In this comprehensive review we look at the Samsung WAM1500, WAM3500 and WAM550 Wireless Audio 360 and multiroom speakers. These are three new speakers in the WAM series, which stands for Wireless Audio Multiroom. These speakers also transmit the sound in all directions, leaving you with a wide sound field without a sweetspot. Samsung calls the WAM1500 the R1, the WAM3500 the R3 and the WAM5500 the R5.
Samsung WAM1500, WAM3500 and WAM5500 – What is it?
Samsung officially released the WAM1500, WAM3500 and WAM550 at the end of October. These are Wireless Audio Multiroom 360 speakers. That means a number of things. First, the wireless speakers: the only wire you will encounter is the power cable. Secondly, you can connect the speakers to your WiFi network, allowing you to enjoy the same music anywhere in the house. The ‘360’ in the name stands for the sound: the audio is sent in all directions, so no sweetspot arises.
This series consists of three speakers, as indicated above. The WAM1500 is the smallest speaker, also called the R1. The R3 is the middle speakers (WAM3500) and the last one is of course the WAM5500, or the R5. All three speakers can be connected to your WiFi network, this time without such an expensive, extra cabinet as the Samsung Hub. Samsung has been able to take the Hub out of the experience and that facilitates the connection process. You do not have to do more unpleasant actions when you connect the speakers.
Samsung WAM1500, WAM3500 and WAM5500 – Design
In contrast to the two previously discussed series, the new WAM 360 series has received a traditional speaker design. The three speakers therefore look identical, except for the size of the box. Where the WAM6500 and WAM7500 were provided with a striking design with a kind of casing around the box, we now see that Samsung has chosen to leave the speaker ‘open’. That means that you only have the black material for the hardware and I think this sounds good for the sound.
In principle, the WAM1500, WAM3500 and WAM5500 do not have buttons. At the top is a large disk that is equipped with a kind of touch panel. In the middle is a small display that shows the logo of for example Bluetooth when you press the mode button and are looking for Bluetooth. We have two small protrusions for the volume buttons – the rest is completely flat. It gives the speaker set a certain elegance and that actually needs it when you look at the rest.
The speakers are not beautiful. They look simple and cheap, while the sound quality communicates the opposite (more about that later). It is also striking that the smallest speaker, the R1 (199 euros), has an external power adapter, in contrast to the R3 (299 euros) and the R5 (399 euros) – the adapter is built in. It makes the R1 just a little more cumbersome to use – add that there is no rechargeable battery included and you know immediately which box we prefer the least.
Samsung WAM1500, WAM3500 and WAM5500 – How does it work?
Installing the speakers is very simple. You choose a place in your home, plug in the power socket and you can immediately start pairing – whether it is via Bluetooth or WiFi. Via Bluetooth it goes in the usual way. You switch on Bluetooth by pressing the mode button on top of the speaker and also connect the device to your smart device and you can start playing immediately. However, WiFi is changing this time, because Samsung has decided to omit the Samsung Hub (unnecessary costs).
When you set the speaker to WiFi mode (by pressing the mode button again, the speaker also tells when you have reached the right mode), you are ready in no time. You do need the Samsung Multiroom application, but fortunately it is still free to download from Google Play and the App Store. You search for the speaker, fill in your WiFi password and you’re done with Kees. That is really much less cumbersome than with that Samsung Hub in between and the experience is greatly improved.
The top of the speaker is thus a kind of touch panel. With a simple tap at the top of the center you can pause and play a song and with a simple swipe from left to right (or vice versa) you can search for the next (or previous) number. The volume buttons are also ‘touch’: real impressions are therefore not necessary. And the same applies to the mode button. It works really well and is very intuitive – in our opinion this is the best design element of the WAM1500, WAM3500 and the WAM5500 speaker set.
If you use all three speakers over your WiFi network, then you obviously need the Samsung Multiroom app. You no longer need a PC program to play your music from your PC, because the app already has access to it thanks to the WiFi network – another part that Samsung has made a more streamlined experience. For the rest the criticism of the app continues to exist , the numbers are still not in the right order and you still can not choose from a wider range of streaming services.
Samsung WAM1500, WAM3500 and WAM5500 – Sound quality
Because the sound from the speakers this time is not blocked by a (thin) plastic layer that determines the shape, the sound is purer than ever in the WAM series. For all three speakers the bass of the sound is pretty deep, while the high tones and the voice of a singer or singer sharp and noiseless your ears come in. Add to that the sound is sent in all directions while listening and you have a very pleasant listening experience, regardless of your position in relation to the speakers.
In terms of quality, the WAM3500 and WAM5500 do not differ much from each other. It is true that the WAM1500 is the worst out of the bus. The R1 only scores poorly, because the R3 and R5 offer such fine quality. The sound of the R1 is a bit hotter, while the R3 and the R5 can produce a much richer and fuller sound. There is also a difference in whether you play music via Bluetooth or WiFi. Our preference is for WiFi, especially because the linking process is as simple as the process of the Bluetooth connection.
What is a great experience is the Surround mode that you can activate from the Samsung Multiroom application. This allows you to group the speaker so that all three of the same music are played at the same time without any delay. If the speakers are in one room, you will only hear how well ‘room-filling sound’ can sound. Especially because those speakers send the sound in all directions, so the music really seems to come from all sides. Especially with live performances this is great to listen to.
Samsung WAM1500, WAM3500 and WAM5500 – Conclusion
Do not mind the design of these speakers, because they hide a sound experience that we have not yet encountered in the Samsung WAM series. For all three speakers, they can produce a crystal clear sound, with deep bass tones and noiseless highs. The smallest speaker, the WAM1500, comes with a lot of noise compared to the other two: this speaker not only has a holler sound, it also has no rechargeable battery to absorb the lack of fuller sound – this is not 200 worth the euro.
Of the three speakers that I tried, I used the R1 the least. In combination with the other speakers, the hollow sound is not so noticeable, but if this is the only speaker you use, then you certainly hear it. Furthermore, Samsung has improved the WAM series on a number of points: you no longer have to install a PC program, the linking process with your WiFi network is simplified and the Samsung Hub is also no longer the extra unnecessary purchase, because Samsung you the speakers now connect directly to the WiFi network.
However, the problems with the Samsung application are still there: you can not yet choose from a wider range of music streaming services (Spotify, Napster and Deezer are fortunately represented) and it is also true that when you play music from your PC , the numbers are in the wrong order. Nevertheless, we can recommend the R3 and R5; though we find the prices on the high side. For such amounts we expect better speakers (the quality is not). But on the other hand: how do you make 360-degree boxes ‘beautiful’?