Samsung HW-F751 review
We’re big fans of surround sound here at Expert Reviews, but we understand not everyone has room for multiple speakers and all the wires that come with them. Sound bars, which attempt to emulate surround sound from a single speaker, are growing in popularity, and Samsung’s latest is aimed right at the high-end. The HW-F751 is a gorgeous-looking aluminium bar, with a matching wireless subwoofer that should be able to replace a multi-speaker setup.
The silver brushed metal finish gives the HW-F751 a beautifully high-end appearance, although it’s available in black (Samsung HW-F750) if you think it’ll clash with your TV. A small window takes pride of place in the middle of the bar, giving you a glimpse of the valve amplifier within. Samsung is a strong believer that valve amps produce warmer, more natural tones than digital ones, and whether or not you agree, it undoubtedly looks fantastic, especially when powered on. It glows orange, with the touch-sensitive buttons below it lit by complementary white LEDs. There are Power, Input Select, and Volume controls on the device; all the other functions can be accessed through the remote control.
The subwoofer, a plain yet sturdy box that’s roughly the size of a waste paper basket, has no ports bar the power connector, it connects to the sound bar wirelessly. You don’t even need to sync the pair: just plug them both in and they’ll find each other automatically.
As the bar can be positioned flat or wall-mounted, Samsung has fitted two single-line LCD displays (one on the side and one to the left of the amplifier) so you can see it regardless of its orientation. It’s a little on the small side, despite there being plenty of room for a larger display, and this can be irritating when trying to change sound effect presets; you must wait for the line of text to scroll in order to see what you’ve just enabled or disabled.
There’s a single USB port on the top of the bar, but the majority of the inputs are at the back of the unit. You get one HDMI input, one ARC-compatible HDMI output to send data to an amplifier or other device, a 3.5mm auxiliary jack and a digital optical input. With HDMI, you won’t have to worry about extra cables solely for audio, although there’s no standby pass-through and there’s no on-screen interface. As everything is controlled through the single-line LCD display, you have to remember which settings and presets you’ve enabled. All the ports are recessed into the unit, so they won’t get in the way if you wall-mount it.
If you already own a Samsung TV, you can use Samsung’s SoundShare feature to pair it to the sound bar wirelessly using Samsung’s own HD audio codecs. It’s neater than running a cable between the devices and sound quality barely changes.
The USB port reads the MP3s, WMA and AAC tracks on a flash drive or portable hard disk and plays them by file name. There’s no option to shuffle or create playlists, so you’re better off using the HW-F751’s secret weapon: Bluetooth.
Rather than just play audio from your Blu-ray player or games console, with Bluetooth you can turn the sound bar into a streaming music player. It uses A2DP rather than the higher quality aptX, but you’ll be hard pushed to tell the difference. You must change the input on the sound bar to start the music, but after that you’ll have complete control from anywhere in the room, using your phone or tablet.