Samsung HW-S60A Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed May 26, 2021 at 09:10 am
Samsung HW-S60A Picture
7.1
Mixed Usage
7.8
Dialogue/TV Shows
7.3
Music
6.6
Movies
Channels
5.0

The Samsung HW-S60A is a compact 5.0 soundbar released in 2021 that's the next generation of the Samsung HW-S60T. It comes with built-in Acoustic Beam technology and Side Horn Speakers advertised to help create a more immersive sound. It also has built-in Alexa voice assistant capabilities, so you can control the bar using your voice. While its sound profile is pretty neutral out-of-the-box, it struggles to reproduce a thumpy low-bass. Fortunately, it offers lots of sound customization features, including a graphic EQ.

Our Verdict

7.1 Mixed Usage

The Samsung HW-S60A is decent for mixed usage. Out-of-the-box, it has a pretty neutral sound profile suitable for lots of types of audio content. However, it struggles to reproduce the deep thump and rumble in bass-heavy music and action-packed movies. While it supports surround content, it doesn't offer a very immersive listening experience. That said, there are lots of sound customization features available.

Pros
  • Graphic EQ and presets.
  • Dialogue enhancement feature.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • No Atmos support.
7.8 Dialogue/TV Shows

The Samsung HW-S60A is very good for dialogue-centric content like TV shows. Thanks to its dedicated center channel and balanced mid-range, voices are reproduced clearly and accurately. It even has a Voice Enhancement feature to help make dialogue more clear and crisp and an auto-volume mode to balance out the volume level across different programs. You can also wirelessly stream podcasts from your phone to the bar via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Apple AirPlay 2, which is handy.

Pros
  • Dialogue enhancement feature.
  • Auto-volume mode.
Cons
  • No support for Chromecast built-in.
7.3 Music

The Samsung HW-S60A is satisfactory for music. It struggles to reproduce a thumpy, punchy low-bass, disappointing for fans of bass-heavy genres like hip-hop. However, the rest of the range is quite neutral, so vocals and lead instruments are reproduced clearly. There are also lots of sound customization features available, including a graphic EQ and presets as well as bass and treble adjustments.

Pros
  • Graphic EQ and presets.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
6.6 Movies

The Samsung HW-S60A is okay for movies. Its balanced mid-range reproduces dialogue clearly and accurately; however, it lacks low-bass, so you don't feel the deep rumble in action-packed scenes. It doesn't support Dolby Atmos content, and while it can play surround content, it doesn't offer the most immersive listening experience. However, there are lots of sound enhancement features available to help you customize its sound.

Pros
  • Graphic EQ and presets.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • 7.1 Mixed Usage
  • 7.8 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 7.3 Music
  • 6.6 Movies
  1. Updated May 26, 2021: Review published.
  2. Updated May 19, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The Samsung HW-S60A is a 5.0 soundbar from 2021 that's the next generation of the Samsung HW-S60T. Unlike its predecessor, it comes with a discrete center channel and Apple AirPlay 2 support. It also uses Samsung's Acoustic Beam technology and Side Horn Speakers to create a more immersive sound. You can also upgrade it with a dedicated subwoofer and satellites sold separately. Its main competitors include the Samsung HW-S60T, the Sonos Arc, and the Sonos Beam.

Design
Design
Style - Bar

The Samsung HW-S60A has a similar design to the Samsung HW-S60T. It has a rounded design, with a plastic grille on each side to cover the Side Horn Speakers. The bar is mostly of plastic, and the top and front are covered in fabric.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

The Samsung HW-S60A doesn't come with a dedicated subwoofer, but you can purchase Samsung's SWA-W500 subwoofer separately.

