With sleek looks and enough power to fill larger rooms, the Samsung HW-B550 soundbar promises to boost your home entertainment experience. This slim under-TV speaker aims to upgrade the audio of your current TV setup with minimal hassle. In this review, we’ll take a closer look into the features and performance of the HW-B550 to see if it delivers on its promises.
Some key things we’ll cover include the soundbar’s design and setup process, its audio formats and connectivity options, sound quality for music and movies, extra features like Bluetooth streaming, and its value for money. We’ve tested the HW-B550 thoroughly to provide an in-depth assessment of how it stacks up against competitors in its price range.
- The HW-B550 soundbar delivers a good combination of design, functionality, and value.
- DTS Virtual:X: The soundbar uses its four built-in speakers to simulate surround effects, enhancing the audio experience.
- Smart Processing: The soundbar optimizes sound settings based on each scene you watch, ensuring optimal audio quality.
- Subwoofer: The included subwoofer makes it hit deeper lows than standalone soundbars.
- Connectivity: The HW-B550 offers both optical and HDMI connections, as well as Bluetooth, providing flexibility in connecting to your TV and other devices.
Design and Build Quality
The Samsung HW-B550 sports a slim, minimalist design that should blend nicely with your TV and home decor. Measuring just 2.3 inches tall, the rectangular soundbar is intended to sit unobtrusively below your TV screen.
Materials and Aesthetics
The Samsung HW-B550 features a solid build with a sleek metal grille that enhances its robustness, deviating from cheaper plastic builds often found in this category. Its neutral black finish affords it the versatility to blend into various room decors seamlessly.
Dimensions and Weight
The Samsung HW-B550 soundbar has the following dimensions and weight:
- Main Unit Dimensions: 33.9″ x 2.3″ x 3″ (inches)
- Subwoofer Dimensions: 7.2″ x 13.6″ x 11.6″ (inches)
- Main Unit Weight: 4.6 lbs
- Subwoofer Weight: 11.2 lbs
These dimensions make it best suited for TVs with screen sizes of 40 inches and above.
Sound Quality and Features
When it comes to audio performance and features, the Samsung HW-B550 brings a lot to the table for its budget-friendly price point.
The Samsung HW-B550 presents a sound profile that is neutral right out of the box, allowing for a more accurate audio reproduction. Bass performance lacks the deep rumble that some users might expect, especially in bass-heavy content. However, it does come with a wireless subwoofer to help reproduce low-end frequencies.
The HW-B550 supports Dolby Audio and DTS Virtual:X, providing an enhanced surround sound experience. While DTS Virtual:X especially can produce satisfying surround sound, the sound does not envelop the listener as one might experience with a genuine surround sound system with speakers spaced out across the room.
The HW-B550 features several connectivity options to cater to different user needs. It boasts Bluetooth connectivity for wireless audio streaming, providing convenience and cable-free setup. However, specific details concerning additional ports such as HDMI inputs and outputs, optical ports, or Wi-Fi capabilities are essential and require direct confirmation from product specifications or manuals.
Samsung enriches the HW-B550 soundbar with various sound modes and enhancement features to tailor the audio experience. Dialogue enhancement is available, ensuring that spoken words in movies and TV shows are clear and discernible. Users can customize their listening experience with a graphic EQ and presets. While the system does not support Dolby Atmos, it offers DTS Virtual:X, which attempts to simulate a surround audio effect to enhance the sense of space and soundstage. A dedicated virtual surround sound mode is also included to emulate a more immersive listening environment without the need for additional satellite speakers.
Setup and Usability
Out of the box, the Samsung HW-B550 soundbar is designed for a quick and effortless setup. We find all necessary cables included, allowing for various connections. Installation follows these steps:
- Positioning the Soundbar: Place it either below the TV or mount it on the wall.
- Power Connection: Connect the power cable to the soundbar and plug it into an electrical outlet.
- Audio Connection: Choose between multiple audio inputs:
- HDMI: Connect via the HDMI port for high-quality audio.
