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Last year, Samsung’s HW-Q990C soundbar took the top spot in my tests. Its superior audio, along with an included subwoofer and rear speakers, made it stand out. Fast forward to 2024, and we have the HW-Q990D. Not much has changed, but it now boasts HDMI 2.1 – a feature its predecessor lacked. It also offers new audio modes, similar to other Samsung soundbars. The Q990D maintains its power but has a hefty $2,000 price tag. For those who own a Q990C, Samsung hasn’t provided a compelling reason to upgrade yet.

Advantages

Disadvantages

The Samsung Q990D brings some fresh features.

The most notable is HDMI 2.1, addressing a key critique of last year’s Q990C. This upgrade allows 4K passthrough at 120fps, enhancing visuals for PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X users.

New audio modes also debut with the Q990D. One is Private Listening, which deactivates front drivers and uses only rear speakers. It’s an enhanced night mode, reducing bass to avoid disturbing others. Ideal for open floor plans, it directs sound away from sleeping areas.

Party Play is another new mode. It balances the sound between the soundbar and rear speakers, which is perfect for hosting parties. It delivers a full audio range, not just specific channels for rear speakers. This is especially noticeable for movies and TV, as music already plays more balanced from the rear.

These modes aren’t exclusive to the Q990D; they’re available across the 2024 Q-series. My first test of these modes on Samsung’s priciest soundbar was impressive.

Samsung Q990D

Samsung Q990D Review: Pros

The Samsung Q990D offers an immersive audio experience. Its soundbar, large subwoofer, and robust rear speakers fill your living room with sound. Whether it’s music or the soundscape of Dune, the Q990D’s sonic prowess shines.

Dolby Atmos content from Disney+ is particularly immersive. The opening scenes of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 reveal fine details, like the lifelike reverb of Radiohead’s “Creep”. The ambient sounds make you feel like you’re in the heart of the action.

Music playback is equally impressive. Deep bass kicks in when needed, and the crisp detail found in movies is present here too. The Q990D’s range is showcased in tracks like “Neverender” from Justice’s Hyperdrama, with its driving low-end tone and textured synths. Quieter genres like jazz envelop you in sound, with albums like Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue revealing subtle nuances.

What sets the Q990D apart is its all-inclusive package. The soundbar, subwoofer, and rear speakers are all included, eliminating the need for additional purchases. The satellite speakers house up-firing and side-firing drivers, a feature not always found in competitors’ accessories. Setup is as simple as plugging everything in, as the system pairs automatically.

Samsung Q990D

Samsung Q990D Review: The Downsides

The Q990D’s all-in-one setup is impressive, but it comes with a hefty price tag. At $2,000, it’s a significant investment, even with everything included. Currently, it’s on sale for $1,750, but the duration of this discount is unknown. In comparison, Sony’s upcoming Bravia Bar 9 costs $1,400. Adding the cheapest subwoofer and rear speakers brings the total to $2,150. LG’s S95TR, priced at $1,500, includes a subwoofer and rear speakers with up-firing drivers.

The Q990D’s size is another factor to consider. Housing 11 front-facing speakers, two up-firing drivers, and a subwoofer, it measures a sizable 48.5 inches wide. While not a deal-breaker, it does require ample space.

Like other soundbars, the Q990D has features exclusive to Samsung TVs. For instance, Q-Symphony, which uses TV speakers to enhance audio, requires a compatible 2020-2024 Samsung TV. The Q990D performs well without it, but you won’t access all features without a supported TV.

In Conclusion

Unless HDMI standards matter to you, the Q990D doesn’t offer a significant upgrade over last year’s model. The design and features are almost identical, with the addition of two new sound modes and 4K/120 passthrough. Some of these features are available on more affordable Samsung soundbars. So, if you own last year’s Q990C, there might not be enough incentive to upgrade. However, for those without a Samsung flagship soundbar, the Q990D offers immersive sound in a comprehensive package.

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