Samsung HW-Q800A Review: An Amazing Soundbar Upgrade with Alexa and AirPlay 2

Samsung HW-Q800A Soundbar with TV
The 2021 Samsung HW-Q800A soundbar delivers on all the key features. Josh Smith

The 2021 Samsung HW-Q800A soundbar is an excellent soundbar to pair with the 2021 NEO QLED TVs. I tested this Dolby Atmos–enabled soundbar with the Samsung Q90A TV as a stand-alone soundbar and with the Q-Symphony feature that combines the soundbar and TV speakers for a more immersive experience.

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Samsung's design matches the 2021 NEO QLED 4K and 8K TV styles with its slim industrial look. This is a 3.1.2 channel soundbar that includes a wireless subwoofer. There are no rear surround speakers with this model, but it's compatible with Samsung's wireless add-ons.

I like the overall performance and soundstage that the HW-Q800A delivers in a simple package. This is an excellent option for a minimalist living room setup where you don't have space for surround speakers.

The Samsung HW-Q800A is $899 and available from Samsung and other retailers.

Sound Quality and Performance

Samsung HW-Q800A Soundbar Q-Harmony
The Samsung HW-Q800A can use Samsung TV speakers to enhance the sound and detect the room layout. Josh Smith

The Samsung HW-Q800A soundbar sounds great, especially when paired with a Samsung TV using the Q-Harmony feature. The system creates surround sound virtually with Acoustic Beam technology, which helps send sound throughout the room with two up-firing speakers in the soundbar.

With support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, the Q800A can process the major surround sound formats. I tested this connected to the 2021 Samsung Q90A with eARC, which simplifies the connection and passes the best sound formats to the soundbar. You can plug a device directly into the soundbar's HDMI input, which supports 4K HDR, but I hooked everything to the TV for this test.

I am working my way through the Marvel movies again, and the Q800A handles the Dolby Atmos nicely. The experience isn't as good as overhead speakers, but you can still hear the height of sound that Atmos provides. This will depend on the room that you're using the soundbar in. Even when I tested the setup from an off-center position, the quality was good. I could clearly hear the dialogue and enjoy the separation between speaking, action and music in the movies and TV shows I watched.

Testing with the Xbox One X playing WatchDogs Legion and Fortnite, I appreciated the clarity of the sound. This is a great soundbar for casual gaming. When connected with a Samsung TV and a new gaming console, the sound mode can automatically switch to Game Mode.

Samsung HW-Q800A Soundbar Subwoofer
The included subwoofer connects wirelessly to the soundbar, allowing flexibility in placement. Josh Smith

Without rear surround speakers, this setup is missing some immersion. That's a drawback to all of the 3.1.2 systems and others without dedicated rear speakers. You can add surround speakers to this system if you want to increase the immersion.

With Samsung SpaceFit sound and Q-Harmony, the soundbar shines even more when connected to a new Samsung TV. The SpaceFit Sound feature allows a 2021 Samsung QLED TV (model Q70 or higher) to process the room and optimize the sound. Q-Harmony integrates the TV's speakers into the mix for a noticeable sound upgrade.

As a standalone system, the Samsung HW-Q800A is a great surround system that brings you into the movies or games you're playing. It is a great choice for a room in which installing overhead speakers and using surround speakers isn't feasible.

Features, Connectivity and Specs

The Samsung Q800A supports AirPlay 2 and built-in Alexa. AirPlay 2 is wonderful for casting music to the soundbar when you want to rock out in the living room. While I've traditionally used a TV or Apple TV as the main connection for AirPlay in a living room, this is a handy upgrade.

Samsung also includes Alexa in the soundbar, so if you use Alexa as your personal assistant, you can control your smart home and play music through supported services.

Additional options include Bluetooth connectivity for your phone or tablet, and the option to connect to a compatible TV with Bluetooth or WiFi. Traditional connectivity options include HDMI and an optical audio port.

  • 330W Power
  • 8 Speakers
  • 3.1.2 Channels
  • Wireless Active Subwoofer
  • Acoustic Beam Technology
  • Connections: HDMI eARC/ARC, HDMI In, Optical In, Bluetooth, WiFi

Design and Remote

Samsung HW-Q800A Soundbar display
I love that Samsung makes it easy to know what input you are using. Josh Smith

Samsung carries over the same essential design from the HW-Q800T that this model replaces. The low profile of the soundbar allows it to sit below the screen of most TV models.

I'm a huge fan of the black grille design and the LED display on the right side that shows the active input. Showing the actual input instead of relying on colors or lines to convey the active source like some competing products provides a vastly better user experience.

The remote control is easy to hold and offers fast access to the important features and buttons. While connected with HDMI, I use the TV remote or an Apple TV remote for most of the controls.

Is the Samsung HW-Q800A Worth Buying?

Samsung HW-Q800A Soundbar Design
The Samsung HW-Q800A is a great value, especially if you own a Samsung TV. Josh Smith

The Samsung HW-Q800A soundbar is a great choice for a 3.1.2 soundbar that supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. The value really stands out when paired with a Samsung TV, thanks to the Q-Harmony and SpaceFit features that improve and optimize the sound.

There is a lot of value here thanks to AirPlay 2, Alexa support, eARC for simplified control and app control for sound modes.

Shoppers looking for a smart soundbar with a stylish design, good performance and without rear surround speakers should consider the 2021 Samsung HW-Q800A.

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