It seems like the best value would be a 3-channel soundbar with a dedicated subwoofer. Will Samsung’s stylish soundbar and subwoofer combo, the HW-A650, live up to your expectations? It boasts 3D surround sound capabilities. To spare you from a drawn-out return procedure, our team is here with a thorough review of the Samsung HW-A650.
Samsung HW-A650 Review: This soundbar has a very neutral sound profile right out of the box, making it suitable for listening to a wide variety of audio content, but it struggles to reproduce deep, punchy bass. A graphic EQ and several presets like “Adaptive Sound Lite,” which can improve dialogue, and “Bass Boost,” which can give your audio more punch, are among the many sound enhancement features that are included with it.
Additionally, it supports surround content, but sadly, to play it, it must be downmixed into stereo.
Verdict: Samsung HW-A650
For a variety of uses, the Samsung HW-A650 is adequate. This soundbar comes with a lot of sound enhancing features and a fairly neutral sound profile that makes it suitable for listening to a wide variety of audio content. You don’t experience the rumble in bass-heavy music or action-packed movies because it still struggles to reproduce a thumpy low-bass. In order to play the content, it must also downmix surround audio into stereo, which doesn’t sound as realistic.
- Presets and graphic EQ.
- Gets loud.
- Lacks low-bass.
- Does not support Dolby Atmos.
Specific Details Of Samsung HW-A650
Exterior: Samsung HW-A650
Although the HW-A650 is the largest soundbar in the A series, it is still significantly smaller than some of the top-tier flagships. The one we have is very light and can fit even in more confined spaces, measuring only 38.6 x 2.3 x 4.1 (980.0 x 58.0 x 105.0 mm) and weighing 6.8 lbs (3.1 kg).
The HW-A650 borrows elements from all the other Samsung soundbars from this year and the year before in terms of design. There are subtle changes that has to do with sizes and obviously features each one bears but they all have a very distinctive “Samsung” look to them. There don’t appear to be any significant changes in the standard of material quality.
The top of the device is where Samsung has replaced the main material, plastic, with a perforated grille that has the exact same design as the one used at the front to cover the drivers. Since the HW-A650 doesn’t have any up-firing drivers, using the top grille is a bit of an odd design choice, but it does help the device stand out from the rest of the products in the same series.
The small chamfered top front corner, a feature of many Samsung soundbars, is present in this one as well, giving it a little more style and a more distinctive appearance. We once again find a set of buttons at the back side of the top face, which are very subdued due to their color and size.
Instead of the typical circular ones we find in most other metallic grilles, the full frontal metallic grille wraps slightly towards the bottom and has a more intriguing hole design. You shouldn’t even attempt to remove the front or top grilles because they are both irremovable.
The HW-A650 has a center channel, making it impossible to keep the front display in the same spot as the HW-A550, so Samsung has moved it to the far right corner this time. The front display is still fully functional and is also found behind the metallic grille. We do prefer this type of display because it is easier to read than LED lights, which are used in many low-cost units and frequently you can’t remember all of their configurations. Only three characters can be seen on the screen at once due to the display’s relative size, which means that you must scroll to see the entire message of whatever is displayed.
Only the two large insets, which house all the connection ports, are visible on the back of the device, which adheres to the same Samsung design philosophy. Make sure the main bar’s size won’t obstruct the IR sensor on your TV because there are no IR repeaters of any kind. Though it’s hard to say for sure, the soundbar has a fairly low profile. There are a few holes at the bottom of the unit, which are probably for cooling since it has a sealed design, as well as special holes for the wall brackets to lock in the event that you want to wall mount the device.
The included subwoofer actually appears to be a different model than the ones we saw in the recent HW-A550 review and the HW-T650 review from last year, combining features from both of them. The weight of the sub is 12.8 lbs (5.8 kg), and its dimensions are 8.1 x 13.9 x 11.9 (205.0 x 353.0 x 303.2 mm) and 11.9 x 11.9 x 11.9 (205.0 x 353.0 x 303.2 mm).
In terms of design, however, it does away with the side firing driver and opts for a forward firing one, similar to the A550. Since a side firing unit wouldn’t allow the sub to enter smaller spaces, we actually prefer this style because it gives the sub more flexibility. Like most subs of this type, the cabinet is made of wood, and the front grille is a typical cloth design that requires extra care to avoid tearing.