Design
Style - Satellites

This setup doesn't include satellites. However, you can purchase the Samsung Wireless Rear Speaker kit separately.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Width 30.1" (76.4 cm)
Height 2.6" (6.5 cm)
Depth 4.9" (12.4 cm)

The Samsung HW-S60A is a fairly compact soundbar. It should fit between the legs of most 55" TVs. Also, it isn't very tall, so it shouldn't block your TV screen unless your TV sits flush on your table.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Back - Bar
Bar Mounting
Universal (holes on underside)

The back of the bar has a few openings for the inputs and the power cable. There are also universal holes on the underside to wall-mount the bar.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
No Subwoofer
Design
Back - Satellites
Mounting
No
8.0
Design
Build Quality

The Samsung HW-S60A has a great build quality. The bar is mostly made of plastic, which feels solid and durable. There are also plastic grilles on the side to help protect the Side Horn Speakers. That said, the fabric covering its front and sides may rip or get dirty easily.

Design
In The Box
HDMI Cable Length
1.5 m (4.9 ft)
Digital Optical Cable Length
N/A

  • User Manual
  • Mounting template with screws (2x) and spacers (2x)
  • 2x mounting brackets
  • Remote with batteries (2xAA)
  • Power adapter for soundbar
  • Power cable
  • HDMI cable

Sound
7.2
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
Standard
Slope
-0.18
Std. Err.
2.58 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
58.2 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

The Samsung HW-S60A has a decent stereo frequency response. It struggles to reproduce the deep thump and rumble found in bass-heavy music and action-packed movies. That said, the rest of the range is quite balanced and neutral, making it suitable for a wide range of audio content. You can also customize its sound to your liking using the included graphic EQ and presets as well as bass and treble adjustments.

7.2
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
Standard
Suggested Bass Setting
0
Suggested Treble Setting
0
Slope
-0.18
Std. Err.
2.58 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
58.2 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

We tested the Samsung HW-S60A with several bass and treble calibration settings, but none of them brought the slope of its stereo frequency response closer to zero. As a result, we recommend its default settings if you prefer a more neutral sound.

Note: Normally, we calibrate the bar using bass and treble adjustments. We ran some passes after adjusting the bass and treble levels; however, we noticed that this didn't change the stereo frequency response. We're looking into this issue, and we'll update the review when we have more information.

7.5
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
2.96 dB

The Samsung HW-S60A has a good stereo soundstage performance. Its soundstage is perceived to be a touch wider than the bar itself, but the bar isn't very wide, and it doesn't have any tricks to make it seem larger than that. That said, it has good focus, so objects like voices and footsteps seem to come from an accurate, pinpoint location rather than a more general area.

7.4
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
92.3 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
2.24 dB

The Samsung HW-S60A has a satisfactory dynamics performance. Despite its compact size, it gets pretty loud, which is nice if you like to turn up the volume for parties or listening in large rooms. However, there's some compression present when you play it at max volume.

8.1
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.29
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.56

The Samsung HW-S60A has a great THD performance. There's some distortion in the bass range at normal listening volumes, but it falls mostly within good limits, so your audio reproduction is mostly clean and pure. There's a small jump in distortion when you push the bar to max volume, but this may not be noticeable with real-life content.

8.2
Sound
Center
Localization
Discrete
Slope
-0.60
Std. Err.
3.32 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
90.4 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.33
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.01

The Samsung HW-S60A has a great center channel performance. Unlike the Samsung HW-S60T, it comes with a discrete center channel, which helps reproduce dialogue more clearly and accurately. Though it struggles to reproduce low-bass, this shouldn't be too noticeable since there typically isn't much low-bass in audio content played on the center channel.

6.3
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Phantom (Side Firing, Bar)
Slope
-0.53
Std. Err.
3.06 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
91.9 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.64
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
6.44
7.1 Rears
No

The Samsung HW-S60A has a passable surrounds performance. It uses its Side Horn speakers to create a phantom localization. Unfortunately, this doesn't sound as clear and real as discrete surround speakers, so objects in the soundstage like footsteps and voices may not be clearly and accurately represented. Audio seems like it's coming from in front of you, rather than from speakers placed all around you.

0
Sound
Height (Atmos)
Localization
Not Supported
Slope
N/A
Std. Err.
N/A
SPL @ Max Volume
N/A
Weighted THD @ 80dB
N/A
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
N/A

For a 5.0 soundbar that supports Dolby Atmos, check out the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam.

