Samsung HW-S60B Soundbar Review: Wireless Atmos Dolby At Affordable Prices

The Samsung HW-S60B soundbar is the perfect choice for owners of compatible Samsung TVs. They will get access to wireless spatial audio, such as Dolby Atmos, Q-Symphony for using soundbar and TV speakers, as well as a room calibration feature.

However, even without those extra features, you’ll still get precise sound quality, a variety of control options, and easy setup via the SmartThings app, all at an affordable price.

Featured Features

Samsung is making a major update to its lifestyle soundbar lineup in 2022, adding premium features like SpaceFit Sound which is a room adjustment correction tool, and Dolby Atmos/DTS:X virtual surround sound. This truly enhances the all-in-one solution of the HW-S60B, allowing it to deliver 3D spatial audio formats wirelessly over a Wi-Fi connection.

However, its wireless capabilities, Samsung’s Q-Symphony audio format, and SpaceFit Sound features are limited to select Samsung TVs from 2022. While you can enable SpaceFit Sound via the app, it didn’t seem to have much of an effect on my non-Samsung TVs. Its wireless functionality may also be the reason why there is only one HDMI port with ARC but sadly no eARC support.

While you’re not completely missing out on the benefits of not having a Samsung TV, you can still access Samsung’s SmartThings control app to set up the soundbar and adjust settings, such as changing the sound mode from Standard and Music to Game and Adaptive Sound and DTS:X (virtual). You can also adjust bass, treble and channel levels for the center and side speakers easily.

In addition to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and AirPlay 2, I could easily play music from my phone to the HW-S60B via the app’s Tap Sound feature. It also has Spotify Connect, which lets me play music from anywhere in my house as long as it’s within range. Connectivity features like this are something I find particularly appealing, as they make the transformation of my living space a seamless experience.

However, support for Alexa may be useful if you have an Alexa-connected device already connected to your SmartThings app. However, with the iPhone, I had trouble getting it to work via the Alexa app. Overall, the HW-S60B is packed with helpful features, but the Samsung TV’s limitations take away from the product’s value a bit.

Sound Quality

I tested the HW-S60B in a large room with soft furnishings connected to a non-Samsung TV via an HDMI to ARC cable. This is a huge improvement over my TV’s built-in audio and although the audio details are somewhat lost when the volume is increased, this soundbar is capable of producing excellent room-filling sound.

With its compact size, I was very impressed with the expansive sound it was capable of producing. He is able to make dialogue sound expressive and clear. For example, when watching a film with the Voice Enhancement feature and Adaptive Sound mode active, this helps improve the clarity of dialogue such as in Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, which is no small thing.

However, there is a major limitation on bass, which is to be expected considering its small size. This is especially noticeable when watching action scenes, such as in the Top Gun: Maverick test training scene, where the soundbar is unable to provide the full power of an operating fighter aircraft engine.

When listening to music, you will feel this limitation more. For example, I once listened to Elton John’s “Rocket Man” in a multi-million pound Dolby Atmos room and on premium Bower & Wilkins speakers, so I know the incredible dynamic range required to achieve the song’s high and low notes. However, when I played it on the HW-S60B, I started to notice some limitations.

When listening in Music mode, I noticed that the dynamic range revealed was still mostly compressed and sounded a bit flat. The rhythmic bass I usually hear is absent, and the treble struggles to express a balanced range in songs that peak in the chorus. This isn’t limited to this track alone, and when compared to the Sonos Beam Gen 2, the differences are even more pronounced.

I tested various sound performance from the TV but also via Bluetooth to listen to music via Apple Music. I also switched to Spotify when testing the Spotify Connect feature, which worked immediately when connected via my iPhone.

Design

Soundbars tend to have a similar rectangular design, and the HW-S60B doesn’t stray too far from that, with the addition of rounded corners. It is sleek, elegant and simple. The HW-S60B is a black model, while the HW-S61B is a white color option. In terms of other details on the soundbar itself, it has a small Samsung logo (once you peel off the giant sticker on the front).

It’s not the smallest soundbar in Samsung’s lineup (that would be the ultra-thin S800B, which is just 38mm thick), but it won’t block your TV view too much at just 62mm tall. I found it very easy to integrate it into my setup.

The Samsung HW-S60B has a plastic mesh around the speaker, leaving behind the cloth mesh that used to cover its predecessor’s speakers. It’s heavy and feels sturdy, doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere, looks unobtrusive under the TV.

It has four physical buttons on the top. It’s dedicated to power on and off, volume, as well as connectivity options, which let me connect my phone via Bluetooth, and an option to mute the microphone. If you continue to hold the connectivity button, you will also be able to access Wi-Fi and sound mode.

In addition to these controls, you also get a dedicated remote. This gives you quick access to sound modes, tone control, sound levels, Bluetooth alignment, whitening, and settings. The options for play and pause are located in the center of the circular direction keypad.

This is the only part of the remote that sticks out a bit, aside from the two large protruding pieces of plastic. They are for adjusting volume/channel and bass/treble controls. And while being able to adjust these settings on the fly is useful, the buttons themselves feel a bit flimsy.

Apart from a small Samsung logo on the bottom, this remote is pretty self-explanatory except for a handy reminder that it says ‘soundbar’ (just to remind you that this remote is a soundbar remote). Overall, the remote – like the soundbar itself – has a nice sleek design.


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