We've reviewed 51 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 are quite good and usually without any major flaws besides the common ones for LCD TVs. 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.
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:
If you are looking for the absolute best picture quality possible, the Samsung 2018 Q9FN QLED TV is one of the best LED TVs we have reviewed so far.
The Q9FN is among the brightest TVs we have ever seen, similar to the Sony Z9D. It also produces an excellent wide color gamut, great for watching HDR movies, and the impressive local dimming feature is able to produce excellent black levels. Combined with the excellent black uniformity, the Q9FN is great for dark room viewing.
It also has excellent motion handling and great low input lag, and can interpolate lower frame rate content up to 120Hz, even in Game Mode.
The best mid-range Samsung TV is the NU8000 LED TV. It has good picture quality, with an excellent native contrast ratio and great peak brightness. It has excellent motion handling and motion looks crisp. The NU8000 is packed with gaming goodies that most gamers will appreciate, like excellent low input lag, auto low latency, and motion interpolation in gaming mode. It has a wide color gamut and very good HDR performance. It also has excellent SDR brightness that makes it suitable for a bright room, but unfortunately, the viewing angles are narrow, typical of a VA panel.
The best budget Samsung TV is the 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 and does not 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.
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 facelift 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 with the exception of the NU7100. Bixby is able to integrate into Samsung's SmartThings smart home platform, allowing you to control compatible devices ranging from lights, outlets, door locks, and even your fridge. Compared to other manufacturers, the Bixby assistant is not as good, especially the search function, in particular.
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 Apps screen bombards you with a selection of applications. You can filter based on types such as "Video," "Lifestyle," and "Games," but it's kind of hidden away at the very bottom of the main page.
The web browser has seen some improvements over time. It is one of the easiest browsers to use. In HTML5 compatibility tests, it scores 522/555, which is almost as good as Chrome. Navigating pages is done via the remote control's directional pad, which while not the fastest, works fairly well. The remote can also be used to enter text through voice recognition.
The Samsung smart remote included with the high-end QLED series is excellent. It is very comfortable to hold and features craftsmanship unlike anything else currently on the market. The controls are simple and intuitive, and it is easy to pair with the TV and other devices.
Lower in the range, in the MU series, you'll find the other model currently packaged with most Samsung TVs. It is almost the same as what was found in 2016 models and is, feature-wise, about the same as the one above, but with a plastic feel and different shape.
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 NU7100, NU7300, and NU6900 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.
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.
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.
The 2018 update is also noticeably slower than the 2017 version of the software. Waiting multiple seconds to confirm a selection on a pop-up is not uncommon, and the overall experience feels quite sluggish.
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 usages. 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.