While it's certainly not a top performing soundbar, the Samsung HW-K450 2.1 Channel offers a big punch for a small price tag. For less than $300 it offers fairly crisp, well-balanced sound that will blow away any speakers you'll find on a TV, and even has the extra punch of an external subwoofer. Plus, it has an eye-pleasing design, is easy to install and use, and offers a multitude of different sound settings. We would recommend the Samsung HW-K450 to anyone looking for good, punchy bass at a low price. However, if you don't mind a little less low end, the Yamaha YAS-108 sounds just as good and costs $80 less.
Samsung HW-K450 2.1 Channel Review
Pros: Good bass, easy to install and use, lots of sound control, nice design
Cons: Sound is slightly muddled compared to more expensive models
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Samsung HW-K450 2.1 Channel provides solid performance at a relatively low price, making it perfect for those that have a smaller soundbar budget but want to get the most out of the money they spend.
The Samsung HW-K450 2.1 Channel did fairly well in our testing and was only bested in our overall scoring by models that cost more than twice as much.
Below we discuss, in detail, how the Samsung HW-K450 fared in all of the different tests that make up our overall scores.
We were quite impressed with the Samsung HW-K450's sound quality, especially considering its price. It earned a 6 out of 10 in our sound quality testing, putting it just above average.
The external subwoofer provided solid bass in our testing. Is wasn't quite as powerful as the Klipsch R-20B, but actually had slightly more punch than the top scoring Sonos Playbar. The bass did tend to get a bit muffled when playing very low frequency, but not to a terrible degree. The treble also sounded quite good, though it wasn't quite as crisp as the bass. Amazingly, we only experienced minimal amounts of clipping when playing very loud and high pitched sounds. Overall the speaker was able to create a rich, full sound that really drew us into whatever movie we were watching or music we were listening to. Sure, it couldn't quite compete with the immersiveness of the top scorers in this metric, but it is still a massive step up from any built-in TV speakers.
Ease of Use
We found the Samsung HW-K450 to be quite easy to use. It earned one of the highest scores in our test, just one point off the best scoring model.
Despite having an external subwoofer the Samsung HW-K450 was quite easy to install. The Subwoofer paired with the speaker right away, you just have to push a tiny button with a pen on both speakers for 5 seconds, and we were up and running within 10 minutes of opening the box.
We really liked the LED Display on the front of the soundbar that clearly displays what it is currently connected to. Most models don't have this sort of indication, which can make Bluetooth connectivity problems all the more frustrating. Speaking of Bluetooth, we never had any trouble connecting our mobile devices to the Samsung HW-K450. We also generally liked the included remote control. It allowed for easy navigating of inputs and sound modes. The large handed amongst us felt the buttons were a little small, but it wasn't too much of an issue.
The Samsung HW-K450 allowed for the most sound adjustability amongst the models we tested. Accordingly, it earned the top score of 9 out of 10, putting it well ahead of the bottom score of 3. Its EQ Allows for adjustment of the treble, general bass, and the subwoofer specifically. It also offers six different preset sound modes optimized for music, movies, clear dialogue, and nighttime viewing (dulls loud noises so you don't wake the neighbors). This was the only model we tested that both had full EQ controls and different sound modes.
The Samsung HW-K450 was again one of the top scorers in our design and style testing, falling just one point short of the top scoring model. We very much like the clean right angles and all black design of both the HW-K450 soundbar and subwoofer. The hard plastic speaker covering adds to the sleekness of the design. As long as you have a good spot for the subwoofer, we think the HW-K450 will seamlessly blend into any living room.
Listing at $280, the Samsung HW-K450 is on the more inexpensive side of the spectrum, yet still provides relatively good sound. However, if you're looking for the best value, the Yamaha YAS-108 provides similar sound quality and costs $80 less. The HW-K450 does does offer the extra punch of an external subwoofer, so if you're looking for the best bass bang for the buck, it is a great choice and a great value.
The Samsung HW-K450 offers decent sound, specifically surprisingly powerful bass, for a relatively low price. It's a good choice for those on a budget, but if you don't mind sacrificing just a bit of low-end power, the Yamaha YAS-108 is an even better choice for those on a budget.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata