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Samsung HW-Q80R Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Updated Sep 30, 2019 at 09:00 am
Samsung HW-Q80R Picture
Test Methodology v0.8
8.0
Mixed Usage
8.0
Dialogue/TV Shows
8.1
Music
8.0
Movies
Channels
5.1.2

The Samsung HW-Q80R is a great performing 5.1.2 soundbar. Its audio reproduction is accurate, well-balanced, and clean, even at very high volumes. This soundbar also supports Atmos and its up-firing speakers use the ceiling to give you an immersive impression of height. The soundstage is also quite wide due to the side-firing speakers. The setup is well-built and feels high-end, but lacks rear speakers like the ones the HW-Q90R has.

Our Verdict

8.0 Mixed Usage

Great for mixed usage. The Samsung HW-Q80R soundbar has a very good, neutral and accurate sound profile. It'll perform well with all sorts of content such as dialogue, a wide variety of music genres, and movies. You can also get an immersive listening experience since it supports Atmos on its 5.1.2 setup, but it lacks rear satellites. On the upside, this soundbar performs well even at a very high volume, and it offers decent manual sound customization.

See our Mixed Usage recommendations
8.0 Dialogue/TV Shows

Great for dialogue and watching TV shows. The Samsung HW-Q80R soundbar is also great for podcasts and audiobooks. It sounds neutral and the overall reproduction of voices is accurate. It gets very loud and has a feature to make dialogue clearer at low volumes too. You can also easily stream audio content from your phone to the bar via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

See our Dialogue/TV Shows recommendations
8.1 Music

Great for music. The Samsung HW-Q80R soundbar system has an accurate and neutral sound profile which is suitable for a wide variety of music genres. It also has a good soundstage size and it's focused. This setup can get very loud and doesn't compress, even at higher volumes, which is great. You can easily EQ and set the level of the subwoofer separately to your liking.

See our Music recommendations
8.0 Movies

Great for movies. The Samsung HW-Q80R soundbar sounds great and also supports Atmos, which gives you a more immersive experience when compared to some other soundbars. However, it won't sound as realistic as a setup with down-firing speakers and it lacks rear satellites. You'll still be able to play surround sound content with a good sound quality. There are also a few features to customize the sound to your liking, and you can easily set the amount of bass you want from the sub.

  • 8.0 Mixed Usage
  • 8.0 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 8.1 Music
  • 8.0 Movies
Pros
  • Great audio reproduction.
  • Multiple connection options.
  • Great performance at high volume.
  • Supports Atmos and height channels for immersive experience.
Cons
  • Small interface screen.
  • Very wide bar.
  • No room correction.

Check Price

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The Samsung Series 8 HW-Q80R soundbar is from the 2019 flagship line from Samsung. The Samsung HW-Q80R is the 5.1.2-channel model, the Samsung HW-Q90R is the 7.1.4-channel model with rear speakers, and the Samsung HW-Q70R is the 3.1.2-channel model. The HW-Q80R's main competitors are the LG SL10Y, the Sony HT-ST5000, and the 2018 Samsung HW-N850.

Design
Design
Style - Bar

The HW-Q80R's bar looks identical to the HW-Q90R. It's large and heavy and is covered with a metal grill at the front, sides, and the top. The back is made of good quality plastic.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

The subwoofer is made of wood. The speaker on the side is covered with a fabric that can collect dirt or get damaged. The port is found on the back.

Design
Style - Satellites

This setup doesn't have satellites.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Bar Width 48.3" (122.7 cm)
Bar Height 3.1" (8.0 cm)
Bar Depth 5.4" (13.8 cm)

This is a very large and heavy bar that requires some careful placement planning. It's wider than most 55" TVs, so it's unlikely to fit between the stand legs. It's quite tall - roughly the same height as the Sony HT-ST5000 - but unless your TV has a very short stand or sits flush on the table, this shouldn't be an issue.

Design
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 looks like a large desktop PC. You can place it wherever you like as it connects to the bar wirelessly.

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

There are no satellites in this bar setup.

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

There's one opening where the input ports are and one guide on the other side for the power cable. The wall-mounting holes are on the underside, and you must use the included brackets to wall-mount it.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
Ported

The back of the sub contains the port. Its power cable connects to the lower end of the back and won't bother you.

