The Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED is a good overall TV. It's a replacement in name to 2020's Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED but performs differently because it uses an ADS panel. This panel type performs similarly to IPS panels, so it has wide viewing angles and a low contrast ratio. Blacks look gray when viewed in the dark, and combined with its mediocre local dimming feature, it's not the best choice for dark room viewing or watching HDR content. Still, this TV is a great choice for use in well-lit environments as it easily gets bright enough to combat glare and has good reflection handling. It has many of the same gaming features found on most Samsung TVs, like HDMI 2.1 and FreeSync variable refresh rate (VRR) support, and a quick response time and low input lag for a responsive gaming experience.
The Samsung Q80A is good overall. Due to its ADS panel, it's great for watching TV shows or sports as it has wide viewing angles, and the image remains accurate when viewing from the side. It's also good for gaming thanks to its quick response time, low input lag, and extra features like VRR support. However, it's not the best for watching movies or HDR content because it has a low contrast ratio that makes blacks look gray. It has a full-array local dimming feature, but it doesn't perform well and causes blooming around bright objects.
The Samsung Q80A is decent for watching movies. With its ADS panel, it has a low contrast ratio. Its local dimming feature is also mediocre, so blacks look gray when viewed in the dark. Luckily, this TV has no issues displaying 1080p and 4k content, and it automatically removes 24p judder from any source.
The Samsung Q80A is great for watching TV shows. It has wide viewing angles, great if you tend to watch shows with the entire family. It easily gets bright enough to combat glare and has good reflection handling, so visibility shouldn't be an issue in well-lit rooms. It also upscales 720p content, like from cable boxes, without any problems. Unfortunately, our unit has some uniformity issues that may be distracting.
The Samsung Q80A is great for watching sports. It has excellent peak brightness and good reflection handling, so visibility shouldn't be a problem in a room with a few lights. You can easily watch the game with a few friends, thanks to its wide viewing angles. Motion looks smooth as it has a quick response time. However, you may be distracted by its dirty screen effect in the center, which can be noticeable in sports with large areas of uniform color, like in hockey, football, or basketball.
The Samsung Q80A is good for gaming. It has the gaming features most people are looking for, like VRR and HDMI 2.1 support. It also has a quick response time and low input lag for a responsive gaming experience. Sadly, it has a low contrast ratio, and its local dimming feature in 'Game Mode' is bad, so blacks look gray, and it's not the best choice for dark room gaming.
The Samsung Q80A is decent for watching HDR movies. It displays a wide color gamut and gets bright enough to make highlights stand out. Sadly, it has an ADS panel with a low contrast ratio that makes blacks look gray. It has a mediocre local dimming feature, and there's noticeable blooming around bright objects, so it isn't suggested for dark room viewing.
The Samsung Q80A is good for HDR gaming. It has good gaming performance thanks to its low input lag, quick response time, 120Hz panel, and VRR support. However, it's not the best for watching HDR content. Even though it has good HDR brightness and displays a wide color gamut, it can't display deep blacks due to its low contrast ratio and bad local dimming in Game Mode.
The Samsung Q80A is an excellent choice to use a PC monitor. It has wide viewing angles, so the image remains accurate if you're sitting up close. Thanks to its high peak brightness and good reflection handling, you can easily use it in a well-lit environment. It displays proper chroma 4:4:4, which is important for reading text, at any resolution except for 1440p. Sadly, our unit has some uniformity issues.
The Samsung Q80A is an upper-mid range TV in Samsung's 2021 lineup. It's the high-end model of their QLED lineup, and it sits behind the Samsung QN85A QLED, which is part of the new Neo QLED TVs. It replaces the Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED in name, but it uses a different panel type. We expect its main competitors to be the Sony X90J, LG NANO90 2021, and the Vizio P Series Quantum 2020.
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 made out of textured plastic, and there are tracks for cable management. Overall, it looks like a premium TV and should look good in any setup.
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 panel itself is thin, but it may stand out a bit when wall-mounted because the power plug sticks out, as you can see in this photo.
The Samsung Q80A's build quality is excellent. It wobbles a bit, but it's not too noticeable. It's mainly made out of plastic, but it still feels solid and there isn't any noticeable flex. It feels sturdy overall, and you shouldn't have any issues with it. Unfortunately, our unit 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, and your experience may be different.
The Samsung Q80A has a low contrast ratio, which is typical of ADS panels. This is a major decrease from the Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED, which uses a VA panel. However, the contrast with local dimming enabled is lower than expected because the local dimming seems to turn on all the zones in our checkerboard pattern, which results in this low contrast ratio and blacks that look gray. We expect real content to have higher contrast, but blacks may still look gray. The contrast with the checkerboard pattern is similar in other picture modes as it is in our recommended 'Movie' mode. However, with a full-white and full-black screen, we measured a contrast of 12,390:1. If you want a similar TV with a better native contrast ratio, check out the Sony X90J.
The Samsung Q80A has excellent SDR brightness, which is a nice improvement from the Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED. Although its brightness varies based on different content, it easily gets bright enough to combat glare.
We measured peak brightness after calibration in the 'Movie' Picture Mode with Local Dimming on 'High', Color Tone set to 'Warm2', 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 'Warm1'. We achieved 910 cd/m² in the 10% window.
The Samsung Q80A has a mediocre local dimming feature. It crushes blacks, causing a loss in details from bright objects. 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. The dimming zones are slow to turn off when there are fast-moving objects, but it also turns on zones prematurely, so overall, fast-moving objects don't look good. All things considered, it's typical for an IPS-like panel to have bad local dimming like this, which is a bit disappointing for a high-end model.
The local dimming in Game Mode is bad. It's similar to outside of Game Mode, except the entire screen seems to light up more, meaning blacks look 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 it loses 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 the way they should, 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.
