Sonos Arc vs Samsung HW-Q950T which is better?

If you are in the market for a great and reasonably priced soundbar, the choice might often boil down to a Sonos Arc vs Samsung Q950T.  They are both solid and good quality soundbars that easily lend themselves to diverse audio applications.

Both users and techies have weighed their opinions on which of these offers the best audio performance and best value. In this review, we give you a lowdown of these two top performing soundbars to help you sift through the confusion and choose a great soundbar for yourself that will ‘deliver the goods’.

Right off the bat, you should notice that both these soundbars are highly rated by users in disparate reviews across different platforms. The Samsung Q950T, undoubtedly, has a higher rating than the Sonos Arc but we will look at the soundbars’ individual offerings to help you see where you can get the best value depending on your budget and sound requirements.

The Sonos Arc and Samsung Q950T soundbars are equipped with various buttons, volume up, volume button, a multi-function button, play/pause as well as microphones. Although the Sonos Arc looks sleeker, the Samsung Q950T also has an impressive build quality.

Market Context

Both the Sonos Arc and the Samsung Q950T are superb soundbars for mixed use. These soundbars will serve you well whether you need a sound companion for music, TV shows or movies.

The Sonos Arc arrived in 2020 and is a high-end soundbar model costing just over $800. You can upgrade it with a Sub + One SL Speakers to squeeze the performance out of the soundbar. It has height channels capable of supporting Dolby Atmos content. However, Sonos Arc soundbar is still lacking in certain aspects. For instance, it lacks sound customization features such as graphic EQ or presets.

The Samsung Q950T is a higher-end premium soundbar than the Sonos Arc that costs just over $900. Like the latter, it was released in 2020. It leverages a wireless subwoofer as well as two satellite speakers to deliver a more immersive sound output. It uses Q-Symphony for an enhanced audio experience in conjunction with your Samsung TV speakers.

Sonos Arc

Sonos Arc is a great soundbar option for both 2020 and 2021. It is still one of the best soundbars in the market at the moment and is available at an accessible price. While it is standalone soundbar without a subwoofer, it is upgradeable with a Sub + One SL Speakers. You can also use it with a wireless subwoofer along with surround satellites to create a more immersive sound experience.

The Sonos Arc is fairly versatile even though the low-bass is missing. At higher volumes, you will also hear some compression artifacts that ruin the audio clarity. Its overall audio performance is a bit bright, even with some room correction. On the positive side, the design is beautiful and super sleek with tons of cool features including an Alexa and Google Assistant.

Pros

  • The design is very sleek and solid
  • Has an impressive stereo soundstage
  • Atmos support

Cons

  • You will experience compression artifacts when you tune to the highest volume
  • Does not support DTS
  • Doesn’t offer full EQ

Samsung Q950T

The Samsung Q950T is, undoubtedly, a high-end, premium soundbar. The sound profile is not only neutral but also well-balanced. The bass is punchy and thumpy so you will get some energetic sound out of this soundbar that can work with a large spectrum of audio content.

This is a high-end and well-equipped soundbar with various sound enhancement features such as the graphic EQ presets with which you can play with the sound and tweak it to your heart’s content. The Samsung Q950T also features the Q-Symphony for seamless compatibility with Samsung QLED TVs, resulting in an ultra-immersive audio experience for TV shows, movies and even music.

Being a high-end sound bar, the price is a bit elevated but we think it is worth every dollar performance-wise. In terms of build, there are certain aspects that make it feel a little cheap such as the mostly plastic and fabric outer build. This is in contrast to other high-end Samsung models that have been built with metal grilles.

There is a screen on the top side of the Samsung Q950T but it is not easily visible unless you stand directly over the soundbar. Overall, this is a solid and premium quality soundbar and is a perfect solution if you are shopping for a soundbar that will be easily compatible with your Samsung TV. It is also well-equipped for a richer sound experience.

Pros

  • The sound profile is well-balanced
  • Can be too loud
  • Atmos support

Cons

  • Does not have a room correction

Design Comparison

The Sonos Arc is cylindrical in shape and comes in black and white colors. It has a smooth and elegant plastic finish and the design looks and feels high-end and sturdy. This Sonos soundbar features two plastic grilles on its side and there is a black plastic mesh on its top sides and between the grille.

The Sonos Arc setup does not include any satellites but you can still buy these speakers separately. The soundbar has a width of 44.9”, a height of 3.4” and a depth of 4.7”.

This is a fairly wide soundbar and will likely not sit between the legs of a 55-inch TV stand. It is also relatively flat and won’t be obscuring your TV screen unless you place the TV flush in the table.

The Sonos Arc has a straightforward back which you will find in many other current soundbars. The back features small openings for the power and inputs. It has proprietary mounting holes built for Sonos and you will have to acquire separate special wall-mounting brackets as these are not included in the box.

This soundbar doesn’t have a subwoofer.

The build quality is quite impressive. Although it has mostly been made out of plastic, it still feels premium and solid. The plastic grille on its front and sides provide excellent protection for the drivers inside the bar. The Sonos Arc is well-built and feels a little heavy.

It ships with a 1.5m (4.9 feet) HDMI cable along with a bar power cable, a HDMI to optical adapter and user manuals.