Design
Back - Satellites
Sat Mounting Type
N/A

There are no satellites in this setup.

8.0
Design
Build Quality

The Samsung HW-Q80R has great build quality. The entire build is very robust and solid. It feels premium and well-built, and the only downfall is the fabric on the sub that can get dirty or rip.

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

  • Manuals
  • HDMI cable
  • Remote & batteries
  • Bar power cable
  • Subwoofer power cable
  • Wall-mount guide
  • Bracket wall mount (x2)
  • Screws
  • Holder screw
  • Rubber foot

Sound
8.3
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
ST Slope
-0.57
ST Std. Err.
2.30 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
27.9 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
17.5 kHz

The Samsung HW-Q80R soundbar has a great and very similar stereo frequency response to the Samsung HW-Q90R. The bass is well extended, which will accurately reproduce the deep thump and rumble of music, movies, and games. The overall sound quality of this soundbar is great for stereo content due to its neutral profile, and it'll be suitable for a wide variety of music genres, as well as dialogue. There's also a good amount of customization you can apply to this bar, including an available EQ.

Sound
Stereo Raw Frequency Response
7.5
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
2.35 dB

When listening to the Samsung HW-Q80R, the soundstage is good. The bar is pretty wide and the soundstage feels about the same width. Sound isn't diffused, resulting in a focused soundstage, which is good because objects seem to be coming from a more accurate pinpoint location rather than from a general area. Although the bar is wide, it didn't sound as large as the Sonos Beam or the Bose Soundbar 700.

8.4
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
ST SPL @ Max Volume
100.4 dB SPL
ST DRC @ Max Volume
2.06 dB

The Samsung HW-Q80R soundbar can get very loud and will be suitable to use in crowded or very large rooms. Also, it performs quite well at max volume, and you shouldn’t get too many compression artifacts, which is great.

8.4
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
ST Weighted THD @ 80
0.16
ST Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.34

The Samsung HW-Q80R's THD performance is great. The amount of THD at a normal listening volume is very low, which results in a clean and pure sound. On the other hand, there’s a jump in THD in high-bass and low-treble at max volume, but this shouldn’t be a concern for most with real-life content.

9.1
Sound
Center
C Localization
Discrete
C Slope
-0.33
C Std. Err.
2.26 dB
C SPL @ Max Volume
97.8 dB SPL
C Weighted THD @ 80
0.33
C Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.05

The Samsung HW-Q80R's 5.1.2 configuration has excellent performance in the center channel since it has a dedicated center speaker. This results in a very neutral sound profile, which makes dialogue in movies clear and accurate.

5.6
Sound
Surrounds
Sr Localization
Phantom (Side Firing, Bar)
Rears
No
Sr Slope
0.77
Sr Std. Err.
6.69 dB
Sr SPL @ Max Volume
92.4 dB SPL
Sr Weighted THD @ 80
0.34
Sr Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.47

The Samsung HW-Q80R's surround performance is sub-par. The bar has side-firing speakers, which reflect sound off the walls to give you the impression of a wide surround sound. However, this also means this setup won't provide the most accurate and clear representation of surround objects in the soundstage, and it won't feel as real as a discrete surround like with home theatre speakers. This setup also lacks rear speakers like the ones that the Samsung HW-Q90R has. If you prefer dedicated surround speakers, check out the Vizio SB36512-F6 or the SB46514-F6.

7.1
Sound
Height (Atmos)
H Localization
Phantom (Up Firing, Bar)
H Slope
0.08
H Std. Err.
4.62 dB
H SPL @ Max Volume
93.7 dB SPL
H Weighted THD @ 80
0.32
H Weighted THD @ Max Volume
0.91

The Samsung HW-Q80R supports Atmos for a more immersive experience, especially when watching movies. While this setup sounds fairly big and wide thanks to the up-firing speakers on the bar, the localization of objects is diffused. It doesn't sound as real as a discrete localization provided by down-firing speakers since the sound is simply bouncing off the ceiling to give you an impression of height.

