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Samsung HW-S800D

While Samsung’s soundbar line-up is dominated by models designed to give your local multiplex a run for its money, the brand also caters to those who want to beef up their TV audio in a more discreet fashion.

The HW-S800D is the latest entry in this ‘lifestyle-friendly’ line-up, offering many of the features you expect from Samsung’s bigger models but using a stylish ultra-slim cabinet that doesn't draw attention to itself.

Despite its size-zero dimensions, the S800D manages to cram in nine drivers (including up-firing speakers for Dolby Atmos spatial audio), while the lower frequencies are enhanced by a compact, but powerful, wireless subwoofer.

In addition to Dolby Atmos, the S800D includes support for DTS Virtual: X audio processing, smart assistants, Apple AirPlay 2 and Chromecast, along with Samsung-specific features such as AI Adaptive Sound and Q Symphony. 

Sound Quality

The Samsung HW-S800D is super-slim and sleek when it comes to its dimensions and styling, but thanks to the efforts of the Samsung Audio Lab in California it delivers a surprisingly big soundstage that can easily complement screen sizes up to 65 inches - and possibly larger.

The soundbar itself contains nine drivers - two each for the front left and right channels, three for the centre, and one each for the upfiring front height channels. The addition of the wireless subwoofer creates a 3.1.2-channel system designed for Dolby Atmos or DTS Virtual: X audio decoding.

Despite their diminutive proportions, the drivers inside the soundbar produce a clean and clear midrange and some pleasing detail in the treble. The subwoofer is surprisingly capable given its compact size - its 6.5in woofer, boosted by an 8in passive radiator, allows it to dig deep.

The sub is so powerful that it has a tendency to dominate the soundstage, especially as the smaller speakers in the soundbar require it to fill in the lower midrange. Therefore you’ll need to be careful in terms of its placement, and maybe drop the sub level down a bit to compensate.

Thankfully, the inclusion of Samsung’s ‘SpaceFit Sound Pro’ feature also helps in this regard, using a built-in microphone to measure the room’s acoustics and automatically adjust the equalisation of the soundbar and subwoofer to correct any aberrations in an effort to create a more balanced delivery.

The result is a very accomplished performance, with a soundstage that has plenty of width and height, plus a solid bass foundation that gives the overall delivery depth and impact. The higher frequencies are handled with skill, and the crossover with the sub is seamless.

This makes the S800D great with music - useful, as you can stream your favourite songs in a number of different ways, including over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Chromecast, and Apple AirPlay 2. If you have a supported Samsung phone, you can even tap it against the ‘bar and listen away.

When watching TV shows the S800D proves equally adept, with its dedicated centre speaker ensuring dialogue always remains clear and focused. The width of the enclosure means there’s some excellent stereo imaging as well, but no surround envelopment due to the lack of rear speakers.

These days, the dialogue can get lost in more complex multichannel mixes, so there are a couple of features designed to make voices more intelligible. These include ‘Voice Enhancement’ and ‘Active Voice Amplifier’, with the latter detecting background noise and resolving dialogue accordingly.

In terms of other sound modes, there are ‘Standard’, ‘Surround’, ‘Game’ and ‘Adaptive Sound’. This last uses AI-enhanced processing to analyse the audio and tailor it to what you’re watching. There’s also DTS Virtual:X, which up-mixes non-Atmos multichannel content to spatial audio.

Dolby Atmos is offered via HDMI eARC, or wirelessly with supporting Samsung TVs, and the performance is surprisingly good. There’s a pleasing sense of scale at the front of the room and nice overhead effects, although the clarity of the up-firing speakers will depend on the height of your ceiling.

What really impresses me is the way audio objects are moved around in three-dimensional space above and to the sides of the TV screen - and there’s excellent precision to this sonic placement. However, this effect is limited to the front third of the room due to the absence of rear channels.

If you want a greater sense of immersion, for an extra £249 Samsung offers an optional wireless rear speaker package (SWA-9500S). These surrounds include upward-firing drivers for the rear heights, allowing you to enjoy a full 5.1.4-channel spatial system with Atmos or DTS Virtual:X.

