The Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED is a mid-range LED TV. It replaces the popular Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED from 2020. However, it's not one of Samsung's best-performing TVs anymore because it sits below the Neo QLED models in their 2021 lineup. It's also different from past Samsung TVs because it uses an IPS-like panel that has wide viewing angles, which comes at the cost of a low contrast ratio. It has a local dimming feature to improve the dark room performance, but it performs terribly, and it's not a good choice for use in dark rooms. It comes with Tizen OS as its built-in smart platform, which is easy to use and has a bunch of apps available to download. It also has many gaming features that Samsung is known for, like HDMI 2.1 bandwidth, variable refresh rate (VRR) support, and a 120Hz panel.
The Samsung Q80A is a good TV for most uses. It's great for watching TV shows and sports because it has wide viewing angles, great for wide seating areas. It also gets bright enough to fight glare in a well-lit room. It's good for SDR or HDR gaming as it has variable refresh rate (VRR) support and HDMI 2.1 bandwidth for high-frame-rate gaming. However, it doesn't perform well in dark rooms because of its low contrast ratio and mediocre local dimming. It's also only decent for watching movies, and the local dimming causes blooming around bright objects.
The Samsung Q80A is decent for watching movies. It doesn't have any issues upscaling lower-resolution content, and it removes 24p judder from any source, which helps with the appearance of motion in movies. Sadly, though, it has an IPS-like panel with a low contrast ratio, and its local dimming feature is mediocre, so blacks look gray in the dark with blooming around bright objects.
The Samsung Q80A is great for watching TV shows. You won't have any issues watching shows in bright rooms because it has good reflection handling, and it gets bright enough to fight glare. It also has wide viewing angles if you want to watch content with the entire family in a wide seating arrangement. Lastly, it doesn't have any problem upscaling low-resolution content from SD and HD channels.
The Samsung Q80A is great for watching sports. Fast-moving objects in sports look smooth thanks to the quick response time. It has wide viewing angles if you want to use it in a wide seating area as everyone will see an accurate image, and it gets bright enough to fight glare if you have a few lights around. Sadly, our unit has some uniformity issues that get distracting in sports with large areas of bright colors, like hockey or basketball.
The Samsung Q80A is good for playing video games. It has many gaming-friendly features as you can play 4k games up to 120 fps from the PS5 and Xbox Series X thanks to the HDMI 2.1 bandwidth. It also has a quick response time for smooth motion, low input lag, and VRR support to reduce screen tearing. Sadly, it's not a good choice for dark room gaming as its IPS-like panel has a low contrast ratio, so blacks look gray.
The Samsung Q80A is decent for watching HDR movies, but it's not ideal. It displays a wide color gamut and has great HDR peak brightness, so highlights pop and colors are vivid. However, it has limited dark room performance as it has a low native contrast ratio, and the local dimming feature fails to improve the picture quality in dark scenes. There's also blooming around bright objects, which could get distracting.
The Samsung Q80A is good for HDR gaming, mainly thanks to its good gaming performance. It has gaming features like HDMI 2.1 bandwidth and VRR support, meaning you can take full advantage of the newest gaming consoles. Even though it displays a wide HDR color gamut and has great peak brightness, HDR content doesn't look the best in dark rooms. It has a mediocre contrast ratio, and the local dimming feature causes blooming around bright objects.
The Samsung Q80A is excellent to use as a PC monitor. It performs well in a bright room because it gets bright enough to fight glare and has good reflection handling. It also has wide viewing angles, so the image remains accurate at the edges if you sit close or need to use it in a meeting room with a wide seating area. Additionally, text looks sharp because it displays chroma 4:4:4 with most signals, which helps with text clarity.
The Samsung Q80A has a sleek yet simple design. It looks very similar to 2020's Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED with its center-mounted stand. The back panel is textured plastic, and there are tracks for cable management. Overall, it looks like a premium TV and will look good in most setups.
The square-based stand is typical of high-end Samsung TVs, and it supports the TV well.
Footprint of the 55 inch stand: 15.4" x 10.3".
The back of the Samsung Q80A looks like other Samsung models. It has textured plastic, and there are tracks for cable management. You can also remove the back of the stand to run cables through it. The inputs are side-facing, so they're easy to access with the TV wall-mounted.
The panel itself is thin, but because the power plug sticks out, you'll need spacers with your mounting bracket so you can mount it properly.
The Samsung Q80A's build quality is excellent. It wobbles a bit, but it's not too noticeable. It's mainly plastic, which still feels solid, and there isn't any noticeable flex. Unfortunately, the unit tested has three pixels that display purple during a dark scene (see Black Uniformity). We've seen other people online experience the same thing, but this is a quality control issue, so your experience will be different.