6.3
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
No
Dialogue Enhancement
Yes
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
No
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
Yes
Bass Adjustment
Yes
Treble Adjustment
Yes
EQ
Graphic
Surround Level Adjustment
Yes
Rear Level Adjustment
Yes
Height Level Adjustment
Yes
Virtual Surround
Yes

The high-end Samsung HW-Q80R lacks some of the most important sound enhancement features such as a night mode and Room Correction. Without room correction, this soundbar may sound a bit differently depending on your room. On the upside, it does offer a lot of control and customization options to manually make it sound the way you like.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Physical Inputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
1
HDMI ARC
1 (shared)
HDMI Out
1 (shared)
Full HDMI In
2
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
No
USB for Files
No
Ethernet
No

This soundbar has a nice set of physical inputs so you can use it as a hub between your devices and your TV. Unfortunately, due to the lack of Analog Audio In, you can't directly connect to older devices through their Audio Out. There's no USB port so you can't play files from a stick, and you can only connect to your network through Wi-Fi as there's no ethernet port.

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

Dolby Digital and DTS, which are widely available on Blu-ray discs and streaming media like Netflix, deliver a good surround sound experience. The Samsung HW-Q80R soundbar can also deliver an even more immersive sound experience by playing object-based surround sound through its support for Dolby Atmos. Many Blu-rays and online content are including Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital Plus formats.

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

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

The Samsung HW-Q80R soundbar has the same excellent support for surround sound and object-based sound as the Samsung HW-Q90R through its Full HDMI In ports. You'll have an immersive sound experience when playing a game on your console with content that supports it.

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

The Optical Audio In can passthrough surround sound in Dolby Digital or DTS formats, usually found on streaming platforms like Netflix or Blu-ray discs.

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

You can play your content wirelessly if you connect to the soundbar via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. On the downside, you won't be able to cast using Chromecast built-in or Apple AirPlay.

Connectivity
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

When connected between your PC and the TV the Samsung HW-Q80R can passthrough the highest bandwidth signals, which means that text will look clear on your TV.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Yes

The subwoofer only needs access to a power outlet. Otherwise, it connects wirelessly to the bar.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
N/A

There are no satellites on this soundbar setup.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
Yes

There's a small screen behind the front grill that serves as the interface. It can display the volume level and the input source and it's easy to read. Due to its small size, sometimes it has to scroll to display the entire message.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

Just like the Samsung HW-Q90R, the buttons on the HW-Q80R's bar are found on the top side, near the rear edge. You can power the system on or off, control the volume, or choose the input source.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

The remote has a similar style to high-end Samsung TV remotes. It's an average size and allows you to control all of the soundbar's functions. Unfortunately, it can't act as a universal remote to control other devices.

Additional Features
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 Samsung SmartThings app is the same app that pairs with the latest Samsung TVs and other Samsung home appliances. It's not a complete remote replacement, as it can't do a few things like changing the sound profiles, but you can cast audio files.

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

The Samsung HW-Q80R soundbar has an auto turn-off function after just 5 minutes of inactivity, which is one of the smallest time intervals we've tested so far, but is in sync with the rest of Samsung's Q series soundbar lineup. You can use your TV remote to control the bar's basic functionality, thanks to its HDMI CEC support.

Compared to other soundbars

The Samsung HW-Q80R is one of the better sounding 5.1 soundbars we've tested so far. It has a neutral and accurate audio reproduction, is very well-built, and has a great soundstage and immersive listening experience with its Atmos support. However, it's a high-end setup that lacks dedicated rear speakers like other similar soundbars. See our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best Dolby Atmos soundbars, and the best soundbars 5.1.

Samsung HW-Q70R
SEE PRICE
B&H

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.

Samsung HW-Q90R
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Samsung HW-Q90R is basically the Samsung HW-Q80R, but with rear satellites that have up firing speakers. They both perform quite similarly, but the Q90R has a small edge over the Q80R. The 7.1.4 setup has better overall surrounds performance thanks to the rear speakers, which is the main difference. Both bars are very similar and your choice will come down to personal budget and preference of content.

Sony HT-ST5000
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Samsung HW-Q80R is a better soundbar setup than the Sony HT-ST5000, even though it has fewer channels. It sounds better-balanced, has better Atmos performance, and has fewer issues with compression and distortion. That said, the Sony's surround performance is just as good, even though it doesn't come with dedicated rear speakers. So if you're tight on space, the Sony might be a better option.

Sony HT-Z9F
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Samsung HW-Q80R is better than the Sony HT-Z9F in most uses. The Samsung has a better sound overall, as it has more low-bass response to produce that rumble and thump, and it has a much better center channel performance, as well as better sound enhancement features to tune it the way you like. However, the Sony has support for eArc and has Chromecast built-in.

