Another impressive soundbar from Samsung, the HW-Q700C delivers a dynamic, cinematic performance that will have your walls shaking. It’s also good with music, while owners of recent Samsung TVs get a boost from Samsung-specific features. It could benefit from more sonic refinement, but if you’re disposed to big, loud sounds, you’ll want to consider the HW-Q700C for your home.
- Big, dynamic, cinematic sound
- Wireless Dolby Atmos
- Dolby and DTS support
- Good music performance
- Anonymous looks
- Could be more subtle and refined
Wireless Dolby AtmosConnect and play Dolby Atmos content wirelessly
Q-SymphonyCombines soundbar speakers with compatible Samsung TV speakers as one
SpaceFit SoundAutomatically optimises audio for the room the bar is in
Just like with its TVs, Samsung is the king of soundbars, anointed for the ninth year in a row in terms of market share. It’s a run it’ll hope to continue with the likes of the HW-Q700C.
Pitched among its more affordable (but still premium) soundbar models for 2023, the Samsung HW-Q700C is a soundbar/subwoofer combo that intends to bring a big boost on your TV’s sound, featuring an array of features specific to Samsung TVs, but also offer some added value with smart features to integrate it within the home.
I’ve liked Samsung’s previous soundbars a lot, and on specs alone the HW-Q700C looks like another winner. How does it perform in the cauldron of our test rooms? Here’s my verdict.
- Brutalist look
- Over a metre long
- Concealed display
Samsung’s ‘HW’ soundbars have in the last few years conformed to one look: big, angular, and rather brutalist. Like Sony’s soundbars, they share a very ‘strong’, hefty look to them.
Some might describe them as bland, and there’s a thin line between bland and minimalism, but the HW-Q700C, like its predecessor, is one that doesn’t draw attention to itself.
At over a metre wide it’ll need a lengthy piece of AV furniture to sit on (and is best suited to 55-inch TVs and bigger), while at 3cm tall, it should be able to fit beneath most TVs (especially if it’s a Samsung). The main unit weighs in at 4.8kg, while the subwoofer is a stocky 5.9kg.
It’s a mirror image of the HW-Q700B with its grilled, perforated surface with upfiring speakers that can be spied through the grilles as well as a series of buttons in the middle that cover power, volume, and source input. In a recessed area underneath, there’s a HDMI out (to the TV), HDMI input, and digital optical output if you have a very old TV.
The LED display is located on the right-hand side concealed behind the grille. It’ll pop up with notifications for source inputs or settings, and it’ll display a flag when a Dolby Atmos soundtrack is playing, but won’t return the favour for DTS:X tracks, which I find bemusing.
The subwoofer is boxy – what else shape would it be? – but like the bar, it’s well built and anonymous in appearance. It’s rear ported, so for best bass management it should be positioned closer to a wall.
The remote control (or One Remote Control as Samsung has coined it) is the same as the 2022 models, which means it’s an elegant, slim zapper that’s easy to use with buttons for Bluetooth pairing, settings, EQ tuning, and more.
- Wireless Dolby Atmos support
- Dolby and DTS support
- Alexa compatibility
Like the HW-Q700B before it, the Samsung HW-Q700C features a 3.1.2-channel configuration (nine speakers in total) with a centre, two upfiring speakers, and wide range tweeters plus the 6.5-inch woofer. The system can be upgraded with the SWA-9200S wireless set, turning it into a 5.1.2 system with genuine rear speakers. That’s an extra £199.99 / $149.99.
There’s an array of Samsung-specific features if you own a compatible Samsung TV. Q-Symphony is the most notable, syncing the speakers of the TV and soundbar so you get sounds and dialogue more accurately placed on screen.
When paired with a compatible Samsung TV, the HW-Q700C’s SpaceFit Sound feature can automatically optimise the sound and calibrate it for the room, taking into account objects and surfaces close by. If you own a different brand TV, you won’t be able to take advantage of this.
Active Voice Amplifier raises the volume of dialogue above other noisy sounds in a room, while Adaptive Sound 2.0 automatically optimises audio content by identifying the genre (movie, news, etc). If audio is played at a low volume, it’ll emphasise dialogue so it’s still audible. Game Mode 2.0 offers directional sound to immerse the player in the game they’re playing.
