Samsung’s new speaker looks like an Alien egg, spews sound instead of facehuggers

Three years ago, Samsung pledged to swear off the plasticky, el-cheapo audio wares it was known for and get serious. In the years since, the company has produced some impressive gear, from the vacuum tube-equipped DA-E750 speaker dock, to the Level headphone series, and the Shape multi-room wireless speakers. But none of it was revolutionary, and all of it failed to pique the interest of hard-core audio buffs.

Samsung’s latest audio effort, the Radiant 360 wireless speaker, ought to be different. The product of years of R&D at a brand new, state-of-the-art engineering facility in Valencia, CA., the Radiant 360 was designed to accomplish a feat many have sought and few have attained: Even 360-degree sound from a single speaker.

Has Samsung cracked the magic formula? We got a chance to listen for the first time, and while we think it is another leap forward for Samsung, we’re not convinced this is the speaker that will rehab the company’s cred in the audio market.

The Radiant 360 aims to make “every seat in the house a great seat.” At the heart of its design is an up-firing tweeter and down-firing woofer, both of which aim sound into “ring radiator” elements that project the sound into all directions — even the shape of the speaker itself is designed to help disperse sound evenly in all directions.

But the speaker is more than just a spherical music maker. It fits in with Samsung’s vision of a wireless multi-room audio ecosystem, which can be integrated with other Samsung products, such as TVs and tablets. Using Samsung’s new and improved multi-room audio app, which streams from the company’s Milk Music service or plays locally stored media, the speaker can stand alone, operate in tandem with additional Radiant 360 speakers, or integrate with any of Samsung’s Shape speakers over Wi-Fi. It can be a solo music maker, or work as part of a home-theater system via Bluetooth. To be sure, it is designed to be extremely versatile.

Samsung, like so many others, is trying to edge in on Sonos’ turf, but it does have a distinct advantage in that it makes a wide array of products that are all designed to work together — smartphones, tablets, PCs, and TVs. The app, which we have yet to really put to task, does at least appear more intuitive and user-friendly than past efforts.

But at the end of the day, all the fancy features in the world don’t mean much if the speaker doesn’t sound great, and whether it does remains to be seen. The loud and expansive event venue was no place to judge the speaker’s sonic capabilities, but when we leaned in close for a listen, we were concerned with a lack of meat in the lower frequencies. This speaker is big enough and expensive enough — $500 — that it needs to deliver a decent amount of bass to be taken seriously.

We’ll have to wait until we get our review sample in to pass final judgement, but for now we are comfortable saying Samsung has made another stride forward, even if it wasn’t the leap it was looking for. With so much invested in its new audio facilities, it is hard to imagine the company won’t continue to up its game in the years to come, even if this isn’t the magic bullet.

Smart Home

Amazon knocks down the price on the second-generation Echo smart speaker

Amazon just knocked down the price of the second-generation Echo smart speaker with Alexa by 25 percent. The Echo can answer questions, control smart home devices, fill a room with music with its Dolby speakers, and make hands-free calls.

You won't need a new hard drive thanks to these tips for deleting games from a PS4

PlayStation 4 games eat up storage space quickly, which will inevitably require you to make room for new games. Here's how to delete and reinstall games on PS4 for those times when you have to manage your storage space.
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny, muffled 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

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our favorites, with all the features you want.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.

Amazon slashes prices on TCL’s already affordable 4K Roku Smart TVs

If you're on a budget, some of the fancier models might seem way out of reach, but that doesn't mean you can't still get a solid TV at an affordable price. Amazon is dropping TCL 4K TV prices as low as $250 right now.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

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

The best shows on Netflix right now (March 2019)

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.
Home Theater

2019 LG OLED TVs with AirPlay 2, HomeKit support coming in April

LG has revealed the prices and release dates of the first batch of 2019 OLED TVs with A.I. ThinQ. The new W9 wallpaper OLED TVs will arrive in June, while the E9 and C9 OLED TVs will start rolling out in April.
Movies & TV

These are the best movies on Hulu right now (March 2019)

From dramas 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

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

11 Hollywood heavyweights who jumped from the big screen to the small screen

From Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep to James Franco and Mahershala Ali, lots of Hollywood A-list actors with successful film careers are flocking to television projects during the second Golden Age of Television.
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: Aliens, Avengers: Endgame, Charlie Says, 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 new trailers for Avengers: Endgame, Aladdin, Charlie Says, Doom: Annihilation, and more.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: Free Solo, Catastrophe season 4, 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: Free Solo documents an awe-inspiring climb, Catastrophe unveils its final season, and more.