CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Samsung HW-N550 review: Tidy setup, tidy sound

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14

The Good The Samsung HW-N550 offers a decent selection of features at an affordable price. Performance in both music and movies is as good as you could expect for the money.

The Bad The Samsung HW-N550 is not as enveloping as the best for the money, and has no center channel control. The sound bar's display is hard to read on an angle. No Wi-Fi features for streaming media.

The Bottom Line The Samsung HW-N550 sound bar offers sophisticated design and high-quality sound in an affordable, easy-to-set-up package

7.8 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Sound 7
  • Value 8

How much do you want to spend on a sound bar? Up to $500 there are some very good products to be had, but we maintain that between $300 and $400 is the sweet spot. For this amount you can expect competent sound quality combined with HDMI connectivity and a wireless subwoofer. As such, the Samsung HW-N550 ticks all of the boxes.

The Samsung is a solid performer and will play back both movie soundtracks and the latest pop release with flair. Is it the best value for money at the price? No -- for $50 less you can get either a Yamaha YAS-207 ($230 at Amazon) with its superior surround emulation or the Polk MagniFi Mini ($239 at Walmart), which throws in Wi-Fi streaming. What the Samsung does is look good, and it's a natural fit with your new Samsung TV -- with its TV streaming-over-Bluetooth capability. It also offers easier wall-mount capabilities than either of the two competing models. 

The Samsung HW-N550 is available now for $399 ($350 street) and AU$699, with UK pricing and availability to be confirmed. Expect somewhere around £399 however.


View full gallery
Sarah Tew/CNET

When Samsung released the HW-K950, it established the blueprint for every sound bar the company has released since. With that model the company moved away from cheap-looking housings toward something more sophisticated. While the N550 borrows the look with its metal grille and brushed gray color scheme, it is still at its heart a plastic sound bar -- though that's not surprising for the money. The edges of the main speaker are tapered, and instead of capacitive touch controls, the bar features some still-swanky push buttons. The bar features an onboard display, but it's only a couple of characters wide, and a combination of too-fast scrolling and poor off-axis viewing mean its usefulness is limited.

View full gallery

When viewed off-axis, the onboard display is a little difficult to read

Sarah Tew/CNET

The main bar is 41.7 inches wide and a fairly discrete 2.32 inches high. If you want to wall-mount the speaker, it comes with a metal bracket to support its kinda-awkward 3.44 inches of depth. Meanwhile, the wireless subwoofer is decently compact (8.46 by 15.14 by 11.97 inches) and finished in a similarly downtempo gray-and-black color scheme.

View full gallery
Sarah Tew/CNET

The likeable remote control is fashioned after the ones that ship with the company's televisions with its volume toggles and satin finish.


The N550 is a 3.1-channel sound bar with a wireless subwoofer. It offers both Dolby Digital and DTS decoding, but stops short of advanced formats like Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio, much less Dolby Atmos.

The Samsung website promises the HW-N550's "Surround Sound Expansion expands the listening area both sideways and up to emanate sound," but we found turning the surround mode on and off made only a slight difference.

View full gallery
Sarah Tew/CNET

Inputs include HDMI 2.0a in and out, digital optical, 3.5mm auxiliary, USB and Bluetooth. And you can ignore what it says on the company's specs page -- the N550 doesn't have Wi-Fi. If you own a Samsung TV the N550 is able to connect via Bluetooth for sound from the onboard tuner or smart TV apps.

Best Speakers for 2019

All Best Speakers

More Best Products

All Best Products