The Samsung Q80A has a low contrast ratio, which is typical of ADS panels, and it's not anywhere close to the contrast of VA panels. The contrast with local dimming enabled is lower than expected because the local dimming turns on all the zones in the checkerboard pattern, which results in this low contrast ratio. It displays deeper blacks in real content with large areas of dark colors, but if there are a lot of bright areas, like in the checkerboard, blacks won't be as deep. With a full-white and full-black screen, it has a contrast of 12,390:1. The native contrast varies a bit between individual units, but it won't be much higher for an IPS-like panel. Note that the 50 and 85 inch models have VA panels, meaning they have better contrast.
The Samsung Q80A has excellent SDR brightness. Although its brightness varies based on different content, it easily gets bright enough to combat glare.
These results are from after calibration in the 'Movie' Picture Mode with Local Dimming on 'High', Color Tone set to 'Warm 2', and Brightness at its max.
If you want an even brighter image and don't care about image accuracy, then set Contrast Enhancer to 'High' and Color Tone to 'Warm 1'. It reaches 910 cd/m² in the 10% window with these settings.
The Samsung Q80A has a mediocre local dimming feature. There are 50 medium-sized zones, and it crushes blacks, causing a loss of details in scenes with shadows, and small highlights don't pop, like in a starfield. There's also visible blooming around bright objects, and the screen doesn't look uniform as entire horizontal zones light up at times. There's noticeable blooming around subtitles, and it gets worse when viewed at an angle, which is distracting. The dimming zones are slow to turn off when there are fast-moving objects, but it also turns on zones prematurely, so overall, objects don't transition between zones well. Overall, its performance is disappointing compared to the Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED, and it doesn't improve the picture quality in dark scenes.
The local dimming in Game Mode is poor. It's similar to outside of Game Mode, except the entire screen seems to light up more, meaning blacks look even more gray. There's less blooming, but that's because entire zones light up when there's a bright object on the screen. Small highlights are actually over-brightened now, to the point where they lose details. Zone transitions are still visible, although it's better than outside of Game Mode.
The Samsung Q80A has great HDR brightness. Small highlights really stand out, but large areas are less bright due to the Automatic Brightness Limiter (ABL). The EOTF follows the target fairly well, but most scenes are brighter than they should be.
These HDR brightness results are from before calibration in the 'Movie HDR' Picture Mode with Brightness and Contrast at max, Local Dimming set to 'High', Color Tone set to 'Warm 2', and with all other image processing options disabled.
If you want to make HDR even brighter, set Contrast Enhancer to 'High' and ST.2084 to '+3'. This results in a noticeably brighter image, as you can see in this EOTF.
The HDR brightness in Game Mode is very good. It's a bit more dim than outside of Game Mode, and small highlights are significantly less brighter due to its local dimming. The EOTF does a better job at following the target PQ curve, except some bright scenes are still over-brightened.
This was measured with Game Mode enabled, Brightness at its max, Local Dimming on 'High', Color Gamut set to 'Auto', Color Tone to 'Warm 2', and Dynamic Black Equalizer to '2'. Picture Clarity was also left disabled.
The Samsung Q80A has okay uniformity. The edges are visibly darker, and there's dirty screen effect in the center. It can get distracting with large areas of bright colors, like while watching sports or using it as a PC monitor. Uniformity is much improved in near-dark scenes, but as mentioned in the Build Quality section, you can see the dead pixels on an all-black screen. However, it's just an issue when displaying black, as you don't see it with the 50% gray image. Uniformity varies between units, but it's unlikely it will be significantly better than this.
The Samsung Q80A has bad black uniformity. With local dimming disabled, the entire screen looks blue, there's backlight bleed along the edges, and there's noticeable clouding throughout. With local dimming enabled, entire horizontal zones are lit up around the center cross, meaning the screen is actually less uniform. This varies a bit between units, but not significantly.
You can visibly see the dead pixels in these photos. There are two below the center cross on the right side, and the other one, while less visible, is directly below the left arm of the cross. It's a quality control issue, so your experience will be different. If you notice the same thing, let us know.
This TV has wide viewing angles, which is normal from an ADS panel. Although you may notice the screen is darker when viewing at an angle, the image remains accurate, and it's good for wide seating arrangements. Note that the 50 and 85 inch models have VA panels, so they have worse viewing angles.
The Samsung Q80A has good reflection handling. Unlike other high-end Samsung TVs, it has a semi-gloss finish. It results in more reflected light; it's good enough for a room with a few light sources, but you shouldn't put it opposite a window with direct sunlight.