6.9
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
No
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
No
Height Level Adjustment
No
Virtual Surround
No

The Samsung HW-S60A has an adequate selection of sound enhancement features. There's a 7-band graphic EQ in the app to help you customize its sound, as well as some EQ presets: 'Standard', 'Music', and 'Adaptive Sound'. Using the app, you can also access the 'Voice Enhancement' and 'Night Mode' features, which can be handy while watching TV. The remote lets you access the Center and Side Level adjustments.

This soundbar also comes with some sound enhancement features that we don't test. It has built-in Acoustic Beam technology, which is advertised to help create a more immersive sound. There's also a 'Tap Sound' feature that lets you mirror audio from your phone by tapping it against the bar, and 'AV Sync', which can be found on the remote and is advertised to help reduce latency.

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

The Samsung HW-S60A has a few physical inputs, including an HDMI ARC and Optical In port. However, it doesn't have a Full HDMI In port, so you can't use it as a hub between different devices. Also, it lacks an AUX port, so you can't wire older devices to the bar for audio playback.

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

The Samsung HW-S60A has decent audio format support via ARC. It supports Dolby Digital, the most common surround sound format frequently found on Blu-ray discs and streaming platforms. However, it doesn't support lossless or object-based surround formats like Dolby Atmos or DTS:X, which can be disappointing for some users.

0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
No
DTS:X
No
Dolby Digital
No
Dolby Digital Plus
No
DTS
No
Dolby TrueHD
No
DTS-HD MA
No
5.1 PCM
No
10
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
Yes
DTS
Yes

The Samsung HW-S60A supports both Dolby Digital and DTS content via Optical. These formats are commonly found on Blu-ray discs and streaming platforms.

8.4
Connectivity
Latency
ARC
53 ms
Optical
40 ms
Full HDMI In
N/A

The Samsung HW-S60A has a great latency performance. It has low latency via ARC and Optical, so your audio and video should be mostly in sync. As a result, it's suitable for watching movies and videos over these connections. However, some apps and TVs compensate for latency differently, so your real-world experience may vary.

Note: This soundbar also comes with an AV Sync feature that's advertised to help reduce latency, but we don't currently test for this.

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

The Samsung HW-S60A has incredible wireless playback connectivity. You can wirelessly stream audio from your mobile devices to the bar via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Unlike the Samsung HW-S60T, it also supports Apple AirPlay 2.

Connectivity
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
Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
No
Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
No
Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
No

This soundbar has a few lights beneath its physical controls that flash different patterns and colors based on the input. There's a solid red light when the microphone is muted. The lights also flash when you adjust the volume, change the sound mode, or change the input.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

There are some physical controls on the middle of the bar. They let you adjust the volume, mute and unmute the voice assistant, and adjust the input.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

The Samsung HW-S60A has a simple remote that lets you control most of the bar's settings. It's not a universal remote, so you can't use it to control your TV.

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

This soundbar has built-in support for Amazon Alexa. If you don't want it to listen to you, there's also a mic mute button on the bar.

Additional Features
App
App Name Samsung SmartThings
iOS Yes
Android Yes
Acts As A Remote
Yes
Controls Soundbar's Settings
All
Casts Device Files
Yes

The Samsung SmartThings app acts as a remote and lets you control all of the soundbar's functions. You can use it to access the graphic EQ for sound customization. Also, in the Advanced Sound Settings, you can find the Voice Enhancement and Night Mode features.

Additional Features
Other Features
Power Saving
Standby
HDMI CEC (TV Remote Control)
Yes

The Samsung HW-S60A enters standby mode after a certain period of inactivity. Thanks to its HDMI CEC support, you can also use your TV remote to control the bar's basic functions.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Samsung HW-S60A comes in 'Black', and you can see the label for the model we tested here. You can also purchase a variant of this soundbar called the Samsung HW-S61A. It appears to be the light gray version of this bar, so we expect it to perform similarly.

If you come across another version, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The Samsung HW-S60A is the next generation of the Samsung HW-S60T, and it also comes with Acoustic Beam technology and Side Horn Speakers that can fire sound towards your walls to create a more immersive sound. Unlike its predecessor, it offers a discrete center channel and Apple AirPlay 2 support, and some features that we don't test for, like Tap Sound, advertised to mirror audio from your phone when you tap it against the bar.

