Samsung's newest elite Dolby Atmos soundbar needs a price cut before it's even launched

Samsung S900C soundbar on white background
(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung has unveiled a new Dolby Atmos speaker in its lineup of 2023 soundbars. The HW-Q900C joins the Atmos-enabled Q-Series range, which packages Samsung’s most advanced technologies in their high-end audio kit.

This new soundbar comes with a 7.1.2 channel sound system, including a wireless subwoofer and remote. Buyers will also benefit from 4K video passthrough (for connecting a games console or 4K Blu-ray player through the same HDMI cable as your soundbar), HDR10+ support (if not Dolby Vision), and support for both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X premium audio formats. 

That’s alongside HDMI eARC, Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, and support for Spotify Connect / Tidal Hi-Fi. As ever, Samsung TV owners will benefit the most, with wireless Atmos capability and the chance to operate in tandem with TV speakers for certain Samsung screens through the company’s Q-Symphony technology.

The HW-Q900C, however, looks set to retail for $1,400 (around £1,150 / AU$2,150), which is only a stone’s throw away from the higher-end HW-Q990C, which incorporates twice the number of upward-firing speakers in a 11.1.4 channel arrangement for only $200 more.

Up and up! 

Upward-firing speakers are a necessity for any home cinema-loving audiophile, allowing you to recreate a sense of verticality in your sound that would usually only be possible by having a ceiling-mounted speaker – as in a real cinema. It’s a huge boon for spatial audio formats like Dolby Atmos, particularly, which attempt to place audio objects in three-dimensional space for a more immersive sonic experience. (The third number in ‘7.1.2’ refers to these upward-firing speakers, whereas, the first and second refer to main speakers and subwoofers respectively).

There’s a world of difference between the HW-Q990C’s 11.1.4 setup and the 5.1.2 system found in the HW-Q800C, which retails for just $800 / £849 / AU$900 and packs in half the number of drivers overall. But the new HW-Q900C, with a 7.1.2 system, is much closer in its arrangement to the cheaper HW-Q800C, and yet has a price tag far closer to the higher-end model. Explain the math, please?

Samsung’s Q-Series soundbars are generally of a very high quality, but unless the company brings in a price drop pretty quickly on this new model, there’s little reason to buy it instead of the cheaper (and similarly specified) HW-Q800C, or the higher-specified (and similarly priced) HW-Q990C. Otherwise, you might as well go to our best soundbars guide and get something else entirely.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.