The name Samsung and technology go hand in hand. Be it smartphones, refrigerators, televisions, or anything else, if it is consumer-oriented and belongs to the technology world, there are high chances that this Korean giant is making a good chunk of the electronics you are using.
They are a crucial player in the soundbar industry too, and we are talking about one of their products today – the HW-R650.
You will find Samsung offering products across prices segments to woo all kinds of buyers. The HW-R650 is a budget-oriented soundbar offering a decent combination of style and power. There is a subwoofer in the package, and you get up to 340W of audio output which should suffice for most users.
Let’s delve deeper into the world of the Samsung HW-R650 without further ado.
List of specifications
|Product Dimensions||41.7 x 2.2 x 3.5 inches (soundbar)
7.9 x 13.9 x 11.9 inches (subwoofer)
|Weight||Soundbar – 2.9kg
Subwoofer – 6kg
|Amplifier output||Soundbar – 180W
Subwoofer – 160W
|Wireless Audio Protocol||Bluetooth 2.1|
|Audio Decoding Codecs||Dolby Digital
DTS Digital Surround
|Subwoofer Driver Size||1 x 6.5 inches|
|Connectivity||HDMI in/out with Audio Return Channel
- The sound output doesn’t get muffled even at the highest levels
- Sturdy build
- Excellent balance and decent stereo output
- Not enough sub-bass
- Lacks height channels
- Dolby Atmos and 4K passthrough missing
What’s in the box?
- User manual
- The HW-R650 bar
- Wireless subwoofer (PS-WR65D)
- Remote Control (AH59-02767A)
- 2 “AA” batteries
- AC powered adapter with an attached 58-inch DC cord
- 58-inch Optical digital cable
- Two screws
- Two screw-holders
- Two wall-mount brackets
- Wall-mount template
Design and build
The Samsung HW-R650 is a compact device which chooses simplicity as its central focus. The setup comprises two external parts – the main bar and a subwoofer. The bar is a long slab made of good quality polycarbonate, and a metal grill encloses the speakers.
The metal adds to the aesthetics of the device, and you will find four traditional controls on the right side. Minimalism is evident here with the non-obtrusiveness of the buttons and their placement.
The soundbar has a width of 41.7 inches, 2.2-inch height, and a depth of 3.5 inches which makes it look out of sync with TVs smaller than 55 inches. The subwoofer on the other hand, has an exterior that is made mostly of wood, an MDF fibreboard to be precise, which makes it lightweight and sturdy. It carries a ported speaker design with a rear placement.
The speaker is 13.9 inches high, 7.9-inch wide, and has a depth of 11.9 inches which makes it of average size, and the placement is important to get the most out of it. Unfortunately, there are no satellite speakers to provide you with extra oomph.
The overall build presents a usual-Samsung mid-range picture, good quality plastic that is bound to stand the test of time, and we are more than happy with it.
You get four buttons on the side of the Samsung HW-R650 bar and remote control to manage the device. The buttons on the soundbar are for managing the volume and powering the device. The last button is for switching between the input sources.
Also present is a small display on the front of the device which displays the action undertaken from the remote or the side buttons. There are instances when you have to scroll to be able to read the entire message, and if you find it obtrusive, you can find other models carrying a larger display.
Additionally, there is a Samsung Audio remote App which lets your smartphone pair with the bar and control it to an extent. There are no options to tweak the settings or manage your Bluetooth connection, but you can cast the files on your smartphone onto the soundbar.
There are a lot of connectivity options attached to the Samsung HW-R650, be it wired or wireless. You get a full HDMI In/Out, optical as well as wireless abilities. The woofer connects wirelessly to the main system, which means that you will only need a power outlet to let it shine.
It has support for Dolby Digital and DTS, but the 3.1 configuration means downmixing to accommodate the codecs. Most of the leading platforms support these techs, and you will have no issues in finding content.
But the lack of uncompressed sound formats such as Atmos means it lacks the truly immersive experience of its competitors. The Optical Audio In also suffers from the same constraint, and you will have to resort to a limited experience.
If we talk about wireless playback, there is Bluetooth built-in which lets you play your favourite music wirelessly. Unfortunately, if you are looking for AirPlay or Chromecast, they don’t make the final cut. Another gripe that most users would have is the lack of 4K passthrough, which means you won’t be able to watch content in that resolution even if other devices in the chain have the support.
A budget offering, the HW-R650 offers a 3.1 channel setup. It has a dedicated center channel which means consuming movies and anything that emphasizes on dialogues primarily will be an enjoyable experience. It also comes with a subwoofer which adds in the necessary heft and surround sound feel. You also get a tonne of nifty features to enhance your overall experience, irrespective of whether you are watching a movie or playing games.
Since it is a budget purchase, you cannot expect the detailing to match that of the flagships. It has a frequency response of 42Hz to 20Hz, which is perfectly acceptable for its price. The Low-Frequency elevation means that it lacks emphasis on sub-bass, and the results prove it.
The soundstage is decent, but the bar doesn’t emphasize widening it further. The focus is acceptable, and there is noticeable variation when you play something at higher volumes. The bass is sufficient, but the lack of height channels means that the experience may seem lacking when drawing the users in.
As mentioned above, it has a dedicated center channel, which elevates dialogue delivery, and it feels great to listen to podcasts. However, the surround sound is equally weak and suffers from downmixing due to hardware and software limitations. It only uses the left and right speakers which means it throws everything from the front, and there is nothing from the sides or your behind.
Thankfully, there are a lot of sound enhancements features built into the device. It has dialogue enhancement features to elevate voices and make them crisper. For Dolby Digital tracks, it lets you control the dynamic range as well.
Equalizing your way out
If you are unhappy with the default sound profile, the Samsung HW-R650 offers you a 7-band graphic EQ. you can change the bass levels, treble, and adjust the woofer level to tweak the sound that comes out of the soundbar.
The $400 price tag is very competitive, and you will be hard-pressed to look for alternatives. The Samsung HW-R650 is a soundbar that does what you expect it to, and that’s not a bad thing. The dedicated subwoofer adds heft to the overall bass, but we sorely miss the sub-bass. It gets pretty loud too but struggles with deep frequencies as is the norm in the price range.
A cheaper sibling to the HW-R650, the Samsung HW-R550 gets everything sans the dedicated center channel. If you are looking for a similar output but want to spend less, it is the one to choose.
The Samsung HW-Q60R has the same bar as that of the HW-R650, but it has a 5.1 configuration instead. The addition comes in the form of Samsung’s Acoustic Beam upward-firing speakers which improves not only the sub-bass but also the surround sound performance.
The Samsung HW-Q70R is a 3.1.2 surrounding soundbar which is good for mixed usage. It supports Atmos, which is missing in the HW-R650 and gets loud too. There are two upward-firing speakers which amp up the sub-bass. But the performance isn’t as impressive, and it cannot downmix.
Is it worth buying?
The Samsung HW-R650 lacks the beam design found in many other soundbars from the Korean giant, and we do not expect satellite speakers at this price point. However, the dedicated center speaker brings in a lot of clarity and makes content watching enjoyable. While watching movies and music, you may come across a lack of sub-bass, but you can ramp up your equalizer settings to compensate.
The absence of height channels and Dolby Atmos makes it a bad option for those who are looking for surround sound capabilities. But if you are looking for something that is well built, supports a lot of EQ modes, and gets loud without distorting the audio, the HW-R650 is the one for you.
There are a lot of input/output options, and even though it misses out on Chromecast and AirPlay support, it should not bother you much as you are getting better sound output than most in the same price segment.