My last look at Sony vs Samsung was a good bit of fun comparing the features of the Sony HT-G700 vs the Samsung HW-Q70T. It was an interesting match-up, with both soundbar systems offering separate bar and subwoofer components, making these a seemingly apples-to-apples comparison. As it turned out they were close but once again, the Sony soundbar came up just a bit short and that was surprising.
Since the Sony HT-G700 supported Dolby Atmos and the Samsung HW-Q60T didn’t I’d expected the HT-G700 to come out on top. It didn’t and that was because the Atmos implementation in this soundbar was simply too flat to deliver on the Dolby Atmos promise of immersive surround sound.
This time my “Sony HT-G700 vs Samsung HW-Q800T Which is better?”, comparison pits two soundbar systems that both support Dolby Atmos. However, they do that in significantly different ways.
Before we talk about that it may be helpful to understand what Dolby Atmos is and how it compares to the better-known Surround Sound 5.1 approach.
A 5.1 surround sound system uses channels of speakers for front, left, right and rear and this allows the sound to be “channels” across this landscape. It’s this movement across the channels that creates the surround sound feel. Atmos takes this to the next level by separating sound across each of the individual speakers in each channel. That means a soundbar that has multiple speakers serving the left, right, and center channels now work independently. This continues to the back, or surround sound speakers. Add to this the upward-firing speakers that some soundbars include and you get even more separation. The net result is a bubble of sound that gives surround sound a far more refined listening experience.
Digital Trends did an excellent in-depth presentation on how Dolby Atmos works and why most home entertainment systems come up short on the Atmos promise. So, it’s just a question of which soundbar systems come closest and do they come close enough to improve on the more common Dolby 5.1 surround sound approach.
Why a Soundbar rather than a dedicated Home Entertainment system?
If you’re still thinking that soundbars are just cheap alternatives to the more established home entertainment systems, you’re missing a few impressive advances in home theater systems.
- Soundbars traditionally came up a bit short because they had no independent amplification. The power came exclusively from the TV and that amplification has never been that good. Today, the best-performing soundbars have dedicated amplifiers. This means they can deliver more power and far more control over the quality of the sound each speaker and channel delivers.
- The software and firmware that drives today’s soundbars are every bit as good as what drives component stereos, and in many cases, this tech is arguably better since it’s been specifically tuned to deliver your favorite movie soundtracks.
- It was once thought that size did matter when it came to stereo speakers. And while that might have been the case in the past it certainly isn’t anymore. Even the high-end brands have focused very effectively on downsizing their speakers while improving performance. The result is speaker systems that are barely distinguishable from one another.
- Finally, dedicated stereo systems take up more space than soundbars since they require a separate amplifier. They also typically require a lot more wiring. All of that typically required a dedicated piece of furniture as well. Soundbars are far more compact and can even be mounted to the wall below your TV. It looks sleek and takes up no real space at all.
So, if you are looking for a dedicated entertainment system that pairs well with your TV and delivers an excellent movie viewing experience, you can’t go wrong with most decent soundbar systems.
This doesn’t mean that a dedicated stereo component system can be completely replaced, especially if you love listening to music. As soundbars are tuned to movie watching, stereo systems are tuned to music reproduction. So, if you are really into listening to tunes then most soundbar systems are likely to leave you wanting, at least as things stand today.
|Sony HT-G700||Samsung HW Q800T|
|3.1 Channels||3.1.2 Channels|
|7” Subwoofer||8” Subwoofer|
|Wireless Subwoofer||Wireless Subwoofer|
|400w Output||330w Output|
|No WiFi Support||WiFi Support|
|No playback||No playback|
|Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby True HD, Dolby Dual Mono, DTS, DTS HD High-Resolution Audio, DTS HD Master Audio, DTS ES, DTS 96/24, DTS: X, Dolby Atmos||Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby True HD, Dolby Dual Mono, DTS, DTS HD High-Resolution Audio, DTS HD Master Audio, DTS ES, DTS 96/24, DTS: X, Dolby Atmos|
|1 HDMI in||1 HDMI in|
|1 HDMI Out||1 HDMI Out|
|HDMI ARC||HDMI ARC / eARC|
|Optical digital I/O||Optical digital I/O|
|1 USB 2.0 port||1 USB 2.0 port|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth,, SmartThings App Compatible|
|Google Assistant Built-in||Alexa support included|
|No Airplay or other streaming service support||Streaming with Spotify|
The primary difference between these two soundbar systems is the inclusion of 2 upward-firing speakers (the 2 in 3.1.2) that come built into the HW-Q800T soundbar. This upward speaker setup is lacking in the Sony soundbar. Second is the inclusion of WiFi support with the Samsung Q800T. This makes extending this soundbar into a whole house sound system a viable option. Again, the Sony soundbar comes up short on this count.
