The Samsung HW-Q850A/ZA is a 5.1.2 channel Soundbar released in 2021. This is an upgrade of the Samsung HW-Q800T and the Samsung HW-Q850T

Upgrades equal to new features most of the time and this is no exception. Apple AirPlay 2 support, Alexa support and some sound enhancement features are just a few of the upgrades you can expect with this soundbar.

Samsung 5.1.2 Channel

List of Specifications

  • Channel configuration: 5.1.2
  • Product Dimensions:
    Soundbar  4.5 x 38.6 x 2.4 inches
    Subwoofer 15.8 x 15.8 x 8 inches
    Satellite speakers  3.5 x 5.8 x 3.5 inches
  • Weight 33.7 lbs / 15.3 Kg
  • Voice Assistant: Built-in Alexa
  • Number of speakers: 10
  • Wireless Audio Protocol Bluetooth Multi Connection
  • Bluetooth TV Connection
  • Wifi connection
  • Airplay 2 compatible
  • Toslink Optical Input
  • Full HDMI in
  • Audio Decoding Codecs Dolby Audio
  • Dolby Atmos
  • Amplifier Output 450 W

What’s good?

  • 5.1.2 channels
  • Impressive build quality
  • Dolby Atmos
  • Many connection modes: Bluetooth, Wifi, Airplay, Optical Audio, HDMI
  • Wireless playback via Bluetooth, Wifi and Apple Airplay 2
  • Graphic EQ and presets
  • Sound enhancement features
  • Alexa capability for voice control
  • Satellite speakers included
  • Gets loud

What’s not so good?

  • Sound distorts at very high volumes
  • The bass lacks adequate punch for some movie scenes

What’s in the box?

  • AC/DC adapter
  • 2x power cables
  • Power cord (wireless receiver module)
  • HDMI cable
  • 2x speaker wire for satellites
  • Wall mount guide
  • 2x wall mount brackets
  • 2x holder screw and screws
  • Rubber foot
  • Remote with batteries (2x AA)
  • Manual

Design and Build

The Samsung HW-Q850A/ZA 5.1.2 channel Soundbar stretches 4.5 x 38.6 x 2.4 inches and its subwoofer 15.8 x 15.8 x 8 inches. So it likely won’t fit between the legs of a 55 inch TV. It isn’t that tall though, so there will be sufficient room especially if the TV is mounted on the wall. 

Samsung 5.1.2 Channel Soundbar Review 1

The design is sleek and simple. A metal grille covers the top and front sides. The rest of the bar is made of plastic. Touch-sensitive control buttons sit atop the bar.

The subwoofer is mostly made of wood with a fabric covering one side. 

The satellite speakers have a metal grille that covers the front and sides. The top and bottom are made of plastic. 

Overall, the design is minimalistic in a way that blends well with most interiors. It is simple and gets the job done. The mounting brackets and screws that it ships with can be used to mount the bar onto the wall for a cleaner look.

Controls

Touch-sensitive buttons sit atop the soundbar. They let you adjust the volume and turn the microphone on and off. The multifunction button lets you change inputs, enable Alexa, and wake the bar up from off mode. 

A remote (with batteries included) comes in the box and lets you have more control than you would with the buttons on the bar. According to Samsung, it supports OneRemote which lets you control your Samsung TV.

The Samsung HW-Q850A/ZA comes with Amazon’s Alexa built-in, so you can use it to control the device via the inbuilt microphone. The microphone can be turned off if you don’t want it to listen to you.

Samsung 5.1.2 Channel

You can also use the Samsung SmartThings app which acts as a remote and lets you control some of the settings. However, you have to use the remote to sync, adjust the centre level or the front top level, and turn the virtual surround on and off.

Connectivity

The Samsung HW-Q850A/ZA 5.1.2 Channel Soundbar boasts a host of connectivity options both physical and wireless. 

