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Samsung TVs - 2018
Reviews and Smart Features

We've reviewed 47 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.

Updates

Compared to other brands

  • Well Rounded. Generally, Samsung TVs won't be the very best for 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 is 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 Samsung high-end models 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 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 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 TVs, take a look at our Side by Side comparison tool.

Best Samsung 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 corresponds to the year:

  • N* = 2018 Low to mid-range models
  • Q* = 2017 & 2018 High-end models
  • M* = 2017 Low to mid-range models
  • K* = 2016
  • J* = 2015
  • H* = 2014
  • F* = 2013

Best Samsung 4k TV

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

Test Benches: test

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2015
  • 0.9: Winter 2014
  • 0.8: Winter 2013
8.5
Mixed Usage
What it is General purpose. The TV will be used for a variety of content and usages. Movies at night, TV shows during the day, video games from time to time, etc.
Score components:
8.7
Movies
What it is Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
Score components:
8.3
TV Shows
What it is TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
Score components:
8.2
Sports
What it is Sports in a living room. The TV will be used to watch sports during the day, like football or hockey. Usually watched with a group, so from multiple viewing position.
8.8
Video Games
What it is Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
8.7
HDR Movies
What it is HDR Movies and TV shows. The TV will be used to watch 4k UHD HDR content, with a wide color gamut and a high peak brightness. Either via UHD Blu-rays or HDR streaming.
Score components:
8.7
HDR Gaming
What it is HDR Gaming. The TV will be used to play HDR video games using consoles that support it or on current generation gaming PCs. Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, GTX 10 series and AMD RX series graphics cards.
8.3
PC Monitor
What it is PC Monitor. The TV will be used as a PC monitor, from 2-3 feet away, either for productivity purposes or gaming. Sharp text is important, as well as a high resolution.
Score components:
Type : LED
Sub-Type
What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
:
VA
Resolution : 4k
Sizes : 65" 75"

If you are looking for the absolute best picture quality possible, the Samsung 2018 Q9FN QLED TV is the best LED TV we have reviewed.

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 120 Hz, even in Game Mode.

See our review

Best Recommended Samsung 4k TV

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

Test Benches: test

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2015
  • 0.9: Winter 2014
  • 0.8: Winter 2013
7.9
Mixed Usage
What it is General purpose. The TV will be used for a variety of content and usages. Movies at night, TV shows during the day, video games from time to time, etc.
Score components:
7.6
Movies
What it is Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
Score components:
7.8
TV Shows
What it is TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
Score components:
7.7
Sports
What it is Sports in a living room. The TV will be used to watch sports during the day, like football or hockey. Usually watched with a group, so from multiple viewing position.
8.6
Video Games
What it is Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
7.7
HDR Movies
What it is HDR Movies and TV shows. The TV will be used to watch 4k UHD HDR content, with a wide color gamut and a high peak brightness. Either via UHD Blu-rays or HDR streaming.
Score components:
8.3
HDR Gaming
What it is HDR Gaming. The TV will be used to play HDR video games using consoles that support it or on current generation gaming PCs. Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, GTX 10 series and AMD RX series graphics cards.
8.2
PC Monitor
What it is PC Monitor. The TV will be used as a PC monitor, from 2-3 feet away, either for productivity purposes or gaming. Sharp text is important, as well as a high resolution.
Score components:
Type : LED
Sub-Type
What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
:
VA
Resolution : 4k
Sizes : 49" 55" 65" 75" 82"

The best recommended Samsung TV for 2018 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 excellent low input lag, which is great for gaming. It produces a decent color gamut and good SDR brightness, great for bright room viewing, although it has a narrow viewing angle.

