The Samsung Q80R is an excellent 4k LED TV with impressive picture quality. It delivers deep blacks thanks to the high native contrast ratio, excellent black uniformity, and very good local dimming support. The Q80R is a very bright TV with a wide color gamut that delivers HDR content with rich colors and highlights that pop. It has decent viewing angles, despite being a VA panel TV, thanks to the 'Ultra Viewing Angle' technology. The TV has remarkable motion handling and produces crisp motion with minimal blur. It has a very low input lag and supports FreeSync for more consistent motion during gaming.
The Samsung Q80R is a high-end TV, above last year's popular Q8FN. It sits between the Samsung Q90R and the Samsung Q70R in Samsung's 2019 lineup. We expect the Q80R's chief competitors this year to be the Sony Z9F, the LG SM9500, and the Vizio P Series Quantum 2019.
The Samsung Q80R's design is excellent. Its body is very similar to the Q70R, except for the metallic borders and the stand, which are different. The stand provides good support for the TV and the back of the legs are hollow to provide a path for cable management. However, the Q80R wobbles significantly more than the Q70R when nudged. The Q80R is a very thin TV and it will not stick out much if you decide to wall-mount it. Unfortunately, it's not compatible with a no-gap wall mount to put it flush to the wall. The build quality is excellent, and you should have no issues with it.
The borders of the TV look nice and the bezel is very thin. The borders are made of metal and have a slightly lighter tint than the Q70R.
The build quality is excellent. The Q80R is a robust TV that feels sturdy and solid, although it wobbles more than the Q70R. Overall, you should have no issues with this TV.
The Q80R has an impressive picture quality. It can display deep uniform blacks that enhance dark room performance due to the high native contrast ratio and good local dimming support. The TV has excellent brightness both in SDR and in HDR. It has a wide color gamut and can display HDR content with vivid colors and bright highlights. The Q80R has very good gradient performance, and although it has a VA panel, the image remains accurate at an angle thanks to the new 'Ultra Viewing Angle' technology. Finally, the gray uniformity issues are localized at the sides of the screen and won't bother sports fans.
The Q80R has a great native contrast ratio. It is, however, lower than most TVs with VA panels. This is because of the TV's 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer that improves the viewing angles at the expense of contrast ratio. This is very similar to the Samsung Q90R and the Q900R. The native contrast ratio of the Q80R measures slightly better than other TVs we've tested that support similar viewing angle boosting technology.
Unfortunately, just like the Q70R and the Q90R, the TV's local dimming can't be completely disabled in the normal settings menu. In order to measure the native contrast ratio, we had to disable PC Mode Dimming in the TV's service menu, and then activate PC Mode and Game Mode at the same time.
The TV has a good local dimming performance. It has better performance than the Q70R and is very similar to the Q9FN. The Q80R doesn't dim small objects much. When a bright object moves across the screen, the transition from one dimming zone to the next is done smoothly without delay. It has a little more blooming than the Q9FN, but this is more noticeable at an angle and less noticeable if you sit straight in front.
Just like with all Samsung TVs that have local dimming, when subtitles appear you might notice distracting brightness changes in the scene.
Unfortunately, you can't disable local dimming through the regular TV menus.
We ran our local dimming tests with Local Dimming set to 'High.'
The TV has excellent peak brightness and it is suitable for a bright room as it will easily fight glare. The Q80R is not as bright as the Q90R, but it is a little brighter than last year's Q8FN in real scenes and in the larger window sizes. The Q8FN is brighter in smaller highlights.
We measured the peak brightness after calibration, using the 'Movie' Picture Mode and 'Warm 2' Color Tone, with Local Dimming set to 'High' and Gamma set to '2.2'. We use these settings because they give the most accurate image, and this is the maximum brightness that you can get with these settings.
If you do not care about image accuracy, you can obtain higher brightness levels. We were able to reach about 1250 nits on our 10% window, which lasted for at least 10 seconds before the ABL dimmed the image.
We measured the peak brightness before calibration, using the 'Movie' Picture Mode and 'Warm 2' Color Tone, with Local Dimming set to 'High.' We use these settings because they give the most accurate image and this is the maximum brightness that you can get with these settings.
If you do not care about image accuracy, you can obtain higher brightness levels. We were able to momentarily reach a brightness of about 1650 nits on the 10% window before the ABL dimmed the image.
Decent gray uniformity on the Q80R. The edges and the corners of the screen are a little darker, and a little dirty screen effect can be noticed in the center of the screen. This is nothing too serious, so it's unlikely to disappoint sports fans.
In darker scenes, the uniformity is very good and it's unlikely that anyone will notice any issues.
