Let’s talk about the Samsung Q800A vs Q800T and answer a key question. Is this upgrade/update worth it? Does it deliver a listening experience that will make you sit up and take notice when you’re watching your favorite movie or listening to your favorite tunes? Is it worth an extra $150 to get the Q800A to replace the Q800T?
Like cars and smartphones, each new year brings a host of upgraded models, new technology, improved performance and features, and a dearer price to cover all of this. Samsung is not immune from this approach to growing and maintaining its customer base.
Also like cars and smartphones, not every new model year bring notable advances. Very often, the changes that come from one model year to the next are incremental rather than monumental. It often takes a couple of years before the market receives an upgrade that truly moves the dial from incremental to monumental. This has been the case with just about every flagship product offered by all of the leading brands.
In 2020 they released the T-Series of soundbars that enhanced the 2019 models and added a few new ones. In 2021 they introduced the A-Series that upgraded each of the T-Series models and also added to the line with new models and features. Undoubtedly, they will do this again in 2022 and we can only guess at this point what they have in store for us.
But with each new version, including the evolution of the Q800 range of Samsung soundbars from the Q800T to the Q800A, you have to ask the question. Is the evolution from the Samsung Q800T to the Samsung Q800A monumental or incremental. In either case, is the upgrade worth the price of admission, a price that has increased by about $100 to $150?
With this comparison, we’ll help you evaluate the true difference between these so you can determine if the Samsung Q800A vs the Samsung Q800T is a monumental change or an incremental improvement, and is that worth buying into.
Let’s start with the performance specifications where most things seem to have remained pretty much the same.
Head to Head Performance Specs:
|Samsung HW Q800T||Samsung HW Q800A|
|3.1.2 Channels||3.1.2 Channels|
|8” Subwoofer||8” Subwoofer|
|Wireless Subwoofer||Wireless Subwoofer|
|WiFi supported||WiFi supported|
|No adaptive sound||Adaptive Sound and Voice Enhancement|
|Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, DTS Digital Surround||Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, DTS Digital Surround|
|Acoustic Beam and Voice enhancement|
|Adaptive Sound||Space-Fit Sound|
|1 HDMI in||1 HDMI in|
|1 HDMI Out||1 HDMI Out|
|HDMI ARC / HDMI eARC||HDMI ARC / HDMI eARC|
|Optical digital I/O||Optical digital I/O|
|1 USB 2.0 port||1 USB 2.0 port|
|Bluetooth, SmartThings App Compatible||Bluetooth, SmartThings App Compatible|
|Built-in support for Alexa & Google||Built-in support for Alexa & Google|
|No Airplay or other streaming service support||AirPlay support included|
If you went no further you might conclude that this upgrade from the Samsung Q800T to the Samsung Q800A is only incremental but don’t jump to conclusions just yet. Some of these enhancements are worth a closer look.
Let’s review the pros and cons of each of these first so you can get a clear picture of how the Q800T and Q800A match up. As you read through these you’ll start to get a clear sense of whether this upgrade falls on the side of incremental vs monumental.
Samsung HW Q800T Pros
- Out of the box, you’ll find the soundbar, the wireless subwoofer, a basic remote, and all of the required wires and mounting hardware.
- The 8” subwoofer is a solid performer, with enough punch to be satisfying, without being so massive that it becomes a visible feature in your listening space.
- A real plus for this soundbar is its support for Dolby ATMOS, something earlier models did not support.
- The Q800T does an admirable job of delivering dialog that is easy to understand, at all volume levels.
- WiFi connectivity allows a host of payback devices to connect with the soundbar, using a single network. The result is a sound system that is far more versatile.
- It also delivers Bluetooth connectivity so for those devices designed for playback that don’t have WiFi capability won’t be relegated into the realm of obsolesces.
- With many of Samsung’s soundbars, including this Q800T, their SmartThings App add enhance control features that give you full control over your soundbar.
- One of the most impactful advantages of the Samsung Q800T is the inclusion of an eARC connector. Not only does this make the soundbar supper easy to connect –The Q800T uses eARC that adds significant playback and control advantages.
