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Samsung HW-S800B Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Sep 23, 2022 at 12:25 pm
Samsung HW-S800B Picture
7.5
Mixed Usage
8.1
Dialogue/TV Shows
7.7
Music
7.0
Movies
Channels
3.1.2

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. Like Samsung's other top models, you get access to the brand's wide selection of customization tools, like a 7-band graphic EQ, as well as Q-Symphony capabilities with compatible Samsung TVs. If you want to add on satellites, you'll need to purchase them separately.

Our Verdict

7.5 Mixed Usage

The Samsung HW-S800B is good for mixed usage. It's a unique bar with a slim design that's ideal for those who don't have a lot of space in their setup, and it supports a lot of different audio formats. Right out of the box, you can enjoy clear and detailed voices and lead instruments in your favorite music, and its discrete center ensures that dialogue in TV shows is present in the mix. With movies, though, the slim bar isn't quite as impressive. You can always add on satellites, though, if you want to improve its performance, and with lots of customization tools, you have plenty of control over its sound.

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

The Samsung HW-S800B is great for dialogue-heavy TV shows and podcasts. Since it's a 3.1.2 bar, there's a discrete center to improve vocal clarity, and voices reproduce with accuracy and detail. Overall, you don't have any trouble following along with the action on screen. However, you still have a dialogue enhancement tool called Active Voice Amplifier on hand if you want 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.
7.7 Music

The Samsung HW-S800B is good for listening to 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, including the usual bass and treble adjustments, in addition to a 7-band graphic EQ that lets you control the sound across the range. Whether you like bass-heavy genres like hip-hop or more vocal-centric pop tunes, the bar's a solid pick.

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

The Samsung HW-S800B is decent for movies. Whether you want to watch 5.1 surround sound formats like Dolby Digital or more advanced object-based formats like Dolby Atmos, the bar can playback formats most common on streaming services and Blu-rays. Voices are clear and present in the mix, and there's plenty of bass to bring action-packed scenes to life. However, since it's a 3.1.2 bar, it has to downmix 5.1 surround sound into stereo, which doesn't result in a very immersive sound. Similarly, its Atmos performance isn't the most impressive, and you don't get the sense that sound stretches around you.

Pros
  • Extended low-bass.
  • Dolby Atmos support.
Cons
  • Some compression at max volume.
  • Downmixes surround sound.
  • 7.5 Mixed Usage
  • 8.1 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 7.7 Music
  • 7.0 Movies
  1. Updated Sep 23, 2022: Review published.
  2. Updated Sep 15, 2022: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style - Bar

The Samsung HW-S800B has a unique design compared to other bars in Samsung's 2022 lineup. It's slim, so it takes up a lot 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.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

The Samsung HW-S800B's 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.

Design
Style - Satellites

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 Samsung HW-S800B 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 Samsung HW-S800B's sub is rather small, especially compared to other models on the market. It's roughly the width of an average desktop computer but isn't as tall.

Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Back - Bar
Bar Mounting
Proprietary

The back of the bar has some openings for the inputs and the power cable. You can also mount it to the wall using the mounts located below the bar.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
Unspecified

The back of the back is rather simple, with an input for the power cable as well as a pairing button. While we believe that the sub's enclosure is a passive radiator, unfortunately, we can't confirm it with the manufacturer.

Design
Back - Satellites
Mounting
No
8.0
Design
Build Quality

The Samsung HW-S800B 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
HDMI Cable Length
1.5 m (4.9 ft)
Digital Optical Cable Length
N/A

  • Manuals
  • Remote control
  • 2x power cables
  • AC/DC adapter
  • HDMI to Micro HDMI Cable
  • Wall Mount guide
  • 4x screws
  • 4x screw anchors
  • 2x holder screws
  • 2x wall-mount bracket

Sound
7.9
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
Standard
Slope
-0.28
Std. Err.
3.47 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
32.7 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
18.5 kHz

The Samsung HW-S800B 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's suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content. There's a little extra punch in the bass range that brings some excitement to the mix. As with other Samsung bars, we prefer listening to stereo content like music on its 'Standard' mode, as 'Adaptive Sound' resulted in a pitchier sound.

8.0
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
Standard
Suggested Bass Setting
-3
Suggested Treble Setting
-3
Slope
0.01
Std. Err.
3.10 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
33.6 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
18.8 kHz

The Samsung HW-S800B's 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.

