Samsung tackles just about every consumer electronic category you can think of so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that they are taking on the niche world of sound bars as well. Released in 2013, the Samsung HW-F450 aims to be a nice companion for any TV that needs a moderate boost in audio quality. It is one of the many alternatives available if you can’t spend so much on a large sound system and home theater receiver. But the HW-F450 gives you the best possible experience if you have certain Samsung Smart TV models.
The Samsung HW-F450 has been specifically designed to match Samsung Smart TVs. If you have seen a Samsung display before, you can kind of get a hint that this sound bar has some exclusive features that only Samsung Smart TV owners can enjoy. That being said, the slim and black design should match just about any other modern HDTV quite nicely. The sound bar has a sleek look and the visible speaker drivers want to give that impression that the sound quality is good. A mounting hardware is supplied so you can mount the sound bar to the wall which is a nice idea if you mount your TV to the wall as well.
Samsung’s strategy often involves cramming tons of features into their products. The HW-F450 is no exception and fortunately, many of the features are more on the useful side and less on the gimmicky side. The back of the sound bar features an audio input along with an HDMI input and optical input. The addition of an HDMI output is pretty interesting because it lets you connect a set top box directly to the sound bar so the set top box can receive all the sound enhancing benefits while passing video signals to the TV.
The Samsung HW-F450 also doubles as a massive Bluetooth speaker so any type of Bluetooth-enabled portable device that can play back music can wirelessly stream to the sound bar instead. Smartphone users definitely have the benefit here since there are so many music apps available. A USB port is provided as well if you prefer loading a flash drive with MP3, WAV or WMA files and plugging it directly to the sound bar.
The included subwoofer has a couple of tricks up its sleeve too and the name highlights them. Samsung identifies this as a “Wireless Active Subwoofer” because it can communicate with the sound bar without the need for a wire. The subwoofer is also considered active because it has an amplifier built right in.
If you have a fairly advanced Samsung Smart TV released in 2012 or 2013, the HW-F450 can take advantage of the Sound Share feature which is another wireless solution that links the sound bar to the TV. There is a simple setup process that walks you through the steps in pairing the sound bar with the display. Once linked, you may also use the Smart On functionality which enables your TV’s remote control to automatically turn on the sound bar whenever you decide to turn on the TV. However, this feature only works for any Samsung Smart TVs released in 2013. Smart Volume is another technology that allows you to control the sound bar’s volume through the TV remote. Because Samsung HW-F450 uses Samsung’s proprietary Anynet+ standard, you can let other Anynet+ devices like Samsung camcorders to stream video to the TV and use the sound bar to handle the audio stuff.
The HW-F450 performs a lot like its predecessor – the HW-E450. Like the older model, movies perform wonderfully on the Samsung HW-F450 for the most part. Because of the limitations of sound bars in general, the soundstage doesn’t feel so full unless you use the 3D Sound Plus mode. The only downside is the noticeable lack of clarity while this mode is enabled. Once again, this is an understandable limitation that all sound bars have. Fortunately, the sound bar supports high definition sound which translates to deep audio experiences where every instrument in music tracks can be heard. In fact, the subwoofer contributes greatly to the overall performance of the 2.1-channel sound bar.
This is the kind of sound bar that brings tremendous value to a $299 speaker. Rather than focusing purely on audio quality, the HW-F450 makes itself easy to setup and has the necessary mount and other essentials so you can integrate this sound bar to your small home theater system already. It can be a suitable replacement for a larger speaker system if the room is quite small. However, you don’t exactly get your money’s worth if you don’t have the Samsung TV. Remember, the Samsung TV-exclusive features simply won’t work when the sound bar is connected to other displays. You don’t want to be paying a fairly premium price for a sound bar and not use all of its features. Therefore, it is really best to get this speaker if you have a supported Samsung display. Once you have that display, it is all smooth sailing from there.
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