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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Samsung M450 Soundbar Review

Samsung M450 Soundbar Review
PRICE WHEN REVIEWED
  • $279
Soundbars can be bulky and expensive, but the Samsung HW-M450 provides decent sound in a compact and affordable package. Here's our Samsung M450 review.


SAMSUNG M450: PRICE
While some soundbars, like the Sonos Playbase, will set you back a cool £699/$699 – as much as some TVs alone – the Samsung is a much better value option for those with tighter purse strings.

The Samsung M450 price is £189/$279, which considering the features available, is very good. You can buy it from Amazon.

SAMSUNG M450: DESIGN AND BUILD
The Samsung M450 has a typical design for a soundbar. It's long, lightweight and pretty compact so should fit nicely in front of most TVs. The speaker isn't too tall either, so won't block the screen if your TV doesn't have a tall stand.

A display sits behind the black metal mesh. It shows show information such as volume level and input and works well but has to scroll for longer messages - even the word ‘standard’. That said, a lot of soundbars don't have a screen to provide a higher level of interaction.

The remote control is very much like Samsung's Q7F QLED TV, just with different buttons. It also has volume rockers for the master volume and the subwoofer, clicking the button in enables you to mute. Or in the subwoofer’s case, resets the level to zero (you can go into minus figures).

There are also four buttons on one end of the soundbar itself for power, source and volume - just in case you lose the remote.
In the box are brackets so you can mount the soundbar on the wall. You’ll just need to at least run the power cable to it.

Build quality isn't up to the standard of some rivals like the Sonos Playbar, but it's perfectly good for the price. The equipment doesn't feel cheap or badly made.

SAMSUNG M450: SOUND QUALITY AND FEATURES
A lot of soundbars are all-in-one, but there are still options if you want a more traditional 2.1 system. Here, the M450 handles the stereo speakers in the soundbar itself, then a separate subwoofer deals with the bass.

There's a decent 320W of power available here across the soundbar and subwoofer. We found the M450 plenty powerful enough to fill a medium sized room. Hidden away are four drivers inside the soundbar and a 7in woofer in the sub.

Overall the sound quality is decent for the price, you should notice a nice improvement compared to your TV unless it's a particularly decent model for sound. You get a clear and well-balanced response with a nice stereo field, too.

The subwoofer is fairly tame, but easy to set up - simply plug it into the mains and it will automatically link to the soundbar wirelessly - and does enhance the overall sound of course. Getting authentic bass without the soundbar trying to do everything is a bonus, but not everyone wants a separate sub though. Just remember that placement has a big effect on the sound.

Really, the sub being quite laid back is good as so many can simply overpower the sound. Here the M450 doesn't overly favour bass, mids or treble so you get good quality sound no matter what you're watching or listening to.

You can get dramatically better sound, but rivals that are superior in this area are a lot more expensive so this is a good value option.

For connectivity there are plenty of options with HDMI input and output (with audio return) but it's particularly neat that you can connect to TV with Bluetooth. You can also use it to connect to your smartphone or other gadgets and the remote can then be used to control playback which is handy.

There’s Also optical (digital input, or D.IN), aux and USB inputs – the latter for software updates.

A settings button on remote allows you to manually adjust the sound. You can adjust bass and treble levels, as well as the sync in case the picture on the TV doesn’t match up to what you’re hearing.

Surround sound option can be switched on or off and while you get a slightly larger soundstage, this is by no means a surround sound experience.

There are also sound profiles you can cycle though if you don’t like Standard. You can choose from Music, Clear Voice, Movie or Sports.

They don't change the sound dramatically and you'll have to remember to change them manually – there's no automatic detection like the Sky Soundbox – but they're worth a try. We think most people will be satisfied leaving it on movie mode the vast majority of the time.

SPECS
  • 2.1 system
  • LED screen
  • Optical S/PDIF
  • 3.5mm minijack (aux)
  • HDMI in
  • HDMI out (with audio return)
  • USB
  • Bluetooth
  • Power output: 320W
  • Active/Wireless Subwoofer 7in
  • Remote control
  • Surround sound mode
  • Dimensions (soundbar): 907x90x100mm - (subwoofer): 68x391x375mm

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