The physical inputs include Optical audio in, HDMI ARC, HDMI OUT and full HDMI IN so you can use it as a hub between different devices. There is a micro USB port at the back but it is only for service and software updates so you won’t be able to use it for music playback.

ARC and HDMI IN support Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby DTS, DTS: X, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD MA and 5.1 PCM. Optical In supports Dolby Digital and DTS only.

There are incredible options on the wireless front.  You can stream audio from a mobile device to the bar wirelessly via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Apple AirPlay 2.

Samsung 5.1.2 Channel

The rear speakers and the subwoofer connect to the soundbar wirelessly. They communicate via a 5.8GHz frequency by default. This can be changed in the settings.

Performance

With a subwoofer and rear speakers added, the Samsung HW-Q850A/ZA is definitely one of the best performing sub $1000 sound bars on the market. 

It has a great stereo frequency response. Out-of-the-box, it offers balanced mid and treble ranges, so vocals and lead instruments are reproduced clearly and accurately. That said, it struggles to reproduce a punchy bass, so you don’t feel the deep rumbles in action-packed movies and bass-heavy music. 

A little tweaking of the graphic equalizer will go a long way in improving the bass response and sculpting the sound to your liking. 

The discrete centre channel in the 5.1.2 setup helps to reproduce dialogue more clearly which makes watching movies a great experience.

The rear speakers do a great job producing surround sound. Audio seems like it’s coming from all around you, rather than just from speakers placed in front of you. They accurately place sounds like footsteps in their right location relative to the listener.

The Dolby Atmos is acceptable. It uses two up-firing speakers on the bar to bounce sound off the ceiling and back down towards you, which creates the illusion of height. It isn’t as good as what you would find in down-firing home theatre setups but it does a commendable job.

The Samsung HW-Q850A/ZA has a good selection of sound enhancement features. A graphic equalizer will let you sculpt the sound to your ears’ desire and sound presets are also present for easier and quicker customisation. 

The auto-volume mode available in the app helps balance the volume level between different programs, and the ‘Active Voice Amplifier’ works as a dialogue enhancement feature to make voices more clear.

Other features include Acoustic Beam technology which is a virtual surround feature and Q-Symphony and SpaceFit Sound which sync the bar with your TV to create a more 3D sound.

Samsung Tap Sound is also a nice feature for pairing your compatible Samsung smartphone to the soundbar.

Competition

At $899.99, the Samsung HW-Q850A/ZA 5.1.2 Channel Soundbar is a fantastic product. It has ample features and this sound is great. How does it stack up against the competition?

Sonos ARC

Similarly priced as the Samsung, the Sonos ARC comes with a 5.0.2 channel configuration rather than the 5.1.2 configuration. The Samsung edges ahead due to the lack of a subwoofer in the Sonos. That extra bass makes a world of a difference when watching movies.

If your TV is smaller than 55 inches, you might want to opt for the Samsung as the Sonos will be wider than your TV. But if your TV is 65 inches and up, we’d probably recommend the extra width of the Sonos.  Buy Sonos ARC from Amazon.com!

Definitive Technology Studio 3D Mini Sound Bar

Also coming in at a similar price is the Definitive Technology Studio 3D Mini Sound Bar. This packs quite the punch for its size. It is smaller than the Samsung but doesn’t have rear speakers so the surround sound isn’t as great. 


If you prefer a smaller setup but with Dolby Atmos, then Studio 3D is for you. In all other areas, the Samsung dominates. Definitive Technology Studio 3D Mini Sound Bar is available at Amazon.com.

Conclusion

Overall, the Samsung HW-Q850A/ZA 5.1.2 Channel Soundbar is great for music, dialogue and movies. The surround sound makes movies more enjoyable and the crispness makes the music sound clearer and well balanced.

The bass is lacking a bit but a few tweaks on the graphic EQ will make it a tad better. 

It is feature rich with many sound shaping possibilities, multiple channels and a plethora of connectivity options. It will fit in almost any household situation.

Buy Samsung – 5.1.2-Channel Soundbar from Bestbuy.com today!

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