A deep dive into a Samsung R450 soundbar review lets you explore the concept of tradeoffs. The review demonstrates whether or not the soundbar’s performance is comparable to that of higher-end models.
In the end, you’ll have the information you need to determine if Samsung managed to pack sterling performance into a compact, affordable package.
Samsung R450 soundbar review: Unboxing
Because it’s a 2.1 channel system, the Samsung R450 soundbar ships with a subwoofer and some accessories. There’s not much in the way of media cables; the R450 only ships with a Toslink optical cable. So if you need to channel audio through the soundbar’s auxiliary port, you’ll need to find yourself a 3.5mm aux cable. Here are the rest of the accessories that come with the Samsung R450:
- Mounting bracket, template screws and washers
- Power brick for the soundbar
- Power cables for the soundbar and woofer
- Remote and its batteries
- User manual
Right out of the box, the Samsung R450 soundbar looks like a premium device. At only 2.1 inches high, the soundbar sits nice and low on your TV stand. It has a rectangular form that terminates in two square-shaped sides, one of which holds a few basic controls.
The R450 has a charcoal-grey color scheme with textured surfaces that add a little edginess to its otherwise simple design. There’s a metal grill that covers the front and top surfaces of the soundbar. The mesh also covers the back surface, except for a narrow plastic strip that houses the insets with the different inputs. Textured plastic covers the side surfaces of the soundbar, providing a break from the chainmail look of the device.
The bottom surface has rubber feet that prevent the soundbar from sleeping or scratching the TV stand. The subwoofer is a foot-high cabinet that has a similar charcoal-grey aesthetic. Its power port, Bluetooth button and bass port are at the back.
Design: Inputs and controls
This soundbar is pretty light on inputs. A 3.5mm auxiliary audio port allows you to connect to older TV sets, which may come in handy if your TV doesn’t have an optical audio output. There is also a digital optical audio input, which is the ideal option. Lastly, there’s a micro-USB port for maintenance purposes. The lack of HDMI ports is regrettable.
Bluetooth allows the soundbar and subwoofer to connect wirelessly, which is neat. You can use the same Bluetooth connectivity to route audio from your devices to the soundbar. As for controls, there are four of them on one side of the R450: An input selector, a power button and volume buttons.
Samsung R450 soundbar review: Setup, interface and ease of use
Physical installation can be as easy as placing the soundbar on your TV stand and finding a place for the subwoofer. Once you connect your soundbar to power and the TV, switching it on is all you’ll need to do to get it working. The digital interface on the soundbar will read ‘Hello’ when it powers on.
The TV will automatically detect the soundbar and channel sound to it. The soundbar will pair with the subwoofer.
If you have a Samsung TV then you can control the soundbar using the TV remote. In fact, the soundbar is easier to use within the Samsung ecosystem. This translates into added functionality that would be unavailable in a different make of TV.
The Samsung R450 setup outputs 200W of sound. 130 of those watts come from the six-inch driver in the left side of the subwoofer. The remaining 70 watts come from the pair of full-range drivers one either end of the soundbar. This soundbar lacks a center driver. It compensates by directing a portion of the output from the internal drivers towards its center.
Here’s how the hardware performs.
Samsung R450 soundbar review: Sound quality
The core of this Samsung R450 soundbar review is how well the soundbar does the thing you bought it for; producing amazing, immersive sound. We evaluate the performance of the Samsung R450 based on a few metrics, which we flesh out below.
1. Frequency range and sound reproduction accuracy
Samsung advertises a frequency response of between 43Hz and 20KHz for the R450. The soundbar has an effective range of between 50Hz on bass and 15Hz on treble. As bass goes, 50Hz is a pretty high minimum frequency. This means you shouldn’t expect an immersive home-theater experience as you watch your favorite Marvel universe cataclysm.
Even more surprising is the fact that the treble frequencies only extend to about 15Hz. This frequency range limits the extent to which the Samsung R450 can accurately reproduce sound, but only marginally.
Overall, the accuracy of the soundbar is good enough that you can lose yourself in whatever you’re watching. Individual sound artifacts stand out, seemingly originating from different pinpoints on the 35-inch sound stage the soundbar creates. The soundbar blends these distinct audio components into detailed, well-defined, immersive sound.
The Samsung R450 will do a convincing audio rendition of the fraught, world-ending exploits of your favorite villain. A primal rumble from the belly of the earth will have a chorus of shattering glass to go with it.
2. Peak volume and distortion
The R450 can go as high as 93dB, but you won’t want to play audio at this volume. Past the 80dB mark, the bass audio components start to flatten and meld into each other, losing definition. The same goes for the treble frequencies.
3. Equalizer and sound presets
Because the Samsung R450 is a pretty basic soundbar, it doesn’t have much in the way of features like room correction or night mode. It does try to adjust the sound settings based on the content you play. It will try to enhance audio if you load a podcast or e-book. It will hype up the sound effects as you watch an action-packed movie.
The soundbar also has a game-mode preset that plays up the effects during gameplay. It has a graphical equalizer that you can use to calibrate bass and treble levels to your liking. The user manual will walk you through the process.
4. Surround sound and audio format support
2.1 channel audio setups cannot reproduce true surround sound, and the R450 is no different. The soundbar will downmix surround content to stereo, but it will do an admirable job of creating virtual surround. It does a good job of reproducing the bass-heavy elements of the down-mixed surround audio.
As for audio processing, the Samsung R450 soundbar can decode DTS and Dolby content. The soundbar also supports common audio formats like MP3, WAV and WMA.
- Solid build, executed with high-quality material
- Support for several audio formats
- The sound quality is pretty good, with sound effects that ‘widen’ the sound stage
- The sound that comes from the soundbar and subwoofer is good, but it’s still not surround sound
- You have limited ports, both in number and type, to choose from
- The lack of HDMI ports severely limits the functionality of the Samsung R450
Samsung R450 soundbar review verdict: A simple, affordable upgrade to your TV speakers
The point of this Samsung R450 soundbar review is to figure out if the soundbar is a good purchase. Simply put, it gets the job done without breaking the bank. You get to enjoy good audio that pulls you into the world of whatever content you consume. At the end of the day, isn’t that all we want? Click here to learn more about this soundbar.