Today we’ll be taking a close look at two notable LG soundbars available – the LG S80QY and the LG S90QY.
At first glance, you might think that the only difference between the two is the model number, but there’s actually more than meets the eye. To sum it up for those who want to get a clear answer, the LG S90QY has several more channels and greater power output at an added cost.
If you’re curious as to our LG S80QY vs. LG S90QY soundbar comparison, kindly read on and you’ll discover pertinent details such as design, connectivity, features, and of course, the sound quality.
It’s fair to say that the S80QY is the inferior version, tech-wise, as it only offers 3.1.3 channels compared to the S90QY’s 5.1.3 (more on this later). However, don’t let that cross this soundbar off your list, as it’s significantly cheaper and offers a great sound experience.
The bass is really good, and you can buy extra rear speakers with the money you can save. It’s worth noting that the S80QY and S90QY have nearly the same audio and connectivity features (since they’re made by the same company), including Dolby Atmos technology, an up-firing center channel, and the AI Room Calibration Pro.
The S80QY works even better if you pair it with a compatible LG TV, as you’ll unlock Sound Mode Share, Sound Bar Mode Control, and the ability to connect to other LG wireless speakers.
- Made for pairing with newer smart LG TVs
- Excellent bass
- Great value for money
- LG app needs polish
- Strong and stable wi-fi connection is required to work properly
The S90QY is the beefier brother, sound-wise, with more channels than the S80QY model. The 5.1.3 channels can really make a difference, especially if you intend to use the soundbar to immerse yourself in shows and movies.
The extra 2 channels will present themselves with a higher price tag, but if you don’t want to take second chances then the S90QY might be the better choice. One thing you should know is that the bass isn’t as pronounced as the S80QY, but other than that they are nearly identical.
You’ll know that the two soundbar models are cut from the same cloth because the reviews on the official LG website are combined. That said, it’s a matter of preference – do you want more channels and don’t mind spending more? Or, are you in for a budget soundbar that packs a throaty bass?
- Two extra channels make a difference in mids and trebles
- Highly compatible with LG smart TVs
- Wireless connectivity for hassle-free setup
- Less pronounced bass
- A bit more expensive
LG did a ‘simple is better’ approach when designing its soundbars, and the S80QY is a testament to this fact. The soundbar system is all-black and made from plastic, metal grilles, and fabric.
Sit the soundbar below the TV and it immediately looks and feels at home. The controls literally take a back seat as they’re hidden away, and metal grilles cover the three up-firing channels. Fabric covers the side to allow an adequate amount of sound while acting as a filter for dust.
As for the sub, the whole box is made from wood with plastic on the rear. The side channel is noticeable and covered in fabric.
The S90QY is more or less the same, with fabric covering the sides and front.
The three up-firing channels have that same metal grille, and the material is sturdy enough to take a few hits here and there. The overall build is quite nice and hefty, which means that LG didn’t skimp out on its components to make the S90QY.
The sub-woofer is the same characteristic – a large circular side speaker is covered in fabric, and most of the box is made from wood.
The LGS80QY will satisfy most consumers who are looking for a soundbar for their home entertainment systems.
The wireless aspect is handled by a stable wi-fi internet connection. With a modern router and 2.4GHz frequency, you’ll be able to set the sub-woofer unit practically anywhere in the room and without compromising sound quality. For short-range wireless you can opt for Bluetooth 5.0, or hook up a WOWCast (which is not included).
Eventually though, you’ll want to choose wired for its stability and output. The S80QY has HDMI, optical, and the Sound Sync feature (via optical), all of which are easy to connect. Just find the HDMI or optical end from the TV, then find the HDMI or optical end from your soundbar.
Connectivity to other devices includes USB, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Alexa, and the usual remote control.
LG makes connecting their soundbars to smart TVs an easy affair. If you have a TV that only connects via 3.5mm audio or traditional auxiliary cables, then you’re out of luck.
Most modern TVs should be able to connect to the S90QY without any problems. There’s HDMI and optical (an optical cable is not included), and you’ll also need a wi-fi home network to take full advantage of the wireless speaker setup. Bluetooth can also work, but the sound won’t just be the same as wired.
