The first time I experienced Dolby Atmos at a special screening in Chennai, I was blown away by the experience. But then I thought of it as something that will always be a theatre experience with now chance of enriching your entertainment experience at home. I could not have been more wrong.
Over the past couple of years, there have been a range of devices that offer Dolby Atmos’ unique experience of audio that literally moves around in your home and that too at different price ranges. So, even as television audio quality has improved tremendously, there have been soundbars that really let you amp up the experience by bringing the Dolby Atmos experience home. The Samsung Q800T is the latest in this line of premium soundbars.
Samsung Soundbar 330W 3.1.2Ch Q800T
The Samsung Q800T soundbar has two units — a soundbar that goes under your TV and a large woofer box that needs to be placed somewhere else in the room. The two need separate power sources, but there are no wires connecting them as that link happens automatically. This is a good thing as is reduces wiring in the room and takes away the pain of having to ensure the two are connected before you start playing.
There is a very modern remote, which while being minimalist lets you manage all setting and controls along with the small LED panel in front of the soundbar. You can also use the Samsung Smart Things app on your smartphone — it works on both iOS and Android — to control the soundbar, use the equaliser and also set up Alexa to be your smart assistant. In fact, the soundbar can be linked to your Spotify account and you can use Alexa to play the song of your choice from the steaming service. All this works seamlessly.
I used the Samsung Q800T with my old LG smartTV but mostly linked via Bluetooth to the FireTV Stick. You can also connect from the TV via HDMI, but that seems to have trouble if you are playing from an external source like the FireTV. When the native WebOS apps were playing on the TV, the HDMI linked worked well. Also, via Bluetooth, I struggled a bit with lip-sync, a regular issue on the FireTV Stick which needs to be tuned patiently.
While watching movies via the FireTV Stick I used the Surround Sound mode with the Dolby Audio enabled in the setting of the steaming device. The experience was quite good and filled the room, clearly one of the best home theatre experiences I have had at home. I think this experience will become crucial in the coming months with most of us staying well clear of cinemas. I tried the Dolby Atmos test audios on YouTube and you could feel the movement across the room, even though the soundbar was under the TV.
However, the experience I really enjoyed was playing my favourite playlists from the phone via Bluetooth. The audio profile is silken smooth and soothing when you are in the standard mode. This is perfect when you are listening to melodies while you are working or just lounging. You can of course amp up by using the equaliser on the app or just switching to surround or adaptive modes. The audio quality is good even when you are streaming directly using Spotify or playing from YouTube or services like Amazon Prime Music.
It is good that the remote can easily switch songs using the remote, even if the source is YouTube or the smartphone playlist. This helps you really just focus on the music. Also, there is a gaming mode too, which will appeal to those into big-screen games.
The Samsung Soundbar 330W 3.1.2Ch Q800T can become really loud if needed and in no condition was I able to push the volume above 50 per cent. This means if you are in a bigger house with a large hall that needs to be filled, then this one will have no issue obliging. And while this is a 3.1 setting, you are not missing out on anything.
Should you buy the Samsung Q800T?
Yes, if you own a large-screen television and want to ensure your audio experience levels up with a 4K screen, this is one of the best options for you at the moment. I would recommend this as the best option for those with Samsung televisions as the syncing and controls will be much better. Though on the more expensive side, the Samsung Q800T is clearly a premium listening experience and worth every penny you spend on it.
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