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Best Dolby Atmos soundbars 2021: the best Atmos TV speakers

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Best Dolby Atmos soundbars Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s guide to the best Dolby Atmos soundbars that you can buy in 2021...

If you'd like to upgrade your home theatre sound without drilling any holes in your ceiling or turning your living room into the speaker version of Stonehenge then you'll be pleased to know that with the help of a Dolby Atmos soundbar, you can enjoy truly immersive film screenings from the comfort of your home, without any clutter or dodgy DIY.

A Dolby Atmos soundbar could quite literally take your TV's audio to another level without the hassle and cost of a full install. These streamlined speakers can recreate the enveloping, 3D audio experience you'd get at the cinema. Most premium Atmos soundbars use upward-firing drivers to disperse sound vertically and reflect it off your ceiling – giving the effect of having overhead speakers. The result is that objects on your screen, such as circling helicopters or pouring rain, can be heard all around you.

In the last couple of years, a slew of Dolby Atmos soundbars have hit the market, and there's now a range of models to suit most budgets. The more you spend, the more features you tend to get and the more driver units the soundbars tend to use; hence, most of our entries tend to be pricier than ordinary soundbars. In our experience, spending more also means you should get more convincing home cinema sound. That said, if you are looking for a model at the more affordable end of the market, our best budget soundbars page is here to help. If you'd like more advice, then head on over to our dedicated guide on how to choose and set up a soundbar.

You don't have to look far to find Dolby Atmos content, either. Besides 4K Blu-ray discs, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Disney+ offer plenty of Atmos movies and TV shows. Ready to boost your binge-watching with the best Atmos soundbar? Let's take a look at the options...

Best Dolby Atmos soundbar: Sony HT-A7000

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Sony HT-A7000

Powerful and muscular room-filling Dolby Atmos from a single soundbar

Specifications
Connectivity: eARC, 2*HDMI 2.1, optical, USB, WiFi, Ethernet
Sound format support : Dolby Atmos/ Dolby AudioTM/ DTS:X/ DTS-HD/ PCM
Streaming : Chromecast, Bluetooth 5, Apple Airplay 2, WiFi
Voice control : Google Assistant, Alexa
Dimensions (hwd) : 8 x 130 x 14 cm
Weight: 8.7kg
Reasons to buy
+Robust low-end+Excellent Atmos performance+Feature-rich
Reasons to avoid
-No VRR or ALLM at launch-EQ controls would be nice-Slightly confused styling

Sony has excellent form with soundbars, and the 2021 What Hi-Fi? Award-winning HT-A7000 is no different. A 7.1.2 slab of sound, this Dolby Atmos soundbar packs in two up-firing speakers, two beam tweeters, five front-facing drivers and a built-in dual subwoofer into a single chassis. Using a combination of driver placement and psychoacoustic techniques, the Sony HT-A700 delivers a broad and high soundstage, whether you’re watching immersive content or not, while retaining musicality, presence and detail.

In terms of height and precision, the performance is similar to that of the Sonos Arc, but the width of the soundstage and its forward projection is more convincing. It’s not the same as having direct audio from the speaker above or the side, but it’s effective and dramatically enticing, enriching the viewing experience. The integrated sub is also particularly impressive with a taut, controlled and powerful performance.

 The A7000 excels itself with its extensive audio formats support, which includes Dolby Atmos (in both the Digital+ and TrueHD formats), DTS:X, LPCM, hi-res wireless audio and Sony 360 Reality Audio.

The A7000 is as packed with streaming smarts as it is stuffed with speakers with Spotify ConnectApple AirPlay 2Google Chromecast all on board and integration into a multi-room system – with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Google Home all supported. 

Alongside two HDMI 2.1 pass-through sockets capable of handling 8K@60Hz, 4K@120Hz, and Dolby Vision HDR, there are ports for eARC, analogue and optical audio inputs and USB type-A. There’s also an analogue output for Sony’s Acoustic Center Sync, which lets a compatible Bravia TV become part of the soundbar’s centre channel when the two are connected using the supplied cable.

The Sony HT-A7000 is an outstanding, future-proofed, all-in-one performer with excellent integration if you have a newer Sony Bravia TV.

