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Samsung HW-C450 soundbar early review: Small speaker, sizeable sound

If you're looking for a non-monstrous solution to the rubbish sound from your TV's built-in speakers, may we suggest the Samsung HW-C450? It's small, but packs a punch

Ian Morris
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Sound bars come in all sorts of sizes, but all have one goal: to make your TV sound less miserable. The Samsung HW-C450 sits firmly in the small category, with the main speaker unit measuring just 43mm in height. The width is considerably greater at 950mm, which is why they call it a bar.

The system is made up of two parts, the main speaker bar, which contains six tweeters for high and mid-range sounds. It also comes with a small, but powered, subwoofer to handle the bass aspects of the audio spectrum. The sub is wireless too, which means you can tuck it away somewhere, as long as it's near a mains socket.

Like most 2.1 systems, inputs are limited. You only get two optical digital connectors and a single 3.5mm auxiliary input, designed to accept audio from an MP3 player. On the plus side, the speaker can decode Dolby Digital, which means the sound from your DVDs will be presented clearly and with minimal quality drop.

As Samsung seems to be making a theme out of small here, the remote control is also pretty dinky. This is fine for those with delicate hands, but we're all rather ape-like around here, and prefer slightly larger controllers. Still, you're not going to be doing much detailed configuration with it, so we're guessing most people will manage.

Expect to pay around £250 for the HW-C450 when it goes on sale at the end of this month. We'll be publishing a full review of the system once we've had a chance to fully audition it, in an X Factor-style panel format where various members of the team are rude about its dress sense and ability to remember the words to famous songs. In the meantime, click through for more pics.

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As with most Samsung products, we don't have a clue what their marketing terms mean. We advise you just ignore them, rip the label off, and listen to the thing.
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The C450 features touch-sensitive controls, like many of Samsung's home-cinema systems. When the soundbar is off, it glows red...
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...and when you turn it on, the controls light up in a soothing white. Very swish.
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The soundbar has six speakers in total, which handle mid- and high-range sound. The separate, wireless subwoofer takes care of the bass.
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There's no speaker grille on this system, so it's a good job Samsung spent some time making it look awesome.
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The built-in display shows the currently selected input, and allows you to see the various audio modes you can select.
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Inputs are quite limited, there are two optical digital connectors, and a single analogue aux jack, for connecting an MP3 player.
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The wireless subwoofer requires no configuration -- we just plugged both it and the soundbar into the mains, turned the main unit on, and bingo: bass.
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The sub is quite compact too, but it's powered, which gives it some oomph.
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The sub has a speaker grille on one side, and this interesting texture on the other.
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The remote control is petite too, which will suit those with small hands but might annoy sausage-fingered oafs, like us.

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