With a large air port at the top, the power connector in the lower left, the pair button and LED light in the right, and the power connector in the lower left, the back is fairly straightforward.
In comparison to many other inexpensive Samsung products, the HW-A650 is not all that different. The majority of Samsung soundbars have good aesthetics and acceptable material quality, and this particular model doesn’t stray too far from that standard.
Internal Hardware: Samsung HW-A650
Once more, Samsung doesn’t provide any specific details regarding the drivers that are being used. Both the manual and the specs sheet make no mention of their kind. Additionally, it’s difficult for us to recognize them on our own due to the soundbar’s non-removable metallic grille. According to the specifications and what we can see through the metallic grille, the soundbar has six drivers with a combined output of 30 watts for each of the three channels, for a total of 180 watts.
This indicates that each channel is using a dual driver setup, which we have seen in many releases before and that appears to be the same as the HW-T650 had last year.
The size of the subwoofer’s driver is also a matter of secrecy, and the only information we are given is that it has an output power rating of 250 watts, which in theory sounds excellent for the size and category of the soundbar and is actually a significant increase in power when you consider that the T650 had a 160 watt subwoofer last year.
A total power output of 430 watts is obtained by combining the 180 watts of the main soundbar and the 250 watts of the subwoofer, which is excellent in theory for such an inexpensive device. We will soon find out how this sounds in practice.
Control Options: Samsung HW-A650
Following that, we’ll examine the HW-A650’s controls, which appear to be unchanged from last year’s model. The control system we received in earlier releases is exactly the same here.
As a result, Samsung has built-in buttons on the top center of the soundbar, but they are positioned in the back rather than the front as we have seen with many other brands. To make it simpler to understand their function, these buttons are physical objects with symbolic shapes. The power button, which also serves as the Auto Power Down button, the volume controls, and the Source button for selecting the input mode are all located from left to right.
We appreciated that these buttons are physical because they are so much easier to use, but using a color that blends in with the rest of the soundbar makes them a little difficult to distinguish, especially at night. It would be better if a different color were used instead.
This time, Samsung is using the same One Remote that it has been using on a variety of their audiovisual products. As both soundbars have virtually identical features, they are functionally identical to the one we saw being used in the HW-A550.
The three buttons below the circular navigation controls are for sound mute, sound mode selection, and sound control including treble, bass, and audio sync. The two buttons above the navigation controls are used for source selection and Bluetooth pairing. For main volume on the left and woofer volume on the right are the two buttons at the bottom.
We adore the One Remote, but it could use a slight design update like the one we recently noticed in their TV lineup. Overall simple to use, requiring only a small number of buttons to complete all tasks, making life much simpler for non-technical users who don’t want to fiddle with complicated controls.
When using a HDMI cable to connect the soundbar to the TV, you can use the TV’s remote to operate some standard controls, like volume. This is possible because the soundbar supports HDMI-CEC. While it might not give you access to all supported functions, it might still be useful in some circumstances.
In terms of control options, the entire A series is extremely constrained. Due to the lack of WiFi, neither voice control nor support for mobile apps is available, which is a shame considering that many other low-cost devices already have these features. The HW-A650 is therefore only providing the bare minimum.
Extra Features And Services: Samsung HW-A650
The HW-A650 appears to have all of the same extra features as the HW-A550, demonstrating how similar these two devices are to one another.
The Dolby Audio (supporting Dolby Digital), DTS, and PCM 2ch formats appear to be supported by the HW-A650, which is a soundbar. Since there are no surround speakers, Dolby Digital and DTS must downmix the signal in order to use the full 5.1 channel signal. If you want even more immersion, there is also DTS Virtual: X, which is common in soundbars in this category. As usual, we will test it to see if it provides any appreciable differences from the other standard modes.
There haven’t been many changes made to the majority of the sound modes that are offered; nothing significant either. As a result, we have Standard, which outputs the original audio mix exactly as it is, Surround Sound, which offers a wider sound field than Standard mode, Game mode, which offers stereoscopic sound to immerse you in the action while gaming, Adaptive Sound Lite, formerly known as Smart Sound, which analyzes the content audio and provides the best sound field accordingly, Bass Boost, which boosts the low end for deeper bass, and finally, DTS Virtual: X, which attempts to simulate
There are no dedicated Dialogue or Night modes, but Samsung does include Dynamic Range Control (DRC), which allows you to apply dynamic range control to Dolby Digital tracks. When the DRC is activated, loud sounds are diminished, but this can cause a slight distortion of the sound, so use it carefully.