The out-of-the-box accuracy is unremarkable. White balance and most colors are inaccurate, but it's hard to notice for most people. Color temperature is on the cold side, resulting in a blue tint. Sadly, gamma does a bad job at following the target as most bright scenes are too bright.
After calibration, accuracy is incredible. Any remaining inaccuracies aren't noticeable to the naked eye. Color temperature is extremely close to the 6500K target, and gamma does a much better job at following the 2.2 target.
You can see the recommended settings here.
The Samsung Q80A displays native 4k content perfectly and without any issues.
This is a 4k TV that can't display an 8k signal. If you want an 8k TV, then check out the Samsung QN800A 8k QLED.
Like the Samsung QN85A QLED, this TV uses an Advanced Super Dimension Switch (ADS) panel. It's an IPS-type panel with many of the same characteristics, but it's technically different. It has an RGB subpixel layout, which is different from the BGR layout on most VA panels like the Samsung Q70/Q70A QLED. Although this doesn't affect picture quality, it renders text more clearly when using it as a PC monitor.
The Samsung Q80A has a very good color gamut. It has excellent coverage of the commonly-used DCI P3 color space, but it has more limited coverage of the wider Rec. 2020. This means it's not very future-proof as more content is produced in the Rec. 2020 color space instead of DCI P3 because Rec. 2020 can display a wider range of colors.
The color volume is decent. Due to its low contrast ratio, it can't display dark colors, but it displays bright colors well, thanks to its high peak brightness.
The gradient handling is great. There's a bit of banding, but it's limited to dark grays and greens, so not everyone will notice it in scenes with gradients, like sunsets. Setting Noise Reduction to 'Auto' does a good job at removing any banding, but that comes at the cost of losing details with high-quality content, but it smooths out gradients with low-quality content.
There are no signs of temporary image retention. This may vary between units, but it's rarely an issue on modern TVs.
Although some IPS-like panels can suffer from temporary image retention, this doesn't appear to be permanent as seen in the long-term test.
The Samsung Q80A has a great response time. For the most part, motion looks smooth, but there's some motion blur in dark transitions due to overshoot. This is very similar to the Samsung QN85A QLED.
The Samsung Q80A uses Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) to dim the backlight, but it flickers at such a high frequency of 960Hz in 'Movie' mode that most people won't notice it. However, it flickers at 120Hz in the 'Dynamic', 'Standard', 'Filmmaker', and 'Natural' Picture Modes. It also flickers at 120Hz with Picture Clarity set to 'Auto', and it can go down to 60Hz with LED Clear Motion enabled. Normally, it flickers at 120Hz with Game Mode enabled, but it still flickers at 960Hz on this TV. It's likely a bug that may be fixed in a firmware update, and it flickers at 120Hz with Game Motion Plus enabled.
The Samsung Q80A has an optional backlight strobing feature to try to reduce motion blur, known as black frame insertion. It flickers at 120Hz or 60Hz, depending on the setting you're using. Unfortunately, it creates image duplication that can get distracting. Keep in mind that the BFI score is based on its flickering abilities and not its actual performance.
There's a motion interpolation feature known as the 'Soap Opera Effect'. It doesn't look that good overall as there are artifacts in fast-moving scenes, which is distracting.
Due to the quick response time, lower-frame rate content can appear to stutter as each frame is held on longer. You can try enabling the motion interpolation feature if it bothers you.
The Samsung Q80A automatically removes judder from all sources, and there aren't any settings you need to enable.
The Samsung Q80A has native FreeSync support to reduce screen tearing. It automatically works with a compatible device when in Game Mode. However, the G-SYNC doesn't work as there's constant tearing, and if you need something with G-SYNC compatibility, then look into the LG NANO90 2021.
Note: The 50 inch model is limited to a 60Hz refresh rate, so it has a narrow VRR range, and you won't be able to play high-frame-rate games.
The Samsung Q80A's input lag is incredibly low. It stays low no matter the resolution and refresh rate you're gaming at, which is great. It increases with Game Motion Plus enabled, but it's still low enough for most people. If you're using the TV as a PC monitor and want the lowest input lag, simply enable Game Mode.
We couldn't properly measure the input lag with VRR enabled, which we experienced with other TVs, and we're looking into the issue. That said, we don't expect the input lag to significantly increase with VRR enabled.
The Samsung Q80A displays all common resolutions up to 4k @ 120Hz. If you're using it as a monitor, it displays chroma 4:4:4 at 1080p and 4k, but it can't with 1440p content. This helps it display clear and legible text while you're using it as a PC monitor. If you want it to display chroma 4:4:4, use HDMI 4, which supports HDMI 2.1 bandwidth, and label the input as 'PC'.
