Wireless Streaming and more: Soundbars that complement your Smart Home
Besides excellent sound, many soundbars nowadays can offer a lot more. A connection to the Internet often is the ticket to many other functions like wireless music streaming or seamless integration into the networked home.
Smart soundbars are in the top class in terms of their number of features. They combine smart speakers and soundbars, which means that you can not only control the soundbar itself via voice command, but also operate other smart home devices via it. Here, we took a closer look at the smart features of the soundbars and collected the best smart soundbars for you.
Best Smart Soundbar: Samsung HW-Q800A
- 330W total power
- 160W Subwoofer
- Dolby Atmos & DTS:X
- Upfiring Speakers
- SpaceFit Sound & Q-Symphony
- Auto EQ
- High Volume
- Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Apple Airplay2
- Built-In Amazon Alexa
- Weak Surround Sound
In our opinion, the Samsung HW-Q800A offers the best package in this category. Although the manufacturer does not explicitly call it a smart soundbar, it comes with countless smart features. Furthermore, the sound quality leaves nothing to be desired. The HW-Q800A is a 3.1.2 setup and the only soundbar in this series that is equipped with an external subwoofer. This ensures a rich, deep bass, which is especially advantageous for action-packed movies or bass-heavy music. In addition, the soundbar comes with all sorts of sound enhancement features, so you can adjust the sound to your liking.
But now to the essentials: The smart features of the sound system. First of all, we have to mention Samsung’s SmartThings app, which can be used to control the soundbar and manage some settings, such as its auto-volume mode. In addition, a connection via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi can be established with your smartphone, and since Apple Airplay and Spotify Connect are also supported, nothing stands in the way of wirelessly streaming content.
To make streaming music even easier, Samsung has come up with another feature: With Tap Sound, you can simply hold your (compatible) smartphone up to the soundbar and enjoy your favorite music within seconds. Don’t have a hand free for your smartphone right now? That’s no problem either, since Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant is already integrated into the Q800A, allowing you to control the soundbar – and other smart home devices in your household – via voice command.
Built-in Amazon Alexa & Google Assistant: Sonos Arc
- Alexa as well as Google Assistant built-in
- Multiroom feature
- Room correction function
- No Bluetooth
- No DTS
- No external subwoofer
The Sonos Arc is a 5.0.2-channel setup that comes without a separate subwoofer. Therefore, the soundbar lacks a bit of bass, but a subwoofer can be easily added, as well as separate rear speakers. Even though the Sonos Arc may look rather plain at first glance due to its slim design, it has quite a few features to offer: It supports Dolby AtmosDolby Atmos is a 3D sound format that adds sounds from above to surround sound systems and can also assign additional information to sounds so that they can be reproduced even more realistically. and can thus reproduce three-dimensional sound. Thanks to a room correction function, it also optimally adapts the sound to your room conditions. Apart from that, the stereo sound of the sound system is particularly convincing.
Unlike Samsung’s HW-Q800A, you can control the Sonos Arc with two voice assistants – not only does it have a built-in Amazon Alexa, but also Google Assistant. A Wi-Fi connection is also available, as well as the ability to use Multiroom. The only downer: The soundbar does not have Chromecast or a Bluetooth connection.
Cheaper smart soundbar for beginners: Samsung HW-S60A
- Low price
- Integrated Amazon Alexa
- Apple Airplay
- No Dolby Atmos or DTS:X
- Little bass
The Samsung HW-S60A comes in a very slim design and without an external subwoofer. Admittedly, it cannot keep up with the other models on this list in terms of sound quality and supported audio formats. After all, it is a 5.0 setup that can’t reproduce Dolby AtmosDolby Atmos is a 3D sound format that adds sounds from above to surround sound systems and can also assign additional information to sounds so that they can be reproduced even more realistically. or DTS:XJust like Dolby Atmos, DTS:X is also a 3D sound format, with which the surround sound is expanded by height speakers. In addition, it is also an object-based sound format, whereby additional information is assigned to sounds, making them sound even more realistic. content and lacks some bass. However, its Acoustic Beam technology still provides a quite immersive listening experience. Among its total of seven integrated speakers, a center speaker is included, that makes dialogs and voices sound crystal clear.
If you don’t value 3D sound and want to enjoy all sorts of smart features instead, the S60A will serve you well. It is Wi-Fi compatible and equipped with Apple Airplay, which allows you to play content from countless apps via the soundbar. If you prefer to stream music the conventional way, you can do that as well thanks to the Bluetooth connectivity. It also comes with a built-in Amazon Alexa, so you can control it simply using your voice.
Smart Soundbars in comparison
|Channels||3.1.2||5.2||5 (5.2 virtual)|
|DTS||DTS HD-Master + DTS:X|
|HDMI 2.1||1x In + 1x Out|
|Room size||up to 40 m2||up to 25 m2||up to 25 m2|
|Dimensions Height x Width x Depth HxWxD||60 x 980 x 115 mm||87 x 1141 x 120 mm||68 x 764 x 125 mm|
Frequently asked questions about Smart Soundbars
What is a Smart Soundbar?
A Smart Soundbar combines a soundbar with a smart speaker. The latter functions as a voice control for the soundbar itself or other smart devices and keeps you informed.
Can you connect a soundbar to a smart TV wirelessly?
If they support WiFi or a Bluetooth connection, you can connect some soundbars to TVs. However, a connection via HDMI or an optical cable often leads to better sound quality and prevents delays.
Can you use a soundbar with any TV?
Soundbars do work with any TV. With an HDMI port, optical inputs, WiFi or Bluetooth, you have a lot of connectivity possibilities, regardless what kind of TV you own.