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Samsung HW-S800B Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.3
Review updated Nov 06, 2023 at 11:10 am
Latest change: Writing modified May 28, 2024 at 09:57 am
Samsung HW-S800B Picture
7.6
Mixed Usage
8.1
Dialogue/TV Shows
7.9
Music
7.1
Movies

The Samsung HW-S800B is a 2022 release from the manufacturer with a unique design. It's a very slim soundbar, packing two up-firing Dolby Atmos drivers into a frame with a much smaller footprint than other 2022 offerings like the Samsung HW-Q910B and the Samsung HW-Q930B. There's also a subwoofer, albeit a small one, to improve its bass reproduction. You can also find it at Costco as the Samsung HW-S80CB/ZA.

Our Verdict

7.6 Mixed Usage

The Samsung HW-S800B is good for mixed usage. This soundbar reproduces voices and lead instruments in your favorite songs with great clarity, and its discrete center channel ensures clear dialogue in movies and TV shows. That said, it doesn't bring the same immersive feel to multi-channel content as more premium bars from the manufacturer.

Pros
  • Graphic EQ and presets.
  • Extended low-bass.
  • Dolby Atmos support.
Cons
  • Downmixes surround sound.
8.1 Dialogue/TV Shows

The Samsung S800B is great for dialogue-heavy TV shows and podcasts. Since it's a 3.1.2 bar, it has a discrete center channel to improve vocal reproduction. There's even a dialogue enhancement tool called Active Voice Amplifier on hand to make voices stand out more in the mix. With lots of wireless playback options, you can easily stream podcasts and audiobooks from your phone to the bar.

Pros
  • Dialogue enhancement tool.
  • Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Apple AirPlay compatibility.
Cons
  • No Chromecast built-in.
7.9 Music

The Samsung S80CB is good for music. It has a balanced sound, especially in the mids, meaning that voices and lead instruments reproduce with clarity and accuracy. The dedicated sub brings a little extra thump in the bass range, which is great for those who like a more bass-heavy sound. If you want to switch it up, you have lots of customization tools to choose from, too.

Pros
  • Graphic EQ and presets.
  • Extended low-bass.
Cons
  • Some compression at max volume.
7.1 Movies

The Samsung HW-S80CB/ZA is decent for movies. It supports many audio formats commonly found on streaming services and Blu-rays, like Dolby Atmos. Dialogue is clear in the mix, and there's some rumble in the bass for action-heavy scenes. However, this bar can't replicate a very immersive soundstage with multi-channel content, so you don't get the same all-around feel.

Pros
  • Extended low-bass.
  • Dolby Atmos support.
Cons
  • Some compression at max volume.
  • Downmixes surround sound.
  • 7.6 Mixed Usage
  • 8.1 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 7.9 Music
  • 7.1 Movies
  1. Updated May 28, 2024: Updated Stereo Dynamics results with new methodology from TBU 1.3. Added text to Audio Latency: ARC.
  2. Updated May 27, 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.
  3. Updated Jan 09, 2024: Added information to the Wireless Playback and Voice Assistant Support boxes as Chromecast and Google Assistant support is region-specific.
  4. Updated Nov 06, 2023: Updated text for clarity and consistency.
  5. Updated Nov 01, 2023: Updated the Variants box to include the Samsung HW-S80CB Costco variant.
  6. Updated Jun 07, 2023: Converted to Test Bench 1.2. Updated the results for audio format support via ARC/eARC, HDMI In, and Optical. Added Video Passthrough to TV results as well.
  7. Updated May 09, 2023: Added market comparison for the LG SC9S to the Audio Format Support - ARC box.
  8. Updated Mar 13, 2023: Added cable lengths to In The Box.
  9. Updated Mar 10, 2023: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. With this update, we've added a Mounting test and added information aboutSubwoofer Output, Spotify Connect, and Microphone Mute.
  10. Updated Sep 23, 2022: Review published.
  11. Updated Sep 15, 2022: Early access published.
  12. Updated Aug 30, 2022: Our testers have started testing this product.
  13. Updated Aug 26, 2022: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  14. Updated Aug 20, 2022: 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, and you can see the label here. You can also find a white version named the Samsung HW-S801B. You can find a version of this soundbar at Costco as the Samsung HW-S80CB or Samsung HW-S80CB/ZA.

