We've tested over 20 Samsung TVs in the last two years. Samsung TVs, generally speaking, are very versatile and can provide good to very good picture quality. Samsung released their 2020 lineup, and we've reviewed most of this year's TVs. Generally, when new models are announced, the previous year's models can be found at a discounted price, and generally represent better value until the new model's prices lower throughout the year.
The best Samsung TV we've tested is the Samsung Q90/Q90T QLED. Being their flagship 4k TV, it offers excellent overall performance, which is what you expect to find in a high-end TV. It's well-built and comes with a sleek-looking center-mounted stand, so you know it should look great in any setting. What stands out about it is the excellent peak brightness. It gets bright enough to combat glare and has outstanding reflection handling for even the brightest of rooms, and it gets even brighter in HDR too make highlights pop. Its VA panel has a great native contrast ratio, but it's lower than most other VA panel TVs because of its 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer, which improves the viewing angles. Regardless, its full-array local dimming feature is great and really improves the contrast.
Unfortunately, like any other TV, it's not perfect. It has some uniformity issues with dirty screen effect in the center, but this may vary between units. If you want to use it for gaming, it has an impressive response time, incredibly low input lag, and variable refresh rate (VRR) support to reduce screen tearing. It's future-proof with an HDMI 2.1 input and it has eARC support, allowing you to send high-quality audio to a compatible receiver over an HDMI connection. It removes 24p judder from any source and it interpolates lower-frame rate content, known as the 'Soap Opera Effect'. All in all, this is the best-performing Samsung TV we've tested.
The best Samsung TV for gaming that we've tested is the Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED. It sits right below the Samsung Q90/Q90T QLED in their 2020 TV lineup, and even though it doesn't get as bright, it stills offer impressive overall performance. It's a better choice for gaming because it has a quicker response time, so fast-moving content looks better. It also includes all of the same great gaming features such as really input lag and VRR support. It has a great contrast ratio that's lower than most other VA panel TVs because of the 'Ultra Viewing Angle' technology added, which provides fairly wide viewing angles, and the decent full-array local dimming feature improves the native contrast a bit.
Like the Q90T, it also has some dirty screen effect in the center, which may become distracting during sports, but also may vary between units. It supports HDR10 and HDR10+, but not Dolby Vision, displays a wide color gamut, handles gradients well, and has good peak brightness in HDR. Its out-of-the-box color accuracy is one of the best we've seen, so you may not need to get your TV calibrated if you don't want to. It's well-built with an outstanding design and it shouldn't stick out if you wall-mount it. With the price difference between the Q80T and Q90T, it may be worth getting this one instead, also making it one of the best TVs.
The best Samsung TV in the budget category that we've tested is the Samsung TU8000. It's an entry-level model in Samsung's 2020 lineup and offers decent overall performance. There's nothing that stands out about this one against the Samsung Q90/Q90T QLED, but that's expected from a budget-friendly model. Most people should be happy with it, and it performs best in dark rooms. It has a VA panel that displays really deep blacks, and it has remarkable black uniformity. Sadly, it lacks a local dimming feature and doesn't get very bright. It comes with a reduced version of Tizen OS, which isn't very different from the standard version, but it doesn't feel as smooth, but it still comes with a great selection of apps.
Casual gamers should enjoy it as well. It has a decent response time, really low input lag, and a Black Frame Insertion feature, which sadly results in some duplication of motion. It upscales lower-resolution content without any issues, it removes judder from native 24p sources, and it interpolates lower frame rate content up to 60fps, which helps with the appearance of motion. If you don't mind spending a bit more, the Samsung Q60/Q60T QLED displays a wider color gamut, and if you want an even cheaper option, check out the Samsung TU7000. Overall, most people should be pleased with it, making it the best Samsung TV we've tested in the budget category.
Samsung TVs will usually have better input lag than Sony TVs and generally have a much more expressive and original design. Sony TVs, 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 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 generally perform very well. In 2020, competition is tightening up a bit more, so Samsung LED TVs don't seem to provide as much value as they previously did. Their performance remains comparable, though. If you'd like to compare specific TVs, take a look at our side-by-side comparison tool.
