SAMSUNG HW-Q90R VS SONOS ARC WHICH IS BETTER

Samsung HW-Q90R vs Sonos Arc which is better?

A side-by-side comparison of the Samsung HW-Q90R vs Sonos Arc takes a look at two of the leading Atmos soundbar contenders in the market. Right off the bat, you can see the Sonos Arc is an all-in-one standalone soundbar while the Samsung Q90R is a bundle that includes the soundbar, a subwoofer as well as a rear speaker for a true 3D surround sound.

Let’s see how they compare: –

Sonos Arc

The Sonos Arc is one of the most recommended Atmos soundbars and is a premium feature-packed soundbar with voice assistants, Airplay 3 commands, multi-room music and a host of other innovative features.

This is a standalone soundbar but with this, you won’t miss a full home theater bundle. It features woofers, a sufficient number of amplifiers, upward-firing drivers and you can use these effectively for your Dolby Atmos content.

The Sonos Arc is a sophisticated soundbar with various voice assistants including Google Assistant, Alexa as well as AirPlay 2 commands allowing you to have a hassle-free voice control of your music from multiple devices.

The Sonos Arc also has impressive EQ settings along with TruePlay calibration that will precisely optimize the Sonos Arc performance for your home or for your unique room features.

The Sonos Arc is currently one of the top soundbar market contenders. It gives you a superb sound for your Dolby Atmos movies or even jazz piano. This is an all-in-one unit unlike the Samsung Q90R so you won’t need a subwoofer to get its full potential. The Arc is also feature-packed with multi-room music and voice assistant. It can also be calibrated with an iOS software for the surround effect.

The Sonos Arc is also quite the looker. Although it is smaller than the Samsung Q90R, it comes in a sleek package and offers excellent quality and user experience. The fact that it is fully self-contained also means you don’t have to worry about enhancing the sound with the punch of a subwoofer.

In spite of its many advantages, the Sonos Arc still has some caveats. For instance, it only has a single HDMI port which may not give you optimal performance if you want to do Dolby Atmos. The single HDMI means you may have to get a brand-new TV or a set-top box. However, this soundbar also gives a delightful sound with a non-Atmos sources such as Dolby Digital 5.1 surround or stereo music so the HDMI port may not be a handicap after all.

Here is a summary of the pros and cons of the Sonos Arc soundbar:

Pros

  • This is a space-saving all-in-one soundbar
  • It has voice assistants including Alexa, Google Assistant and AirPlay 2 support for hassle-free voice control.
  • Although it is self-contained and without a subwoofer, it still has a very good bass
  • Has speech enhancement modes as well as a night mode
  • Good TruePlay calibration along with EQ settings
  • Crisp sonics plus very deep bass even without the subwoofer
  • A feature-packed soundbar with multi-room music

Cons

  • It has just one HDMI eARC port that limits your Atmos
  • Does not have Bluetooth streaming portion.
  • At between $800 and $900 (depending on the retailer), it is considerably more expensive than other single-bar alternatives.
  • Its calibration app is iOS only

Samsung HW-Q90R

Unlike the single-bar Sonos Arc, the Samsung HW-Q90R is a full bundle with the soundbar, a rear speaker as well as a subwoofer and gives users a true 3D audio plus top of the range performance. The bundle is also relatively easier to set up.

The Samsung HW-Q90R will give you an optimal and seamless performance with the Samsung QLEDs. However, it is also built with an HDR/Atmos pass-through that allows you to use it with the older TVs. It is designed with an impressive AI for calibration audio, giving you excellent room calibration.

Pros

  • A complete bundle with the soundbar, subwoofer and a rear speaker for a true 3D surround sound.
  • Has both adaptive and surround modes
  • Features a 4K, HDS10 Pass-through on top of Dolby Atmos support
  • Ease of set up of the soundbar, speakers and subwoofer
  • Sleek design and premium finishes

Cons

  • Does not have Google Assistant or AirPlay 2 commands
  • The whole bundle is expensive costing as much as $1,599
  • It does not have an automatic speaker calibration

Design Comparison

The Samsung HW-Q90R has an impressive build quality. In fact, the quality is as good as that of its predecessor, Samsung HW-Q80R. The Q90R looks somewhat similar to the HW-N950.

