 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
89.8 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.59
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.09

The Samsung HW-Q800C uses two up-firing drivers built into the bar to bounce sound off the ceiling for the illusion of height. The frequency response on these channels is even, though it falls below our target curve, so some effects are less clear in the mix. It doesn't come with rear speakers, so unless you add them on separately, you don't notice the same all-around feel with sound effects.

Subjectively, we found the bar provides a pleasant listening experience. Details are crisp and clean in the mix, so you notice sound effects with clarity. The sub provides good rumble in the bass, too. As expected, though, there's only some feeling of height, but you don't get a very overhead feel, especially compared to more premium bars like the Samsung HW-Q900C or the Samsung HW-Q990C. For example, a helicopter flying overhead seems like it's coming from a place in front of you instead.

9.5
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
Yes
Dialogue Enhancement
Yes
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
Yes
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
Yes
Bass Adjustment
Yes
Treble Adjustment
Yes
EQ
Graphic + Presets
Surround Level Adjustment
Yes
Rear Level Adjustment
Yes
Height Level Adjustment
Yes
Virtual Surround
Yes

The bar comes with lots of different enhancement features. Unlike the Samsung HW-Q700C with SWA-9500S, it has a room correction feature designed to optimize its sound based on your room's unique acousticsโ€”it's called SpaceFit Sound. If you prefer to manually adjust the bar's sound, a 7-band graphic EQ is available on Standard mode, along with bass and treble adjustments. The treble adjustment tool didn't work for us on Standard mode. If you watch a lot of dialogue-heavy content, you can use the Voice Enhance feature to enhance dialogue or the Active Voice Amplifier tool, which analyzes noise in real-time to ensure voices remain clear in the mix. If you add rear speakers separately, their levels are adjustable, too.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Inputs/Outputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
1
HDMI Out
eARC
HDMI 2.1 Class Bandwidth
No
Full HDMI In
1
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
No
RCA In
No
USB for Files
No
Ethernet
No
Subwoofer Output
No

You can connect the bar to your TV via Optical or HDMI. Plus, the HDMI In port means that you can use the bar as a hub between different devices for video passthrough, which is handy if you want to reduce the number of cables in your setup.

10
Connectivity
Audio Format Support: ARC/eARC
Dolby Atmos
Supported
Dolby Digital
Supported
Dolby Digital Plus
Supported
Dolby TrueHD
Supported
DTS
Supported
DTS:X
Supported
DTS-HD MA
Supported
PCM Channels
Up To 7.1

The Samsung Q800C supports common 5.1 surround sound formats like Dolby Digital via ARC and lossless and object-based formats like Dolby Atmos.

10
Connectivity
Audio Format Support: HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
Supported
Dolby Digital
Supported
Dolby Digital Plus
Supported
Dolby TrueHD
Supported
DTS
Supported
DTS:X
Supported
DTS-HD MA
Supported
PCM Channels
Up To 7.1

The Samsung Q800C supports many different audio formats that you'll likely come across on both streaming platforms and Blu-rays via HDMI In.

10
Connectivity
Audio Format Support: Optical
Dolby Digital
Supported
DTS
Supported
PCM Channels
2.0

The Samsung Q800C supports many common surround sound formats over an Optical connection. Dolby Digital is the more common of the two, but DTS is often used as a fallback for higher-quality formats on Blu-rays, so you may encounter it there.

8.7
Connectivity
Audio Latency: ARC
PCM-2.0 ch
39 ms
PCM-5.1 ch
35 ms
Dolby MAT (PCM) Atmos
67 ms
Dolby Digital
89 ms
Dolby Digital Plus
93 ms
Dolby Digital Plus Atmos
95 ms

Audio latency is excellent over an ARC connection. Though some apps and TVs compensate for latency differently, you aren't likely to notice much delay between the audio you hear and the visuals on screen. If you run into lip-synching issues, you can manually adjust the delay using the app's AV Sync feature.

9.0
Connectivity
Audio Latency: HDMI In
PCM-2.0 ch
40 ms
PCM-5.1 ch
39 ms
Dolby MAT (PCM) Atmos
72 ms
Dolby Digital
102 ms
Dolby Digital Plus
97 ms
Dolby Digital Plus Atmos
98 ms

Over HDMI In, audio latency is fantastic. You aren't likely to come across lip-synching errors with common audio formats like Dolby Digital and Dolby Atmos. The AV Sync feature in the app lets you manually adjust the delay, too.

7.7
Connectivity
Audio Latency: Optical
PCM-2.0 ch
110 ms
Dolby Digital
292 ms

Audio latency is good over an Optical connection. You aren't likely to notice delays, even with dialogue-heavy content like TV shows. Some apps and TVs compensate for latency differently, but if you have any issues, you can manually adjust the delay with the bar's AV Sync feature.

8.5
Connectivity
Video Passthrough To TV
1080p Max Refresh Rate
120Hz
1080p @ 4:4:4 Max Refresh Rate
120Hz
4k Max Refresh Rate
60Hz
4k @ 120Hz @ 10-Bit
Not Supported
4k @ 4:4:4 Max Refresh Rate
60Hz
8k Max Refresh Rate
30Hz
HDR10 Passthrough
Yes
HDR10+ Passthrough
Yes
Dolby Vision Passthrough
Yes
HDMI Forum VRR Passthrough
Yes
FreeSync Passthrough
No
G-SYNC Passthrough
No
ALLM Passthrough
Yes

The bar can passthrough many high-resolution video signals that you come across on streaming platforms, Blu-rays, and gaming consoles. It can even passthrough some variable refresh rate technologies that ensure a tear-free gaming experience, like HDMI Forum VRR. It can't passthrough 4k @ 120Hz, so your screen isn't as natural-looking with 4k content.

9.0
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi Playback
Yes
Chromecast built-in
No
Apple AirPlay
Yes
Spotify Connect
Yes

Streaming audio from your mobile devices to the bar is easy over a variety of wireless connectivity options. Chromecast is only available in some regions, though, so you'll want to check the manufacturer's website for more information.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
Yes

A four-character display on the front of the bar shows settings like the volume level and the current input. If you press the 'i' button on the remote, the bar also shows the format you're playing. It scrolls to display longer words if needed.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

A few physical buttons are on top of the bar to access basic controls. You can change the input, adjust the volume, and mute and unmute the microphone for Amazon Alexa.

Additional Features
Remote

The remote is a simple way to control the bar from the comfort of your couch. You can also use the Samsung SmartThings app if you prefer, and there's a video of what it looks like here.

Additional Features
Voice Assistants Support
Amazon Alexa
Yes (Built-in)
Google Assistant
No
Apple Siri
No
Microphone Mute
Yes

Built-in Alexa lets you control this soundbar using your voice. In some regions, you'll find Google Assistant support, too. You can mute the microphone if you don't want to use this feature.