6.3
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
90.1 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
3.82 dB

The Samsung HW-S800B has acceptable stereo dynamics. It can fill up most living rooms with sound, although it doesn't get quite loud enough to fill larger and more open spaces. There's also some compression when you push it to max volume, so audio isn't reproduced with the same purity as at lower volumes.

7.6
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.49
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.67

The Samsung HW-S800B has a good stereo THD performance. At a normal listening volume, distortion falls within good limits, so your audio is reproduced with clarity and purity. As with most bars, there's a jump in distortion when pushed to max volume. However, distortion is hard to hear with real-life content, especially at such low levels, so it isn't an issue.

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

The Samsung HW-S800B has a great center channel performance. It's a 3.1.2 bar and has 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

The Samsung HW-S800B 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 all 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

The Samsung HW-S800B can also playback Dolby Atmos content, which you find on many streaming platforms. It's more advanced than 5.1 surround sound, using audio technology to provide the illusion that sound surrounds you and stretches above you. The bar uses two up-firing drivers built into the bar itself to simulate this feeling of "height". The frequency response on these channels is rather balanced, meaning that these sound effects reproduce clearly, and you don't have trouble distinguishing details in the mix.

The Samsung HW-S800B's overall Atmos performance isn't that impressive, especially compared to more premium bars in the manufacturer's lineup. Overall, audio seems like it's only coming from the space in front of you. Without satellites, you don't get the illusion of audio stretching to the sides, and sound effects like drones don't seem like they fly overhead. 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.

9.5
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
No
Rear Level Adjustment
Yes
Height Level Adjustment
Yes
Virtual Surround
Yes

The Samsung HW-S800B 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 increases the volume a bit, 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
Physical Inputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
No
HDMI ARC
1
HDMI Out
No
Full HDMI In
No
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
No
RCA In
No
USB for Files
No
Ethernet
No

The Samsung HW-S800B can connect 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.

8.4
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

The Samsung HW-S800B supports many of the common audio formats found on streaming platforms and Blu-rays 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.

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
0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
No
DTS
No
10
Connectivity
Latency
ARC
-3 ms
Optical
N/A
Full HDMI In
N/A

The Samsung HW-S800B has a fantastic latency performance. There's low latency when you connect the bar over ARC or when you pair it to a compatible Samsung TV over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. As a result, the audio you hear is in sync with the video you see on screen, and you don't notice lip-synching issues. Different apps and TVs can compensate for latency differently, but if you have any issues, you can use the AV Sync feature to adjust the delay manually.

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

The Samsung HW-S800B lets you wirelessly stream audio from your mobile devices to the bar over several different connections. If you have a compatible phone, its Tap Sound feature lets you tap it right against the bar to "mirror" audio to the speakers. If you don't have a compatible phone, you can still send audio via Bluetooth or other connections.

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

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

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Yes

The sub connects to the bar wirelessly. Simply plug it into a power outlet to get it to work.

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

The Samsung HW-S800B doesn't have a display; however, there are some LED lights on the right side of the bar that blink different patterns based on the settings you adjust. The manual lists all the different patterns along with their meanings.

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
Universal Remote
No

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.

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

The Samsung HW-S800B has Amazon Alexa built-in, meaning you can control it with your voice. Mute the microphone if you want to turn this feature off.

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 the bar's features. It's especially handy if you misplace the remote or don't want to leave the comfort of your couch to change the bar's settings. Overall, the app is easy to use and doesn't seem to have any bugs.

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

The Samsung HW-S800B automatically turns off after eighteen minutes without an audio signal when it's in either 'TV ARC', 'Wi-Fi', or 'Bluetooth' mode. You can also turn it off using your TV remote since it supports HDMI CEC.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Samsung HW-S800B is available in both 'Black' and 'White' variants. We tested the 'Black' version, and you can see the label here. That said, our results are comparable to the 'White' variant as well.

If you come across another version of the Samsung HW-S800B, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The Samsung HW-S800B 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, meaning it adds 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-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.

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.

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 comes with 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.

LG SP8YA

The LG SP8YA and the Samsung HW-S800B are both 3.1.2 Dolby Atmos soundbars with different strengths and weaknesses. The LG is a bigger bar, and it reproduces more bass. Plus, it has more inputs on hand, like Optical and HDMI In, meaning that it can do video passthrough unlike the Samsung. That said, its soundstage isn't quite as good, and its larger design isn't ideal if you don't have a ton of space in your setup.

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