Samsung HW-R650 SOUNDBAR REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.0
7.2
Mixed Usage
8.2
Dialog / TV Shows
7.2
Music
6.6
Movies
Channels
:
3.1

The Samsung HW-R650 is a decent overall soundbar. This 3.1 system setup has a good frequency response but slightly lacks sub-bass. On the upside, due to the dedicated center channel, voices and dialog frequencies are accurate and clear. The bar can get loud enough for most uses and performs well without too much compression at max volume. However, this bar doesn’t support Atmos and doesn’t have dedicated height channels. Nevertheless, it is a well-built bar that has an audio reproduction that should satisfy most.

Test Results
Design 7.5
Sound 6.8
Connectivity 7.6
Pros
  • Decent stereo sound profile.
  • Well-built design.
  • Good overall performance at high volume.
Cons
  • No height channels and Atmos support.
  • No 4k passthrough
  • Lacks sub-bass

Check Price

Market Context

The HW-R650 a 3.1 budget soundbar from Samsung’s 2019 lineup. It doesn’t have the 5.1 Acoustic Beam design of the Q60R or satellites like higher-end models such as the Q90R. It does, however, have a dedicated speaker for great dialog clarity in movies, which the lower-end 2.1 setups R450 and R550 don’t have. The main competitors of the HW-R650 are the Samsung HW-MS650, the Q60R, the HW-N650, and the Yamaha YAS-408BL.

7.5

Design

Style - Bar

The Samsung HW-R650 is a simple bar which is mainly made of good quality plastic except for the front face that is covered with a metal grill to protect the speakers. On the right side, there are four buttons that provide some control of the system. It looks very similar to the HW-R450 overall.

Style - Subwoofer

The subwoofer is mostly made of wood. On the right side, the speaker is covered by a fabric that can collect dust or get damaged easily. The port is found on the back.

Style - Satellites

This setup doesn’t have satellites.

Dimensions - Bar
Bar Width : 41.7" (106.0 cm)
Bar Height : 2.2" (5.6 cm)
Bar Depth : 3.5" (8.9 cm)

The Samsung HW-R650 is almost as wide as a 55" TV and it's unlikely that it will fit between the legs of the stand so you might have to place it front. The good news is that the bar is fairly short so you should have no issues with it obstructing part of your screen, unless your TV sits flush on the table, like the Sony A9F.

Dimensions - Subwoofer
Sub Width : 7.9" (20.1 cm)
Sub Height : 13.9" (35.3 cm)
Sub Depth : 11.9" (30.3 cm)

The subwoofer is about the size of an average desktop. You can place it anywhere in the room, as long as there is power since it connects wirelessly to the system.

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 has two openings for the input ports and the power cable. To wall-mount it, you must use the universal holes found on the underside.

Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
:
Ported

The back of the sub looks plain and is made of wood. The port is on top and made of plastic. The power cable connects at the bottom so it will not be in the way.

Back - Satellites
Sat Mounting Type
:
N/A

This setup doesn’t have satellites.

7.5 Build Quality

The HW-R650 has good build quality. It has a solid construction and gives off a premium feel. The weakest point is the fabric on the subwoofer that can get dirty or damaged if you're not careful.

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

  • Remote & batteries
  • Bar power cable
  • Bar power brick
  • Subwoofer power cable
  • Optical cable
  • Screws & washers
  • Wall-mounting brackets & template
  • Manuals

6.8

Sound

7.1 Stereo Frequency Response
ST Slope
:
-0.64
ST Std. Err.
:
2.28 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
52.6 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
:
15.6 kHz

The stereo frequency response of the HW-R650 is decent. The Low-Frequency Extension is slightly elevated, so this soundbar won’t accurately reproduce the deep rumble and punch of bass content. On the upside, the overall sound profile is accurate and fairly neutral, with a slight tilt favoring bass frequencies, resulting in a darker sound. However, this won’t be very noticeable.

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

When listening to the HW-R650, the soundstage is decent. The soundstage feels to be as wide as the bar, or slightly bigger, but the bar doesn’t do anything to make it sound wider. It is also decently focused, but objects don’t seem to come from an accurate pinpoint location like some other bars, such as the HW-Q90R.

