Samsung HW-A650 Review
Powerful bass for more gaming fun?

Gesa

soundbarfindr Editorial

As a cinema fan and self-confessed hobby musician, Gesa is always on the lookout for the best sound experience.

Samsung HW-A650 - Solid setup with decent power

For a fair, wallet-friendly price, you get a powerful setup with a very balanced sound with Samsung’s HW-A650. The bass is there, the soundbar gets quite loud and its frequency response is extremely balanced, especially in the trebles – so there is not much to complain about.

At first glance, the HW-A650 does not seem to be inferior to the more expensive models of the electronics giant, but a closer look reveals a few shortcomings. The build quality is not particularly high with a high plastic amount and you have to do without smart features almost completely. Unfortunately, the soundbar cannot score in terms of surround sound and three-dimensional audio content either.

However, those who can cope with these compromises will be well served with the Samsung HW-A650. After all, its balanced sound profile and an additional set of sound enhancements make it suitable for almost any purpose.

Pro
  • High total power
  • External subwoofer
  • Balanced sound
  • Center speaker
  • Graphic EQ & Presets
Contra
  • Poor surround sound
  • Only DTS Virtual:X
  • No Smart Features
  • No HDMI 2.1 & eARC

HW-A650: The familiar Samsung look is also available at a small price

At first glance, the HW-A650 is not much different from the more expensive models from Samsung, such as the Samsung HW-Q800A, in terms of its design. With a width of just one meter, the soundbar already fits in front of smaller television models from 48 inches and even cuts a good figure in front of large inch sizes. Thanks to the low height of just 5.8 centimeters, the Samsung soundbar also covers nothing of the TV picture and integrates with its simple design inconspicuous in your room.

The Samsung HW-A650 from 2021
The look of the A-series hardly differs from the more expensive Samsung models

The surface of the soundbar is made of a metal grid, which protects the total of seven speakers inside the soundbar well, but is also a magnet for dust and dirt. At the top edge of the soundbar, this grille has a recess where the four buttons of the A650 have been placed. These can be used to turn the soundbar on and off, as well as to adjust the volume and select a source. Unlike the more expensive models, the buttons on the A650 are made of plastic instead of aluminum.

The Samsung soundbar comes with an external woofer

The external, wireless subwoofer of the 3.1-channel setup also comes in a sleek, black look. The woofer consists of one and does not take up too much space with a height of 35 centimeters. However, Samsung did not mount the driver on the side of this model, but on the front. This is covered with a fabric membrane, while a bass reflex port can still be found at the back.

Adequate scope of delivery with slight drawbacks

The fact that Samsung’s budget-friendly models tend to rely on plastic rather than aluminum is also evident in the HW-A650’s included remote control. Due to the materials used, it is comparatively light – just like the soundbar itself. Nevertheless, it lies well in the hand and can be put directly into operation thanks to the included batteries.

Remote control Samsung HW-A650
The remote control of the HW-A650 comes in the classic Samsung look

Furthermore, the Samsung soundbar comes with the power cables of the soundbar and subwoofer, the manual, a kit for wall mounting and an optical cable. Why no HDMI cable was supplied instead is questionable. Finally, you can also use the TV remote control to operate the soundbar when connecting via HDMI thanks to Anynet+.

All components on one table
The scope of delivery of the soundbar includes the usual things

Getting started with the A-Series: It couldn't be simpler

Despite the included optical cable, we connected the Samsung HW-A650 via HDMI in our test. An HDMI 2.0 cable is sufficient here, since the soundbar only has ARC anyway and does not support Dolby Atmos. Instead, it plays Dolby Digital and DTS content. These can also be virtually extended in the form of DTS Virtual:X, whereby the soundbar then simulates additional channels for a 5.1.2 system. Functions like these can of course also be used when you connect the soundbar to your TV via the included optical cable. The back of the soundbar also has a HDMI 2.0 input for a console or player and a USB port.

Those who want to enjoy “real” surround sound via the Samsung HW-A650 can also expand their setup with matching rear speakers from Samsung. Just like the external woofer, these are connected wirelessly to the soundbar, which worked very easily and quickly in our test.

The status of the Samsung soundbar is clearly readable

On its right edge, the Samsung HW-A650 has a small LED display that informs about its current status. This is easily visible despite the grille above and the compact size. But don’t worry – the display won’t distract you from the TV permanently, as it only lights up as soon as you change a setting of the soundbar.