This is a premium quality soundbar that has been cleverly designed. Unlike the Sonos Arc with its plastic grilles, the Q90R has metallic grilles that add to its premium feel. Overall, it has a ‘Carbon Silver’ finish that looks quite sleek.

The build quality in this popular soundbar is even better than of some of Samsung’s later models such as the HW-Q90R. It is a very robust soundbar and is physically bigger than the Sonos Arc. Together with the other items in the bundle, the whole Samsung HW-Q90R setup has a premium look and feel of it. The Q90R soundbar is guaranteed to add that expensive and dramatic touch to your interiors. The soundbar has been made from heavy weight materials which adds to the premium touch. It doesn’t look cheap at all. However, the fabric used in the subwoofer should be handled with care as it can easily catch and accumulate dirt and dust.

The Q90R is slightly bigger and wider than the Sonos Arc. The width makes it perfect for the big screen TVs popular with consumers today. Although this is, undoubtedly, an imposing soundbar guaranteed to draw some stares, the appearance is stylish, minimalist and unassuming. However, due to its sheer size, you will need lots of space to place this soundbar under your TV. If space on the TV stand will be an issue, you can also mount it on the wall.

The Samsung HW-Q90R has a simple LED display that is lit up when the soundbar gets a command and which also displays some basic information. The soundbar also features some basic controls located on its top center that you use to adjust volume and to power it on and off.

It also ships with an ergonomically designed remote with all the buttons that you need to operate the soundbar.

The Sonos Arc doesn’t look cheap either. Like the Samsung Q90R, it has an excellent build quality. The Sonos Arc bar mostly consists of plastic but it still feels sturdy and solid. The front part and the sides of the Sonos Arc is covered with a plastic grille that provides protection for the drivers inside it. Although it is smaller in size than the Samsung HW-Q90R, it still feels solid, well-made and heavy.

The Sonos Arc has a long and sleek profile. It is 3.4 inches tall, 4.5 inches deep and 45 inches wide. The cabinet has a curvaceous profile and is available in both black and white colors. It is unmistakably a premium quality soundbar with touch-based controls and a mesh grill.

There are eight elliptical woofers in the Sonos Arc. They even have up-firing drivers along with the Dolby Atmos effects. It also has three silk-dome tweeters that have been angled precisely. The Sonos Arc supports voice commands and features four far-field microphone array that will effectively capture the voice commands even when you have ramped up the volume within a normal range. However, the speaker doesn’t hear voice commands when you are blaring the soundbar at the maximum volume dialog.

The design also features a Wi-Fi based system with both an Ethernet port and an onboard wireless. The Arc is also compatible with Spotify Connect and Apple Airplay but the biggest minus when it comes to connectivity is that it lacks Bluetooth streaming capabilities.

Samsung HW-Q90R vs Sonos Arc Performance Comparison

There is a lot to differentiate the Samsung Q90R and the Sonos Arc in terms of the design, performance and even features. The choice will boil down onto whether you want a soundbar with all the accessories for a true surround sound or whether you want a single-bar soundbar that merely mimics the surround sound.

First, let’s look at the commonalities. Both soundbars are Dolby Atmos-compatible. However, points of differentiation include the accessories, Bluetooth streaming support which is absent in the Sonos Arc, voice assistant support which is absent in the Samsung Q90R, room calibration which is absent in the Q90R, and so forth. Here is look at the Samsung Q90R vs Sonos Arc performance comparison.

The Q90R has an impressive frequency response that will give you a more neutral sound profile. You will also get a very extended bass from this that accurately mirrors the deep thumb along with the rumble in games, music and movies. The Samsung HW-Q90R provides an impressive sound that suits stereo content and which will also work for various music genres and dialogue. It also has a variety of customization features including an EQ that you can use to get the desired output from this soundbar.

