Both Bose and Samsung are relative newcomers to the soundbar scene, with a range of models targeted at different price points. At their upper ends sit the Bose Soundbar 700 and the Samsung Harman Kardon HW-Q70R, each with a bevy of features intended to give you the best movie and music sound experience at home. But which soundbar should you buy? Here’s a side-by-side comparison at their specifications, features, and of course, sound quality.
Discover panoramic sound with the HW-Q70R soundbar from Samsung Harman Kardon. Experience 3.1.2 Dolby Atmos and DTS:X sound via Acoustic Beam technology. Optimized for Samsung QLED TVs.
Bose vs Samsung Soundbar Comparison Chart
|Model||Bose Soundbar 700||Samsung Harman Kardon HW-Q70R|
|Enclosure||Bass Reflex||Bass Reflex|
|Weight||10.5 lbs||7.93 lbs|
|Audio Return Channel||Yes||Yes|
|Audio Decoder||Dolby Digital, DTS||Dolby Digital, DTS:X, Dolby ATMOS|
|App Control||iOS, Android||iOS, Android|
Both soundbars have a sleek, modern design.
The aluminum grille of the Bose Soundbar 700 stretches over its front and sides, giving its drivers wider angles. Its glossy tempered glass top makes it look more stylish, but it also serves an actual function, as the strip below illuminates whenever you control it via the remote control or through Alexa. Two touch-sensitive buttons are also placed atop the unit itself, with more on the side. Overall, the 700’s design looks clean and elegant, and you can choose between a black or white version to match your TV and furniture better.
Perhaps the most noticeable difference in design the Samsung HW-Q70R has is that it has an aluminum grille covering its top as well, thanks to its up-firing speakers (more on this later). A side panel contains buttons for power, volume control, and source selection; the included remote has a more comprehensive set of controls. Of course, we should mention that the Q70R comes with a separate wireless subwoofer that sports a matte finish and slim profile. As a pair they look fantastic and will blend with most large TVs.
Both look like winners here since they can both stand out in front of your TV or seamlessly fit into your living room setup.
Setup and Control
The Bose Soundbar 700 can be customized to your listening positions.
Setting up both soundbars is easy and as plug-and-play as it could be. After connecting them to your TV via the optical audio input or ARC-enabled HDMI, you can use their respective apps (Bose Music for the Soundbar 700, Samsung SmartThings for the HW-Q70R) to initialize and complete their setup via Wi-Fi. These apps can also be further used to control your TV and soundbar, and they’re just as good or even better than their included remote controls.
Where the Soundbar 700 differs and perhaps pulls ahead is in the additional final step of configuring its sound settings via the ADAPTiQ audio calibration system. Using an included headset, you’ll be asked to sit at five different positions around the room so it can measure and calculate proper equalization. The result is fantastic, enhancing your overall sound experience no matter where you’re sitting, and enabling the Soundbar 700 to adapt to any room layout or size.
Bose’s universal remote control is designed to be all you need to control your TV, soundbar, and even your gaming console. In comparison, there are much fewer buttons on the one Samsung packages with their soundbars, although it’s a bit more consistent in terms of communicating with its partner device. Both soundbars work with Alexa, but Bose shows more commitment by including it right onto the Soundbar 700 itself. All you’ll need to do is provide your Amazon credentials. On the other hand, you’ll need to go through a few more hoops for the Q70R, since you’ll need to connect the SmartThings and Alexa apps together.
The Samsung Harman Kardon HW-Q70R supports Dolby ATMOS and DTS:X.
In addition to built-in Alexa, the Bose Soundbar 700 has a few features the Q70R lacks. It has built-in Google Assistant if that’s what you prefer, and its 8-microphone array does a great job of picking out your voice even with loud music playing. Music streaming can be done via Apple Airplay 2 or through Bluetooth, and there’s a USB 2.0 port to connect your external storage devices.
But where the Samsung soundbar trumps Bose’s is in its Acoustic Beam technology. With up-firing drivers positioned diagonally upwards on top of the device, the Q70R can generate directional sound that bounces off ceilings and walls to give a panoramic audio experience. The illusion is very effective and immersive, and combined with its ability to play Dolby ATMOS and DTS:X titles, you’d feel like you’re right inside the scene. In comparison, the Soundbar 700 only decodes Dolby Digital and DTS audio formats.
Samsung also added four sound modes to the Q70R, which further improves the soundbar’s performance. Standard mode plays audio as encoded. Surround mode enhances movies by using more upward channels to envelop you in its effects and soundtrack. Game Pro gets turned on automatically when the soundbar detects you switched your console on, and it improves game immersion considerably. Finally, Adaptive Sound works with a variety of content to improve voice clarity and detail.
Both soundbars create rich, detailed audio.
Once you’ve properly set up the Soundbar 700, regular TV audio will seem shrill and flat in comparison. Its frontal drivers deliver a level of fullness and gravity that enhances any movie or TV show you’re watching. Despite the lack of a subwoofer, it can create deep enough bass tones to make you feel booming explosions.
Audio separation is also excellent, and you can clearly pick out dialogue and vocals atop other sounds. There’s no discernible noise even on loud settings, and quiet moments are precise and detailed. Thanks to the ADAPTiQ equalization process, the Soundbar 700 will sound great no matter where you sit, and it works well in any room.
Samsung’s HW-Q70R is just as impressive in creating a robust and expansive soundstage. Sound effects in films get a serious boost from the subwoofer, but it’s balanced by the precision and focus given to dialogue. Bass levels are great too, and you can definitely feel deeper rumbles. Audio content can be further optimized through its different sound modes, ensuring you get a matching sonic experience.
The Q70R is no exception in being front-heavy, like all soundbars, but the added dimension provided by the upward speakers and Acoustic Beam serves to simulate surround sound coverage. It should be noted that for this technology to be optimal, your ceilings can’t be too high and you’d want more reflective surfaces to bounce off of, which is why we can’t deem it superior to the Soundbar 700.
The Samsung Harman Kardon HW-Q70R gets the edge over the Bose Soundbar 700 with better features and more supported audio formats.
First of all, if you have a Samsung QLED TV, the matching Samsung soundbar is the clear choice as it’s expressly designed to work with those series. But even if you have a different TV to use this with, the Samsung Harman Kardon HW-Q70R still represents better value as it’s one of the cheapest that can support Dolby ATMOS and DTS:X. Since you’re likely buying a premium soundbar to enhance your cinematic experience at home, it’d make more sense to get one that can play titles that have these amazing audio formats.
However, if your living room is too big for the Q70R’s Acoustic Beam to take advantage of, you won’t feel like you’re just settling for a lesser model with the Bose Soundbar 700. It has excellent sound quality for both movies and music, and its built-in voice assistants make it a great addition to your smart home setup. Plus, you get to calibrate its settings to always deliver crisp audio anywhere in the room.
Sound appreciation is fairly subjective, but check out brands like Sonos, Bowers & Wilkins, Harman Kardon, etc., if you’re looking for alternatives to Bose.
We’d recommend the Samsung Harman Kardon HW-Q70R or HW-Q80 if you’re looking for the top-shelf soundbars from Samsung.
Yes, the Bose Soundbar 700 is a good pick if you’re looking for a fairly impressive soundbar for home cinematic experiences. While it doesn’t have Dolby Atmos, it has a very wide soundstage that envelops the room with immersive audio and crystal clear dialogue.
You’d want to connect a soundbar to your TV via HDMI if possible, as it will pass better-resolution audio and more advanced audio formats. These won’t get transmitted via optical cable.