Samsung's HW-A650 has a great sound profile

The combination of the 180 watt soundbar with the 250 watt subwoofer promises a lot of power, which proved itself in our practical test. All in all, the 3.1-channel setup gets extremely loud, whereby the volume can be adjusted to a whole 100 levels. We could also confirm Samsung’s promise of a decent bass at the first listening impression, because it is very present. The external woofer shows clear deficiencies in the low bass area in our frequency response measurement, but it looks all the better in the bass for a soundbar in this price range. Some fluctuations can be seen there as well, but they were not too noticeable in our listening test.

Graph with the result of frequency response measurement of Samsung HW-A650
The frequency response of the Samsung HW-A650

The A650's showpiece: voices and dialogs

In the area of high mids and trebles, especially at frequencies between 2000 and 10 000 Hz, the Samsung HW-A650 shows what it can do. The reproduction is very balanced in this section, which might be due to the installed center speaker. Since the human ear is particularly sensitive to these frequencies, this has a positive effect on the overall auditory impression. Human voices also fall into this frequency range, which is why the soundbar is especially suitable for playing TV shows and series. Even with the measured reproduction of the elevations one can not complain except for a valley at about 11 000 Hz. This could be an indication for a somewhat muffled, undynamic sound, but we did not notice this in the listening test. Overall, the Samsung HW-A650 has a fairly balanced frequency response, which makes it multifunctional in use.

The playback of surround and 3D content is not surprising

Unfortunately, with the reproduction of surround sound and the virtual sound extension DTS Virtual:X one has to accept some compromises. Surround content is converted to stereo due to the lack of side-firing or rear speakers, which makes for a less enveloping sound. With DTS Virtual:X, an expansion of the sound is audible, but it also seems a bit flat, which is of course not particularly immersive.

Customization options were not spared

The Samsung HW-A650 has a few features to customize its sound. Those who want to adjust individually can do so with the help of the graphical equalizer. On the other hand, those who prefer to rely on EQ presets can choose from three more modes on the A650: ‘Game Mode’, ‘Bass Boost’ and ‘Adaptive Sound Lite’ in addition to the already mentioned ‘Standard’, ‘Surround Sound’ and ‘DTS Virtual:X’ modes. In Game Mode, the gameplay should become even more immersive and sounds should be better located. In the Bass Boost, the external woofer is boosted once again to create some serious oomph. Finally, Adaptive Sound Lite adapts the playback to the respective content and ensures that voices are even clearer, for example.

No WLAN, Chromecast and Co. in Samsung's HW-A650

As with most soundbars in this price category, you unfortunately have to do without smart features in the Samsung HW-A650. Thus, it neither supports the connection via Wi-Fi, nor Apple Airplay or Chromecast. Instead, the conventional Bluetooth interface is used, but it was set up very quickly and worked smoothly in our test. Even assistants like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant are not available in the HW-A650, only Samsung’s own voice control Bixby is supported by the soundbar.

Smartphone display with Bluetooth connection
The connection with the smartphone is quickly and easily established via Bluetooth

Samsung HW-A650 Review Datasheet

Dimensions Soundbar (WxHxD)980 x 58 x 105 mm
Weight Soundbar3 kg
Dimensions Subwoofer (WxHxD)205 x 353 x 303,2 mm
Weight Subwoofer5,78 kg
Internal Subwoofer
Rear speaker
Wall mount incl. bracket
Channels 3.1 (5.1.2 virtual)
Power Output Soundbar180 watts
Power Output Subwoofer250 watts
Total Power Output430 watts
Center speaker
HDMI 2.0 In1
HDMI 2.1 In0
HDMI ARC
HDMI eARC
Digital optical1
3.5mm jack0
USB1
Ethernet RJ450
Dolby Atmos
Dolby True HD
Dolby Digital+
Dolby
Dolby Vision
DTS:X
DTS HD Master
DTS
HDR10+
Bluetooth
WLAN
Chromecast
Apple Airplay
Multiroom
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
All information without guarantee

Frequently asked questions about the Samsung HW-A650

If the TV and soundbar have a HDMI port, we recommend connecting via HDMI. Not only can a higher data width be transmitted via HDMI, but due to HDMI CEC in most cases one remote control can also be used to control both devices.

To connect the Samsung HW-A650 to the TV, the HDMI cable must be plugged into the HDMI ARC Out port of the soundbar. The other end goes into the HDMI ARC In port of the TV.

The smartphone and soundbar are connected via Bluetooth. To do so, the soundbar must first be set to Bluetooth pairing mode, after which it will appear in the phone’s Bluetooth menu. The HW-A650 does not support other connectivity options like Airplay or Chromecast.

* Approximate price incl. VAT, plus shipping costs. Please note that prices shown here may have changed in the meantime.
All data without guarantee. All trademarks, designs and logos displayed are owned by their companies.