Moving on to connectivity, the HDMI input can pass through 4K HDR10+ video and there’s a USB port for service use only. There’s Wi-Fi, which brings AirPlay 2, built-in Chromecast (despite Samsung’s site saying it doesn’t support it), and Spotify Connect. Bluetooth support is included, though it’s only SBC.
The soundbar also supports wireless Dolby Atmos, convenient for those who have no time for cables. Tap the bar with a Galaxy Android smartphone and you can fling music to the bar without obstruction.
Smarts come in the form of Alexa, though it is not built in and requires another compatible device to be connected to the speaker. There is ‘Works with” Google compatibility even though, once again, the Samsung site asserts there isn’t.
In terms of audio soundtracks there is Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital+), Dolby 5.1ch; DTS:X, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS 5.1, DTS HD and multi-channel LPCM up to eight channels.
Streaming music instead? Audio formats include AAC, MP3, OGG, WAV, FLAC, ALAC and AIFF, and the HW-Q700C can decode Hi-Res Audio.
Finally, there’s the SmartThings app, which can be used to control the soundbar, playback, tailor the EQ, flick between source inputs, tweak the channel levels, and plenty more. It’s even more useful if you have other smart products compatible with the app, and it can be used to quickly set-up the soundbar on first use. The Advanced EQ options aren’t present when the soundbar is set-up in Q-Symphony mode.
- Thunderous bass
- Very good centre channel for dialogue
- Could be more subtle
In our review of the HW-Q700B, we described it as striking an impressive balance between value and performance, and the Samsung HW-Q700C is more of the same.
With John Wick: Chapter 4 (4K Blu-ray) the HW-Q700C gets off to an impressive start in its thundering description of Wick’s fist slamming into a wooden post – you can feel the force, weight, and slam of those hits that’s only really possible with an external subwoofer.
The film’s Atmos track is spaciously described, finding a good balance between ambient detail, dialogue, and score; like where Wick talks to one of the elders in the desert – the sound of flags flapping by and wind flowing puts you in the scene. Though the HW-Q700C isn’t immersive – it is front-heavy staging without rear speakers – its fine grasp of detail does immerse the viewer in another way.
Gunshots punctuate in the film’s action sequences, delivered with plenty of snap and dynamism, while the sound of Wick slicing up his foes with a sword in the Osaka-based sequence is gory in the best way possible. As Wick and his adversaries are sent flying through glass partitions, there’s a nice sharpness that brings out the Q700C’s dynamic range.
Dialogue is delivered smoothly and with weight through the centre channel, though at times there are points where Hiroyuki Sanada’s Shimazu in Wick 4 does teeter close to sibilance, the HW-Q700C refrains from being overtly sharp.
Like its predecessor, there’s excellent focus on dialogue, which is loud, clear, and naturally conveyed in Spotlight (Blu-ray), with a natural performance from the Boston accents actors put on for the film.
Films such as Dune and Tenet with their testing audio mixes fare well through this soundbar. Jessica’s recitation of the Litany of Fear is audible throughout, while it brings clarity to Kay’s “burn in hell” parting shot to Sator in the catamaran sequence where on other soundbars can make it sound garbled.
If you do find dialogue is hard to hear, there is the Voice Enhancement setting. It is louder, sharper but not as natural in tone; and it also lifts background noises watching The English on iPlayer.
There’s sibilance too with Emily Blunt’s Cornelia Locke, the HW-Q700C doling a little too much sharpness and brightness to her voice in this mode.
Its performance with DTS:X soundtracks isn’t as expansive or as dynamic as with Atmos. With Jurassic World: Dominion, it needed to be cranked up to volume 40 to feel as expressive as Atmos tracks are at volume 30.
Height channels aren’t as well defined – there’s more of an intangible sense of space with Dominion’s DTS track – but there’s good panning and staging of effects as velociraptors chase the heroes through the streets of Malta.
A mention of the soundbar’s Q-Symphony performance too; it’s dynamic, conveying the difference between quiet and loud in a manner that more expensive bars like the Devialet Dione don’t. The subwoofer retains impact, providing plenty of scale when the Atreides family lands on Arrakis, the bass crossover doesn’t appear too significantly altered in this configuration either.
