If you love curved TVs, this is the soundbar for you
What is the HW-H7500?The Samsung HW-H7500 is a curved soundbar that has been designed to compliment their range of Ultra HD 4K and Full HD TVs. It could be used with flat screen TVs as well but clearly curved is where it's at and presumably you could also use the H7500 with curved TVs from other manufacturers. Curves aside the H7500 includes an 8.1-channel configuration, a wireless active subwoofer and Bluetooth. At £699 (October 2014) its not cheap but it's large and well featured so it should be able to justify its price.
Design and ConnectionsThe HW-H7500 has a similar styling and build quality to Samsung's other flagship soundbars with a black metal finish and wrap around grille. The body of the main unit is curved but otherwise it retains the low-level profile of Samsung's other soundbars and it's slightly angled up, thus aiming the sound more at the listener. Although the curved shape means that sounds are directed towards the centre, the eight speaker configuration with side-firing drivers does result in a wide and open soundstage.
Curved shape aside, the H7500 is another attractive soundbar from Samsung.
At the top, in the middle, are some basic controls for on/off, volume and input select and beneath this is a basic display. The connections reside in a recess underneath the H7500 and here you'll find an HDMI input and an HDMI output that supports ARC (Audio Return Channel), although at the price another HDMI input would be nice. There's also an optical digital input and a 3.5mm analogue audio input. At the rear there is the connector for the power adapter and a USB port.
The H7500 includes a small and simple remote control that is both comfortable to hold and easy to use. All the buttons you need are represented and controlling the H7500 was quite straightforward. The H7500 uses a wireless active subwoofer that connects automatically with the main unit. The addition of a decent sized active subwoofer is important, as it allows the H7500 to deliver some decent bass. The sub measures 291 x 371 x 291mm and weighs 8.45kg, whilst the main unit measures 1230 x 42 x 170mm and weighs 4kg.
What features does the H7500 have?The HW-H7500 isn't loaded with features but it has enough to make it an effective soundbar. First of all there's an HDMI input and output with support for ARC. Although as we mentioned at least one more HDMI input would be handy, especially at the price. The H7500 also includes Bluetooth support, as well as TV SoundConnect for those with a compatible Samsung TV, which seems likely given the curved nature of the soundbar.
There is a USB port at the rear that can be used for firmware update and for playing music files. The H7500 supports MPEG1/2, WMA, AAC, AAC-LC, HE-AAC, OGG and FLAC (16-96kHz), which should cover most of the music files that are likely to be played over a soundbar. The Samsung also supports both Dolby Digital and DTS, as well as including a number of special sound effects such as Music, Voice, Sports, Cinema, Smart Volume and Standard (Original Sound).
The H7500 comes with an active wireless subwoofer and a multi-function remote control, as well as a number of other accessories including an aux cable, a DC adapter, a USB converter, a USB cable and a bracket mount. The latter allows the soundbar to be attached directly to a Samsung curved TV, although you can also attach the H7500 to the curved stand of the TV or even use the provided supports to set the soundbar up in a free-standing position.
Samsung HW-H7500 Video Review
What's does the H7500 sound like?Once you've decided which installation is best, the rest of the setup procedure is very straightforward. You simply connect your various sources to the H7500 and then connect it to your TV. Whilst there could be more HDMI inputs you can send audio from your TV via ARC, connect your Blu-ray player or set-top box to the HDMI input and use the optical digital input for your game console. There's the USB port for connected storage devices and Bluetooth for smart devices, which should cover most possibilities. Once all that's done the wireless subwoofer will automatically pair with the main unit, although if it doesn't you just press the ID Set button on the back of the sub.
We started out testing the H7500 with various TV programmes and here the soundbar proved very effective. It handled dialogue heavy programmes well and David Attenborough's voice over on Life Story was always distinct within the overall atmospheric effects. The H7500 also dealt with action heavy shows like Gotham and Agents of Shield, thanks to the sub integrating smoothly. As a result there was plenty of low-end impact but it never felt excessive and the sub was surprisingly agile and responsive. Despite the shape of the H7500, the soundstage was wide and open, no doubt thanks to the eight built-in drivers. The various sound effects sometimes gave the impression of a more immersive sound but in general we preferred the Standard mode, which felt less processed.
When we moved on to some Blu-rays the H7500 was equally as impressive, handling the complex sound mixes for films like X-Men: Days of Future Past and Edge of Tomorrow with ease. Obviously you don't get the full surround experience but the Samsung made a good effort at immersing you in the audio given the limitations of its design. It also proved effective at handling music and whilst we doubt owners would use the H7500 as their primary method of listening to their favourite recordings, it did prove quite capable of providing good sounding background music in a convenient manner. The excellent bass response was especially true here, with a track like Nick Cave's O Children being especially well rendered, although mid-range and high frequencies were also well served.
The H7500 delivered a surprisingly open sound given its shape and, thanks to the sub, plenty of bass energy.
Any downsides?There's very little to fault the H7500 on, as it is generally a well made and effective soundbar. As we've already mentioned, we would have liked to see at least one more HDMI input and at £699 it is quite expensive. However the main point of contention will be the shape of the H7500. Obviously it is designed to be used with one of Samsung's curved TVs and if you own one then the H7500 will compliment your TV very well. It could also be used with a curved TV from another manufacturer but if you own a flat screen TV, the H7500 will probably look a bit strange and a more traditional sounder would be preferable. In addition the curved shape means that audio is projected more toward the sweet spot, although the side-firing drivers do help to create a wider front soundstage.
- Impressive sound
- Attractive design
- Effective subwoofer
- Good connectivity
- Useful features
- Limited HDMI inputs
- Best with curved TVs
- Bit pricey
Samsung HW-H7500 Curved Soundbar Review
Should I buy it?
The simple answer to this question is that it depends on what type of TV you own. If you have a Samsung curved TV then the HW-H7500 will compliment your TV very well and undoubtedly deliver a superior sound performance. If you own a curved TV from a different manufacturer it could also match that effectively and its large size makes it good for big screen Ultra HD 4K TVs. It's to cheap but the build quality, features and excellent audio performance certainly help to justify the price.
What are the alternatives?
However if you own a flat screen TV then the H7500 is probably not the soundbar for you. Thankfully there are literally hundreds of other soundbars to choose from, many of which deliver a great performance at an attractive price. If you want to stick with Samsung there's the HW-H750 which is effectively the flat version of the H7500 but includes a vacuum tube preamp and can be picked up for around £600. Conversely the HW-H550 delivers a great performance at less than half the price of the H7500, so that's certainly worth considering. If you fancy a different manufacturer then Panasonic's SC-HTB880 is worth a look, whilst Yamaha have been doing soundbars for years and their expertise shows in models like the YAS-152 and the YAS-103.
Ease of Use9
Value for Money8
Our Review Ethos
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