The TV has decent viewing angles. The image remains accurate at wide angles as you move off-center. This is a behavior that is mostly found on IPS panels, and not usually on VA panels like the Q80R. The Q80R, just like the Q90R, has the new 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer that improves viewing angles at the expense of native contrast ratio. The 'Ultra Viewing Angle' technology appears to work similarly to the 'X-Wide Angle' technology found on the Sony Z9F.
We took our color measurements after calibration, using the 'Movie' Picture Mode and Local Dimming set to 'Low.' Unfortunately, the TV's local dimming can't be completely disabled using the normal settings menu. In order to take our lightness measurements, we disabled PC Mode Dimming in the TV's service menu, and then activated PC Mode and Game Mode at the same time.
We observed some weird diagonal stripes that are visible when you look at the screen from up close and from the left. This isn't noticeable from farther away. We assume that this is due to the optical layer, but it isn't noticeable on our other TVs (the Q90R, the Q900R, or the Z9F) that use this technology. This is the first 55 inch TV that we've tested that uses this optical layer, so we are not sure if the layer in this size of TV has anything to do with the stripes we noticed.
The Q80R has excellent black uniformity. It's very hard to spot any backlight bleed in our overexposed native black uniformity image, and even harder to notice in normal content. The black uniformity with local dimming remains good, although a little blooming is noticeable around the test cross. This is an improvement over last year's Q8FN and is in the same ballpark as this year's Q90R.
Unfortunately, just like the Q90R, the TV's local dimming can't be completely disabled using the normal settings menu. In order to measure the native black uniformity, we had to disable PC Mode Dimming in the TV's service menu, and then activate PC Mode and Game Mode at the same time, which allowed us to turn local dimming off.
The TV has excellent reflection handling, better than the Q70R but not as good as last year's Q8FN. You can easily place this TV in a bright room with a lot of windows and not worry about distracting reflections.
The glossy finish diminishes reflections significantly, but the 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer has the downside of scattering light across the screen. This produces rainbow reflections across the screen. We have seen this before on other TVs that use this technology, like the Q90R or the Sony Z9F. It's not noticeable in normal use.
The accuracy of the Q80R with our pre-calibration settings is good. Shades of gray are a little inaccurate and some people might notice this. Colors are more accurate, but most enthusiasts will be able to spot the errors in the cyan and light blue. Overall, the gamma follows the curve well, although most scenes are slightly darker than they should be. The color temperature is warm and the image has a reddish-yellow tint.
Excellent accuracy after calibration for the Q80R. The white balance dE is almost perfect, and the color dE is so low that most will only spot the remaining inaccuracies with the aid of a colorimeter. The gamma tracks the curve well, and the color temperature is very close to the target of 6500K.
You can see our recommended settings here.
The 'Movie' EOTF (shown above) is a little brighter at higher stimulus levels until it starts to roll off near the TV's peak brightness. In 'Game' mode, the EOTF is very similar to the 'Movie' mode as we can see here.
The color volume is good, but not as good as last year's Q8FN. The coverage of the DCI P3 color space is excellent, but the coverage of the wider Rec 2020 color space is just decent. Like most LED TVs, the Q80R can't produce very bright blues, but otherwise, it can produce bright and dark colors across most of its gamut.
The gradient of the Q80R is good. Some fine banding is noticeable in all dark shades, especially in the dark greens and grays. It is, however, hard to notice in normal content. If banding is bothering you, set Digital Clean View to 'Auto' and it will remove most of it. Unfortunately, it can also cause some loss of some fine details in certain scenes.
There is no temporary image retention on the Samsung Q80R.
We don't expect VA panels to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.
The motion handling of the Q80R is excellent. It has a very fast response time and produces very crisp motion which, unfortunately, due to the lack of motion blur appears to have some stutter in movies. The flicker frequency of the TVs PWM dimming is very high at 960Hz, but only when in 'Movie' mode, and without any image processing enabled. All other times the flicker frequency drops to 120Hz or down to 60Hz if you enable the optional Black Frame Insertion. The TV can interpolate content up to 120 fps, can remove 24p judder from any source, and supports FreeSync just like all premium Samsung models since 2018.
The TV has a very fast response time, just a bit faster than last year's Q8FN. This leaves only a very small blur trail behind fast-moving objects. The only transition with a little overshoot is the 0-20% transition, which corresponds to very dark shades.
In order to get a consistent reading, we had to turn off Local Dimming through the service menu as described here. This does not affect the measurement of the response time as the backlight doesn't play a role in determining this.
