One fear most users have when buying soundbars is getting a unit that delivers either bad sound or just subpar performance. Since you’re considering the Samsung HW-M360, the question lies: is it really worth your hard-earned money?
In this Samsung HW-M360 review, we’ll tell you everything you need to know.
Features of the Samsung HW-M360 Soundbar
Samsung HW-M360’s Design
Both the soundbar and the wireless subwoofer of the Samsung HW-M360 have a sleek black finish. If you put the soundbar under your TV, it remains low-key and inconspicuous.
The soundbar features a compact design, with dimensions measuring 53.5 x 907.5 x 70.5 mm. While it doesn’t have the lowest profile, the height is just enough not to block the bottom part of TVs.
You’ll find the power button, source button, and the up/down volume buttons on the right-side panel of the soundbar. These buttons are soft but tactile, so you’ll have no trouble with the functions.
Meanwhile, on the bottom panel, you’ll find the digital optical port, AUX, USB port, and the power supply in. We’ll talk about these connections a little later in this Samsung HW-M360 review.
As for the wireless subwoofer, its bass reflex design sets it apart from other subs we’ve tested. This design means that there’s a hole in the subwoofer’s cabinet, which further improves the sound.
Just a little side note: during the Samsung speaker setup, know that you should position the soundbar with the “Samsung” logo on top. It can be confusing which side of the soundbar faces front, so this small reminder ensures you get it right.
The HW-M360 has quite an impressive range of specs compared to other products that you can get at this price point. The soundbar itself is a 2 channel speaker, coupled with a ported wireless subwoofer. Both have pretty compact dimensions, with the weight of the soundbar at 3.3 lbs. and the weight of the sub at 10 lbs.
This soundbar has a continuous power handling of 60 W, but the peak power is at 200 W in total. The audio frequency response range is at 43 – 20 kHz, providing a good balance between the highs and lows.
Like many soundbars today, the HW-M360/ZA model can stream music via Bluetooth connectivity. This also allows you to connect the wireless subwoofer.
This soundbar features a 1-year warranty from the brand. It’s not the best compared to higher-end products we see in the market, but in our reviews, devices at this price point offer the same.
2.1 channel sound bar system
Channel is one of the primary things you should look at when you purchase a soundbar. But for first-time buyers, this spec could be confusing. Let us explain.
The Samsung HW M360/ZA forms a 2.1 audio system. The first number in the channel refers to how many drivers or speakers there are in the soundbar itself. Meanwhile, the second channel number refers to the number of subwoofers used.
On the HW-M360/ZA, the soundbar itself features left and right speakers, meaning there are two channels on the model. And with the addition of a wireless subwoofer, this creates a 2.1 speaker system.
As mentioned in the specs section, the peak power handling of this speaker model is 200w. While this is a significant number, it can be misleading because it includes the two channels’ total peak power plus the subwoofer output.
In our Samsung HW-M360 reviews, continuous power output is only around 30-40% of that peak. So, even if the peak power output is huge, the speakers can only output a percentage of that over the long run instead of short power bursts.
Samsung Surround Sound
When we only talk about the Samsung 2.1-channel 200w soundbar system, it does provide a decent surround sound on its own. This is because the wireless subwoofer adds more depth to the bass and sound quality you get. But other than that, the quality is not close to true surround sound. It has 2 channel Dolby Digital and DTS, though.
The bass produced by the subwoofer is deep and punchy. Soundbars don’t typically use tech that delivers low frequencies with great depth, so it’s best to connect a wireless sub to overcome that flaw in your movie and music experience.
Still, this basic setup is still far from immersive sound  such as Dolby Atmos or DTS TrueHD. Fortunately, the good thing about this system is that it’s ‘wireless surround sound ready’. This means that you can add speakers to it and create your own home theater system for the best audio quality. Overall, it fills your room nicely while giving audio that’s better than your TV speakers.
Samsung sells a separate SWA 8500S Wireless Surround Sound Kit just for this, so you don’t have to worry about ruining the system or buying a mismatched speaker.
If you don’t want to purchase the surround sound kit, there’s still a way to make the audio more immersive. The HW-M360/ZA features five DSP sound modes, namely Standard, Music, Clear Voice, Sports, and Movie.
While these are still a great distance from the real thing, they’re a big improvement over your TV speakers’ output and they help simulate the surround sound effect depending on what’s displayed on your devices.
Bluetooth connectivity has become a staple in many soundbars today, so you’d be hard-pressed to find soundbars or TVs without one.