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 aren't worth it. The letter in their model number corresponds to the year:
Samsung also uses the prefix Q* to denote their high-end QLED models, and the last letter of these models also denotes its year, corresponding to the list above (i.e., the Q90T is a 2020 QLED TV).
In the infancy of smart TVs, Samsung was the leader in functionality and smart features. This isn't to say that they were very good, as it took quite a few years for Smart TV platforms to mature into something comparable to external set-top boxes. Samsung's lead was quickly usurped by LG WebOS, which was launched in 2014 and remains one of today's best.
Samsung first responded in 2015 by updating their platform to Smart Hub, based on its Tizen operating system. This was a significant upgrade, but it still didn't match LG's consistently updated offering. They gave the platform a face-lift in 2017 by switching the color palette and updating their voice control capabilities.
In 2018, Samsung added their Bixby virtual assistant to Samsung's entire line of Q* and most N* models except the NU7100. The same was the case for the 2019 lineup, as the RU7100 still lacked the feature. Bixby can integrate into Samsung's SmartThings smart home platform, allowing you to control compatible devices ranging from lights, outlets, door locks, and even your fridge.
The interface is very simple and easy to navigate. Everything is located along a toolbar that appears at the bottom of your screen. Downloaded apps are found here as well, and you can quickly access the different inputs and settings. The interface works well, and there are a lot of animations, but on lower-end TVs, these animations can be slow.
Unfortunately, Samsung's Smart Hub also shows ads on the home screen. It shows up in the same row as the installed Samsung Smart TV apps, and they can't be disabled.
You can opt-out of personalized advertising in the settings, but that, unfortunately, just means that you'll see very repetitive ads instead of different ones.
The app selection is pretty extensive nowadays. All the popular video and music services are available and more. Fortunately, the search function is quite good, and results come up very quickly. Like LG's WebOS and Android TV on Sony and Hisense TVs, Samsung TVs have an excellent selection of apps, and the vast majority of streaming services are available.
Voice Command was overhauled in 2017, and they're pretty good now. Other smart interfaces were updated in 2018 to search for content, apps, and change settings, something Samsung has been able to do for two years. Even more in-depth stuff such as calibration settings are only a button press away, which is quite nice.
It's also possible to search within apps, but only a few apps are supported at this moment. It isn't possible to search Netflix, for example, but it's possible to search YouTube.
The Samsung smart remote included with the high-end QLED series is excellent. It's very comfortable to hold and features craftsmanship unlike anything else currently on the market. The controls are intuitive and straightforward, and it's easy to pair with the TV and other devices.
You may notice that current Samsung TVs have done away with expansive controls such as advanced playback buttons and number keys (although the budget models like the RU7100, RU7300, and RU6900 are still packaged with a more 'ordinary' remote with many buttons and a full number pad). This is in line with their initiative from a few years ago, and other remotes such as the ones found with Roku TVs. This isn't a big deal nowadays, but people using the TV tuner might prefer ordering a cheap universal remote to easily access TV channels.
The Samsung Remote App is very limited. It has recently been updated to a universal app for all Samsung smart home products, called SmartThings. The app functions mainly as a replacement remote control. It can't stream files from your device to your TV, but some apps can stream video to your device. It can also be used for voice commands.
This is less common now than it was in previous years, but Samsung TVs often have issues with Wi-Fi connections. They'll randomly stop functioning after leaving the TV off for a while and will require the connection to be set up again, which is quite annoying.
Samsung, in general, makes very good TVs. Their range has somewhat crept up in price over time, but most people should still find a TV that suits their needs within it. Their smart features aren't the best out there, but they're still quite good, too. They're usually quite versatile and fit most uses. As long as you don't plan to watch them from an angle, which is a common shortcoming they have, it's hard to find major issues with them. If you're interested in Samsung products, check out our recommendations for the best Samsung headphones and the best Samsung soundbars.