Before we get to our Samsung HW-R650 Review, let’s consider that Samsung is one of those companies that you do not have to spend much time and effort introducing. Everyone has heard of them unless you have been living on Mars for the last fifty years. And to be honest, we expect there is even a good chance even the Martians use their stuff.
They were founded just 81 years ago in Seoul, and their rise to global strength has been remarkable. And are one of these organizations that dominate your involvement with most things and are always there. They even have a town, Samsung Town, named after them in a suburb of South Korea’s capital, Seoul.
They have become one of the world’s largest manufacturers of anything electronic. This includes digital media, home entertainment, and extras like memory chips and semiconductors. Samsung has been the largest manufacturer of TVs since 2006. The largest in the world for mobile phones since 2011.
At times it feels like you can’t turn your head without seeing their logo on something. Their success has been remarkable, but it hasn’t been luck. They produce a quality product and are known for it. That tends to breed success. It is also a lesson for those that think they can produce poor quality products and get away with it.
Today we take a look at one of their home entertainment systems, a Samsung soundbar with subwoofer.
One thing that Samsung tends to do is tell you like it is. They make high-end equipment, but they also make budget models. When it is a budget model, they will tell you. The Samsung HW-R650 is a budget Soundbar from the 2020 range. As such, it doesn’t have some of the features of the Samsung high-level models, but there are a lot of positive features about this system.
It is a good value product with a 3.1 system. It has a reasonable frequency response but is rather weak at the low-end bass sound. There is, however, a center channel that is dedicated to producing clear and precise dialogue and vocal sounds.
The volume is loud enough so you can get a decent sound experience from music and movies. It doesn’t seem to suffer at higher volumes, though, as we have said, the bass is a little weak.
It is a decent well-built system with a decent audio reproduction that will satisfy most people. So, let’s move on and take a closer look at the Samsung HW-R650…
The Sound Bar
The R650 is nothing complicated in design or build. It is made of good quality robust plastic with a metal grille on the front-facing aspect. The grille serves a few purposes and is a nice aesthetic touch. But the main reason we suspect is that the sturdy frame is for the protection of the speakers.
On the right end, there are some controls. Four buttons that are fashioned to be non-obtrusive. In fact, you have to be aware to know they are even there at all. On the back are two spaces for input ports and a power cable.
It is quite a wide soundbar at 41.7 inches. With a depth of 3.5 inches and a height of 2.2 inches. Width-wise it could cause problems even with a TV as wide as a 55 inch it is unlikely to fit between the legs. This means it will have to be placed in front. Not a problem, of course, as the height is only a modest 3.5 inches. Unless the TV is a design that sits flat on the table when it will interfere with the bottom of the screen.
The subwoofer needs to have a sturdy build. It will be handling the lower frequencies, and a cheap build will mean poor sound quality. It is mainly a wood construction. MDF fiberboard is the usual material used at nearly every level of speaker construction these days. It is, of course, cheaper than real wood but does come with certain advantages. It is lighter in weight and can be made to be very dense in its construction.
Reducing unwanted echoes and vibrations is very important. It is a ported speaker design with the plastic port located on the rear. That will mean that it will need to be positioned correctly to get the best out of it. It cannot be too near a wall or any material that will absorb the sound like a curtain.
The rear of the speaker is made of wood. There are no controls on the rest of the back other than the power cable. On the side of the cabinet is a fabric cover. It is 13.9 inches high and has a depth of 11.9 inches. The width is 7.9 inches. It is, therefore, a decent size but without being too big to crowd the average room. It produces a decent sound, but there are some considerations. More on this later.
The wireless design means the subwoofer doesn’t need wires or cable, only the power cable.
It has easy Bluetooth connectivity and therefore allows you to connect your devices. However, the Bluetooth isn’t the latest release, and neither is it the most sophisticated.
There is an HDMI connection, but you should be aware that as this is a 3.1 system, therefore everything is downmixed to a 3.1 sound.
The soundbar has an automatic turn off feature if it has been inactive for more than five minutes.
We have already mentioned the four-button control on the side of the soundbar. These controls are very basic and are just a volume and power button for turning it off and on. The final button is for switching the input source.
On the front of the soundbar, there is a small screen located behind the metal grille. This will provide very basic information on volume level and the source of the input. It is quite small, as you might expect. Information sometimes has to scroll through to show the full message. This little screen also will display any action you take using the remote control.
The remote control is made of a good quality plastic and has a very sleek design. All of the soundbar controls are replicated. And as we have said, any changes are shown on the screen of the soundbar.