The advantage of Bluetooth is the ability to go wireless, so you don’t have to deal with the clutter of wires when connecting your speaker to your TV, smartphone, or tablet. You can also stream music and other audio content.
With Bluetooth, your room setup can be neater with no unsightly speaker cables running around. If you have a Samsung TV, you’d have better compatibility as well.
Aside from wireless connections, you can use Bluetooth to stream and play music from your phone or other Bluetooth-enabled devices.
So, if you want to stream content from your smartphone or tablet, you can use the soundbar to make the audio quality even better via Bluetooth. This wireless connection is ideal when you have house event and you need to play wall-to-wall music for guests.
While the Samsung HW M360/ZA soundbar does come with its own remote control, you can install the Samsung Audio Remote App and connect it to the device if you want to change your settings.
This would come pretty handy when you can’t find your sound bar remote control, which admittedly is something that happens to many of us all the time. With the app, you can control the soundbar’s basic functions such as volume, power, and sound mode selection. You can’t play music directly, though.
Samsung Automatic Feed Link
When the soundbar is powered on while the TV is on, the Auto Power Link will be activated automatically. However, you must connect the Samsung HW M360/ZA to TVs with a digital optical unit first.
After that, you should select the “Source” button on the soundbar or the remote control. Then, press “D.IN,” which means digital input.
On the remote control, long-press the left button for 5 seconds. This will turn the automatic feed link on and off. If you want to disable this option, turn off the Auto Power function and you’re done in no time.
Other Connectivity Options
The Samsung HW-M360 offers optical and analog audio inputs, which should connect perfectly fine. However, one drawback is that it doesn’t have an HDMI connection even at this price.
In all our sound bar tests, HDMI has always been the most direct connection to set up. Other than that, HDMI supports multiple audio formats as well, including Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD. Plus, HDMI can relay 4K or HDR video for the best movie experience.
Then again, you can use a digital optical input if you’re setting up an entire audio system in your home. It works best for more speaker units and longer runs across the room.
Setting up the Samsung HW M360/ZA soundbar is easy. But just in case you run into any connection or function issues, here are some sound bar troubleshooting tips:
A function doesn’t work when its button is pressed.
There might be static electricity in the air. Simply disconnect the power plug and plug it in again.
There is no sound.
The sound bar may be on mute. Press the VOL button to cancel it. Your soundbar may also be set to the minimum volume, so try turning it up.
The remote control doesn’t work.
Try replacing the batteries or moving closer to the soundbar.
The red LED light on the subwoofer is blinking, and the subwoofer doesn’t produce any sound.
Connect your subwoofer to the main soundbar unit.
The subwoofer vibrates and drones noticeably.
Adjust the vibration of the subwoofer by pushing the WOOFER button on the remote control up or down.
Samsung HW-M360 Manual
In case you need any help with setting up or troubleshooting the soundbar, there is a manual that comes in the box to which serves as a reference.
We found the manual easy to understand for beginners, and the layout is easy on the eyes as well. You can also find it on the Samsung website in PDF format in case you need it.
For your safety when setting up, we do have a few reminders about the power cord.
Be sure that the soundbar is turned off and the power cord is unplugged when you’re installing the product or moving it to another place. If you’re disconnecting the power cord from the wall outlet, it’s best to pull the plug and not the cable from the wall.
Another important thing is you should place your soundbar in an area where there’s no moisture or excess heat. Keep the speaker away from vases and the fireplace. The HW-M360/ZA sound bar shouldn’t be near equipment with strong electric or magnetic fields.
Aside from the wireless subwoofer, you can build on the HW-M360/ZA by installing rear speakers. The SWA 8500S wireless surround sound kit can be bought separately from the Samsung brand if you want to make your sound system more immersive.
When we conducted a full audio test on the wireless rear speakers for our HW-M360 Samsung review, the sound was more enveloping and the Dolby tech had a better audio output. It’s a worthy addition, albeit not a necessary one.
The basic way you can control your soundbar is through the included remote control. The design is simple without having bulky dimensions, and it still looks sleek as the soundbar is.
We had no problem setting up the soundbar using the remote control. In terms of operation, there’s not much to figure out. The buttons are tactile, so it’s effortless to use.
If you do have Samsung TV, your TV remote control would work with the Samsung HW M360/ZA.
Samsung HW-M360 Review Conclusion
If you want a basic and affordable home theater system that provides great value, the Samsung HW-M360 does the job. It offers loud and balanced sound, Bluetooth connectivity, a wireless subwoofer for bass, 1 year warranty, and Dolby Digital. Despite some drawbacks, you can add rear speakers to this system for a full surround sound experience.