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Samsung HW-K650 review: A great, flexible soundbar

Richard Easton
18 May 2016
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Samsung HW-K650 with subwoofer
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
399
inc VAT (as of 16th May)

The Samsung HW-K650 is a good value soundbar with no shortage of connections

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Specifications

Speakers: 6, RMS power output: 340W, Dimensions: 1,010x54x87.5mm, Weight: 2.6kg, Dock connector: None, Networking: Bluetooth (SBC), 802.11n

Buy the Samsung HW-K650 now from Currys

The HW-K650 looks like any other soundbar upon initial inspection. It has a by-the-books all-black (or all-silver) design that is pleasingly inconspicuous, and its height of just 54mm means it’s also relatively low-profile, allowing it to sit happily in front of most TVs without obstructing the display or IR receiver.

Measuring 110mm wide, the HW-K650 is best suited to TVs that are 40in or above, but its wealth of connections makes it extremely flexible. As well as optical and auxiliary audio connections, the HW-K650 also has an HDMI input and HDMI ARC output, which lets you connect another device to the soundbar, such as a Blu-ray player or games console, and still only have one cable running into the back of your TV. This helps cut down on the number of wires trailing around your AV cabinet, while also giving another device a bump in its overall sound quality. 

That said, the ports can be a bit tricky to access, as all of them are located in a small recess on the underside of the soundbar. This means you have to turn the soundbar over to plug them in, and routing them through the small gap at the side can be a bit troublesome if you've got particularly stiff HDMI cables. I also wasn't fond of the off-centre integrated display either, as I would have preferred it to be more central. Still, it's a small complaint overall. 

Samsung HW-K650 connections

Multiroom Support

The HW-K650 also supports Bluetooth, allowing you to connect it wirelessly to your phone, tablet or laptop. You can also use Bluetooth to take advantage of Samsung's SoundConnect feature if you have a compatible Samsung TV, eliminating the need for wires altogether. 

Samsung's new 2016 TVs also support Samsung Multiroom - see our Samsung TV Models Explained article for a full list of this year's model numbers. This can be used to create a Wi-Fi-based group between your TV and the HW-K650 through Multiroom Link, allowing you to play music over your Wi-Fi connection rather than Bluetooth. 

Samsung HW-K650 remote control

If you’ve bought into Samsung’s Wireless 360 multiroom speaker system, you can even use Radiant 360 speakers such as the Samsung R3 or R5 as optional wireless satellite speakers for proper surround sound. This requires you to add the HW-K650 to your home wireless network through the Samsung Multiroom app on iOS and Android, but it’s a fairly straightforward process and takes no longer than a few minutes to setup. Once this has been completed, the HW-K650 operates just like any of Samsung’s other multiroom speakers, allowing you to pair it with other speakers as a group or as part of a surround sound array. 


Samsung R5 multiroom app menu

Of course, since the HW-K650 forms part of Samsung’s multiroom family, you can also use the multiroom app to access services such as Spotify, Deezer, 8tracks and TuneIn even if you don't have other Multiroom speakers. This gives the HW-K650 even more strings to its bow, and you can also use the Multiroom app to play locally stored music on your smartphone or tablet, and network music from a NAS or connected computer. The HW-K650 supports high-resolution audio tracks up to 192kHz/24-bit across FLAC, AAC, MP3, ALAC, WAV, WMA and OGG formats as well. 

Sound Quality

With so many ways to play your music, you'll be pleased to hear the HW-K650 also has excellent sound quality - even without the use of optional satellite speakers. It's a 3.1 system, but it has a dedicated centre channel that's been designed to improve the clarity of dialogue and vocals when watching films and TV. Each channel has two drivers, creating six in total, and each one is individually driven by its own dedicated amplifier.

The HW-K650 also comes with a wireless subwoofer in the box. Measuring 452x335x154mm, it's pretty hefty, but it pairs with the soundbar automatically as soon as you plug it in, so you should be able to tuck it away out of sight without much trouble. 

All together, the HW-K650 can deliver a whopping 340W of output power, which should be more than sufficient to get your living room shaking. The HW-K650 is able to decode both Dolby Digital and DTS codecs and has a number of presets including Music, Movie, Clear Voice, Sports and Night Mode. The latter drastically reduces the bass and subwoofer output, but also increases dialogue clarity, making late night viewing less disruptive to your neighbours and others around the house.


Samsung HW-K650 drivers

On Normal mode, however, the HW-K650 sounds fantastic. Intense, dramatic scenes in Interstellar, for example, had a lot more impact than our test TV speakers, and the dialogue wasn’t masked by the low rumble of the spacecraft’s rapid descent into Gargantua either.

The subwoofer also gives lower frequencies a wonderful sense of presence and physicality, but the bass response did occasionally stumble with the odd hint of distortion. Bizarrely, it was Interstellar's Blu-ray menu screen that seemed to be causing the problem, but thankfully it wasn't particularly major and I didn't notice it happening during the actual film, so it's a relatively minor worry overall. 

The HW-K650 also has a virtual surround sound option. This is meant to provide a more expansive soundstage by sending the sound across a wider vertical and horizontal space. However, while it does do a respectable job of making the soundstage seem more open, I wasn't particularly fond of the overall effect. For instance, it seemed to favour the mids and trebles in our film soundtracks rather than the bass, which made everything sound a bit too bright for my liking. As a result, I largely left this mode turned off. 

The HW-K650 is great for ordinary music as well, as it handled the delicate brass instrumentation in our Menahan Street Band test tracks beautifully, providing lots of clarity and separation without sounding too bright. It can be a bit warm at times, so it's probably not the best soundbar for those that like a more neutral sound, but it's definitely not short of energy.

Conclusion

With its plentiful supply of connections and brilliant sound quality, the HW-K650 is a highly versatile and good value soundbar. The multiroom functionality also makes it a good choice regardless of whether you’ve already got a Samsung multiroom setup in place, as those with speakers can simply drop it in to their existing speaker setup while those without still have the ability to use its various online streaming services. 

However, if don't already have additional multiroom speakers and are thinking about buying some to use with a soundbar, you’re probably better off looking at the Philips Fidelio B5, as this has two additional satellite speakers built-in to the main soundbar that can be detached whenever you like. It's more expensive at £549, but works out cheaper than buying a pair of R3 speakers, for example, to use with the HW-K650. Still, for those just after a great-sounding soundbar, the HW-K650 comes highly recommended.

Hardware
Speakers6
RMS power output340W
Subwoofer optionNot disclosed (included)
Rear speaker option2x wireless speakers (optional)
Dimensions1,010x54x87.5mm
Weight2.6kg
Ports
Audio inputsHDMI ARC, Optical S/PDIF, Auxiliary
Audio outputsNone
Video inputsHDMI 1.4
Video outputsHDMI 1.4
Dock connectorNone
USB portNone
NetworkingBluetooth (SBC), 802.11n
NFCNo
Features
Video playback formatsN/A
Image viewing formatsN/A
Audio playback formatsMP3, AAC, Wav, WMA, OGG, FLAC, ALAC
Smart TV appsSpotify Connect, TuneIn, Deezer
Buying information
Price including VAT£330
WarrantyOne year RTB

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