GADGETS | Quickie review: Samsung WAM R1

Our rating

"Good enough."

What is it?

For a couple of years now, Samsung has been trying to make its presence felt in the world of audio, a world already dominated mainly by Japanese brands the likes of Sony, Denon, Pioneer, Kenwood, Onkyo, to name a few. The recent announcement of Samsung taking over Harman International Industries in December for automotive car audio, signals the South Korean tech giant’s serious entry in marketing sound products to a wider range of consumers.

Harman is a holding company maintaining big audio brands such as JBL, Harman Kardon, Crown Audio, AKG Acoustics, Infinity among others.

For Samsung’s consumer speaker line, the WAM R1 is part of the 360 family of wireless speakers integrated with a patented Ring Radiator technology. The R1 is the entry-level model equipped with a 3.6-inch woofer, a 1-inch tweeter and a 10-watt power output, which is quite enough for small condo-style living room or bedroom.

Through its cylindrical design, the so-called “dual acoustic lenses” inside transmit audio from the speaker in a 360° direction, thus filling the room with sound. Placed properly in the center of the room, the whole idea actually works.

Who is it for?

The Samsung WAM R1 is perfect for people looking for a wireless speaker that combines technology and aesthetics. The look itself is a display piece, especially when you get the higher models R7 and R6. Nonetheless, the R1 stands out on its unique design — simple, elegant and black.

And in a wireless and mobile world, the R1, similar to the entire WAM 360° family, has a Multiroom Link capability to connect and control one or multiple R1 speakers in any room of the home via a smartphone app. One can even use the same mobile device to stream music wirelessly, connecting several R1 speakers over Wi-Fi network. The Samsung SoundConnect will also pair the R1 to a compatible Samsung TV via Bluetooth.

The good

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth connectivity
Unique design
Touch controls
Multiroom App
Conversation piece

The bad

No wired audio input
Sound quality: good but not great

Our verdict

Samsung is slowly encroaching the audio market with confidence. Although the 360° products are not the first stand-alone audio products from Samsung’s stable, what we have here is a taste of what Samsung is planning in the future when it comes to audio, especially now that Harman is under their control: Samsung is bent on becoming a brand audio enthusiasts will no longer ignore.

As for the R1 itself, we’ll give this wireless audio product a passing grade. Aesthetically, it’s good-looking. Wireless connectivity is a synch. Sound quality is another thing. Placed in a corner, the bass dominates a bit too much. Placed in the middle, the upper frequencies take over. For a 360° omni-directional speaker, perfect placement is essential, and many users may not have the patience to do measurements, trying to create a perfect audio environment. Nevertheless, the R1 delivers its promise of omni-directional sound and seamless wireless connectivity. Moreover, since the R1 is the smallest in the line, it’ll be easier to move it around.

Quick specs:
3.6” woofer
1” tweeter
10 watts power output
Tap & swipe touch interface

SRP: P7,490