Samsung’s latest soundbar finally puts gamers in the spotlight

Samsung’s shiny new audio lab in Valencia, California, has already borne the TV and smartphone powerhouse fruit in the form of some impressive new soundbars, from the succinct and relatively affordable Sound+ lineup — designed to let you drop the wireless sub without dropping the bass — to the multi-component Dolby Atmos powerhouse, the HW-K950. The latest in the lineup, the HW-N650, has its own distinctive feature set to add that Samsung’s home audio lineup has yet to address: Gamers.

Debuted at Samsung’s First Look event ahead of CES 2018, the new HW-N650 soundbar looks a lot like its predecessors at the onset, but zooming in a bit closer reveals an intriguing design, not the least of which is a hard-angled backside that looks almost like a fin. As you would imagine, though, it’s what’s beneath the surface that really makes this soundbar special. Underneath the soundbar’s top face is a small, tube-like sound port flanked by dual tweeters on its sides and lined with small ports, which the company calls a “hole array.” 

Samsung’s VP of Digital Audio and Video, Jim Kiczek, likens the hole array design to the finger holes that change the intonation of a flute. But instead of affecting the pitch, the HW-N650’s holes are designed to allow for “highly directional acoustic beams” to create a sweeping soundstage up front for a wall of sound. In theory, this will bring gamers closer to the action, helping you follow your character, other players, or NPCs and effects to pull you deeper into the game.

Samsung hopes this will offer one more reason to stop dealing with your paltry TV audio and put up some dough for a soundbar, while also allowing gamers to slip of the headphones without losing the accuracy they bring to the table. Of course, Kiczek says the soundbar is also designed to be an excellent ambassador of music, TV, and film sound, and its accompanying wireless subwoofer pumped out plenty of raucous bass in the demonstration at the show, presenting a powerful sonic experience.

We don’t yet have pricing for the HW-N650 soundbar, but it’s expected to be released in the spring of 2018. We’ll likely be bringing it in for review as soon as it hits the open market, so stay tuned for more. 

Product Review

Vizio's best-ever soundbar brings Dolby Atmos theater magic to the living room

Soundbars with true Dolby Atmos surround sound have historically been a rich man’s game, but Vizio’s 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos soundbar undercuts similar competitors by hundreds of dollars. Can this budget Atmos system stand up to the big boys?
Home Theater

What are HDMI ARC and eARC? Here’s how they can simplify your home theater

HDMI ARC is one of the coolest TV features at your disposal. But if you're like most folks, you have no idea how it works, if you even know what it is at all. Here's our primer on HDMI ARC, as well as the next generation technology, eARC.
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.
Home Theater

Sling TV ramps up its base programming with Discovery Networks for free

Sling TV has grown a great deal since its launch. Now there are more channels and more packages to chose from, with prices to match, and more is being added all the time. Everything you need to know is right here.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Product Review

Sennheiser brings audio perfection to wireless earbuds like no one else can

Sennheiser took its time entering the true wireless earbud market, and the results are what you’d expect from the storied audio brand. The new Momentum offer seamless operation, best-in-class sound, and a high price tag to match.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

Out of movies to binge? Our staff picks the best flicks on Hulu right now

From classics to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ ‘Bumblebee,’ ‘Alita,’ and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. That's why we round up the best ones for you. This week, it's the first trailer for Avengers: Endgame, as well as new trailers for Alita: Battle Angel and Bumblebee.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (December 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 2, Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas, and more.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

'Stranger Things' season 3 teaser reveals the new episodes' titles

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season.

The best 4K TV deals under $500 and over 50 inches

Big-screen TVs with high-resolution displays and 4K color have dropped so far in price that you can find highly rated 50 to 55-inch models under $500. We searched major retailers for the best deals on 4K UHD TVs.