As with most tech these days, there is an app. Of course, there is. With this Samsung soundbar, it is the Samsung Audio remote. It is a low-key operative and does not replicate the full control systems. You can bring music files from your devices, but there are no buttons for either Bluetooth or for the settings.
So returning to the rather important area of the sound. So…
We must remember, of course, that this is one of Samsung’s budget ranges, and we cannot expect too much. However, Samsung rarely disappoints with the quality of the sound of their products. This will be interesting to see and hear.
It has a reasonable frequency response of 42Hz to 20kHz, which is not too bad, but we can immediately get an indication that perhaps the bottom end is going to be rather weak. This is especially true for movies where the bass frequencies can often hit rock bottom. The stereo sound is quite nicely balanced, but it is noticeable that the real punch of the bass is missing. The sound profile, generally speaking, is neutral and reasonably accurate.
But it does not give the impression that it extends further than the width of the soundbar. The real surround sound experience is, therefore, missing. Let’s just remind ourselves this is a budget system. With the top of the range systems, objects and dialogue seem to come from specific locations. There is none of that with this system. You wouldn’t expect there to be.
So while there is an acceptable sound, there will be no earth-moving bass. Neither will there be too much of the surround sound experience.
There are positives, though, and we don’t want to paint a picture of doom and gloom. The volume is quite powerful at 340 watts. That will equate to about 150 watts RMS. That is more than enough for any large room. This will make it useful if there is a function, and the room is full of people.
It has what they term SmartSound technology. This is a very interesting feature to include on a budget line product. This tech means that the soundbar will alter the sound setting. This is done automatically after performing an analysis of what is being played. The idea is to create an optimum setting for any frequency requirements.
To assist you a little bit with the sound performance, there is a 7-band EQ. You can make adjustments to alter the bass levels. This, in some circumstances, might give you the option to boost those levels just a little bit.
There are some changes when using the HDMI connection the surround sound produced by either DTS or Dolby Digital. The sound received will be altered to accommodate the 3.1 facilities available in the system.
If you’re unsure if this Samsung system is the perfect choice for your home, it’s well worth checking out our in-depth reviews of the VIZIO SB3820 C6, the VIZIO SB3220N F6 32 2 0, and the VIZIO SB3821 C6. As well as our Bose Cinemate 15 review.
If you’re looking for even more options, then please take a look at our reviews of the Best Wireless Home Theater Systems, the Best Wireless TV Speakers, the Best Powered Speakers, the Best In Wall Speakers, and the Best In Ceiling Speakers currently available.
Samsung HW-R650 Pros & Cons
- Quality build.
- Good sound considering the price.
- Excellent center channel for crystal clear dialogue.
- Very affordable and excellent value for money.
- Basic but practical connectivity.
- Not really a surround sound system, more of a stereo with a subwoofer.
- Lacks low end and is, therefore, a bad choice if EDM and Urban are your thing.
The Samsung HW-R650 is a decent enough system and at a very affordable price. It has some very good points to remind us that it will be a good value. The center channel dedicated to dialogue is very good and exceeds what you might reasonably expect. Certainly, for movies and TV shows, it produces a clear and concise sound.
Its music performance is also very good, depending on the type of music you prefer. If it happens to be the kind that requires a heavy bass, then you may be disappointed. As we have said, it does struggle a little with very low frequencies.
The build is strong and very Samsung. It is not going to fall apart and has a solid feel about it. The subwoofer is made of wood is strong and very robust. The plastic construction of the soundbar itself also feels secure. It does not feel like a budget system at all.
If there is a vulnerable point, then it is the material on the subwoofer. This could quite easily be damaged and is a potential dust collector.
We are painting a positive picture of this Samsung soundbar with subwoofer, and why not, it is good value. But for balance we should highlight some areas that are maybe not so good. We have already discussed the low frequencies, so no need to revisit that area. The audio content produced by the soundbar is a little disappointing. You don’t really get the surround sound effect.
This is a 3.1 system, and so everything is converted to a stereo signal. The speakers in the soundbar are placed left and right. This, of course, does not produce an efficient outline for surround sound. Everything seems to happen in front of you instead of immersing you from the back and the sides.
Let’s remind ourselves again; this is a budget system. It does not support Dolby Atmos, so the surround sound effect is limited.
While going through this Samsung HW-R650 review, we have been surprised at the quality of what is on offer at this price point. Yes, you can argue that the bass is a little bit lightweight. You can say the surround sound is not what you will get from higher quality setups. But then they cost more. And in most cases a lot more.
This is a good system, despite its budget label, it produces a good sound. It is well-made and has a lot of plus points. Just don’t expect top level performance, and you won’t be disappointed. The Samsung soundbar with subwoofer is good value for money and a good buy.