Like the Samsung soundbar, the Sonos Arc also features a great stereo frequency response. It has a room correction feature that will allow you get a more neutral sound from the Sonos Arc. However, the sound profile in this bar tends to be brighter. However, the Sonos Arc struggles with the low bass and the bass range is fairly consistent. The Sonos Arc is only built with bass and treble adjustment features and does not have a comprehensive EQ that you can use for sound customization.

While Sonos Arc is a single-bar and will do relatively well as such, the company also sells discrete speakers and a subwoofer so if you are looking for a true surround sound, you can bundle these. These are quite pricey, though, and will almost double the price of the soundbar.

The bottom line is that the Sonos Arc is built to work as standalone device so the subs and the speakers are often unnecessary. The Sonos Arc soundbar, as it is, has a sufficient number of drivers to place sound spatially above and around you, which mimics the sound of a surround sound. The good part is that it also comes with room calibration so you can even calibrate the soundbar to match the size of the room.

On the other hand, the Samsung HW-Q90R doesn’t have a room calibration mechanism for the soundbar so the discrete speakers and subwoofer must be carefully positioned throughout the room to bring the optimal surround sound. You will need to follow the straightforward Samsung setup instructions to make this work.

The Sonos Arc can recreate the effect of the physical subwoofer and the discrete speakers via an app. However, this app is only available for iOS so it locks out Android users. Ultimately, however, a surround sound simulated via a software doesn’t come close to what you would get with real thing with the bar interfaced with speakers and a sub. In this respect, the Samsung HW-Q90R has a considerable superior advantage.

In terms of raw performance specs, the Samsung HW-Q90R is the clear winner here. It has more channels than the Sonos Arc. It is also built with more upward-firing drivers and has an impressive 8-inch subwoofer. You will get a superior audio performance with the Q90R but this comes at a steep price: it costs almost twice as much as the single-bar Sonos Arc.

The Arc also delivers reliably on the sound performance front. There are eight built-in woofers in this bar that give you as much bass volume as you would get in a subwoofer. It recreates a surround sound within a small package and this is enough for the Dolby Atmos. Finally, it is half as cheap as the Samsung Q90R bar.

Stereo Performance

The Samsung HW-Q90R soundbar can be very loud and suitable for use in crowded environments or in larger rooms. It will do very well even at max volume, without the expected compression.

The Sonos Arc bar also has impressive stereo dynamics. The Arc can also be very loud to fill larger or crowded rooms. However, at max volume, the Sonos Arc begins to suffer from compression artifacts and the audio reproduction won’t be as pure as in the Samsung Q90R.

The Verdict

The bundled Samsung HW-Q90R soundbar is, undoubtedly, the superior product. The soundbar setup has a more neutral sound profile and comes with everything for a genuine 3D surround sound. You will get better performance at maximum volume with the Q90R than with the Sonos Arc. The Q90R not only gives you better surround performance but it also has presets and graphic EQ for customizing your sound.

The Sonos soundbar has its advantages, too. If you don’t have the budget for the Samsung bundle, you can go for the single-bar Sonos Arc that costs roughly $800. The Samsung bundle will set you back twice as much. Besides, it has the Sonos app with which you can control the entire ecosystem. If you want the full Sonos bundle to extend the functions of your single-bar, you can upgrade it with a Sub + One SL Speakers to get better performance, particularly if you are looking for a true surround sound.

Conclusion

So, which of these two soundbars should you purchase? Well, the distinction between the two is quite clear, not only in terms of pricing but also in audio performance, surround audio, compression artifacts and so forth.

Both of these bars are perfect for Dolby Atmos soundtracks and will even seamlessly handle non-Atmos content.

The choice of soundbar to purchase between the Samsung Q90R and the Sonos Arc comes down to the size of the room layout, budget, as well as the electronic devices in your own possession.

If you have a new Samsung TV, we’d recommend that you go for the Samsung HW-Q90R that will automatically and seamlessly pair with the soundbar. Depending on the content, you can even shift it to either Surround or Game. The voice-commanding Sonos Arc will come in handy if you are using Google or Apple products.

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