Read the full review: Sony HT-A7000

Home cinema soundbar: Sonos Beam Gen 2

(Image credit: Sonos)

2. Sonos Beam Gen 2

The dinky Sonos Beam delivers a refined sound and excellent Dolby Atmos interpretation

Specifications
Sound format support: Dolby Atmos DP / Dolby Atmos True HD / Dolby Digital / Multichannel PCM/ Dolby Multichannel PCM / stereo PCM
Connectivity: 1 x HDMI eARC, Wi-Fi, Ethernet
Voice control: Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Dimensions (hwd) : 7 x 65 x 10cm
Weight: 2.8 kg
Reasons to buy
+Effective handling of Dolby Atmos+Warm, refined sound+Streaming smarts
Reasons to avoid
-No additional HDMI ports-Doesn’t support DTS:X

Delivering Dolby Atmos from a small chassis is no mean feat but the 2021 What Hi-Fi? Award-winning Sonos Beam Gen 2 achieves a convincing, immersive performance without so much as a vertical speaker in sight. Instead, when watching Atmos content, two of the soundbars five front-facing arrays are dedicated to reproducing overhead and surround sounds. With its hefty processing power, the Sonos Beam Gen 2 uses psychoacoustic HRTF (head-related transfer function) technology to give the impression of height without needing to get vertical.

While genuine overhead sounds are perhaps a stretch too far for this petite performer, its virtual delivery of the Atmos format outstrips any similarly priced soundbar and even a few that are more expensive. The Beam Gen 2 offers an enveloping, spatial soundscape with rich, detailed audio as well as tangible motion and depth. 

Not that many soundbars at this price point come with networking capabilities, but this being a Sonos product, the Beam Gen 2’s ability to integrate into a wireless multiroom system is fundamental to its design. This means you can stream to the Beam Gen 2 from a handheld device using Apple AirPlay 2, and Spotify Connect is built-in too. There will also be a forthcoming upgrade to add support for Amazon Music Ultra HD audio, which will give access to lossless 24-bit/48kHz tracks as well as Dolby Atmos Music.

Despite the lack of upward drivers, if space and budget are limited there isn't a better Dolby Atmos soundbar that we'd recommend.

Read the full review: Sonos Beam Gen 2


 

Sonos Arc Dolby Atmos soundbar

(Image credit: Sonos)

3. Sonos Arc

The best Dolby Atmos soundbar we've heard at the money.

Specifications
Sound formats: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Atmos, Dolby True HD, Dolby Digital Plus
Connectivity: 1 x HDMI eARC, 1 x optical digital, Wi-Fi, Ethernet
Voice control: Amazon Alexa, Google, Assistant
Dimensions: 8.7 x 114 x 12cm (HxWxD)
Reasons to buy
+Convincing Dolby Atmos+Dynamic, detailed and weighty+All of the usual Sonos smarts
Reasons to avoid
-Music could be better projected-Heavily reliant on your TV’s specs

Soundbars aren't new territory for Sonos, but the 2021 What Hi-Fi? Award-winning Arc is the only soundbar from the brand to deliver Dolby Atmos with verticle speakers. It sits above the Beam (Gen 2) in terms of pricing and is suited to 55in TVs and above, with optional wall mounting fixings available for £79 ($79/AU$99) .

There are touch-sensitive play/pause and volume controls on the bar with LEDs that indicate status and when you're talking to the built-in Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. Connectivity includes AirPlay 2, ethernet and eARC for Dolby Atmos from compatible TVs.

The Sonos Arc uses 11 drivers to create your soundfield, a number of which are upward-firing and angled into your room to bounce sound off your walls and ceiling and give you a more realistic Dolby Atmos effect. It all adds up to one of the most convincing Atmos performances you can get from a soundbar.

You're transported to the heart of the action. Surround effects are expertly placed and there's great dynamism and good weight to the sound too. Tonally, it's nicely balanced if you just want to listen to music, although it could sound a tiny bit more direct. But, there's no doubt this is a hugely impressive Dolby Atmos soundbar for the money.

Read the full review: Sonos Arc

Sennheiser Ambeo Dolby Atmos Soundbar

(Image credit: Future)

4. Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar

If money's no object, this is the best Dolby Atmos soundbar we've tested recently.

Specifications
Sound formats: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X
Connectivity: 3x HDMI In, 1x HDMI Out (eARC), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet
Dimensions: 13.5 x 126.5 x 17.1 cm (HxWxD)
Reasons to buy
+Rich, natural sound+Dynamic and detailed+Convincing 3D surround
Reasons to avoid
-Large-Expensive-Fussy with positioning

Sennheiser's Ambeo Soundbar is hugely impressive in both senses of the word. It's a beast, standing almost 1.3m wide – that's noticeably larger than the competition. (It's also a lot heavier, which is good intel if you're thinking of lugging it back from the shops on the bus.) But all that extra space has been put to excellent use. While most soundbars rely on an external subwoofer, the Ambeo simply crams in larger, more powerful drivers – and it works a treat. 

