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Samsung targets the Sonos Arc with its $900 HW-Q800A Dolby Atmos soundbar

We’re still waiting for pricing on Samsung’s MicroLED TV and its full 2021 TV and soundbar lineup, but the company has announced pre-order pricing and availability on three of its new soundbars, including the HW-Q800A — the model that edges in right under the HW-Q950A flagship. Earlier this month Samsung opened pre-orders for its Neo QLED TV models, in both 4K and 8K versions.  There are still plenty of models and sizes missing from Samsung’s full 2021 TV list, but here’s what we know so far (we’ll update this list as more pricing info gets announced).

We’ll cover TV models first, with the 2021 soundbars below.

2021 Samsung 8K Neo QLED TV

2021 Samsung 8K Neo QLED TV

Available in two versions (QN900A and QN800A), Samsung’s flagship QLED TV models get some nice upgrades for 2021. The TVs are powered by a new mini-LED backlight (the Neo part of the name), which should give these models even better black levels, contrast, and brightness than last year’s 8K TVs. Along with that new display comes a new picture processor, Samsung’s Neo Quantum Processor 8K, which we expect will do an even better job upscaling non-8K content to 8K resolution.

The two models share many common features, including an edge-t0-edge picture, super-slim chassis, support for 120Hz when viewing 4K content, a suite of dedicated gaming features, and support for HDR10+ Adaptive.

However, the Q900A has better HDR performance (48x vs 32x) and an 80-watt, 6.2.2 speaker system (versus 70-watt, 4.2.2 on the Q800A). All models can currently be pre-ordered and will be available in March 2021.

2021 Samsung 4K Neo QLED TV

2021 Samsung 4K Neo QLED TV

Samsung’s 4K TVs also get a boost in picture quality in 2021 thanks to the same Neo-equipped QLED panels. There are two varieties: The QN90A and QN85A.

These models have four HDMI inputs and use Samsung’s Neo Quantum Processor 4K. They have virtually no bezel but aren’t quite as slim in terms of depth as the 8K Neo QLED models. Still, they support a huge range of features including HDR10+, Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, AMD FreeSync Premium Pro, auto game mode, and object tracking sound.

The QN90A gets better HDR performance (32x vs 24x on the QN85A) and better sound with a 60-watt, 4.2.2 channel system versus a 60-watt 2.2.2 channel system on the QN85A. All models can currently be pre-ordered and will be available in March 2021.

2021 Samsung 4K QLED TV

Samsung 2021 QN80A 4K QLED TV

Samsung’s non-Neo 4K QLED lineup includes the QN80A, QN70A, and QN60A. The QN80A and QN70A share many of the same features, such as Samsung’s Quantum Processor 4K, and Object Tracking Sound, while the QN60A gets less powerful “lite” versions.

The QN80A is the only model of the three with Full-Array Local Dimming (FALD) and a 12x boost to HDR performance. Still, all three models have a huge number of valuable features like Q-Symphony, HDR10+, Dolby Digital+, auto game mode (ALLM), ARC/e-ARC, Bixby and Alexa, and Bluetooth.

2021 Samsung The Frame 4K QLED TV

2021 Samsung The Frame 4K QLED TV

Samsung’s gallery-inspired The Frame gets a few updates for 2021, including Q-Symphony, a better, 4-channel, 40-watt sound system, and compatibility with Adaptive Sound+ and SpaceFit sound. Mirroring options get easier thanks to Samsung’s OneTap system for quickly associating a smartphone to the TV via an NFC sensor built into the Frame’s remote control.

What hasn’t changed is the 4K QLED display, the swappable bezels, and a slim-fit wall mount using Samsung’s OneConnect cable and breakout box.

2021 HW-Q800A 3.1.2 Dolby Atmos soundbar

Samsung HW-Q800A soundbar
  • HW-Q800A: $900, pre-order now, available April 8

Samsung’s clear mission in 2021 is to make its soundbars the obvious choice for folks who buy a new Samsung TV. The HW-Q800A is a prime example. It features Q-Symphony sound for audio pairing with a compatible Samsung TV and SpaceFit Sound, which again works with a Samsung TV for optimized audio in any space.

But the real star of the HW-Q800A show is its support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X in a single speaker, just like the $800 Sonos Arc. Both offer a 3.1.2 Atmos experience,with dedicated up-firing height drivers, but Samsung gives the Q800A a bit more low-end oomph by throwing in a powerful wireless subwoofer.

It’s also an Alexa smart speaker, with your choice of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections for audio streaming. Apple’s AirPlay 2 is available and the soundbar has an HDMI input as well as an output, so you don’t have to worry about giving up an HDMI port on your TV. The input can passthrough 4K and HDR video, and the output supports HDMI eARC for lossless hi-res streaming of formats like Dolby TrueHD and FLAC.

It’s also compatible with Samsung’s SWA-9500S wireless surround speakers, which can bring the system up to a 5.1.2 setup.

2021 HW-Q700A 3.1.2 Dolby Atmos soundbar

Samsung HW-Q700A soundbar
  • HW-Q700A: $700, pre-order now, available April 8

The HW-Q700A is essentially the same soundbar as the Q800A, but a little less powerful, and it lacks Alexa’s onboard smarts. But virtually every other feature is included, inclusing Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, HDMI eARC, Q-Symphony, SpaceFit Sound, Apple AirPlay 2, Bluetooth, and compatibility with Samsung’s optional wireless surround speakers. And if you already own an Alexa-powered smart speaker, you can still use your voice to control the Q700A.

By saving $200 off the price of the Q800A, you’re simply getting a less powerful subwoofer.

2021 HW-A450 2.1 soundbar

Samsung HW-A450 soundbar
  • HW-A450: $200, pre-order now, available April 8

Samsung’s entry-level soundbar still packs plenty of power with an included wireless subwoofer. It keeps things simple, with Bluetooth, an optical input, and a USB port for playing local music files from an attached hard drive. If you don’t want to deal with extra wires, you can connect the A450 to a compatible TV using just Bluetooth.

With 300 watts of total power, Dolby Audio, and DTS 2-channel decoding, the A450 should give any TV room a serious upgrade in sound quality.

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Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like…
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