We've reviewed over 50 Samsung TVs in the last few years. Samsung TVs, overall, are very versatile TVs that can provide good to very good picture quality. 2018 models 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.
Samsung TVs will usually have better input lag than Sony TVs, and will 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 2019, 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 TVs, take a look at our Side by Side comparison tool.
The Samsung Q9FN is the best Samsung TV we've tested so far. It's an excellent 4k TV with great picture quality, excellent motion handling, and outstanding low input lag. It has impressive peak brightness in both SDR and HDR and outstanding contrast, so it looks great in almost any room. It has excellent reflection handling as well, making it a great choice for a bright room.
This TV is an excellent choice for gaming. It supports AMD's FreeSync variable refresh rate technology, great for PC or Xbox One gaming. It also has excellent low input lag, among the lowest we've measured on a TV, and it has an optional game motion plus mode, that stabilizes or increases the frame rate of low frame rate games without adding much additional input lag.
Unfortunately, like most VA TVs, the picture quality of the Q9FN degrades when viewed at an angle. It has been replaced by the Samsung Q90R, which has better viewing angles thanks to a new Ultra Viewing Angle panel, but it has worse contrast.
The best mid-range Samsung TV is the Samsung NU8000 LED TV. It doesn't have as good picture quality as the Q9FN, as it has only a basic edge-lit local dimming feature, but it's still a great TV for most uses. This TV has the same advanced gaming features as the Samsung Q9FN, including FreeSync support. It isn't as bright as the Q9FN, so it isn't as good for a bright room. This TV has also been replaced by the Samsung RU8000, but it's arguably a bit of a downgrade, so get the NU8000 if you can still find it. The RU8000 doesn't have a local dimming feature, and it isn't as bright as the NU8000.
The best budget Samsung TV is the Samsung NU7100 4k TV. It has decent picture quality with a very low input lag that makes it popular among gamers. It has a good native contrast ratio but lacks a local dimming feature that would improve the dark room performance; it also doesn't have a wide color gamut. The response time is decent and some blur is visible when watching sports. Just like all VA panels, when viewed at an angle the image loses accuracy. It runs the 2018 version of Samsung smart OS, but not with all the features that are available in higher-end models.
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 corresponds to the year:
Samsung also uses the prefix Q* to denote their high-end QLED models.
In the infancy of smart TVs, Samsung was the leader when it came to functionality and their 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 the best today.
Samsung first responded in 2015 by updating their platform to Smart Hub, based on their 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 as well, 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. 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 cannot 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 are pretty good now. Other smart interfaces were updated in 2018 to search for content or apps, and also 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 within Netflix, for example, but it is 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 simple and intuitive, 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 will 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 are still quite good, too. They are 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.