8.1 Stereo Dynamics
ST SPL @ Max Volume
:
95.2 dB SPL
ST DRC @ Max Volume
:
1.53 dB

The Samsung HW-R650 can get loud enough for all types of content at max volume, which is useful in crowded environments or a very large room. There’s also barely any compression at max volume, which is great.

7.1 Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
ST Weighted THD @ 80
:
0.59
ST Weighted THD @ Max Volume
:
3.47

The amount of THD at a normal listening volume is within good limits, meaning you’ll get a pure and clean sound. However, when pushing the bar to its limits at max volume, there’s a noticeable jump in THD, which is sub-par. However, not everyone will hear this, especially with real-life content.

8.7 Center
C Localization
:
Discrete
C Slope
:
-0.41
C Std. Err.
:
2.44 dB
C SPL @ Max Volume
:
89.1 dB SPL
C Weighted THD @ 80
:
0.45
C Weighted THD @ Max Volume
:
2.65

Due to its 3.1 configuration, the Samsung HW-R650 has a dedicated center channel, which results in a clearer and more accurate audio reproduction of dialog in movies. The frequency response is great across the whole range but the bar doesn’t get very loud.

4.3 Surrounds
Sr Localization
:
Stereo (Downmix)
Rears
:
N/A
Sr Slope
:
-1.03
Sr Std. Err.
:
3.07 dB
Sr SPL @ Max Volume
:
92.4 dB SPL
Sr Weighted THD @ 80
:
0.34
Sr Weighted THD @ Max Volume
:
2.87

The audio reproduction of the HW-R650 when sending surround content to the soundbar is sub-par. Everything is downmixed to a stereo signal since this soundbar is a 3.1 setup. It uses the 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 are perceived to come from the front instead of the sides or behind you.

0 Height (Atmos)
H Localization
:
N/A
H Slope
:
N/A
H Std. Err.
:
N/A
H SPL @ Max Volume
:
N/A
H Weighted THD @ 80
:
N/A
H Weighted THD @ Max Volume
:
N/A

The Samsung HW-R650 setup doesn’t have height channels and doesn’t support Atmos.

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

The sound enhancement features of the R650 are good. It lacks a room correction, so it might sound differently depending on your room. On the upside, it has a dialog enhancement feature to make voices and dialog in movies clearer. Also, you have a dynamic range control which is the night mode, which can be enabled/disabled by holding down the sound mode button on the remote for a few seconds. However, this is only available with Dolby Digital tracks. You also get a 7-band EQ and a woofer adjustment level to control the amount of bass produced.

7.6

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)
:
1
USB for Files
:
1
Ethernet
:
No

The HW-R650 has a nice set of inputs to connect with your external devices. You can connect your console or PC to the Full HDMI In and then use the HDMI ARC to connect your TV. This way the bar will give you the best overall visual and audio experience. For older devices, the 3.5mm Analog Audio In can be handy.

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

Over HDMI ARC you can enjoy surround sound through the Dolby Digital or the DTS formats, albeit being downmixed to 3.1. Dolby digital is very common on platforms like Netflix or Blu-rays. DTS, though, is not common on its own but rather as the fallback of the high-quality lossless DTS-HD MA format which is widely available on Blu-Rays. Unfortunately, object-based surround formats like Dolby Atmos that can enhance the 3-dimensional sound experience, aren't supported.

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

The Samsung HW-R650 downmixes surround sound to 3.1 from content encoded in Dolby Digital or DTS. Dolby Digital is widely available on streaming platforms or Blu-rays. Unfortunately, due to the lack of support for any of the uncompressed sound formats or object-based surround, like Dolby Atmos, you can't have more immersive sound experience.

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

The Optical Audio In can playback surround sound formats like the very common Dolby Digital or the less common DTS. It will, however, downmix them to 3.1.

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

You can connect a phone or a tablet wirelessly through Bluetooth to enjoy your music but you can’t connect to Wi-Fi, or cast using Chromecast built-in or AirPlay.

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

Unfortunately, the HW-R650 can't passthrough 4k @ 60Hz, so your TV won't display 4k @60 Hz video even if both your PC and TV support it.

Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
:
Yes

The subwoofer connects wirelessly to the bar and only needs access to a power outlet.

Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
:
N/A

There are no satellites in this setup.