- To play external media and upgrade the soundbar’s software, it has a USB 2.0 port.
Samsung HW Q800T Cons
- The Samsung Q800T doesn’t support AirPlay and given how many people use the Apple AirPlay devices for music playback, this is a real disadvantage.
- The lack of packaged satellite speakers diminishes the quality of the surround sound the Q800T can reproduce. It just seems a bit flat compared to those that come with a pair of satellites, like the JBL Bar 9.1.
- The 8” subwoofer that is included in the Q800T package is a solid performer but it does seem a bit underpowered at times.
On balance, this is an excellent soundbar, even with the few bits I’d like to see improved. It provides great sound, especially in my average-size living room with a higher than average ceiling height (9.5’). It looks good too sitting below my 55” OLED TV. I did add the satellite speakers for an additional $250. These are the Samsung SWA-9500S, but even without them, I enjoyed watching movies and was reasonably satisfied listening to music too. Check out the latest price here.
You can find an excellent detailed review of the Samsung Q800T. This one is offered by totallydubbedHD and does a good job of laying out the features, the benefits, and the shortcomings of this soundbar. You should also check out the head-to-head comparison of the Visio Elevate vs the Samsung Q800T to get an even better sense of how this soundbar stacks up against other brands. This one is produced by the Youtube vlogger For The People Ent.
Samsung HW Q800A Pros
- Unboxing the Q800T and the Q800A might leave you wondering which one you got. They look exactly the same.
- The 8” subwoofer is has been enhanced so it delivers a slightly better frequency range but the overall power is unchanged. It is also wireless so placement is flexible.
- One real plus for this Q800A is the SpaceFit technology that’s included. You do have to have a compatible high-end TV from Samsung to enjoy this feature.
- Dialog is crystal clear and remains crystal clear at all volume levels. It does have options for making this even better through the SamrtThings app.
- WiFi connectivity is a definite pro for the Q800A. Like the Q800T, this makes this soundbar much more versatile.
- What’s even better is the integration of support for AirPlay. That eliminates one of the greatest drawbacks of the Q800T.
- Like almost every decent soundbar, the Q800A supports Bluetooth so anything you can’t stream through AirPlay or WiFi can still be ported through this soundbar.
- The SmartThings app provides complete control over the Samsung Q800A, including the option to apply Active Enhanced Voice.
- Like the Samsung Q800T, the Q800A includes eARC connectors. That connection type helps deliver greater control over your soundbar while also improving overall performance.
- Software updates for the soundbar can be loaded through the included USB port at the back of the soundbar. This connection also lets you play external media through the bar.
Samsung HW Q800A Cons
- The Samsung Q800A could have included a bit of a power upgrade. While sufficient at a combined 330 watts, that is exactly what the Q800T delivers.
- The main improvements, except for the AirPlay support require a premium Samsung QLED TV so to truly enjoy this midpriced soundbar, you’ll have to shell out for a premium-priced TV.
My heavy AirPlay usage pushed me toward the upgrade and I still feel like that made it worth the price of admission. However, take the AirPlay support out of the equation and I would have to say no to this upgrade, and that would be a loud and resounding no. While there are plenty of incremental improvements, none of them are monumental. I would wait for the next release in this series where we can hope to see some real improvements that justify investing again. Check out the latest price here.
PS: If you are buying a new soundbar and not just upgrading an earlier model, this is an excellent choice. Its performance, especially in this price range, is just about unbeatable.
To learn more about the Samsung Q800A, take 11 minutes to watch this video from Tech Nuovo. They dig deeper into the performance improvements so you should come away with a more detailed understanding of what makes this soundbar special.
If you’d like to get a sense of how the Samsung Q800A stands up against the competition, take a peek at this comparison of the Q800A vs the JBL Bar 9.1. This comes from The VISHU VlogS where you’ll find this and several other soundbar comparisons.
If you already have the Samsung Q800T spend your money adding satellite speakers to that system and you’ll get much more enjoyment in return. There just isn’t enough with this upgrade to justify the additional $100 to $150 premium. This is especially true if you don’t have a premium Samsung QLED TV.