Samsung HW-K450 Sound Bar Review
THE VERDICT:
The Samsung HW-K450 is a good sounding affordable sound bar. It won't blow you away with its sound quality, but it is a definite upgrade over traditional TV speakers. It also receives high marks for Its simple design and easy to use interface.

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Design8.5
Features8
Value9
Ease of Use9
Sound Quality7.5
The Good
  • The K450 has good detail and clarity. The included subwoofer provides extra weight to movies and TV shows. Built-in bluetooth connectivity lets you stream music from most Bluetooth enabled devices.
The Bad
  • Turning up the volume results in harsh high frequencies. Bass can sometimes lack detail especially for music.
8.4Overall Score

The Samsung HW-K450 Sound Bar is one of Samsung’s more affordable options for 2016. Despite being one of Samsung’s cheaper sound bars, the K450 stills packs a solid set of features such as bluetooth and 3D pass through.

 

Samsung HW-K450 Review
When I pulled the Samsung HW-K450 out of the box I was pleased at the overall build quality. Despite being one of Samsung’s cheaper alternatives the 450 feels surprisingly sturdy and well built. The sound bar itself doesn’t deviate from what we’re used to in sound bar design. It’s long and slender measuring about 35″ long x 2.75″ deep x 2″ tall. The 450 is short enough that it should easily fit under a TV without blocking an IR signal.

 

Samsung HW-K450 SubwooferThe overall look and feel of the bar reminds me of the Vizio SB-4051. Like the Vizio, the 450 is wrapped in a metal grille with brushed metal plates on both ends. The right panel houses an on/off switch, volume control and input select buttons. When the unit is on, an info panel on the front displays the name of the current input, volume levels and any other pertinent adjustment settings.

 

The 450 is partnered with a wireless subwoofer which contains a 6.5 inch driver encased in a gloss and matte finished housing. The sub is surprisingly slender and lightweight which gives you loads of placement options.

 

On the back of the Samsung HW-K450 are all the connection choices. The 450 includes 1 HDMI 1.4 input and 1 output (with ARC), 1 USB input, 1 RCA input and 1 optical digital input. The 450 doesn’t support 4K video pass through, but it does allow for 3D. To assist with connecting the bar to your TV, Samsung includes an optical cable, but if you need any other wires you’ll need to supply them yourself. Bluetooth is built-in to the HW-K450, however WiFi isn’t on its list of features.

 

The remote bundled with the Samsung HW-K450 is compact, yet immensely serviceable. Using the remote to shuffle through the bar’s settings is about as quick and as intuitive as you can get. Samsung also offers an easy to use bluetooth app that controls many of the sound bars features. The well designed app makes delving into the bar’s settings remarkably easy.

 

Sound Quality

When initially setting up the K450 it took a while for me to find an adequate location for the wireless subwoofer. Doing the traditional “sub crawl”, I eventually settled on having the subwoofer placed up front near the sound bar and TV which created a more cohesive sound stage.  The Samsung HW-K450 has six listening modes: Standard, Sports, Clear Voice, Cinema, Music and Night Mode. I chiefly used the standard listening mode, but did dabble a bit with the others. Clear voice puts more emphasis on dialogue and vocals, but at the expense of some of the sound effects. However, anyone who’s hard of hearing will find this mode useful.

 

The 450 also has a  “surround” feature which is designed to replicate a surround sound experience. The effect is a little underwhelming since it really can’t come close to approximating a 5 or 7 channel surround setup. On the other hand, it did noticeably widen the sound stage. Despite this, I still preferred the standard mode with surround “off” for most of my listening tests.

 

Using the HW-K450 for everyday TV use provided a noticeable improvement over TV speakers. Audio was detailed and crisp coming through the 450. Star Wars: The Force Awakens on blu-ray gave the sound bar a better opportunity to flex its muscles. When Rey and Finn knocked the dust off the Millennium Falcon and took her airborne for the first time the Samsung HW-K450 came to life. The old ship swept convincingly from left to right with imperial blasters following close behind.

 

Pacific Rim gave the K450 more of a workout by letting the subwoofer play a starring role. As the giant robots battled the Kaiju every punch and foot stomp sounded surprisingly deep and powerful coming from the little subwoofer. Overall, the sound bar’s low frequencies had enough power and punch to invigorate every movie I watched.

 

Not everything was perfect with the HW-K450’s performance. At times the audio felt like it was anchored to the front of the room and not expansive enough. At high volumes, high frequencies sometimes sounded harsh. Bass, while good for a sound bar unit of this size, could use a little more punch.

 

Music thru the Samsung HW-K450 was solid if not spectacular. High, mid and low frequencies sounded good overall coming thru the tiny sound bar. Bass was solid, although with complex arrangements it sometimes lost its focus and detail.

 

The Verdict

The Samsung HW-K450 is a solid upgrade over TV speakers although it won’t blow you away with its audio performance, it does produce detailed sound and punchy bass. The simple to use sound bar is an excellent choice for anyone on a budget that’s looking for an upgrade over their TV speakers.


Where to Buy:

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