The Samsung Q950T has a somewhat different design from the Sonos Arc. It is wider and heavier than the Sonos bar. It is in the form of a rectangular bar with sides that are slightly angular and which contain vent-like openings to accommodate the side surround speakers. Like the Sonos Arc, the Samsung Q950T mostly consists of plastic. The front and the top parts of the bar have a tight fabric cover, a disadvantage as this can collect dirt and dust.

The Samsung Q950T ships with satellites which are also made out of plastic. Like the soundbar, the satellites also have tight fabric coverings on their top and front sides. The power cable in the Q950T sits under the speakers and the bar has therefore been designed with a groove that prevents the satellites from pressing the cord. You will need some extra space for the two satellite speakers.

The Samsung Q950T is longer than the Sonos Arc. It has a width of 48.4”, a height of 2.8” and a depth of 5.4”. This width will likely not snuggle in between the legs of your 55” TV. However, unlike the Sonos Arc, it’s not very tall so you don’t have to worry about the soundbar obscuring the lower parts of your TV screen unless your TV is placed flush on the table.

Unlike the Sonos Arc, the Samsung Q950T also features a subwoofer, about the size of a large desktop PC. This has been fashioned mostly from wood material. Its right side has a tight fabric covering that tends to collect dirt and dust. The subwoofer is fairly big with a width of 8.2”, height of 15.8” and a depth of 15.9” but it will fit in many places in the room. The subwoofer is ported and the back features a pairing button and a port. You connect the power cable to the bottom of the subwoofer.

The Samsung Q950T has holes on its underside. It has single opening for input ports. The power cable is on its right side on the back of the soundbar. This soundbar can be wall-mounted via its universal holes on its underside. You can mount it using the included screws and brackets, which is a convenient advantage over the Sonos Arc which doesn’t ship with these.

The build quality is quite impressive and solid. Compared to the Sonos Arc, it is wider and heavier. Both the soundbar and the satellite speakers are mostly made from plastic but they still look good although the Sonos Arc looks sleeker. The soundbar and the satellites all feature a tight fabric covering rather than metal grilles like in other high-end soundbars. With time, this might some gather some dust and dirt. There is a display on top of the soundbar that’s not easily visible unless you stand directly over the bar.

The Samsung Q950T ships with a 1.5m HDMI cable, a remote, two AA batteries, a user manual, a rubber foot as well as wall-mounting accessories.

Sound

Both soundbars featured in this review feature an active amplification type. Both of them do not have built-in subwoofers which might be an unattractive for some buyers. However, you can still interface them with an external subwoofer which is included in the Samsung Q950T. You can use both of them to play Spotify content. Overall, the Samsung soundbar offers you superior audio features over the Sonos Arc soundbars.

Connectivity

The Sonos Arc and the Samsung HW-Q950T both feature a wireless Wi-Fi interface. While the Sonos Arc features a 1/0 HDMI, the Samsung Q950T has 2/1 HDMI inputs/outputs. Both of these soundbars also feature Bluetooth support. Both of them have Audio Return Channel (ARC). In terms of connectivity options, the Samsung soundbar has a slight edge.

The Price

There isn’t a huge price difference between Sonos Arc vs Samsung Q950T. You will get the Sonos soundbar from as low as $800 while the Samsung Q950T costs as low as $900 although prices can be as high as $1,300. With pricing deals and promotional sales, there isn’t a huge gulf in pricing between these two soundbars.

The Verdict

Overall, both of these are excellent soundbars. However, the context of use may drive you to pick one over the other. The budget will also be the factor. Although both of these are slightly pricey, high-end sound bars, the Samsung Q950T is pricier and can cost anywhere from $900 to $1,300.

Both of these are great soundbars for mixed use. You can use both of them to listen to music, watch movies or your favorite TV shows. The Q950T has a neutral and more balanced sound than the Sonos Arc.

The Samsung Q950T allows you to do more with your sounds thanks to the graphic EQ and presets. The Sonos Arc doesn’t feature full EQ.  The dialogue enhancement functionality in the Samsung Q950T will work well for audiobooks and podcasts. The Q950T is so loud that you can adequately use it in house parties. It also offers excellent Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support and has Atmos support for a super immersive sound.

Although the Sonos Arc is often a listed as a mixed use soundbar, it works best for music. The Sonos Arc sound profile is neutral, you will get some brightness from it which doesn’t improve much even with room correction. It can get really loud although the Q950T bests it on this measure. Still, you can use the Sonos Arc for a number of genres and even put into mixed use for movies and TV shows. The bass and treble adjustments in the Sonos Arc allow you to adjust the audio to your heart’s content.

There is, however, the noticeable absence of low bass in the Sonos Arc. While the Samsung Q950T will give you a powerful bass-heavy rumble, the Sonos Arc just doesn’t deliver on that. Unlike the Samsung Q950T, the Sonos Arc also lacks the graphic EQ and EQ presets.

So, which one would we recommend among these two? The Samsung Q950T carries the day performance-wise with its good bass, nice rumble, upward-firing speakers as well as more channels. The Sonos Arc might not give you the bass-heavy performance of the Samsung Q950T but it has an elegant design, relative ease of use and good sound quality in the majority of usage scenarios.

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