The Samsung Q80A doesn't have any issues displaying games from either the PS5 or Xbox Series X. It supports Auto Low Latency Mode, which means it automatically switches into Game Mode to provide the lowest input lag possible when a game from a compatible device is launched.
New to Samsung TVs in 2021 is a 'Game Bar' feature that lets you see useful information like the current frame rate and VRR status. You need to hold the Play/Pause button on your remote for a few seconds. You can see what it looks like here.
HDMI 4 is the only input that supports HDMI 2.1 bandwidth. This is disappointing if you need to connect more than one HDMI 2.1 device, but luckily, HDMI 3 still supports eARC, meaning you can connect your console and receiver to different inputs.
The Samsung Q80A supports Dolby audio formats, including Dolby Atmos via TrueHD through eARC, but you can't use it to pass DTS:X and DTS audio formats to a receiver. You'll need to ensure your content's audio is Dolby for the best sound experience possible.
The Samsung Q80A has a decent frequency response. It has a fairly well-balanced sound profile and gets pretty loud. It has better bass than some other TVs, but it doesn't deliver the true rumbling sound a dedicated subwoofer would.
The distortion performance is decent. The total harmonic distortion is a bit audible when playing at its max volume, but it depends on the content, and not everyone will hear it.
The updated 2021 Tizen OS interface is easy-to-use and feels smoother than previous versions. The TV didn't provide any bugs during testing.
Samsung's app store has a large number of streaming apps available, and they run smoothly.
Samsung's 2021 QLED models have a redesigned remote compared to the one from 2020. It has a different physical design with new brushed plastic, but the layout and quick-access buttons remain the same. It also doesn't require disposable batteries as you can either charge it through a USB-C cable, which isn't included, or with its solar panel on the back. The built-in voice control allows you to open apps, change inputs and settings, but you can't search for specific content in apps.
There's one button underneath the Samsung branding in the center to change volume, channels, source, and turn the TV On/Off.
We tested the 55 inch Samsung Q80A variant, and for the most part, the results are also valid for the 65 inch and the 75 inch models in North America. The 50 inch and 85 inch variants have VA panels, so they perform differently. The Costco version is known as the Q8BA and the Q8DA, depending on the size. There are similar models available outside the United States that aren't exactly like this one, and because Samsung's European lineup is slightly different, the results only apply to the North American Q80A.
|Size||Panel Type||US Model||Short Model Code||Refresh Rate|
If someone comes across a different type of panel or their Samsung Q80A doesn't correspond to the review, let us know, and we'll update the review. Note that some tests, like gray uniformity, may vary between units.
Our unit of the Q80A was manufactured in February 2021; you can see the label here.
The Samsung Q80A is a good overall TV, but it has some drawbacks. It's a step down from its predecessor, the Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED, since its ADS panel has a low contrast ratio, bad black uniformity, and mediocre local dimming. If you aren't going to take advantage of its gaming features, there are cheaper or similarly-priced options with better dark room performance, like the Sony X90J or Hisense U8G.
The Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED and the Samsung Q70/Q70A QLED are good TVs with different panel types. The Q80A has an ADS panel, which has much wider viewing angles. It also gets significantly brighter in HDR, so highlights stand out the way they should. However, the Q70A has a VA panel with a much better contrast ratio and improved black uniformity. Even though the Q80A has a full-array local dimming feature, which the Q70A doesn't have, the Q70A is better for dark room viewing due to its higher contrast.
The Sony X90J and the Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED are quite different because they don't use the same panel type. The Sony uses a VA panel with a much higher contrast ratio, making it better suited for dark rooms, and the Samsung uses an IPS-like panel with much wider viewing angles. They both have a full-array local dimming feature, but the Sony's performs better because it doesn't cause uniformity issues like the Samsung's. On the flip side, the Samsung has a wider color gamut and gets brighter overall. It also has lower input lag and it supports FreeSync, which the Sony doesn't.
The Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED replaces the Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED in name, but they use different panel types and have different strengths and weaknesses. The QN80A has an ADS panel that has wider viewing angles. It also gets much brighter, especially in HDR in Game Mode. On the other, the Q80T has a VA panel with a much better contrast ratio and better local dimming for an improved dark room experience. The Q80T also has much better reflection handling.
The Samsung QN85A QLED is better overall than the Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED. The QN85A sits higher up in the lineup and uses Mini LED as its backlighting, which the Q80A doesn't. Even though they each use the same ADS panel type, the QN85A is better for dark room viewing because it has a better local dimming feature that improves the contrast. The QN85A also gets much brighter, especially in HDR, and it has better reflection handling, so it's a better choice for use in a well-lit room.