See our recommendations for the best small soundbars, the best soundbars under $300, and the best Samsung soundbars.

Sonos Beam

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Sonos Beam or the Samsung HW-S60A. The Sonos is a 3.0 soundbar with a better soundstage performance and a room correction feature. However, the Samsung is a 5.0 bar with a better surrounds performance and a graphic EQ for sound customization. Also, it supports Bluetooth connectivity and DTS content, unlike the Sonos.

Bose Smart Soundbar 300

The 5.0 Samsung HW-S60A is a better soundbar than the 3.0 Bose Smart Soundbar 300. The Samsung has two side-firing speakers, so it offers a better surrounds performance. Also, it comes with more sound enhancement features, including a graphic EQ, presets, and an auto-volume mode.

Samsung HW-A650

The Samsung HW-A650 is a bit better for mixed usage than the Samsung HW-S60A. The HW-A650 is a 3.1 setup with a dedicated sub that helps reproduce a more extended low-bass. It also has a Full HDMI In port. However, the 5.0 HW-S60A has better soundstage and surround performances. It also has built-in voice assistant support.

Sonos Arc

The Sonos Arc is a better soundbar than the Samsung HW-S60A. The Sonos has a better soundstage performance, and thanks to its two up-firing speakers, it supports Dolby Atmos content. It also comes with a room correction feature. However, the Samsung comes with a graphic EQ and presets, and it also supports Bluetooth connectivity.

Samsung HW-Q600A

The Samsung HW-Q600A is better than the Samsung HW-S60A. The HW-Q600A comes with a dedicated sub that helps reproduce a more extended low-bass. It gets louder, and it supports Dolby Atmos content. Unlike the HW-S60A, it comes with a Full HDMI In port. That said, some listeners may prefer the HW-S60A's more compact design and superior surround performance. The HW-S60A also comes with built-in voice assistant support, more wireless playback options, and a better soundstage.

Samsung HW-Q60T

The Samsung HW-Q60T is slightly better for mixed usage than the Samsung HW-S60A. The HW-Q60T comes with a dedicated sub that helps reproduce a more extended low-bass. It also gets louder, and it comes with a Full HDMI In port. That said, the HW-S60A has better soundstage and surround performances. It supports more wireless playback options, and it has built-in voice assistant support. Some users may prefer its more compact design.

Samsung HW-S60T

The Samsung HW-S60A is the next generation of the Samsung HW-S60T, and it offers better performance. The 5.0 HW-S60A comes with a discrete center channel, and it also offers a better surrounds performance. Unlike the HW-S60T, it also has an auto-volume mode and supports Apple AirPlay 2.

JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Samsung HW-S60A or the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam. The Samsung offers a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, which some users may prefer. It has a better soundstage performance and a graphic EQ for sound customization, too. However, the JBL supports Atmos content. Also, it comes with a room correction feature, a Full HDMI In port, and supports more wireless playback options.

Sony HT-X8500

The Samsung HW-S60A is better than the Sony HT-X8500. The Samsung is a 5.0 setup that's better-built, and it has built-in voice assistant support. It has better soundstage, center, and surround performances, and more wireless playback support options. Also, it has a graphic EQ for sound customization. That said, only the 2.1 Sony supports Atmos content, which some users may prefer.

Samsung HW-Q700A

The Samsung HW-Q700A is better than the Samsung HW-S60A. The HW-Q700A comes with a dedicated sub, so it can reproduce a more extended low-bass. Unlike the HW-S60A, it supports Atmos content and has a Full HDMI In port for high quality passthrough. That said, the more compact HW-S60A has a better surrounds performance. It comes with built-in voice assistant, whereas you need a third party device to use voice assistants with the HW-Q700A.

Samsung HW-Q800A

The Samsung HW-Q800A is better than the Samsung HW-S60A. The HW-Q800A is a 3.1.2 setup with a dedicated subwoofer that helps reproduce a more extended low-bass. Unlike the HW-S60A, it supports Atmos content, and it has a Full HDMI In port. However, the 5.0 HW-S60A has a better surrounds performance. Also, some users may prefer its more compact design.

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