We measured the HDR brightness before calibration in the 'Movie HDR' Picture Mode with Brightness and Contrast at max, Local Dimming set to 'High', Color Tone set to 'Warm2', and we disabled all other image processing options.
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, and it's a significant improvement over the Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED. It's a bit more dim than outside of Game Mode, and small highlights are significantly less brighter due to its frame dimming. EOTF does a better job at following the target PQ curve, except some bright scenes are still over-brightened.
We measured HDR brightness with Game Mode enabled, Brightness at its max, Local Dimming on 'High', Color Gamut set to 'Auto', Color Tone to 'Warm2', and Dynamic Black Equalizer to '2'. We also disabled Picture Clarity.
The Samsung Q80A has okay uniformity. The edges are visibly darker, and there's dirty screen effect in the center. Uniformity is much improved in near-dark scenes. Surprisingly, you can only see the dead pixels on an all-black screen, so we expect it's just an issue when displaying black. Keep in mind that uniformity may vary between units.
The Samsung Q80A has bad black uniformity, but this could vary between units. Without local dimming, the entire screen looks blue, there's backlight bleed along the edges, and noticeable clouding throughout. With local dimming, entire horizontal zones are lit up around the center cross, so the screen is actually less uniform.
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. We expect this to be an issue with our panel, and your experience may be different. We also noticed they're just visible with dark scenes. If you see the same thing on your panel, let us know.
This TV has wide viewing angles, which is expected from an ADS panel. It looks very similar to the Samsung QN85A QLED. Although you may notice the screen is darker when viewing at an angle, the image remains accurate, and it's suggested for wide seating arrangements.
The Samsung Q80A has good reflection handling. Unlike other high-end Samsung TVs, it has a semi-gloss finish. This results in more reflected light; it should be 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 still may be 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 shouldn't be 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 our 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 could render 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.
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, and not everyone may notice it. Setting Noise Reduction to 'Auto' does a good job at removing any banding, but that comes at the cost of losing details.
There are no signs of temporary image retention, but this may vary between units.
Although some IPS-like panels can suffer from temporary image retention, this doesn't appear to be permanent as seen in our long-term test.
The Samsung Q80A has a great response time. For the most part, motion looks smooth, but you may notice some motion blur in dark transitions due to overshoot. This is very similar to the Samsung QN85A QLED.
The backlight of this TV flickers at such a high frequency of 960Hz that you shouldn'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 should also flicker at 120Hz with Game Mode enabled, but it still flickers at 960Hz on this TV. We believe this is a bug that may be fixed in a firmware update, and it flickers at 120Hz with Game Motion Plus enabled.
The Samsung Q80A has a Black Frame Insertion feature to try to reduce motion blur. It flickers at 120Hz with Picture Clarity enabled and 'Judder Reduction' and 'Blur Reduction' both set to '0'. You can make it flicker at 60Hz by enabling LED Clear Motion.
The settings for BFI in Game Mode are a bit more complicated. Normally on Samsung TVs, the backlight should flicker at 120Hz with Game Mode enabled, but it doesn't do that with this TV; we believe it's a bug that should get fixed with a firmware update. Instead, it only flickers at 120Hz with Game Motion Plus enabled, but that's the motion interpolation feature, and not everyone may like it. The BFI still flickers at 60Hz in Game Mode by enabling LED Clear Motion. 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 could be distracting.
See here for the settings that control the motion interpolation feature.
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 Game Mode is enabled, and there aren't any issues with it. It isn't officially listed to support G-SYNC, and we confirmed it doesn't work as there's constant tearing. If you need something with G-SYNC compatibility, then look into the LG NANO90 2021.
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 should still be 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. We don't know if this is an issue with the TV's firmware or with our testing, and we're looking into it. 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. If you want it to display chroma 4:4:4, use HDMI 4, which supports HDMI 2.1, and label the input as 'PC'. For full-bandwidth signals, enable Input Signal Plus.
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. You simply need to enable Game Mode and set Anynet+ (HDMI-CEC) to 'Auto' for it to work.
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. This may be disappointing if you need to connect more than one HDMI 2.1 device, but luckily, HDMI 3 still supports eARC, so you can connect your console and receiver to different inputs.
The Samsung Q80A supports Dolby audio formats, including Dolby Atmos via TrueHD through eARC. For it to work, enable HDMI-eARC Mode and set Digital Output Audio to 'Pass-Through'.
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 we've recently tested, but it doesn't deliver the true rumbling sound a dedicated subwoofer would. There's also a digital room correction feature, but we don't test for it.
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 may hear it.
The updated 2021 Tizen OS interface is easy-to-use and feels smoother than previous versions. We didn't experience 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 (QN55Q80A) variant, and for the most part, we expect our review to be valid for the 65 inch (QN65Q80A) and the 75 inch (QN75Q80A) models in North America. The 50 inch and 85 inch variants are expected to have VA panels; if you have these models, let us know how they perform. The Samsung Q8 Series is sold at Costco, but only the 55 and 85 inch models are available. In Canada, there's also the Samsung Q82A, which we expect to perform similarly, but it's advertised to have better speakers. The Q80 is also available in Europe, but we don't know for sure how it performs compared to the North American model because Samsung's European lineup is slightly different, but we expect it to perform similarly. If you're in Europe and have this TV, let us know how it performs.
If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their Samsung Q80A doesn't correspond to our 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. 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 options with better dark room performance, such as the Sony X900H or Hisense H9G. See our recommendations for the best Samsung TVs, best 4k TVs, and best TVs for watching sports.
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 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 supports VRR, whereas the Sony's advertised VRR hasn't been implemented yet.
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 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 allows it to 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 more gaming features like VRR support, but that may come in a future firmware update for the Sony.
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 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 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.