If you’re looking for something better than a budget soundbar, the $199 Samsung HW-MS550 is a promising option. Samsung has a strong pedigree in soundbars, with its more expensive models earning excellent marks in our reviews.
The 35 x 5.1 x 2.8-inch soundbar includes six drivers — many budget soundbars include only four. The extra drivers will improve the width of the soundfield, helping the sound better fill the room. However, it doesn’t include a separate subwoofer, which will limit the amount of resonance in the dialogue and floor rattling in action scenes.
The HW-MS550 offers five sound modes so you can adjust it to the type of audio you’re listening to. The unit also includes Samsung’s Smart Mode, which we found to be an efficient option in other Samsung soundbars — let the soundbar pick the right mode for the situation.
The unit comes with one HDMI output and one HDMI input, along with inputs for optical digital audio, USB and 3.5mm auxiliary, as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless. Although HDMI and Wi-Fi are becoming more common, some less-expensive soundbars don’t include all these connections.
The HW-MS550 has the potential to grow. You can add a Samsung Wireless Surround kit for a more encompassing experience, and, through the Samsung Multiroom app, it works with other Samsung wireless speakers to play music across speakers. While the HW-MS550 doesn’t have Alexa or Google Assistant built in, you can connect an existing Alexa device to it through the SmartThings app and by enabling the Samsung Wireless Audio Skill in Alexa.
With plenty of connection options and an impressive six drivers, the Samsung HW-MS550 could fill the sweet spot if you’re looking for something between cheap $100 soundbars and midrange $500 models.
MORE: 8 Cheap Soundbars (Under $100) Ranked Best to Worst
For around the same amount of money, you could choose the Vizio SB3831-D0, which includes a subwoofer, but doesn’t do multiroom audio; or the Yamaha YAS-207, which features virtual 3D surround sound. But for many people, the HW-MS550 should be a good soundbar to improve the experience of watching TV and movies.