Bluetooth connectivity is also included with the HW-A650. A Bluetooth connection enables you to first stream audio from any mobile device. Additionally, the soundbar supports Bluetooth multi-connection, allowing you to simultaneously connect up to 2 devices. Finally, if your TV can support such a connection and you don’t want to deal with cables, you can also use Bluetooth to connect it to your TV.
Just remember that you cannot simultaneously connect your mobile device and TV. Two Bluetooth devices can only be used at once or the TV. Additionally, if you try to connect a third Bluetooth device while two are already connected, the first two will disconnect before connecting to the third one.
Almost all major audio formats are supported by the built-in USB port, at least the ones that are more widely used today. You can playback audio files from an external storage device. The location of the USB port is one issue that Samsung should really reevaluate. It is practically useless as-is because you have to lift the soundbar with one hand in order to access the port.
Things may be a little simpler if they are wall mounted, but in this case, we must weigh all of our options. The only other option that seems to work for this is to use a USB extension cable, but that will look awful and is definitely not how things should be.
Regarding the file formats supported, we have the standard MP3, WMA, AAC, and OGG for low-quality files, but we also have access to High Resolution Audio playback for FLAC, AIFF, and WAV files up to 192 kHz, which is nice to have for a relatively inexpensive device.
Now, if you are extremely interested in surround sound and the performance of the included DTS Virtual:X is not pleasing you, you have the option to purchase the additional SWA-9100S surround speakers and use them to create a full 5.1 channels surround system. The optional kit is very simple to set up, but because cables are still used to link the receiver module to the speakers and a power outlet, they cannot be considered fully wireless.
A Bluetooth Auto Power ON/OFF function is included as a final feature. Depending on how well the Bluetooth function is working, the device will automatically turn on or off. It will turn on when a Bluetooth signal is detected, and it will automatically turn off if there isn’t any Bluetooth activity for a while.
Initial Setup: Samsung HW-A650
The HW-A650 can really deliver ease of use if that’s what you’re looking for because connecting to it and setting it up in the beginning is very simple. The unit complies with all requirements in order to provide such an experience, which emphasizes how important simplicity is in this situation.
After the unit was unpacked, we connected the main unit and subwoofer to an electrical outlet and allowed them to automatically pair. Even so, the manual includes simple instructions on how to do that.
As we already mentioned, there are many options for connecting the unit. If you prefer a more wireless connection, there is Bluetooth, the optical digital port, and HDMI. Since HDMI offers the best quality and most reliable connections, we chose this option for our review.
To make the soundbar a pass-through device, we therefore connected our 4K UHD player to the HDMI input and our test TV to the HDMI output. Remember that the A650’s HDMI ports can only pass through a very limited number of 4K signals, and they are not capable of supporting full 4K with HDR at 60Hz, as we mentioned above in the connectivity section. Furthermore, since Samsung doesn’t specify which specific signals the device supports, 4K in general can be hit or miss. You must find another soundbar that supports full 4K with HDR pass-through if you consider this to be important.
When calibrating the device, you can adjust the bass and treble as well as the appropriate sound mode, but you can also go a little further because you can alter particular frequency bands. Additionally, if you have a kit for your rear speakers, you can individually adjust their volume.
Nothing else needs to be changed, and the whole thing shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to complete. Therefore, if convenience of use is crucial to you, the HW-A650 will undoubtedly satisfy you with what it has to offer.
Movies: Samsung HW-A650
This time, we made the decision to try something different, so we put the 4K UHD disc of Alien Covenant into our Panasonic UHD player, which features an excellent Dolby Atmos mix. We are forced to settle for the core Dolby Digital mix, which is equally impressive, since the HW-A650 does not support this format.
The device will undoubtedly provide you with what you would anticipate from a basic 3.1 channel device like this one. The front stage felt much more vibrant, pronounced, and in-depth than our TV could ever convey. In terms of sideways extension, there wasn’t much because the main unit lacked any kind of side-firing drivers that could have helped extend the sound wall’s boundaries past its physical boundaries.