If you encounter another version of this bar, let us know in the forums, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The Samsung HW-HW-S80CB/ZA is a slim 3.1.2 soundbar with a unique design ideal for those who don't want a bar that takes up much space in their setup. It has Dolby Atmos capabilities, as well as a lot of different customization features. However, its Atmos performance pales in comparison to bars that come with satellites right out of the box, like the Vizio M Series M512a-H6.

See also our recommendations for the best Samsung soundbars, the best soundbars for movies, and the best soundbars with subwoofer.

Samsung HW-Q800B

The Samsung HW-Q800B is better than the Samsung HW-S800B for most uses. The Q800B is a bigger soundbar with a bigger subwoofer, adding a little more low-bass to the mix. Also, since it's a 5.1.2 setup, it's better for surround sound. You even get more inputs, including Optical and HDMI In ports, so you can passthrough high-quality bandwidth signals. That said, the S800B stands out thanks to its design—its slim build may be a better fit for you, depending on the layout of your living area.

Samsung HW-Q700A

The Samsung HW-Q700A and the Samsung HW-S800B are two 3.1.2 Dolby Atmos setups with different strengths and weaknesses. The Q700A was released in 2021, and it's a bigger bar with more inputs on hand, including Optical and HDMI In. As a result, you can use it for high-quality passthrough, unlike the S800B. However, the S800B's unique slim design is well-suited for smaller spaces, and it comes with more enhancement features, including room correction. It's also able to reproduce a more extended low-bass than the Q700A despite its smaller sub.

LG SC9S

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Samsung HW-S800B or the LG SC9S. The Samsung is a 3.1.2 model, while the LG SC9S is a 3.1.3 model— meaning that it comes with LG's unique up-firing center channel. The result is a bit more elevation for vocal content in the mix, but there isn't a dramatic difference in the overall sound. Also, the LG has eARC support, unlike the Samsung, and an HDMI In port for video passthrough. It doesn't come with a full graphic EQ like the Samsung, but you can still adjust its sound with its bass and treble adjustments.

Samsung HW-Q600A

The Samsung HW-Q600A and the Samsung HW-S800B are both 3.1.2 Dolby Atmos setups, but depending on your listening habits, you may prefer one over the other. The 2021 Q600A is a bigger bar with more inputs on hand, including Optical and HDMI In. As a result, you can use it for high-quality passthrough, unlike the S800B. However, the S800B's unique slim design is well-suited for smaller spaces and has more enhancement features, including room correction. It's also able to reproduce a more extended low-bass than the Q600A, despite its smaller sub, and it has a better soundstage.

Samsung HW-Q800A

The Samsung HW-Q800A is better for most uses than the Samsung HW-S800B. They're both 3.1.2 Dolby Atmos soundbars; however, they have different designs that factor into their overall performance. The Q800A is bigger, with a more extended low-bass. It also has more inputs, including Optical and HDMI In, so you can passthrough high-quality bandwidth signals. That said, the S800B's slim design is an asset, depending on your living space, and it comes with a room correction feature, unlike its predecessor.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style - Bar

The Samsung S80CB has a unique design compared to other bars in Samsung's 2022 lineup. It's slim, so it takes up much less space on your entertainment stand. With a plastic build, you also find metal grilles on the front of the bar and covering the two up-firing drivers on top. You can find it in either black or white color variants.

Design
Style - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Yes
Enclosure
Unspecified

The sub is also quite different than other 2022 Samsung models. It has a cube-like design with a wood build, and its small size takes up less space in your room. There are also feet on the bottom to keep it in place.

Design
Style - Satellites
Satellite Wireless
No

You can buy compatible satellites from the manufacturer separately, according to the manual.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Width 45.7" (116.0 cm)
Height 1.5" (3.7 cm)
Depth 1.6" (4.0 cm)

The bar is rather wide, so it doesn't fit between the legs of a 55" TV stand. It's not very deep, though, and it's also not very tall, so it maintains a small footprint.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Width 9.4" (23.9 cm)
Height 9.4" (23.9 cm)
Depth 9.4" (23.9 cm)

The small size of the subwoofer is ideal for smaller living spaces. It's roughly the same width as an average desktop computer, but it isn't as tall, so it's easier to integrate into your setup.

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

You can mount the bar to the wall using the included brackets.

8.0
Design
Build Quality

The Samsung HW-S80CB/ZA has great build quality. The bar is well-built, with a sturdy plastic build that includes metal grilles to help protect the drivers within. The sub is mostly made of wood, too.