You can expect spine-tingling 3D audio that sounds totally effortless, sparkling dialogue and plenty of bottom-end grunt. Connectivity is just as impressive, with Bluetooth 4.2 and Chromecast for streaming. 

Admittedly its size makes it a little tricky to position. And it doesn't come with a wall mount, so you might need a separate trip to your local hardware store. But once you're squared away the results are breathtaking. 

The absolute best-sounding – not to mention most expensive – soundbar we've tested so far, which is why it retained its title once again at the 2021 What Hi-Fi Awards.

Read the full review: Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar

Home Theatre System: Sony HT-A9

(Image credit: Sony)

5. Sony HT-A9 speaker system

The HT-A9 redefines accessible home cinema sound with an innovative, immersive and flexible sound

Specifications
Connections : 1 x eARC, 1 x HDMI input
Video pass-through: 4K@60fps; Dolby Vision, HLG, HDR
Chromecast, Apple AirPlay 2, Bluetooth 5: Yes
Voice Control : Works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
Audio formats : Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Dual mono, DTS, DTS HD High-Resolution Audio, DTS HD Master Audio, DTS ES, DTS 96/24, DTS:X, LPCM
Dimensions (hwd): Speakers: 31 x 16 x 14.8cm; control hub: 5 x 15 x 15cm
Speaker weight : 0.45kg
Reasons to buy
+Not fussy about positioning+Entertaining, detailed, cinematic+Strong feature set
Reasons to avoid
-The additional sub is pricey-Slightly bright with stereo music-Appearance is a bit bland

Ok, so it’s not a soundbar, but we think that anyone considering a soundbar should also consider this. Sony’s HT-A9 offers the same compact, plug and play convenience and streaming features of a top-quality soundbar but has the integration and immersive sound of a traditional surround package.

Consisting of four identical-looking grey wireless speakers and a hub that connects to your TV, the Sony HT-A9 is a flexible, complete Dolby Atmos cinema in one box. Each of the four speakers contains a 19mm front-facing tweeter and full range X-balanced driver, as well as an upward-firing X-balanced driver that bounces sound off the ceiling. 

Sony stresses that the speakers don’t need to be placed at the same height or in a regulated formation and encourages users to position the speakers arbitrarily, promising an even, uniform and immersive soundfield regardless of the symmetry of your set-up. 

In terms of supported audio codecs, the A9 is well specced, with Dolby Atmos (in the Digital+ and TrueHD formats), DTS:X, LPCM, hi-res wireless audio and Sony 360 Reality Audio. The latter is a spatial technology intended to surround the listener, with compatible content available from TidalAmazon Music HD, Nugs and Deezer. When watching or listening to more standard stereo fare, the ‘Immersive AE’ setting on the remote can be engaged to up-mix content to create a 3D version that uses the height speakers and the rears.

The HT-A9’s Atmos performance is better than any soundbar we’ve tested. Having four equally sized, capable and wide-ranging speakers means that sounds from off-screen are as well conveyed as those from the front. And there’s a refined precision and texture, and, while not infallible, it is incredibly forgiving with placement.  This is an accessible and generous set-up for people who want to add entertaining audio to their living room without being precious and would well suit those with large families or who live in awkward spaces.

Read the full review: Sony HT-A9

Sony HT-ST5000 Dolby Atmos soundbar

(Image credit: Sony)

6. Sony HT-ST5000

Not the cheapest Dolby Atmos soundbar, but this Sony does the business.

Specifications
Sound formats: Dolby Atmos
Connectivity: 1 x HDMI, 3 x HDCP 2.2, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet
Dimensions: : 8 x 118 x 14.5cm (HxWxD)
Reasons to buy
+Breathtaking sound+Detailed bass+Simple set-up
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks a little midrange-Expensive

Sony's HT-ST5000 is a true game-changer: if you're looking for epic Dolby Atmos sound from a compact set-up, you've found it in this 2019 What Hi-Fi? Award winner.

A separate subwoofer and two upward-firing drivers create cinematic sound on a grand scale, pairing a superb sense of height with plenty of depth and power. But despite its titanic arrangement and high level of sophistication, it's compact and easy to get up and running - the perfect marriage of performance and convenience.