But all of the action at the front felt very satisfying thanks to the three main channels’ excellent work. The front channels were well-separated with no overlapping, and the center channel greatly aided in maintaining the dialogue as distinct and clear as possible—much better than the HW-A550 we recently tested could.
The soundbar made sure to maintain a good balance between its channels output and dialogue in the final scene of the movie when they attempt to flee with the lander and Daniels confronts the protomorph. We never missed a single sentence despite the hectic action.
Unfortunately, as with most soundbars without surround speakers, it falls short when it comes to surround performance because the front was where all the action really started. Because there was no hardware to assist the unit in pushing the sound around us when using Adaptive mode, there was no indication of activity behind us or close to where we were sitting.
If you’re disappointed by this, the only way to get the best surround sound from the soundbar is to purchase the surround kit that it is compatible with. The other option is the built-in DTS Virtual: X, which aims to provide a similar experience without the use of actual speakers.
But does it succeed in producing a believable 360-degree soundstage? Well, not exactly; while DTS Virtual: X does increase sound volume and directionality, it in no way can take the place of a true surround system. Alien Covenant heavily relies on atmosphere, and when the group entered the crashed spaceship in the forest, we got nice directional effects that really felt closer to us. But in other instances, we could hear effects that were supposed to be coming from the back, which made the outcome feel unnatural and a little jumbled.
You receive X when you use DTS Virtual. However, this is not always the case. On occasion, it can actually enhance the sound quality when compared to the other standard modes. The audio loses some of its original characteristics as a result of being heavily processed to give it more dimension.
Although the included subwoofer had power at the low end, it didn’t seem to have a deep bass response. It didn’t have any trouble getting loud when the situation called for it and didn’t feel like it was going to choke. It cannot, however, go as low as some dedicated subs can. A hard-core user will undoubtedly feel like something is missing from this performance, but a casual user will likely appreciate it.
We advise using the Adaptive mode in the majority of situations and experimenting with DTS Virtual: X one in a few. For those who don’t want to constantly fuss with sound modes, the adaptive mode typically does a pretty good job of figuring out which sound option is best for you. It can effectively be a select and forget solution.
The soundbar largely lived up to expectations for this category. The extra power and additional center channel in the HW-A650 give you a slightly better output overall, so it was undoubtedly a small improvement over what the HW-A550 can do. It had a good front soundstage, nice channel separation, and a pleasingly neutral sound. Even with its high power rating, the subwoofer felt a little limited in its ability to produce very deep tones, but it will undoubtedly be adequate for the majority of listeners.
Music: Samsung HW-A650
We chose to test out a few chosen FLAC files through its port in order to get the best sound quality possible because, like the entire A-series, the HW-A650 supports both USB playback and High Resolution audio files.
With a few minor differences, the device did behave very similarly to how we actually recall the HW-A550 from our most recent test. Most likely because the center channel was used, the front soundstage appeared slightly more detailed and had a better sense of space.
The device was excellent at keeping the vocals front and center while relegating the other sounds to the other channels. Vocals in the center channel had just the right amount of vigor and excitement to be noticeable without being overpowering.
Although we have heard more transparent soundbars, this one may not be the most transparent option, but for its class, it performed about as you would expect. without exceeding its capabilities, a satisfactory separation of the sound sources and good details are achieved.
The HW-A650’s tone and sound signature were very similar to that of its smaller sibling, with a more or less neutral sound and a mid-range that appeared to receive the majority of the unit’s attention. The bass was loud, but lacked the weight we would expect from a rated subwoofer like the one we got here. The high frequencies were acceptable, but nothing particularly noteworthy.
The HW-A650 can work well with a wide range of genres, and for those who use it for casual use, it can be a great all-around solution, according to testing with various genres. You’ll definitely enjoy the sound of this one if you’re not overly picky about the musical quality you receive. If you keep your expectations in check, a Samsung soundbar can be a great investment because it can provide hours of music enjoyment.
System: Samsung HW-A650
A 3.1 system design includes the soundbar and subwoofer together. The 3 denotes the soundbar’s three channels, and the digit following the decimal indicates how many subwoofers are included.
The 3.1 system can be incorporated into your setup to create a full-fledged home theater through Bluetooth connection.