Bose Soundbar 700
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Samsung HW-Q80R is better than the Bose Soundbar 700 by itself, but the Bose can easily be upgraded with a sub too. The Q80R comes with the sub and has a better overall bass performance, on top of being able to play louder. It also supports Atmos thanks to the two up-firing speakers. On the other hand, the Bose 700's soundstage is one of the widest, although a bit diffused. It also doesn't have any Full HDMI In ports, unlike the Samsung.

Samsung HW-Q60R
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

The Samsung HW-Q80R is a much better soundbar setup than the Samsung HW-Q60R. The Q80R is a 5.1.2 soundbar that using up and side-firing speakers to simulate an Atmos-like experience. The Q80R also has a much better bass response, a wider stereo soundstage, more connectivity options, and has less artifacts when pushed to louder volumes. On the other hand, the Q60R is a smaller soundbar that still has side-firing speakers to simulate surround sound, though it isn't Atmos-enabled.

Sonos Playbar
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Samsung HW-Q80R is better than the Sonos Playbar since we tested the Playbar without the separate sub and satellites. The bass performance of the Q80R is greatly helped by the good wireless sub and has a very good stereo frequency response. It also supports Atmos, which the Playbar doesn't do. On the other hand, the Sonos soundbar has a better soundstage as it sounds wider and accurate, and it has a room correction feature which is great. However, the Playbar doesn't have more modern inputs like HDMI ports as it's a fairly older product. It also only supports Wi-Fi as Sonos believes in better quality audio over Wi-Fi than Bluetooth, but the Q80R supports both wireless playback types.

LG SL10YG
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

The Samsung HW-Q80R is a better soundbar than the LG SL10YG. Its audio reproduction follows our target curve more accurately and it has a noticeably larger soundstage. The SL10YG has a more V-shaped or exciting sound profile. The Atmos performance of the Q80R is also considerably better.

Vizio SB36512-F6
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Samsung HW-Q80R is a slightly better 5.1.2 soundbar setup than the Vizio SB36512-F6. It can get louder and its stereo soundstage feels a bit wider too. However, we didn’t test the Q80R with satellites. The surround performance of the Vizio is slightly better due to the discrete localization of the surround speakers. On the other hand, the Samsung is Wi-Fi compatible and has an extra HDMI In port for you to use your bar as a hub for your different devices.

Sony HT-S350
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Samsung HW-Q80R is a noticeably better soundbar than the Sony HT-S350 in pretty much every aspect. It sounds better with all types of content, supports Atmos, can get louder, and compresses less. It also has more inputs and supports more audio formats, on top of having a dedicated center channel for better dialog in movies. On the other hand, the Q80R doesn't have a night mode like the Sony, and the HT-S350 is smaller, which might be easier to fit into your home setup.

Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

The Samsung HW-Q80R is a better soundbar sytem than the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar. It has a noticeably better performance with stereo content, but won't have the immersive feel with surround content that the AMBEO provides, especially with the unique AMBEO surround mode. On the other hand, it's possible to get rear satellites for the Q80R to help with the surround performance too.

LG SK10Y
Unavailable
B&H

The Samsung HW-Q80R is a noticeably better 5.1.2 option than the LG SK10Y. Its overall performance is better thanks to a more accurate audio reproduction. It also gets quite louder than the LG, and its soundstage seems to be wider as well. On the other hand, the LG SK10Y has Chromecast built-in, which can be useful for some people.

Vizio SB46514-F6
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Samsung HW-Q80R is slightly better than the Vizio SB46514-F6 when it comes to stereo sound, but it lacks dedicated surround speakers, so if you're looking for a soundbar for watching movies with an immersive experience, then the Vizio will be a better option.

Sony HT-CT800
Unavailable
B&H

The Samsung HW-Q80R is better than the Sony HT-CT800 by a pretty big margin. The Q80R is a 5.1.2 setup with great audio performance, regardless of the content you listen to. It has a good and neutral sound profile, gets way louder than the CT800 and it supports Atmos as well, which the Sony doesn't do. It also has a dedicated center channel which makes voices clearer and easier to understand. Based on performance only, there is no reason to get the Sony CT800 over the Samsung HW-Q80R.

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