- Optical: Use the optical cable for a reliable audio connection.
- Bluetooth: Pair devices wirelessly for flexible placement.
Completing these steps ensures the HW-B550 is operational, providing a simple path to enhanced audio.
Ease of Integration with TV
Integrating the HW-B550 with a TV is a smooth experience, attributed to its various connectivity features. We leverage this functionality for optimal performance:
- HDMI ARC: When connected via HDMI ARC, control of the soundbar can be integrated with the TV’s remote, eliminating the need for multiple remotes. This provides a unified control experience.
- Wireless Connectivity: Bluetooth support allows for wireless connection to the TV, which is ideal if it supports Bluetooth audio output. This reduces cable clutter and allows for more versatile soundbar placement.
Compatibility with voice assistants or streaming technologies like Apple AirPlay and Chromecast is not inherent to the HW-B550, but you can often bridge these functionalities through the TV’s own connectivity options if supported.
Performance in Different Scenarios
From the roar of an action movie to the subtleties of classical music, let’s take a look at how the soundbar compares across different common uses.
Movies and TV Shows
For movies and television shows, the HW-B550 delivers solid performance. Its 2.1 channel setup, backed by a wireless subwoofer, provides satisfactory bass, while mids and highs are clear enough and not drowned out by the low end. Dialogue comes through clearly, making it a decent choice for dialogue-heavy content.
The HW-B550’s neutral sound profile lends itself well to most music, ensuring that no single instrument dominates the mix. While the soundbar doesn’t come with an integrated voice assistant, this doesn’t hinder its music playback capabilities.
When it comes to gaming, the clear sound quality of the HW-B550 contributes to an engaging experience. Voice clarity is maintained across in-game dialogue, and a bump in the bass from the subwoofer gives weight to sound effects, although gamers seeking an expansive soundscape might find its 2.1 channels limiting.
Samsung HW-B550 vs. Other Samsung HW-B Soundbars
The Samsung HW-B450, HW-B550, and HW-B650 are soundbars from Samsung’s HW-B lineup, offering great sound at budget prices. However, there are differences between them that might make one better for your home theater than the others. Here’s a comparison of the three soundbars.
Design and Connectivity:
- HW-B450: No HDMI connection, Bluetooth can only connect to one device at a time.
- HW-B550 and HW-B650: Aluminum grills covering the front and sides, HDMI ARC connection, Bluetooth with multi-connect.
- All three soundbars have bass boost, surround sound expansion, game, adaptive lite, and standard modes.
- HW-B550 and HW-B650 also have DTS Virtual X, which adds virtual height effects for a more engaging movie experience.
- HW-B450: 2.1 channels.
- HW-B550: Similar sound to HW-B450, but with more customization tools.
- HW-B650: 3.1 channels, better suited for dialog clarity and adding surround speakers for a full movie theater-like experience.
In summary, the HW-B450 is a budget-friendly option with a simpler design and fewer connectivity options. The HW-B550 offers a similar sound but with more customization tools. The HW-B650 is the best choice for those who value dialog clarity and plan to add surround speakers for a more immersive experience.
The Samsung HW-B550 delivers a lot of value for its relatively affordable price point. With its slim, understated design, it discreetly upgrades your TV’s audio performance. The 2.1 channel soundbar fills rooms with clear, powerful sound thanks to its 410W system and wireless subwoofer. It supports surround sound formats and includes handy sound modes for an immersive listening experience. Connectivity options like HDMI ARC and Bluetooth make the HW-B550 flexible and easy to integrate into your existing setup.
While it doesn’t have the most advanced features or highest audio fidelity, the HW-B550 punches above its weight given its budget-friendly cost. For those seeking an easy audio boost for their TV without breaking the bank, the HW-B550 offers great bang for your buck. It outperforms TV speakers and entry-level soundbars with a balanced, room-filling sound. If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to step up your TV’s audio game, the Samsung HW-B550 is a solid choice to consider.