Sound Bar: Samsung HW-A650
The HW-A650’s soundbar has a dedicated center channel that improves speech. When watching dialogue, our experts immediately noticed the difference. For better audio, the soundbar also has built-in DTS Virtual:X and Dolby Digital decoders. The soundbar can produce expansive 3D surround sound due to the included technology, such as Adaptive Sound Lite.
Adaptive Sound Lite also creates more realistic sound to pair with the acoustics of your living room. The left and right channels can project sound in either direction to give you a surrounding experience.
Subwoofer: Samsung HW-A650
With a height of only 8 inches, the subwoofer has a slim profile. To help you find the sweet spot, the small size allows for flexible placement. With Bass Boost Technology, the bass notes in all of your content will stand out. A wider variety of placement options are available because the soundbar is connected wirelessly.
Editor’s choice: The best soundbars for Samsung TVs will really enhance an already amazing tech setup.
Connection: Samsung HW-A650
The Samsung HW-A650 has Bluetooth built-in, just like the majority of contemporary soundbar designs. Although Bluetooth is the simplest wireless connection, according to our team, it might not be as stable as Wi-Fi. However, because it is the most widely used wireless option, it increases the product’s adaptability.
The Samsung HW-A650 has a coveted HDMI input and output for wired connectivity, making it easy to plug in and start using a device with just one cable. Our experts always advise using HDMI , particularly in this Samsung HW-A650 review due to its ease of use and excellent audio-visual relays.
In the unlikely event that your TV does not support HDMI, the soundbar also provides digital optical as the next-best option.
Pricing: Samsung HW-A650
The Samsung HW-A650 is fairly affordable given what you get with the soundbar and subwoofer package. The majority of people looking to upgrade their home theater sound on a budget will find this model affordable at less than 500.
This soundbar is worth the money due to the additional audio enhancements, bass boost, connection flexibility, and high-quality connections.
Compared To Other Soundbars
The Wireless Surround Kit speakers, which are available separately, can be added to the Samsung HW-A650’s 3.1 setup. It replaces the Samsung HW-T650 from 2020 and has a few extra sound features like Adaptive Sound Lite, Game Mode, and Bass Boost, though we don’t test for these. It doesn’t support Dolby Atmos, and it lacks Q-Symphony or Acoustic Beam technology, unlike some of Samsung’s more expensive soundbars, like the Samsung HW-Q700A.
See also our picks for the best soundbars from Samsung, the best soundbars for under $500, and the best soundbars with a subwoofer.
A better soundbar than the 2.1 Samsung HW-A550 is the 3.1 Samsung HW-A650. The HW-A650 provides a discrete center channel that can reproduce dialogue from movies and TV shows more precisely and clearly. And it’s built better.
You might favor the Samsung HW-T650 over the Samsung HW-A650 because of their comparable overall performances. Both the construction and surround sound performance of the HW-A650 are superior. The HW-T650 can get a little louder and performs better in terms of soundstage, though.
An improved soundbar from Samsung is the HW-Q600A over the HW-A650. Instead of supporting Dolby Atmos like the 3.1 HW-A650, the HW-Q600A is a 3.1.2 setup. Additionally, it can passthrough signals with the highest bandwidth, and it has a few sound-improving features like Acoustic Beam and Q-Symphony that we don’t test for.
The Samsung HW-A650 performs a little bit better overall than the Samsung HW-Q60T, which are very closely matched in terms of performance. Some listeners might prefer the slightly more neutral sound profile that it has right out of the box.
Can You Recommend Any Samsung Soundbars?
Samsung soundbars are excellent, yes. Some of their soundbar models come with top-tier features at reasonable, low prices. For instance, the HW-A650 is a reasonably priced soundbar that offers all the sound enhancements, including DTS Virtual:X, Dolby Digital, and 3D surround sound.
How Long Does A Samsung Soundbar Last?
A Samsung soundbar is built to last. The brand’s products are made with dependability in mind and have a long shelf life. Many of their models are compatible with TVs, satellite speakers, subwoofers, and other devices made by the same Samsung company, giving devoted customers more options.
After conducting various Samsung HW-A650 reviews, our team combined the findings and came to the same conclusion: the HW-A650 is an excellent soundbar at a reasonable price. With your purchase, you not only get a subwoofer but also better audio quality thanks to Dolby Digital, DTS Virtual:X, Adaptive Sound Lite, and Bass Boost. Additionally, the dedicated center channel enhances dialogue clarity.
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