Living with

The Samsung HW-S800D sports an ultra-slim cabinet that measures 38x1160x40mm (HxWxD), and uses a robust metal mesh grille plus some elegant and discreet styling. The build quality is good, while the curved ends and matte finish make for an understated but attractive appearance. The matching wireless subwoofer is equally compact, measuring 241x238x238mm (HxWxD).

There’s a choice of black or white finishes, although Samsung also offers optional skins with brown or teak wood finishes for better blending with your decor. The soundbar can be placed on a stand or shelf below your TV, but also comes with brackets for tidier wall-mounting. Whichever method you choose for installation, make sure the soundbar has an unobstructed view of the ceiling.

The S800D has only one physical connection - a mini-HDMI port with eARC - but thankfully Samsung includes a mini-HDMI-to-regular-HDMI cable, which is handy. Wireless connectivity includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.2, Chromecast and Apple AirPlay 2 - so it’s fairly comprehensive.

Set-up is simple, thanks to the excellent SmartThings app - it takes you through every stage, including connecting to your Wi-Fi, running ‘SpaceFit Sound’, configuring any smart assistants and updating the firmware. There’s Alexa built-in, plus the S800D works with Google Assistant.

The well-designed and intuitive app makes for a great controller (especially handy given that there’s no display), and the included remote also offers extensive control options and is ergonomic to use. You can also operate the S800D using some basic controls on the top of the soundbar itself, with your voice via the smart assistants, or with your TV’s zapper when connected via HDMI-CEC.

The Q Symphony feature allows owners of compatible Samsung TVs to make full use of the latter’s speakers by simultaneously synchronising sound from both devices to produce a bigger and more immersive front soundstage. This feature kicks in automatically when you first connect to the TV, and effectively blends all the speakers to add more scale to the already-impressive delivery.


The Samsung HW-S800D is an excellent, lifestyle-friendly, soundbar and subwoofer system that achieves an ideal balance of discretion and performance. It isn’t as immersive as Samsung’s HW-Q990D flagship, but it’s definitely less obtrusive and sounds considerably better than the onboard speakers built into most TVs.

The ingenious speaker design and powerful, well-integrated subwoofer ensure the S800D’s sonic performance isn’t compromised by its slimline proportions. Set-up is easy, there’s a solid choice of control options, and a decent set of features that includes support for Dolby Atmos and DTS Virtual:X, along with Samsung’s Q Symphony technology.

There’s a single HDMI eARC port, with extensive wireless connectivity and built-in Alexa. The performance with spatial audio is impressive, if rather front-heavy, and there’s the option of wireless rears for greater immersion. Ultimately, anyone looking for a capable and stylish Atmos soundbar is sure to be impressed by the HW-S800D.

Listening Notes

Rampage (4K Blu-ray

A film starring The Rock and a giant gorilla is always going to have a suitably monstrous Dolby Atmos mix, and the insane amounts of bass will test any system’s low-end performance. Despite a soundtrack that borders on blunt-force trauma, the S800D’s compact sub handles itself admirably, helping to create a solid wall of sound at the front of the room.

13 Hours (4K Blu-ray) 

This brutal recreation of the attack on a CIA compound in Benghazi sports a visceral Atmos mix that sorts the men from the boys in that all-important region where the sub hands over to the speakers. The percussive kick of the heavy machine-gun fire is well defined, as are the exploding mortar shells, ensuring the lower midrange never descends into muddiness.

Hans Zimmer Live in Prague (Blu-ray) 

It’s easy to forget all the memorable themes the maestro has created, and many of them are beautifully performed by his band in this live concert. From the drums of the Man of Steel to the strings of Inception and The Dark Knight, the S800D handles everything with pleasing clarity and precision.

What the press say

Why you should buy it

If you want the maximum amount of Atmos immersion from the minimum amount of space, this well-designed 3.1.2-channel system delivers the goods. It doesn’t compromise its sound quality just for convenience, and has all the cutting-edge features you expect from a Samsung soundbar.

Video review

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