It’s worth noting that the S90QY has HDMI 2.1 or HDCP 2.2 input and output, which is lacking from the S80QY variant. Last but not least, you can use other devices and connect them to the LG soundbar via AirPlay 2, Alexa, Spotify, and USB.
Within the S80QY’s plain black shell lies a multitude of audio and TV-centric features. Dolby Atmos is in full force here, and if you have movies or videos that support the technology then that’s already great value for your money.
The up-firing channels are distinctive and really come into play as far as immersion is concerned. Instead of hearing the sound and music from the side, there’s an extra depth that’s sourced overhead. LG’s proprietary AI Room Calibration Pro offers a unique ‘per room’ experience, taking into account the space and furniture to change the audio settings. To do this, you’ll need to download the Sound Bar app and have the soundbar connected to the internet.
Gamers can enable the VRR and ALLM Passthrough while playing their favorite titles on their TV via HDMI. With a compatible LG TV, the sound and convenience become more robust with TV Sound Mode and Sound Bar Mode Control, respectively. No need to have multiple remotes on hand, and sound quality gets even better with the help of the TV’s processor.
You can customize your S80QY even further by adding supported rear speakers at an additional price. For streaming music, you can ask the built-in Alexa to open Spotify or Apple Music. Alternatively, you can use your iPhone, Mac, or iPad and have it play from there.
For a few hundred dollars more you can get more channels for a greater sound experience. The S90QY is just as easy to connect to your home theater, and the soundbar and sub itself have nearly the same dimensions.
Up-firing channels at 5.1.3 is really music to the ears, and you’ll want to rewatch your favorite movies just to hear them again. But before you begin binge-watching, we recommend you download the Sound Bar app from LG first and do a quick calibration via the AI Room Calibration Pro feature.
Hi-Res audio, as well as Dolby Atmos, will be heard loud and clear here. With a compatible LG smart TV you can effectively ditch the soundbar remote and run basic commands such as volume up, volume down, as well as switch to various sound modes like Clear Voice, Sports, Game, Cinema, and Music through your main TV remote.
Like the S80QY you can play console videogames without ever experiencing lag and screen tearing, thanks to the Auto Latency Mode and Variable Input Refresh technology. Off the screen, you can stream party music via Bluetooth or ask Alexa to play this year’s top hits, for example.
The S80QY packs a respectable amount of sound at a total of 480 watts, 220 of which reside in the subwoofer unit.
The bass sound is exceptional for its class, with rich thumping vibrations that shine in EDM songs and movie explosions. That said, turning the bass to the max can interfere with the rest of the frequencies, so do this with caution.
Dolby Atmos is a must-experience, especially for those who are new to the technology. We recommend the HDMI connection if you want the best, or get the WOWCast for a wireless setup. From there, you can change the sound mode in the app or TV to customize the dialogue, music, and bass depending on the content you’re watching.
LG is nice enough to add a few more bells and whistles, notably the Surround, Night Time Mode, Customize EQ, and eARC options. There’s an auto volume leveler and Dynamic Range control for those who want to tinker, but overall the sound should be adequate with a quick fix of the AI room calibration.
With greater power comes great responsibility, and the S90QY does exactly that. The soundbar can churn out 570 watts, with the sub taking out a significant 220-watt chunk.
Somehow the bass is toned down compared to the S80QY, but only by a small margin. It’s still there, albeit mixed in with the frequencies and sound effects. You won’t be hearing it from above, but rather feel it with every explosion and bass music solo.
The Dolby Atmos experience is quite the same as the S80QY unit, if not better. The extra two channels come into play nicely – the dialogues are distinct, and you’ll be able to hear them even with background music playing. Go for the eARC HDMI connection, then let your wi-fi connection handle the rest for a quick and easy setup.
All that we’ve mentioned in the S80QY unit is here, including the customizable EQ, Night Time mode, and Surround Sound. With a newer LG smart TV model, you’ll be able to control the modes using your TV remote.
When it comes to choosing a good LG-branded soundbar, you can either pick the S80QY or the S90QY model. Both offer nearly the same features and design, but there’s enough distinction between them that you can’t just go either-or.
The S80QY has more bass depth, while the S90QY has more channels for greater clarity and separate highs and lows. As for the price point, the S80QY is more budget-friendly as it has a 3.1.3 channel setup while the S90QY has 5.1.5 channels. We hope this is enough for you to make an informed decision.