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Samsung Shape M5 review

Richard Easton
6 Sep 2014
Samsung SHAPE M5 speakers front black and white
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
230
inc VAT

These Multiroom speakers have an attractive design and good sound quality

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Specifications

Speakers: 2, RMS power output: Not disclosed, Dock connector: None, Networking: Bluetooth (A2DP), Wi-Fi (Dual Band), Dimensions: 342.5x113.2x168mm, Weight: 2.3kg, Streaming formats: Samsung Mesh Network

The Samsung Shape M5 clearly intends to compete with Sonos’s range of wireless multiroom speakers. You can even expand your wireless speaker system and incorporate new speakers as you buy them, just like the Sonos models.

The M5 has an attractive triangular design and be placed either horizontally or vertically, with the latter orientation being useful if you’re short on space. You can buy the M5 in either black or white, and the M5’s uncluttered, understated design means it should be fairly inconspicuous.

All of the controls on the top of the M5 are touch-based, and you can change input to Bluetooth, Internet Radio or TV SoundConnect, the latter of which lets you output sound from a compatible Samsung television. The speakers have support for DTS and Dolby Digital decoding. There's also a touch wheel to adjust the volume and a mute button. On the left you'll find an NFC contact point for easy Bluetooth pairing, should you have a compatible device.

You’ll find an Ethernet port on the rear, as well as a service USB port for firmware updates. There’s no auxiliary input, which means you can’t connect a smartphone, Walkman or another device by wire, which is a shame. While these are sold as wireless speakers, it would have been nice to have a wired connection for added flexibility.

You can connect the Shape M5 to your wireless network in two ways. You can either use WPS for quick pairing or enter your network’s settings in the Samsung MultiRoom app, which is available for iOS and Android devices. Alternatively, you can connect the Shape M5 to your network with an Ethernet cable.

Once connected, you use the Samsung Multiroom app to adjust settings on the speaker, control music playback and use the TuneIn service to listen to internet radio. You can make a list of your favourite internet radio stations, and cycle through your top three with the Internet Radio button on the Shape M5 itself. We would, however, have preferred to cycle through at least five stations with the internet Radio button for greater convenience.

You can also use the Shape M5 with music services such as Spotify, Deezer, Napster, 8Tracks and Rdio. You’ll need to have a Spotify Premium subscription in order to use Spotify with devices such as the Shape M5, though. You must use the Samsung app to play music over a Wi-Fi connection, which is restrictive, especially if you want to play music from another app.

Thankfully, there are no such restrictions when you connect to the Shape M5 via Bluetooth. You’ll be able to use apps such as Spotify and Google Play Music All Access without impediment.

We’re pleased to say that our music sounded full and rich. The treble was crisp, and it became slightly bright at louder volumes but never became uncomfortable. The bass had a lot of punch to it, especially in bass-heavy tracks. There was also good separation between the left and right channels and an expansive soundstage that made classical music fill the room, yet still sound delicate when appropriate. Of course, sound quality is heavily dependent on the quality of the music files you’re using.

Multiple Samsung M5 speakers with WAM 250 Wireless Audio Hub

When used with a WAM 250 Wireless Audio Hub (£50, www.currys.co.uk), it is possible to connect multiple Shape M5 speakers wirelessly. You can then use the Multiroom app to play the same music in different rooms, or different songs from various sources in each room.

You have to plug the WAM 250 into an Ethernet port on your router and then put it in pairing mode by pressing a button on the rear. After that, you press a similar on each speaker you want to connect and they link together and appear in the Multiroom app, ready to be controlled and used for your music. Pairing speakers in this manner is easy, and you can have a setup up and running within minutes.

However, the system does have its limitations. It’s only possible to play music across different speakers over a Wi-Fi network, so you’re limited to the music on the device or the list of supported services. You can’t connect to a speaker via Bluetooth and have the same audio channelled to a second speaker, for instance. This is a shame, but thankfully there are other speakers, such as the Pure Jongo T6, that let you do this.

Usefully, the Shape M5 lets you view and access the music stored on other devices connected on the same network, so you see the music from both a connected tablet and smartphone in the Multiroom app.

The Samsung Shape M5 sound good whether used as a single speaker or as part of a multiroom system. We just wish that the app and speaker supported more services. The Shape M5 is a good, pretty speaker, but those looking for a multiroom setup should consider the Pure Jongo T6 instead.

Hardware
Speakers2
RMS power outputNot disclosed
Audio inputsNone
Audio outputsNone
Dock connectorNone
USB portNone
Memory card supportNone
NetworkingBluetooth (A2DP), Wi-Fi (Dual Band)
NFCYes
App supportiOS, Android, Windows, Mac
Battery capacityN/A
Dimensions342.5x113.2x168mm
Weight2.3kg
Streaming
Streaming formatsSamsung Mesh Network
Supported serversDLNA
Audio formatsAAC, MP3, Wav, Ogg, WMA, Flac
Internet streaming servicesDeezer, Rdio, 8tracks, TuneIn, Spotify Connect
Buying information
Price including VAT£230
WarrantyOne-year RTB
Supplierwww.currys.co.uk
Detailswww.samsung.co.uk
Part codeWAM551/XU