Movies aside, it makes an excellent wireless speaker thanks to its punchy dynamics. Features include Chromecast compatibility and Sony's hi-res audio upscaling technology, which promises better sound from lower-quality files. You can't polish a Bublé, but at least you can improve the sound quality.

It might be on the pricey side, but this Sony soundbar delivers five-star sound quality that makes it worth every penny. And if you shop around, you should find it for a few hundred less than its original launch price. Happy days.

Read the full review: Sony HT-ST5000

Sony HT-G700 Dolby Atmos Soundbar

(Image credit: Future)

7. Sony HT-G700

A good entry-level Atmos soundbar with plenty of bass.

Specifications
Sound formats: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X
Connectivity: 1 x HDMI (eARC), 1 x HDMI input, Bluetooth
Dimensions (HxWxD): 6 x 98 x 11cm (bar); 39 x 19 x 40cm (subwoofer)
Power output: 400W
Reasons to buy
+Big, weighty sound+Impressive Atmos effect+Solid and stylish
Reasons to avoid
-Lack of crispness and clarity-No streaming functionality

If you're on a tight budget, the Sony HT-G700 could be just the ticket. It might not be the most compact bar around, but it's certainly big on sound, big on value and comes with a wireless subwoofer, dedicated HDMI input and support for both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.  

Sony’s own Vertical Surround Engine and S-Force Pro Front Surround technologies dish up a convincing Dolby Atmos soundscape while that chunky subwoofer (39cm-tall) adds plenty of heft to big explosions. 

Of course, being an entry-level Dolby Atmos soundbar, it doesn't compare to the much pricier Sony HT-ST5000 (above) in terms of clarity. It also lacks music streaming features and voice control.   

Still, if you're after a dedicated bit of home cinema kit on a budget, the powerful-sounding HT-700 serves up a seriously cinematic performance at a nice price.

Read the full review: Sony HT-G700 

Yamaha YSP-5600 Dolby Atmos Soundbar

(Image credit: Yamaha)

8. Yamaha YSP-5600

This big and expressive-sounding Dolby Atmos soundbar packs a punch.

Specifications
Sound formats: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X
Connectivity: 1 x HDMI (ARC), 4 x HDMI input, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay, Ethernet
Dimensions: : 21.2 x 110 x 9.3cm (HxWxD)
Reasons to buy
+Good streaming connectivity+Straightforward set-up+Thrilling soundstage
Reasons to avoid
-Front display too small-Bulky

Yamaha was one of the first brands to bring out a Dolby Atmos soundbar, so this is now the granddaddy of the group. It's aged like a fine wine, though, and is still one of the best Dolby Atmos soundbars out there.

The YSP-5600 uses a grand total of 46 speakers to simulate 3D sound equivalent to 7.1.2 channels, creating a gigantic soundfield that deftly distributes audio with outstanding accuracy. 

Yamaha offers the option of a wireless subwoofer but it’s not really needed. If there's one thing this soundbar doesn’t lack, it is power. It's not exactly svelte but you can expect to be rewarded with gutsy low-end performance and subtle dynamics – even when you crank it up. There’s a nice spread of connectivity and Yamaha’s excellent MusicCast app makes it easy to stream from a smartphone and indeed to other compatible products in a multi-room set up. 

Since its launch, competition has got a whole lot hotter, but the YSP-5600 has stood the test of time and still performs admirably.

Read the full review: Yamaha YSP-5600

Sony HT-ZF9 Dolby Atmos Soundbar

(Image credit: Sony)

9. Sony HT-ZF9

A small but mighty Dolby Atmos soundbar for the money.

Specifications
Sound formats: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X
Connectivity: 1 x HDMI (ARC), 2 x HDMI input, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet
Dimensions: : 6.4 x 100 x 9.9cm (HxWxD)
Reasons to buy
+Simple to use+Rich, balanced sound+Good surround processing
Reasons to avoid
-Dynamics could be sharper-Can be fiddly

This sensibly-priced Dolby Atmos soundbar is a good choice for those who want to enjoy audio fireworks without decimating their bank account. Sony has done things a little differently here since there are no dedicated upward-firing drivers. Instead, the bar creates 7.1.2 surround sound using clever psychoacoustic technologies. The effect works beautifully, enveloping you in three-dimensional sound.

So is this a 'true' Dolby Atmos soundbar? Purists might quibble with the definition. Let's call it 'Dolby Atmos lite'. It might not be as immersive as the Sennheiser Ambeo or pricier Sony above, but it's hugely convincing, tonally refined and a whole lot more wallet-friendly. 