The Sony X91J is a bit better overall than the Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED, but they use different panel types. The Sony is only available in an 85 inch size and has a VA panel, while the Samsung is available from 55 to 85 inches. The 55 inch model we tested has an IPS panel, but the 85 inch variant has a VA panel and performs differently. The VA panel on the Sony provides better contrast and the local dimming feature results in less blooming, but the IPS panel on the Samsung has wider viewing angles. The Samsung gets brighter and has better reflection handling, so it's a better choice for well-lit rooms.
The Samsung QN90A QLED is much better than the Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED. They use different panel types, so the VA panel on the QN90A has a higher contrast, and the Q80A has wider viewing angles thanks to its IPS panel, but the viewing angles are still decent on the QN90A. The QN90A uses Mini LED backlighting, providing a better local dimming feature and allowing it to get brighter, especially in HDR, so highlights pop more.
The LG C1 OLED is better overall than the Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED. The LG's OLED panel produces much deeper blacks because it has a near-infinite contrast, and there's no blooming around bright objects. The Samsung has an LED panel that gets much brighter, and it's immune to burn-in. Even though the Samsung has an IPS-like panel with wide viewing angles, the viewing angles are still better on the LG. They have the same gaming features with VRR support, but motion looks better on the LG due to the quick response time.
The Samsung Q90/Q90T QLED is better overall than the Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED, but they have different panel types. The Q90T has a VA panel with a much higher contrast ratio. It also delivers better HDR performance because it has improved local dimming and gets brighter in HDR to make highlights pop. They each have many of the same gaming features and performance, but the Q90T is G-SYNC compatible, which the Q80A isn't. On the other hand, the Q80A has an IPS-like panel with wider viewing angles.
The Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED is better overall than the LG NANO85 2021. They each have similar panel types, and the Samsung TV delivers better picture quality. It gets significantly brighter and has better reflection handling. Even though the dark room performance on either TV isn't good, the Samsung has a full-array local dimming feature, while the LG is edge-lit, so the local dimming is less distracting on the Samsung. They have the same gaming features, but the Samsung TV has lower input lag for a more responsive feel.
The Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED and the LG NANO90 2021 are good TVs with similar panel types. They each have IPS-like panels with wide viewing angles coming at the cost of low contrast. The Samsung is a better choice for use in well-lit rooms because it gets much brighter, but the LG has better reflection handling. They each have similar gaming features with a 120Hz panel and HDMI 2.1 support, but the LG works with G-SYNC, which the Samsung doesn't.
The Sony X900H is better than the Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED, mainly because they have different panels. The Sony's VA panel has a higher contrast ratio that lets it display deep blacks, and the local dimming feature is also better. However, the Samsung has an IPS-like panel with wider viewing angles. It also gets brighter, especially in HDR, and it has a few more gaming features like FreeSync support.
The Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED and the Samsung Q80/Q80B QLED are very similar overall, but there are a few differences. The Q80A gets brighter in HDR to deliver a more impactful HDR experience, but the Q80B performs better in dark rooms because there's less blooming around bright objects, although its local dimming feature is still mediocre. However, the local dimming in Game Mode is better on the Q80B than the Q80A. Also, the Q80B has HDMI 2.1 bandwidth on all four of its HDMI ports, as opposed to just one on the Q80A, meaning you can connect multiple HDMI 2.1 devices.
The Samsung QN85B QLED is much better than the Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED. The QN85B has a much better local dimming feature and a higher contrast ratio, so it looks better in a dark room, with more uniform blacks and less blooming around bright objects in darker scenes. The QN85B is also brighter, so bright highlights in HDR stand out better, and it can better overcome glare in bright rooms.
The Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED and the LG NANO90 2020 are good TVs with similar panel types. The Samsung has an ADS panel, while the LG has an IPS; they each behave similarly with wide viewing angles and a low contrast ratio. The Samsung gets significantly brighter, making it a better choice for well-lit rooms or watching HDR content. Each TV has a 120Hz panel with HDMI 2.1 support, a quick response time, and low input lag for gaming, so they're very similar overall.
The LG GX OLED is a much better TV than the Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED mainly because they have different panel types. The LG has an OLED panel that provides a near-infinite contrast ratio for perfect blacks. It also has wider viewing angles, and it's better for gaming because it has a near-instant response time. However, the Samsung gets much brighter, so it's a better choice for well-lit rooms, and it doesn't suffer from the risk of permanent burn-in like OLEDs do.