From the end of April the Samsung HW-N400 is for sale, This is a fairly compact soundbar, which despite its size is able to present a grand sound. How do you like the soundbar and is it worth its price of 249 euro?
Sound bars are available in all sorts of sizes. With many of these wide speakers, manufacturers supply a wireless speaker, but there are also models that offer an all-in-one package. The Samsung HW-N400 is such a soundbar and does so in a compact format. The device costs 249 euros and you should therefore have a better sound with your current television. But is that also capable of that? In this review we look at whether the, as Samsung describes him, TV mate is really a companion for your television.
Samsung HW-N400 – design and specifications
It does not matter which Side view of the Samsung HW-N400, the case looks sleek and modern. The soundbar fits easily with many TV furniture and television. There are no buttons or connections on the left and top. The only four buttons there are on the right side, while all connections are on the back. The four buttons are: volume up, volume down, change source and turn off the sound. You do not need more for the basic operation.
In contrast to many small soundbars, Samsung does not supply a subwoofer with the Samsung HW-N400. The soundbar is equipped with two integrated subwoofers and a bass reflex port. In addition, there are two wide-range tweeters. The soundbar offers support for virtual surround sound, but if you do not find anything then there is another solution. You can buy two separate speakers and connect wirelessly to this system, for a 4.1-channel surround system.
Furthermore, the device offers different types of connections and possibilities. There are two hdmi ports (one for a cable to the TV and one to which you can connect another device), there is support for bluetooth (version 2.1) and you can opt to use an optical cable for forwarding the sound. There is also a USB connection where you can connect a source of music, allowing you to play your music directly via the Samsung HW-N400. So at least you get the basics of ports.
Samsung HW-N400 – installation
The Samsung HW-N400 is installed in such a way. All you have to do is plug in the power cable and plug the supplied hdmi cable into the television and speaker and you’re done. It may be that you have to switch on the option to transmit the sound on your television, but that depends on your TV. Because the N400 supports hdmi-cec you can operate the device with your own remote control. Furthermore there is support for hdmi-arc through which a port can receive and send back image and audio.
Samsung HW-N400 – in use
The Samsung HW-N400 putting into operation is incredibly simple. You can operate the soundbar with your own remote control (for switching on and off and the volume), but also with the included remote control. There is also a Samsung application that you can use, but we almost always prefer a (separate) remote control over an application. Fortunately, this app is not required here and you have the choice; and that’s always good. Of course the remote offers access to the basic functions.
But that’s not all – you can also change various settings, such as the level of the bass and treble, and you can activate the surround sound. You also control the pairing of bluetooth devices. The remote control is not very extensive, but that is not necessary – Samsung has also kept the soundbar simple. The remote control has also been given an ergonomic design and is incredibly comfortable in the hand, so its use certainly does not have to be seen as a punishment.
Samsung HW-N400 – audio quality
Because the Samsung HW-N400 is not equipped with a separate subwoofer, you also can not expect that you hear impressive tones in the lower regions. Unfortunately, we also have to conclude this, during the song IDGAF by Dua Lipa, a song where the bass sound is important for the best sound experience of that song. Also the song she recorded with Martin Garrix (Scared to be Lonely) is not quite good. The bass sound is a bit dull, and therefore produces banging sounds.
The woofer creates a lack of dynamics and the room is not filled with a tight low sound. It sounds itself as if someone from outside the room is banging hard on the door. It also does not help that no sound mode music is present, which can adjust the default settings optimally at once. However, you are able to raise the level of the woofer, but that does not make the sound warmer or tighter. Furthermore, it is possible to adjust the treble, but that is not really necessary. The higher tones sound indeed good without further adaptation.
We have some other songs with a heavy bass line set up, like Reapers of Muse, but here we come to the same conclusion. The bass sound is present, but does not form an optimal basis. That the bass sounds a bit dull is also very clear on the song Back to Black by Amy Winehouse. It just is not. But whatever music we have listened to: the high notes sound fine and detailed, and the midtones and vocals come across tight and warm. Conclusion: the HW-N400 does not seem to be the best solution for music in which there is quite a bit.
The device is, however, capable of presenting a dynamic and room-filling sound, but especially for TV viewers who are absorbed in television series, films or the news. Is a film or series too busy, or are there too many explosions, then you notice that the soundbar has some shortcomings. And the harder you put it, the more these limitations come to the fore. It is not that the Samsung HW-N400 presents an ugly or deformed sound: at a reasonable volume it can sound really good, despite the format.
The surround sound mode sometimes sounds hollow and things on the screen sometimes sound far away, so we actually did not want to use the function more often than not. In principle, the 2.0 channel sound is more than fine for the majority of things. Maybe you want to use the surround sound for games, as some effects actually seem to come from a different corner of the room, but for movies and series we can not recommend this mode.
Samsung HW-N400 – conclusion
In general, we are positive about the Samsung HW-N400, especially when we look at the price. We are sometimes a bit strict when it comes to the sound experience, but at the end of the day the quality of the sound is the deciding factor when it comes to soundbars (and speakers in general). For 249 euros you will not easily find a soundbar that displays high and mid tones as clear, accurate and dynamic as the N400. The fact that the subwoofer is built in immediately means that the low tones are not so good, but that has its caveats.
Do not overload the sound and the settings are not too full, Then you have a great companion to the TV mate while watching movies and series or while gaming. We also use such a soundbar every day for listening to music, but this is less suitable. Perhaps the layer reproduction could have been better if a separate subwoofer were included, but the price would probably have gone up too. So it’s just what you’re looking for in a soundbar: television or music experience.
Besides a nice sound reproduction of middle and high tones, Samsung also delivers a fairly complete package when it comes to possibilities. By adding an HDMI-in you do not miss an HDMI connection on your television and through the USB port you can also play music directly through the device. It is also nice that there is bluetooth present and that you can operate the device with your own remote control. It is a device for convenience and that radiates on all sides – and that is more than fine.
Do not expect that you can connect your 4k devices here, since there is no 4k transmission. This is also not a requirement for this amount, but that is something to take into account the growing number of 4k devices. There is also no support for high dynamic range . But, again, we do not find that a big disadvantage because of the low amount. What had not been out of place was something like Google Cast, because that could have made the experience a bit better. Despite the small size, great sound comes from the N400.