Calibration is a doddle, too, while connectivity and features are spot on. Spotify and Chromecast are present and correct, and you can expect higher-quality Bluetooth playback thanks to Sony's LDAC technology.

If you don't have the funds or space for the more expensive Sony or Sennheiser, this Sony HT-ZF9 is a great option. 

Read the full review: Sony HT-ZF9

 

LG SP8YA Dolby Atmos Soundbar

(Image credit: LG)

10. LG SP8YA

A mid-range Dolby Atmos soundbar that proves less is more

Specifications
Sound formats: Dolby Atmos, Dolby AudioTM, DTS:X, DTS-HD, PCM
Connectivity: eARC, 1x HDMI, optical, USB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, AirPlay 2, Chromecast
Dimensions: hwd: 5.7 x 106 x 12cm (bar); 39 x 22 x 31cm (sub)
Reasons to buy
+Extensive feature set+Room-filling soundscape+Easily expanded with surrounds 
Reasons to avoid
-Sub lacks definition and impact-Missing some height precision 

Up until recently, LG's soundbars have proven to be a bit of a mixed bag, but the company has redeemed itself with its 2021 line-up and the SP8YA is no exception.

This Dolby Atmos soundbar with a wireless sub is bang smack in the middle of the range in terms of price and size but retains the connectivity features of the higher-end models. There's eARC, plus another HDMI 2.1 input with 4K Dolby Vision and HDR10 pass-through as well as an optical input and a USB port. Streaming is well catered for too. Alongside Bluetooth and wi-fi, there’s Chromecast and Apple Airplay 2, and if you have access to hi-res content, you’ll be pleased to know the soundbar can handle audio of up to 24-bit/192kHz quality.

Sonically this 3.1.2 package also punches above its weight with a broad, vibrant soundstage that can easily match the cinematic scale of larger screens. It can also be easily upgraded to 5.1.2 by the addition of the SPK8 2.0 surround kit for around £130 ($180, AU$249).

There are better performers in terms of height available, like the Sonos Arc, and the low end is a little loose and undefined but for those looking for a reasonably priced Dolby Atmos soundbar with a high tech spec and a detailed, room-filling sound, the SP8YA is worth considering.

Read the full review: LG SP8YA

Soundbar: Samsung HW-Q950A

(Image credit: Samsung)

11. Samsung Q950A

Samsung’s HW-Q950A soundbar fires on all cylinders at all times

Specifications
Sound formats : Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby True HD, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X
Connections : eARC, 2 x HDMI, optical
Video passthrough : 4K@60fps HDR 10+ and Dolby Vision
AirPlay 2, Amazon Alexa built-in: Yes
Dimensions (hwd) : 7 x 123 x 14cm (bar); 40 x 21 x 40cm (sub); 20 x 13 x 14cm (surround)
Reasons to buy
+Extremely present centre channel+Room-filling sound+Excellent feature set
Reasons to avoid
-Rears can be distracting-Subwoofer not well integrated-Not the most nuanced or dynamic

With a generous 22 drivers delivering 11.1.4 surround sound, the HW-Q950A offers the greatest number of channels of any soundbar on the market right now, as well as 3D audio format support from both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

The Q950A has two HDMI inputs and one output (with support for eARC), an optical-in and the power socket while the soundbar’s microphone allows for commands to the built-in Amazon Alexa voice assistant and can also be used to monitor background levels, as the Q950A has a nifty feature to boost the centre channel for more transparent dialogue if ambient noise increases - though we doubt you’ll feel the need to use it. 

 At 130cm long, the main unit of the HW-Q950A isn’t tiny, but it’s nevertheless shorter than many other flagship Dolby Atmos models available at the moment. Inside the left, centre and right channels alongside a pair each of upward-firing, surround and wide surround drivers. The separate sub houses a single 8-inch speaker while the wireless surround units each contain three drivers - one facing towards the front of the room, one upwards and the last one towards the listening position.  

And if you happen to own a 2021 Samsung TV, you can further enhance the driver count by using a Samsung feature called ‘Q-Sybmphony’  that allows the TV's internal speakers to work in conjunction with the soundbar package to add more height and space to the soundfield.

With plenty of sonic vigour, features and speakers, the Q950A offers a potent listening experience. While it’s not the most nuanced or spacious performer, those looking to splash out on a Dolby Atmos soundbar that can deliver big, punchy audio and supremely clear vocals will likely not be disappointed by the Q950A.

