Samsung S40T Soundbar Review: Compact. Affordable. Needs a Firmware Update

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Here’s a short and useful Samsung S40T soundbar review to help with your search for a compact audio system. The manufacturer advertises the Samsung S40T as compact and affordable, with great sound quality. This review finds out if the soundbar comes as advertised.

Samsung S40T soundbar review: Unboxing

The soundbar ships with an optical cable, a remote, a pair of batteries, and a quick-start guide. You’ll have to shop for mounting brackets if you choose to wall mount this diminutive soundbar.

First looks

Samsung S40T soundbar review

Samsung partnered with the Danish firm Kvadrat to create a soundbar design that’s sure to complement the décor of your space. The result is a chassis that is all curves, with tough, durable mesh fabric on the front and top surfaces. The sides, back, and bottom of the soundbar have solid plastic panels.

The top of the Samsung S40T soundbar has a row of four glossy controls that stand in contrast to the mesh surface. These are the power button, a pair of volume buttons, and an input selector.

There’s also a row of LED indicators right below the controls. Their position makes the soundbar hard to see as you watch TV. This is the reason why you’ll need to make arrangements for a friendlier user interface. In addition to some allowances for a wall mount, you’ll find a few ports on the back panel.

Samsung S40T soundbar review: Ports and wireless connectivity

For some reason, Samsung goes with the bare minimum when it comes to the Samsung S40T inputs. There’s an optical port that you can use to physically connect the soundbar and TV. It’s the only one you have to work with if you want a wired connection to the TV.

The only other ports available on the soundbar are the power port and a USB service port. You’ll need the USB port to run some much-needed firmware updates.

People who own a Samsung TV may choose to go the Bluetooth route instead. Bluetooth allows you to stream content from your devices. You can connect two devices at the same time, just so long as you’re not connecting two TV sets. It bears mentioning that a Bluetooth connection will work for other makes of televisions as well.

[Read what others are saying about this soundbar]

Setup

The lack of an HDMI cable means that it takes one or two steps to channel sound to the Samsung S40T. If you choose to use the optical cable, you may need to go into your display’s sound settings. Once there select ‘Digital Output Audio Format’. Set it to PCM. This will allow the TV to redirect sound to the soundbar.

Setting up a Bluetooth connection is just as simple. Confirm that your TV can connect to external devices via Bluetooth. Then hold down the Bluetooth button on the remote for five seconds. The middle LED on the soundbar will cycle, turning red blue, and green until the soundbar is ready to pair. At this point, the LED will turn cyan and blink thrice.

On the TV end, you should see the S40T in the list of visible Bluetooth devices. Select it as the output audio device and sound will redirect to the soundbar. The process remains the same when you want to pair your phone, tablet, or PC.

Ease of use

You can use the soundbar remote to adjust the volume, select an audio preset, and adjust the subwoofer level. You can also use it for Bluetooth pairings, like in the previous section. There’s just one drawback to this: The LEDs that provide feedback are hard to see when you sit in front of the TV. Also, a series of blinking lights are reminiscent of Morse code, making them much harder to read than digital displays.

The TV remote has more limits than the soundbar’s remote, but it is a convenient way to adjust the volume. However, it takes a tweak or two before the soundbar can react to a compatible third-party remote. The user manual walks you through the process.

That brings us to Samsung’s SmartThings app. Pairing your phone and the soundbar lets you use the graphical interface of the app to operate the Samsung S40T. This is by far the best option.

Hardware and sound profile

The Samsung S40T is a 2.0 channel soundbar with an internal woofer. Each channel consists of a driver and a tweeter. One of these drivers is responsible for the bass audio elements.

The resultant sound is quite impressive. Treble and mid-range frequencies are clear, with a blend that lets each element stand out without overpowering the rest. The S40T also makes a good effort at bass audio elements. So expect a vast improvement to your TV speakers.

That said, the soundbar could do a better job of dialog enhancement. Still, Music Mode more than makes up for this shortcoming.

Equalizer and audio format support

There’s no equalizer to speak of on the S40T. The only thing you can do is adjust the woofer (bass) volume. Also, you get your pick of three audio presets, namely:

  • Music mode, which blends the different elements of a piece of audio to achieve a good level of balance
  • Smart mode, which adjusts how the soundbar renders sound based on the type of audio you play
  • Standard mode, which sounds pretty good but could use a little dialog enhancement

As for audio formats, the Samsung S40T supports DTS digital surround 2.0 and Dolby digital 2-channel.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Pleasant, compact design that is ideal for a small space
  • Solid build
  • Clear sound in the treble and mid-range frequencies
  • Samsung SmartThings app improves your user experience
  • Good blend of sound in music mode

Cons

  • Few inputs and the lack of HDMI ports limits functionality
  • LED indicators sit at the top of the soundbar, where you can’t see them while watching TV
  • The row of LED indicators is harder to read than a digital screen so you’ll be relying on the TV or the Samsung SmartThings app
  • You may need to perform one or two firmware updates to deal with glitchy performance
  • Before the firmware update, the soundbar will scream at you when it loses network connectivity, when you turn on the TV and whenever else it feels like it

Samsung S40T soundbar review verdict: Solid audio performance at a fair price

This Samsung S40T soundbar review reveals good sound quality, good design choices, and good pricing. Still, the soundbar requires a learning curve because of limitations in input ports and user interface. 

You should perform a firmware update to resolve any erratic behavior that the soundbar may surprise you with. Click here to learn more about this soundbar.

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