Additional Features

Interface
Display
:
Yes

The interface consists of a small screen on the front face behind the metal bar. It can display the input source and the volume level. There were no lags or bugs during our testing, but the screen is small and sometimes it has to scroll to display the entire message.

Bar Controls

The four buttons on the side can control the volume, switch input source and turn the bar on and off.

Remote
Universal Remote
:
No

The remote is identical to the remote of last year's HW-N450. It looks sleek and you can control all the settings of your soundbar. When you change something a small message on the interface screen confirms your action.

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

The app that pairs with this bar is the Samsung Audio Remote. It has broad functionality and you can cast files from your phone to the bar, but it's not a complete remote replacement as it's lacking the 'Settings' and 'Bluetooth' buttons.

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

The soundbar switches off after 5 minutes of inactivity thanks to its Auto-Off feature. Also, due to HDMI CEC, the TV's remote can control some basic functionality of the bar.

Compared to other Soundbars

The Samsung HW-R650 is a soundbar at an affordable price point with decent performance. This 3.1 system has a great dedicated center channel for dialog and TV shows and its stereo performance with music is decent as well. It has a dedicated subwoofer, but unfortunately has a bit of trouble with very deep frequencies, unlike higher-end soundbar systems. See our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best soundbars with subwoofer, and if you're looking for something a bit more affordable, check out our picks for the best soundbars under $300.

Samsung HW-Q60R
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Samsung HW-Q60R is very similar to the Samsung HW-R650, but the Q60R has a small edge due to the fact it has the Samsung Acoustic Beam up-firing speakers that make it a 5.1 setup. They are practically the same bar with the same performance other than the fact that the up-firing speakers help the surround content performance.

Yamaha YAS-207
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Samsung HW-R650 is a slightly better performing soundbar than the Yamaha YAS-207, especially due to its dedicated center channel, which is great for voices and dialog. It's also a bit better-built, but doesn't have the extended bass of the YAS-207. The R650 also has more features like a dialog enhancement and night mode, on top of having a graphic EQ.

Samsung HW-R550
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Samsung HW-R650 and Samsung HW-R550 are practically identical, but the R650 has a dedicated center channel that the R550 doesn't have. This results in better dialog and voice reproduction, which is great when watching TV shows and movies. Other than that, these soundbars are pretty much the same.

Sonos Playbar
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Samsung HW-R650 is slightly better than the Sonos Playbar by itself, as we haven't tested the Sonos with a wireless sub or satellites. Both have a dedicated center channel for great dialog performance, but the sub of the R650 gives it a small edge when it comes to bass performance. However, the Playbar has a noticeably larger soundstage and has room correction. On the other hand, it lacks inputs like HDMI ports and doesn't support Bluetooth.

Samsung HW-Q70R
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.

+ Show more
7.2 Mixed Usage

Decent for mixed usage. The Samsung HW-R650 soundbar will perform quite well with different types of content. Its sound profile is fairly neutral and accurate, although it does lack a bit of sub-bass, which will be noticeable in movies and bass-heavy music. It has a very good reproduction of vocals and voices, which is suitable for dialog-centered content like audiobooks and podcasts. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support Atmos and height channels for a more immersive listening experience with movies. On the upside, the bar can get pretty loud and performs well at max volume.

8.2 Dialog / TV Shows

Good for dialog and TV shows. The Samsung HW-R650 has a decent stereo frequency response with an accurate reproduction of voices and dialog in movies and TV shows. It will be a good option for listening to audiobooks and podcasts too. The bar can get loud and has a Dialog Enhancement feature. Also, it’s quite easy to stream content wirelessly to the bar via Bluetooth.

7.2 Music

Decent for music. The Samsung HW-R650 has a pretty decent stereo frequency response, but its bass isn’t that extended, which can hurt its performance with bass-heavy genres. However, it will be suitable for most music. Unfortunately, the soundstage isn’t the widest but still is decently large. On the other hand, the bar can get loud enough for most listening scenarios and performs quite well at max volume too.

6.6 Movies

Passable for movies. The Samsung HW-R650 sounds decent but might lack a bit of sub-bass for movies. On the upside, it can get loud enough and performs quite well without too much compression at max volume. This 3.1 soundbar system will also downmix surround content to stereo and won’t offer the most immersive experience. It also doesn’t support Atmos and height channels.

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