Read the full review Samsung HW-Q950A review

LG SP11RA Dolby Atmos Soundbar

(Image credit: LG)

12. LG SP11RA

An enjoyable and immersive top-end soundbar package

Specifications
Sound formats: Dolby Atmos, Dolby AudioTM, DTS:X, DTS-HD, PCM
Connectivity: eARC, 2x HDMI, optical, USB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, AirPlay 2, Chromecast
Dimensions: 6.3 x 144 x 14.6cm (bar); 39 x 22 x 31cm (sub); 21 x 13 x 19cm (rears)
Reasons to buy
+Detailed top end+Large, well-spread soundscape +Comprehensive feature set 
Reasons to avoid
-Looks don’t match the price tag -Lacks a little punch-Sub feels one dimensional 

The SP11RA is a big investment in terms of money and space with a separate sub and two surround speakers, not to mention that the main soundbar clocks in at 144cm long.  However, it’s still a more convenient and less overwhelming undertaking than building a true home cinema system, particularly one that could hope to match the LG’s 7.1.4 channels of excellent Dolby Atmos action.

So what's underneath all the black brushed metal? The main bar has three front-facing channels, two ‘surround’ channels at either end of the bar and on the top surface are a pair of upward-firing height speakers. The wireless sub houses an 18cm driver and rear port, while the rears each have a front and upward-firing driver.

We're pleased to report that all those drivers aren't going to waste; the SP11RA is a big improvement from previous LG models. It’s got a nimble and detailed top end and is easy to listen to, creating an even, immersive listening experience. While you may have to give up some space to house it, its connectivity spec is one of the most comprehensive and future-proofed we’ve seen.

Read the full review: LG SP11RA 

Samsung HW-Q800A Dolby Atmos Soundbar

(Image credit: Future)

13. Samsung HW-Q800A

This Dolby Atmos soundbar packs a punch

Specifications
Connections: eARC, HDMI, optical
Sound formats: Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, LPCM 8Ch, Bluetooth 4.2, AirPlay 2
Dimensions: (hwd) 6 x 98 x 11.5cm (bar); 40 x 21 x 40cm (sub)
Reasons to buy
+Spacious presentation+Weighty, articulate sub+Good range of features
Reasons to avoid
-Could be more insightful-Height channel lacks precision

Very few soundbar packages have a sub that can perform as well as Samsung's Q800A with a muscular, room-filling sound and a gut-busting bass, all contained within a relatively small unit.

As for the main unit, it houses three forward-facing channels, and on the top are two upward-facing tweeters that provide height channels for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X formats. The whole system offers a capable 3.2.1 channels of articulate, cinematic sound. There's also the option to add Samsung's compatible upward-firing surrounds (SWA-9500S) to boost the Q800A to a mighty 5.1.4 system.

And if you happen to own a 2021 Samsung TV, you can enhance the Q800A's sonic performance by using a new feature called ‘Q-Sybmphony’  that allows the TV's internal speakers to work in conjunction with the soundbar package to add more height and space to the soundfield.

Not only does the Q800A offer powerful overall performance, but it also has a broad feature set. Alongside two HDMI ports (one equipped with eARC) and an optical input, there’s Bluetooth and, once connected to wi-fi, you can stream via Spotify Connect and AirPlay 2, all of which can be controlled by the built-in Amazon Alexa voice assistant.

The Q800A is priced to compete directly with the Sonos Arc, and although the latter is crisper and more precise when handling height elements, the Samsung offers a present and compelling listen as well as an epic sense of scale at the low end of the sonic spectrum, which no solo soundbar could ever hope to match.

Read the full review: Samsung HW-Q800A

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Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.

  • bsmurfy
    Reason for the lack of an atmos enabled passive soundbar?
    Reply
  • Skash
    bsmurfy said:
    Reason for the lack of an atmos enabled passive soundbar?
    Because passive uses the current from the audio to power the speakers where active speakers inject and modifies the sound to actually have better quality where passive degrades the quality, welcome to the laws of physics.
    Reply
  • boristyk
    What about Samsung's soundbars? No reviews last time...
    Reply
  • TheWhiteWolf
    You listed the Samsung Q800A as costing $248 but it's a $780 soundbar. The link takes you only to 2 Samsung rear speakers, which are $250 on their own. You should change the $247.99 price you listed to the correct price of $777.99, which is what it costs on Amazon.
    Reply