Samsung TVs, overall, are very versatile TVs that can provide good to very good picture quality. We have started to publish Samsung TV reviews for 2017 TV models, and they overall have been very similar to previous TVs with very incremental changes. The biggest difference is the high-end models' ability to produce a very wide range of colors.
Compared to other brands
- Well rounded. Generally, Samsung TVs won't be the very best in a specific usage. They instead tend to be very versatile TVs that will do well in a wide variety of uses.
- Very good upscaling. Lower quality content such as broadcast TV or DVDs are scaled up to the 4k resolution well.
- Good input lag. Even in HDR, Samsung TVs maintain a low input lag which is great for gaming.
- Judder. Even high-end models, Samsung TVs aren't great at removing judder (More info on judder). Their motion interpolation feature is also not as good as some competitors.
- Mediocre build quality. Samsung TVs, in general, will not have stellar build quality. A lot of plastic is used, and it isn't unusual for some parts of the TV to come off after some use.
Samsung vs Sony
Samsung TVs will usually have better input lag than Sony TVs, and will generally have a much more expressive and original design. Sony TV's, in comparison, will usually be built a bit better, with a mostly metal construction. They'll also have a lot more motion settings and no judder issues.
Samsung vs LG
Samsung TVs will generally have a lot better picture quality than the average LG TV, with LG's expensive OLED TVs being an exception. They'll usually get a fair bit brighter. LG TVs will generally have a much wider viewing angle and also have much better smart features.
At every price range, Samsung TVs provide a performance suitable for most buyers. They are quite good and usually without any major flaws besides the common ones for LCD TVs. In 2017, competition is tightening up a bit more, so Samsung LED TVs do not seem to provide as much value as they previously did. Their performance remains comparable, though. If you would like to compare specific TV's, take a look at our Side by Side comparison tool.
Best Samsung's Smart TVs
Samsung's lineup covers everything from budget to high-end models. As a rule of thumb, the higher the number, the better it is, although sometimes the improvements are not worth it. The letter in their model number correspond to the year:
- Q* = 2017 High-end models
- M* = 2017 Low to mid-range models
- K* = 2016
- J* = 2015
- H* = 2014
- F* = 2013
Best Samsung 4k TV
The best Samsung TV is one of 2016's models, the KS8000 4k UHD TV. It's one of the TVs we recommended the most, and that's mostly thanks to its great picture quality and value.
The KS8000 is one of 2016's brightest TVs. It's a very good choice for both HDR and brightly-lit rooms and is very similar to the higher-end Q7F. It cannot produce colors as saturated, but it is still one of the best TVs in that aspect. Overall, it offers the same performance or better for a fraction of the price.
Best budget Samsung 4k TV
The best budget Samsung TV is the KU6300 4k LED TV. It offers very good picture quality, mostly thanks to its great contrast ratio and uniform blacks.
For a TV in this price range, it is quite a bit brighter than its competition. It does not have a wide color gamut like the high-end Samsung models, but it can still provide what most people need. Input lag is quite low as well, so it's a great pick for gamers.
High-end premium LED TV. Has a metal back design and curve.
Unlike last year, the company's flagship is now flat. It features a fully metal design and backlight on the side edges.
Very similar to last year's KU7000, mid-range HDR TV.
Entry level 4k TV, no wide color gamut and very basic HDR performance.
Very similar design to the KS9000 of 2016, comparable to the MU8000 but with a better screen finish.
Samsung's Smart Features
For a while, Samsung had the best smart TV experience around, thanks to the huge number of available apps and the great smart remote included with higher-end TVs. 2015’s update saw Samsung create a new smart OS, based on its Tizen OS, in an effort to improve the user experience to something more along the lines of LG’s WebOS. It improved in several ways, but the app selection is more limited than Samsung’s smart platforms from past years.
The remote that is included with this TV is great. As with previous Samsung smart remotes, it offers point-and-click capability, making entering text, browsing the web, and selecting apps a breeze. The remote is slim and curved to fit your hand. From an aesthetic and ergonomic standpoint, it is a welcome change.
There is a catch, however. To maintain that slim form factor, the Samsung remote had to do away with several buttons. Some of the buttons perform multiple functions – holding down the Menu/123 button, for example, will enable Voice Recognition – but this is not immediately obvious. If you do not read the manual or watch the tutorials, it is likely that you will find browsing on the TV to be more of a chore than it should be.
The cheaper Samsung TVs – the 6 series and lower – have a regular remote that will require you use arrows to navigate, which is slower and less natural. If you plan to use your TV’s smart features a lot, you should get one of the TVs with the smart remote.
Press the Smart Hub button on the remote and a toolbar will appear at the bottom of your screen. Recently-used apps populate the main bar. A separate option to the left opens the ‘Featured’ app selection, which leads to the ‘Apps’ and ‘Games’ stores, as well as shows off apps Samsung is currently highlighting.
A new problem this year is that there are way fewer apps available than on older Samsung smart TVs. The ‘Sports’ category, for example, only has a handful of apps, and the ‘Kids’ section only has three. Some apps appear in multiple categories.
What’s more, many of the available apps are pretty niche. This will likely be just a temporary situation, and most common apps are available, so the average person will be fine with the selection.
The web browser works pretty well. The motion control is very handy, though the scrolling does not work quite well enough.
It got a speed test of 796 on Peacekeeper, which is just a bit slower than an iPhone 5, and about equal to the LG TV we tested.
It is currently unable to play Flash video.
As with most smart TV browsers, it’s no replacement for a computer or smartphone browser. Light pages and streaming video work fine, but heavy pages with lots of images can take a while to load.
Voice commands work fairly well. You need to hold down the “Menu 1/2/3” button to activate them, and you can use them to switch between apps, adjust volume, and search with Bing.
You need to be specific with which commands you issue. “Open Netflix” doesn’t work, for example, whereas “Go to Netflix” does.
Camera & Privacy
Most Samsung TVs do not come with a built-in camera, but the high-end Samsung JS9500 does. You can also purchase a separate camera to add Skype capabilities to other compatible Samsung TVs.
The Samsung JS9500 is also the only Samsung TV that can accept voice commands without the viewer needing to push a button on the remote. Like most devices that are waiting for voice commands (Xbox’s Kinect, Motorola Moto X, Amazon Echo, etc.), it has to actively listen to everything it can hear people saying. That does not mean that anybody is listening to you speak – just that the data is all being captured by the TV.
You can disable that feature by switching ‘Voice Recognition’ off, and you don’t need to worry about your video content. That is not being stored anywhere.
Initially, we were only able to connect one Samsung smart TV to our WiFi. Anytime we tried to connect a second one; the connection would fail. This issue appears to have been addressed by a firmware update.
Sometimes, the TV will be connected to the WiFi, and apps that are already downloaded to the TV will work fine, but the Smart Hub will claim that the TV is not connected, and the directory of apps will not be browsable.
There are users who report that the Smart Hub crashes with some frequency. We have not experienced this issue ourselves, but it appears to be fairly widespread and is in keeping with similar issues from years past.
Samsung TVs are great in general. They can be found across the whole range of TVs sold, from inexpensive budget models to high-end exclusive premium models. Most buyers should be able to find a fitting model. Their smart features, while not the very best available, are still quite good. They don't have any glaring issues, but they usually will not have great viewing angles. If you do not mind that, they are a safe bet.