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This Samsung C400 soundbar review looks at the most affordable sound equipment from the manufacturer’s 2023 lineup.
The C400 is a 2.0-channel soundbar that keeps it simple; with a minimalist design and a basic set of features. At the same time, this compact device promises reliable performance and high-quality sound. Let’s see if an entry-level soundbar from Samsung’s 2023 C-series keeps its promises.
Samsung C400 soundbar review: What the company has in mind
Most Samsung C-series soundbars have compact frames that match their low prices. Their core function is to serve as small-form upgrades to internal speakers in modern TVs. Samsung’s latest C4 soundbars take it a step further by simulating surround sound and succeeding at it.
For a low price, the manufacturer advertises equipment that produces immersive sound with convincing bass. C-series soundbars are also compatible with a variety of TVs, speakers, and mobile devices. With the Samsung C400, you get basic perks like:
- Easy integration with Samsung TVs
- Instant Bluetooth pairing with mobile devices via NFC
- Compatibility with TV remotes from multiple brands
Along with good sound, the C400 should give buyers more than just their money’s worth. Looking at different aspects of the soundbar gives an idea of how much value you get for your money.
Design and build
At a glance, the Samsung C400 is a two-foot, all-black device that complements all kinds of décor. The soundbar has a plastic exterior with a mesh fabric on the front and top surfaces. Mesh fabric tends to attract dust, so you’ll need to be proactive about keeping your soundbar dust-free.
The easiest setup for the C400 is putting the soundbar on a piece of furniture, next to the TV. For this setup to work, the bottom edge of the TV should be around three inches above the furniture surface. The height clearance will keep the soundbar from blocking the IR receiver and the bottom of the TV screen.
Design and build: Controls and user interface on the top panel
If you’re lucky, you can get the Samsung C400 for as little as $100. The low pricing is possible thanks to the bare-bones nature of the soundbar, starting with the row of LED lights on the top panel.
Instead of a digital display, the C400 communicates to you via a row of five LED lights. You’ll have to refer to the user manual to decode different combinations of blinking lights. These lights will flash, glow or change color, depending on the status or current input of the soundbar. In addition to being hard to read, the lights are also hard to see as you watch TV from a seated position.
The top panel also has a set of buttons that allow you to operate the soundbar directly. Lastly, the top panel carries an icon that indicates the NFC detection area of the soundbar.
Samsung C400 soundbar review: Connectivity
A digital optical input provides the only option for a wired connection from the soundbar. You also get a USB port for connecting storage media directly to the HW-C400. If you’re lucky, you may be able to use your TV to view and play the contents of your USB storage media.
The soundbar’s NFC feature capability allows for automatic Bluetooth pairing with your mobile devices. Tapping your device on the top surface of the C400 saves you the chore of digging through your phone’s Bluetooth settings. Still, you can choose the longer, more traditional way of pairing the soundbar with Bluetooth-capable devices.
If you want to connect your TV and the Samsung C400 with an optical cable, do that before connecting the soundbar to a power source. Your TV should now detect the soundbar automatically, and the TV’s sound settings will show the C400 on its list of external speakers. Selecting the C400 will redirect sound from the internal speakers to the soundbar.
For a wireless connection, power the soundbar and activate Bluetooth mode. The C400 will appear on the TV’s list of available Bluetooth devices. Select the soundbar to redirect sound from the internal speakers of the TV.
One remote feature
The Samsung C400 is compatible with TV remotes from brands like Samsung, LG, Sony, Sharp, PHILIPS, PANASONIC, TOSHIBA, RCA, VIZIO and Hisense. Refer to the user manual for instructions on how to link the soundbar to Samsung and non-Samsung remotes.
Samsung C400 soundbar review: Ease of use
Learning how to navigate the C400 can be a little tough, and you’ll have to make friends with the user guide. The guide will help you decipher the LED lights on the top surface of the soundbar. However, the LED lights are not easy to see when you sit in front of the TV, which is unfortunate.
Owners of Samsung TVs will have an easier time because the screen will show some basic information. If you use Samsung’s SmartThings app, pair your device with the C400 and try adding the soundbar to the app. This is one of the few routes you can try in the search for a user-friendly GUI. If this option fails, you must go on an adventure to conquer the user guide and a steep learning curve.
The lack of a user-friendly GUI is pretty much the only tradeoff you make for this super-affordable soundbar.
Managing audio output
Samsung soundbars like the C400 succeed at creating clear, accurate, high-definition sound that you can tweak. Here are a few features that you can use to adjust the sound:
7-band EQ adjustment
The HW-C400 has seven frequency bands whose levels you can adjust with the remote. As you’d expect, the user guide will walk you through the process of selecting and adjusting individual frequency bands.
Two audio presets
Pressing the sound mode button toggles between the standard audio preset and surround mode.
Samsung C400 soundbar review: Hardware and performance
Samsung’s HW-C400 is a 2.0-channel soundbar that will create a virtual center channel when needed. The soundbar has four speakers with integrated amplifiers and an internal woofer. Together, the four drivers take care of the treble and mid-range frequencies, while the woofer delivers clear, punchy bass. Here’s how the different hardware elements of the HW-C400 perform as a unit:
The C400 delivers an immersive soundstage that’s much bigger than the physical dimensions of the soundbar. You’ll appreciate how well the soundbar mimics surround sound, especially with audio formats like DTS and Dolby Digital.
Clear, expansive bass
For a soundbar that you can get for $100, the Samsung C400 excels in its bass output. The soundbar produces deep, punchy bass with plenty of range and detail. Bass elements with near-identical frequencies remain distinct from each other and you can pick out each element from a balanced blend of sound.
Rich mid-range and treble sound
A wide soundstage enhances definition in mid-range and treble elements. Every note in every chord of your favorite guitar riff stands out without overpowering the rest of the audio.
- Attractive design and excellent build quality
- Wide, immersive soundstage
- The soundbar does a great job of mimicking surround sound and height channels
- Solid, punchy bass
- The lack of a digital display makes the soundbar hard to read, and you’ll need to rely on your user manual for a while
- The LED status lights are hard to see from a seated position
- Few physical ports limit the kinds of devices you can use with the Samsung C400
Samsung C400 soundbar review: Punches above its price tag
For a basic, no-frills soundbar, the Samsung HW-C400 delivers on sound quality. You get a soundbar that produces loud, clear audio with a good level of detail and impressive bass. The sound quality is even more impressive when you consider that the C400 is readily available for less than $150. Unbeatable pricing and good sound quality will help you overlook the lack of HDMI ports and the absence of a user-friendly interface.
This Samsung C400 soundbar review reveals an entry-level soundbar that is worth the tradeoffs you have to make. Click here to learn more about this soundbar.