See our review

Best mid-range Samsung 4k TV

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

Test Benches: test

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2015
  • 0.9: Winter 2014
  • 0.8: Winter 2013
8.0
Mixed Usage
What it is General purpose. The TV will be used for a variety of content and usages. Movies at night, TV shows during the day, video games from time to time, etc.
Score components:
7.6
Movies
What it is Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
Score components:
8.2
TV Shows
What it is TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
Score components:
7.9
Sports
What it is Sports in a living room. The TV will be used to watch sports during the day, like football or hockey. Usually watched with a group, so from multiple viewing position.
8.3
Video Games
What it is Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
7.5
HDR Movies
What it is HDR Movies and TV shows. The TV will be used to watch 4k UHD HDR content, with a wide color gamut and a high peak brightness. Either via UHD Blu-rays or HDR streaming.
Score components:
7.9
HDR Gaming
What it is HDR Gaming. The TV will be used to play HDR video games using consoles that support it or on current generation gaming PCs. Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, GTX 10 series and AMD RX series graphics cards.
8.0
PC Monitor
What it is PC Monitor. The TV will be used as a PC monitor, from 2-3 feet away, either for productivity purposes or gaming. Sharp text is important, as well as a high resolution.
Score components:
Type : LED
Sub-Type
What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
:
VA
Resolution : 4k
Sizes : 55" 65" 75"

The best mid-range Samsung TV is the MU9000 4k LED TV. Its picture quality is quite good, and it features a few HDR features like a wide color gamut and 10 bits of color depth.

One of the MU9000's best features is how well it handles reflections. Usually, this type of screen finish is found exclusively on high-end models such as the Samsung Q9F and LG C7. This makes it a better than average choice for usage in a brighter environment such as a living room with a lot of windows. It's a good choice for gaming as well, since its input lag of about 24ms even in HDR is some of the best available.

See our review

Best budget Samsung 4k TV

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

Test Benches: test

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2015
  • 0.9: Winter 2014
  • 0.8: Winter 2013
7.4
Mixed Usage
What it is General purpose. The TV will be used for a variety of content and usages. Movies at night, TV shows during the day, video games from time to time, etc.
Score components:
6.7
Movies
What it is Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
Score components:
7.5
TV Shows
What it is TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
Score components:
7.2
Sports
What it is Sports in a living room. The TV will be used to watch sports during the day, like football or hockey. Usually watched with a group, so from multiple viewing position.
8.2
Video Games
What it is Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
6.8
HDR Movies
What it is HDR Movies and TV shows. The TV will be used to watch 4k UHD HDR content, with a wide color gamut and a high peak brightness. Either via UHD Blu-rays or HDR streaming.
Score components:
7.7
HDR Gaming
What it is HDR Gaming. The TV will be used to play HDR video games using consoles that support it or on current generation gaming PCs. Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, GTX 10 series and AMD RX series graphics cards.
7.8
PC Monitor
What it is PC Monitor. The TV will be used as a PC monitor, from 2-3 feet away, either for productivity purposes or gaming. Sharp text is important, as well as a high resolution.
Score components:
Type : LED
Sub-Type
What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
:
VA (except 43")
Resolution : 4k
Sizes : 40" 43" 50" 55" 65" 75"

The best budget Samsung TV is the MU6300 4k TV. Its picture quality is decent, and it makes for a good gaming TV for those on a budget.

It's brighter than most TVs it's competing with, and it shares the low input lag found across the Samsung range of TVs. Its smart features are also good, offering a wealth of apps with just about every streaming service one would need. It doesn't have advanced features like local dimming or wide color gamut, but it's a decent TV overall.

See our review

Samsung Smart Features

7.5Interface
0Ad-free
8.5Apps & Features
8.5Remote
6.0Remote App

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've given the platform a facelift in 2017 as well, switching the color palette and updating their voice control capabilities.

In 2018 Samsung has added their Bixby virtual assistant to Samsung's entire line of Q* and most N* models with the exception of the NU7100. Bixby will be 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, the search function in particular is not as good.

Interface

Samsung Smart TV 2

Press the Home button on the remote and a toolbar will appear at the bottom of your screen. Downloaded apps will be found here in a row, as well as quick access to inputs and settings.

Ad-Free

Samsung Ads & Privacy

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.

Apps & Features

Apps

Samsung Smart TV 3

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.

Samsung search function

The app selection is nowadays pretty extensive. All the popular video and music services are available and more. Fortunately, the search function is quite good and results come up very quickly.

Web Browser

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.

Remote

Remote Control

Samsung Smart TV Remote

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, can be found the other model currently packaged with 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.

Samsung Smart TV  Basic Remote

You may notice that current Samsung TVs have done away with expansive controls such as advanced playback buttons and number keys. 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 Commands 

Samsung Voice Command

Voice Command was overhauled in 2017, and they are pretty good now. Other smart interfaces have been 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.

Remote App

Samsung Remote App

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.

Known Issues 

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 for 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.

Conclusion

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.

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