We've reviewed 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 their 2020 TVs. Generally, when new models are announced, the previous year's models can be found cheaper than their comparative newer models, and generally represent better value until the new models' prices lower throughout the year.
The best Samsung TV we've tested so far is the Samsung Q90T. It's their flagship 4k model in 2020 and even though it's a bit of a step down from 2019's Samsung Q90/Q90R QLED, it's still an excellent overall TV. It has an excellent design, it's very well-built, and it shouldn't stick out much if wall-mounted. It has a VA panel with Samsung's 'Ultra Viewing Angle' technology, which improves the viewing angles, so it's a decent choice to use in wide seating arrangements. Despite this added layer, it still has an excellent contrast ratio, and with the full-array local dimming feature, it displays extremely deep blacks. It performs equally as well in bright rooms as it gets extremely bright and has outstanding reflection handling.
Sadly, its out-of-the-box color accuracy is just okay, so you'll likely need to get it calibrated to enjoy this TV to the fullest. Its built-in speakers aren't as good as some other high-end TVs, as there's noticeable compression at its max volume, which results in pumping artifacts. On the upside, it's future-proof with four HDMI 2.1 inputs and it supports eARC, allowing it to send high-quality audio over an HDMI connection. It also has extra features you expect to find in a high-end TV like a motion interpolation feature, the ability to remove judder from any source, and it has a black frame insertion feature to reduce motion blur. All in all, this is the best Samsung TV we've tested so far.
The best Samsung TV for gaming that we've tested so far is the Samsung Q80T. It's very similar to the Samsung Q90T QLED in terms of features and performance. However, this one is much cheaper, so if you need something with excellent gaming performance and don't want to spend too much money, this is a great choice. It has a 120Hz refresh rate, native FreeSync variable refresh rate (VRR) support, an excellent response time, and an extremely low input lag. It also has an 'Auto Low Latency Mode' that detects when a compatible gaming device is connected, switching into 'Game' mode automatically to achieve the lowest input lag possible.
Picture quality is also great. It has excellent out-of-the-box color accuracy, so you get an accurate image with just changing a few settings. Like the Q90T, it also has a VA panel with the added 'Ultra Wide Angle' technology, so its contrast ratio is lower than most VA panel TVs. Luckily, it has a full-array local dimming feature. Sadly, it has some uniformity issues and there's visible dirty screen effect in the center, but this could vary between units. On the upside, it also performs well in bright rooms as it gets bright enough to combat glare and it has outstanding reflection handling. HDR content looks great as it displays a great wide color gamut and it makes highlights pop. Overall, this the best Samsung TV for gaming that we've reviewed so far.
The best Samsung TV in the budget category we've tested so far is the Samsung TU8000. Although Samsung's budget models don't compete well with other budget-friendly TVs, it's still decent overall and should please most people looking for a simple model at a low price. It's also available in a wide range of sizes, from 43 inches to 85 inches, so you can get the one that suits your needs the most. It uses a VA panel with an outstanding contrast ratio, but its viewing angles aren't as good as other higher-end Samsung TVs because it doesn't have the 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer added to it.
It's a good gaming TV, especially if you're a console gamer because even though it's limited to a 60Hz refresh rate, it has a decent response time, a black frame insertion feature to improve the appearance of motion, and extremely low input lag. Unfortunately, its picture quality isn't the best because it doesn't get very bright, it has uniformity issues, and HDR content doesn't look good either as it doesn't display a wide color gamut. On the upside, it has an excellent design for a budget TV and it's fairly well-built. It comes with a limited version of Tizen OS, which has fewer features and reduced animation, but you still get a large selection of apps available to download. Overall, this is the best budget Samsung TV we've tested so far.
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.
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. Their performance remains comparable, though. If you'd like to compare specific TVs, take a look at our side by side comparison tool.
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 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 one of 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. 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 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 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'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 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. If you're interested in Samsung products, check also our recommendations for the best Samsung headphones and the best Samsung soundbars.