Design
In The Box

  • Manuals
  • Remote control
  • 2x power cables (4.9 ft / 1.5m)
  • AC/DC adapter (4.9 ft / 1.5m)
  • HDMI to Micro HDMI cable (4.9 ft / 1.5m)
  • Wall Mount guide
  • 4x screws
  • 4x screw anchors
  • 2x holder screws
  • 2x wall-mount bracket

Sound
7.9
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Channels
3.1.2
Tested Preset
Standard
Slope
-0.28
Standard Error
3.47 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
32.7 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
18.5 kHz

It has a very good stereo frequency response. Its sound profile is quite balanced, especially in the mid-range, which is where most voices and lead instruments reproduce. As a result, these qualities are clear and present in the mix, and the bar is suitable for listening to many different types of audio content. There's a little extra punch in the bass range that brings some excitement to the mix. Like other Samsung bars, we prefer listening to stereo content like music in its 'Standard' mode, as 'Adaptive Sound' results in a pitchier sound.

7.9
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
Standard
Suggested Bass Setting
-3
Suggested Treble Setting
-3
Slope
0.01
Standard Error
3.10 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
33.6 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
18.8 kHz

Its sound is balanced out-of-the-box, but if you want a sound that's even closer to our neutral target curve, we recommend setting its bass to '-3' and its treble to '-3'. Voices and lead instruments remain clear in the mix, and you have a little less thump in the bass range.

7.5
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
2.65 dB

The Samsung HW-S800B has a good stereo soundstage. It has good focus, so you can pinpoint certain instruments to particular locations in the space around you. The soundstage itself is perceived to be a little wider than the bar itself, but unfortunately, it doesn't have any tricks to make it seem larger than that.

7.7
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
90.9 dB SPL
DRC @ 90dB
0.92 dB
DRC @ Max Volume
1.34 dB

The bar gets loud enough to fill an average-sized living room with sound. There's slight compression when you push it to max volume. It's not really loud enough to fill up larger and more open rooms, either.

8.4
Sound
Center
Localization
Discrete
Slope
-0.09
Std. Err.
2.83 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
92.8 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.52
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.78

It's a 3.1.2 bar with a discrete center channel to enhance vocal clarity in the mix. The channel's frequency response is quite balanced, too, meaning that voices reproduce with accuracy and detail. You have no trouble following the action on your screen.

3.6
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Stereo (Downmix)
Slope
-1.06
Std. Err.
4.84 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
91.2 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.48
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.62
7.1 Rears
No

This soundbar can playback 5.1 surround sound formats like Dolby Digital and DTS, which are both commonly found on streaming platforms and Blu-ray discs. However, since it's a 3.1.2 bar, it has to downmix this content into stereo to play it. It means that you can't take advantage of the technology that makes this audio seem like it stretches into the space around youโ€”instead, audio seems like it's just coming from a speaker placed in front of you.

6.3
Sound
Height (Atmos)
Localization
Phantom (Up Firing, Bar)
Slope
-0.47
Std. Err.
3.91 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
88.5 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.40
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.25

Two up-firing channels built into the bar are designed to create the illusion of height with content like Dolby Atmos. The frequency response on these channels is quite balanced, so sound effects are reproduced with clarity and accuracy.

Additionally, we established subjective impressions of the bar's soundstage. Unfortunately, it falls short of more premium Atmos bars from this manufacturer. Since it lacks satellites, it can't bring the same all-around feel as other models. This is especially noticeable in movies like Interstellar, as the expansive score from Hans Zimmer feels more narrow and concentrated to the space in front of your couch. The Vizio M Series Elevate M512E-K6 is a similarly-priced bar with satellites that does a better job with Atmos content, while the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is a good pick for those who don't have space for rear speakers.

9.2
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
No
Rear Level Adjustment
Yes
Height Level Adjustment
Yes
Virtual Surround
Yes

The Samsung S80CB has many of the same sound enhancement features as the manufacturer's more premium models. For example, you can use SpaceFit Sound, a room correction tool that automatically optimizes the bar's sound based on your room's unique acoustics. If you prefer a different sound, there's a 7-band graphic EQ available, as well as some preset modes like Standard', 'Surround Sound', 'Game', 'Adaptive Sound', and 'DTS Virtual X'.