Pro of the Sony HT-G700 vs Samsung Q800T:
Sony HT-G700 Pros
Check out the latest price here.
- The HT-G700 delivers acceptable Dolby Atmos support, along with support for a wide range of other decoding options. This includes Dolby Surround Sound 5.1.
- It meets the challenge of delivering dialog that is crisp and clear, even in the middle of the most intense action scenes.
- Bluetooth allows almost any other Bluetooth-compatible device to connect for music streaming.
- With eARC, just a single wire connects this soundbar to your TV and from there it can be controlled by the TV.
- While better at delivering movie and TV soundtracks, it’s still quite good at delivering a great music listening experience.
Sony HT-G700 Cons
- Power isn’t everything and with the extra power, this soundbar delivers extra distortion at higher volumes.
- It lacks WiFi connectivity and with it the ability to add satellite speakers to the mix.
- Plastic trim and particle board make the subwoofer feel cheap.
Samsung HW Q800T Pros
Check out the latest price here.
- With 2 upward-firing speakers, the surround sound experience is deeply satisfying.
- The subwoofer connects wirelessly so all you have to worry about is a power source.
- Dialog is crisp and clear and with the added ability to enhance it using the Smartthings App, it gets even better.
- Stream music with Spotify or any Bluetooth-compatible device, including smartphones.
- The eARC port allows the soundbar and TV to connect and interact through a single HDMI cable.
- Q-Symphony adds to the Dolby Atmos experience and is especially helpful when the movie you’re watching isn’t Dolby Atmos enhanced.
Samsung HW Q800T Cons
- It would be great if they added AirPlay support in addition to Spotify.
- While very entertaining, it would be good if this soundbar had a touch more power.
- It doesn’t happen often but there are occasional dropouts due to WiFi signal interference.
- Music playback could be better. It’s a bit flat on the low end.
Comparing Sizes – Sony HT-G700 vs Samsung Q800T
|Sony HT-G700||Samsung HW Q800T|
|Width||38.5 inches – 97.8 cm||38.7 inches – 98.2 cm|
|Height||2.4 inches – 6.2 cm||2.3 inches – 5.8 cm|
|Depth||4.3 inches – 11.0 cm||4.2 inches – 10.7 cm|
|Width||7.5 inches – 19 cm||7.9 inches – 20.1 cm|
|Height||15.2 inches – 38.5 cm||13.9 inches – 35.2 cm|
|Depth||15.8 inches – 40.2 cm||11.9 inches – 30.3 cm|
Both the Sony HT-G700 and the Samsung HW-Q800T are almost the same size and will fit comfortably below any TV that’s 40 inches wide or more. With the Sony soundbar, you can mount it close to the TV, leaving just enough room for you to access the manual control located on the top of the bar. With the Samsung soundbar, you’ll want to allow a bit more space for the upward-firing speaker to have a clear line of sight to the ceiling.
In either case, the HW-Q800T comes in at $100 less while offering a more complete surround sound package.
Looking at the Sony HT-G700 vs Samsung HW-Q800T, deciding which is better is just about as simple as it gets.
With the addition of the top-firing speakers, plus Wi-Fi support and Spotify streaming, the Samsung HW-Q800T offers much more than the Sony HT-G700.
Q-Symphony creates an even more compelling argument in favor of Samsung with an additional layer of sound that is subtly powerful.
Finally, with a price saving of $100 for the HW-Q800t vs the Sony HT-G700, there is no good reason not to go with the Samsung soundbar.
While I went into this expecting an apples-to-apples comparison that would be tough to call, the opposite is true. At least in my opinion, this is the easiest one I’ve had the opportunity to call. Hands down, go with the Samsung HW-Q800T, enjoy the sound quality, and pocket the savings.
Do look at some alternatives as well. I have been looking through many reviews of the Bose Smart Soundbar 300 that stand up well against the Q800T and the HT-G700. It does cost a bit more and has no separate subwoofer but still, it seems to play well against these two.
You’ll find our comparisons of the JBL Bar 9.1 vs Sonos Arc and the Yamaha Yas-209 Vs Sony HT-G700, among others, that you should also take some time to read through. It will expand your range of choices and might just convince you to invest a bit more in your surround sound system.
Stay tuned for more soundbar comparisons.