It’s arguably more detailed in its Q-Symphony mode with the help of the TV’s speakers, but not necessarily more subtle. The soundbar also supports wireless Atmos and despite a little bit of distortion during set up, it proved to be very impressive. Fast-forwarding or rewinding content didn’t lead to it going out of sync or lagging. If you have a compatible TV, wireless Atmos works as seamlessly as the wired connection.
While it’s been mostly breathless praise for the Samsung HW-Q700C, there are few quibbles. Volume 30 is as loud as you need to go for Dolby audio tracks; tread any further and soundtracks veer towards bombastic.
Bass is described in hefty, varied, cinematic terms but can flit towards being too powerful at the volume level I was listening at. Bass doesn’t dominate proceedings I should add – but the HW-Q700C is a touch lacking in refinement and subtlety. When this subwoofer hits, it hits hard but the overall tone Samsung has gone for here is more towards weight, leading to detail and sharpness not feeling the most resolved. Reducing the volume to somewhere between 25 – 30 and tweaking the woofer to -6 helped for me.
And though the HW-Q700C is spacious, it doesn’t expand beyond the confines of the S95C’s four bezels. It feels locked to the screen rather than spreading beyond it, another aspect is the Q700C doesn’t push sound into the room either. Unlike the step-up HW-Q800C, it lacks side-firing speakers to shovel sound to the sides and add more width, especially towards the bottom half of the screen.
With music there’s many choices in Spotify Connect, AirPlay 2, Chromecast, and Bluetooth streaming. Bluetooth offers warm, rich bass with Groove Armada’s At The River. Vocals are smoothly conveyed with a touch of richness. I’d suggest playing music (at least on Bluetooth) with Adaptive Sound on as it brings the vocals forward and gives the track a better shape and sense of detail.
I would not repeat that trick with Wi-Fi as it ladles the already crisp sound with more sharpness, coming across as harsh. Nevertheless, with the same track on Spotify Connect it has a larger presence, more space for vocals and instruments to strut their stuff, with a crisper midrange that retrieves more detail.
Streaming Qobuz over Chromecast is the same: more energy, dynamism, and clarity across the frequency range than with Bluetooth, more power to boot, though it can sound too bassy, while some tracks are loud to the point of sounding harsh. A stream of the Football Weekly podcast over AirPlay came across loud and clear. The HW-Q700C’s Bluetooth performance is fine, but it takes off with its Wi-Fi performance.
Should you buy it?
You want to hear what’s being said
The focus on dialogue is great. It’ll render even the densest Hollywood soundtrack clear and easy to hear.
You’re after more sonic refinement
The HW-Q700C is not what I’d call subtle. Detail levels are good, but the step-up HW-Q800C is clearer and sharper.
There’s not a huge difference between the HW-Q700C and HW-Q700B: same number of speakers, same channels, similar connectivity, and largely the same performance.
The addition of Atmos music and LPCM channel support is new, but this soundbar is largely more of the same. Don’t take that to be a knock against its performance, because this is a terrifically cinematic effort that gives films plenty of heft, strong vocal intelligibility, and good music performance.
It lacks a little sonic refinement, and you probably won’t want this soundbar for an apartment with its room-shaking bass, but movie and TV fans will dig this soundbar. It’s a helluva good time in its company. Otherwise, check out our Best Soundbar guide for more options.
How we test
We test every soundbar system we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
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Tested across three weeks
Tested with real world use
Chromecast is built into the Q700C soundbar, despite the Samsung site listing the soundbar as not being able to play Chromecast streams.
Sound Bar Channels
1110.7 x 120 x 60.4 INCHES
6.5-inch woofer, centre speaker, wide range tweeter, two upfiring speakers
HDMI input, HDMI output, digital optical out, Wi-Fi (Spotify Connect, AirPlay 2, built-in Chromecast), Bluetooth (SBC)
Works with Alexa
Dolby Atmos Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital+, Dolby 5.1ch, DTS:X, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS 5.1, DTS HD, LPCM 8ch, AAC, MP3, OGG, WAV, FLAC, ALAC, AIFF