You can pair the Samsung HW-S800B to a compatible Samsung TV to use Q-Symphony. Like many other soundbar manufacturers, Samsung advertises this feature as a way to enhance the immersive quality of the sound. In practice, it slightly increases the volume, but otherwise, it doesn't make much difference in the sound quality. If you don't have a compatible TV, you can still get a similar experience with this bar.

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

The bar connects to your TV over an HDMI connection. Most TVs support HDMI; however, if you have an older model with Optical only, you'll need to find a different cable to connect these devices. There's also a micro-USB port, but it's only for servicing the bar.

8.3
Connectivity
Audio Format Support: ARC/eARC
Dolby Atmos
Supported
Dolby Digital
Supported
Dolby Digital Plus
Supported
Dolby TrueHD
Not Supported
DTS
Supported
DTS:X
Not Supported
DTS-HD MA
Not Supported
PCM Channels
2.0

The bar supports many of the common audio formats found on streaming platforms and Blu-ray discs via ARC. For example, you can watch 5.1 surround sound formats like Dolby Digital and object-based formats like Dolby Atmos. However, there's no eARC support, unlike with the LG SC9S.

0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support: HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
Not Supported
Dolby Digital
Not Supported
Dolby Digital Plus
Not Supported
Dolby TrueHD
Not Supported
DTS
Not Supported
DTS:X
Not Supported
DTS-HD MA
Not Supported
PCM Channels
Not Supported
0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support: Optical
Dolby Digital
Not Supported
DTS
Not Supported
PCM Channels
Not Supported
6.8
Connectivity
Audio Latency: ARC
PCM-2.0 ch
73 ms
PCM-5.1 ch
51 ms
Dolby MAT (PCM) Atmos
N/A
Dolby Digital
116 ms
Dolby Digital Plus
121 ms
Dolby Digital Plus Atmos
144 ms

This bar has a fair latency performance via ARC. Audio delay is low when it comes to PCM content but other commonly found formats like Dolby Digital have higher lip syncing delay. It's worth mentioning that some apps and TVs compensate for latency, though. If you notice any lag, the AV Sync feature in the SmartThings app lets you manually adjust the delay for improved performance.

not tested
Connectivity
Audio Latency: HDMI In
PCM-2.0 ch
N/A
PCM-5.1 ch
N/A
Dolby MAT (PCM) Atmos
N/A
Dolby Digital
N/A
Dolby Digital Plus
N/A
Dolby Digital Plus Atmos
N/A
not tested
Connectivity
Audio Latency: Optical
PCM-2.0 ch
N/A
Dolby Digital
N/A
0
Connectivity
Video Passthrough To TV
1080p Max Refresh Rate
Not Supported
1080p @ 4:4:4 Max Refresh Rate
Not Supported
4k Max Refresh Rate
Not Supported
4k @ 120Hz @ 10-Bit
Not Supported
4k @ 4:4:4 Max Refresh Rate
Not Supported
8k Max Refresh Rate
Not Supported
HDR10 Passthrough
No
HDR10+ Passthrough
No
Dolby Vision Passthrough
No
HDMI Forum VRR Passthrough
No
FreeSync Passthrough
No
G-SYNC Passthrough
No
ALLM Passthrough
No

There's no Full HDMI In port, so the bar can't passthrough high-quality bandwidth signals.

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

Thanks to its Tap Sound feature, you can mirror audio from compatible mobile devices right to the bar itself. You can still wirelessly stream over Bluetooth or other connections if you don't have a compatible device. Check your country's product page to see if Chromecast is available, as its support is region-specific.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
No

The bar doesn't have a display; however, some LED lights on the right side of the bar blink in different patterns based on the settings you adjust. You'll find a list of all the different patterns and their meanings in the manual.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

There are some touch-sensitive controls on top of the bar. The multifunction button lets you change the input or wake up the bar when it's in "Off" mode. Also, you can adjust the volume and turn the microphone on and off.

Additional Features
Remote

The remote lets you control most of the bar's features. It's unique compared to other Samsung remotes, as it has a built-in rechargeable battery. You have to use a USB-C cable to charge the remote; however, this isn't included in the box, so you need to buy it separately. If you prefer, the Samsung SmartThings app also acts as a remote, so you can control the bar through your smartphone.

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

Thanks to built-in Alexa, you can control the bar with your voice. Google Assistant is also available in some regions, but not others. Also, you can mute the microphone for more private moments.