The Q80R uses PWM dimming to dim the backlight. The flicker frequency is at 960Hz only when the TV is in 'Movie' mode and Auto Motion Plus is disabled. The flicker frequency changes to 120Hz as soon as you set Auto Motion Plus to 'Custom' or 'Auto,' even if you remain in 'Movie' mode. In 'Standard,' 'Dynamic,' 'PC,' 'Game,' or in 'Natural' modes the flicker is always at 120Hz, similar to the Q70R and the Q90R.
The TV has an excellent black frame insertion feature. It can lower the flicker frequency as low as 60Hz to help make the image crisper. This decreases the picture brightness, and 60Hz flicker can be bothersome to some people.
Just enabling Auto Motion Plus automatically sets the flicker to 120Hz. Setting LED Clear Motion to 'On' further reduces the flicker frequency to 60Hz.
When you are in 'Game' mode, the flicker frequency is always 120Hz. If you enable LED Clear Motion in Game Motion Plus, it will change the flicker frequency to 60Hz and will make the image even crisper.
The Samsung Q80R can interpolate lower frame rate content up to 120fps. To enable motion interpolation, you must enable Auto Motion Plus and adjust the available sliders.
See here for more information regarding the settings that control the Q80R's motion interpolation feature.
Note that, like many Samsung TVs, simply setting Auto Motion Plus to 'Custom' changes the backlight flicker to 120Hz.
Due to the Q80R's very fast response time, each frame of any low frame rate content, like movies, is held on screen for longer periods of time. This causes the image to appear to stutter. If it bothers you, motion interpolation or optional black frame insertion feature can help.
The Samsung Q80R can remove judder from any source.
See our recommended settings on how to remove judder here.
The TV has a native refresh rate of 120Hz, and like all premium Samsung TVs since 2018 it supports the FreeSync variable refresh rate technology. FreeSync VRR can offer you a nearly tear-free gaming experience, provided you have a compatible AMD card or an Xbox One. 1440p and 1080p have the same excellent VRR range. At 4k, however, the range is narrower at 4k, as the TV only supports up to 4k @ 60Hz.
Unfortunately, NVIDIA's current Adaptive Sync drivers are not currently compatible with this TV, as FreeSync from NVIDIA graphics cards will only work over DisplayPort at the moment, and the Q80R lacks such a port.
We tested the TV on 'Game' mode, without interpolation or any other gaming processing setting, and we set FreeSync to 'Ultimate' to obtain the widest possible range.
If FreeSync is enabled on a connected device, auto game mode doesn't work at all; it will always stay in game mode.
The input lag of the Q80R is remarkably low in almost all of the supported modes. The TV supports the most common resolutions and refresh rates and can display proper chroma 4:4:4 as long as you enable 'PC mode.' It has a good selection of inputs, but doesn't support eARC or DTS passthrough just like the rest of the 2019 QLEDs.
The Q80R has an excellent low input lag. The input lag is very similar to the input lag of both the Q90R and the Q70R, and lower than last year's Q8FN. This is great news for gamers. To get the lowest input lag, you need to set the TV to 'Game Mode.' However, when in 'PC Mode,' you get the same low input lag without the need to set the TV to 'Game' mode. To display proper chroma 4:4:4 you must set the TV to 'PC mode.'
Note: When the TV was set to 'PC mode' or 'Game Mode' and we sent a 120Hz signal, the TV skipped every second frame, just like the Q70R. So in order to measure the input lag of a proper 120Hz video, like in the case of the 1080p @ 120Hz and the 1440p @ 120Hz, we set the TV to 'Movie' mode. However, when a true VRR 120Hz signal was sent in fullscreen exclusive mode, there was no frame skipping and the video displayed properly, so we measured the VRR input lag using 'Game Mode' as normal.
When motion interpolation is enabled in 'Game Mode' through the Game Motion Plus menu, the input lag is 37.7ms when you interpolate to 60fps and 43.3ms for 120fps.
To find out more about what settings to use to obtain those numbers, and about the Auto Low Latency Mode, see our recommended settings for Gaming.
The Q80R, just like the Q70R and the Q90R, supports most common resolutions. You must set the TV to 'PC Mode' to display proper chroma 4:4:4. Unfortunately, the TV, just like other 2019 Samsungs, skips frames when sent 120Hz in 'PC Mode' or 'Game Mode,' so you cannot have proper 120Hz and proper 4:4:4 simultaneously.
The sound quality of the Samsung Q80R is decent. The TV can get loud enough for most environments. It has decent punch and body to its bass and will deliver well-balanced, clear, and intelligible dialog. However, the TV won't be able to produce any thump or rumble in the sub-bass region. For a better sound, a dedicated sound system is recommended.
The frequency response is decent. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at about 67Hz, which is okay. This means that the TV has a decent amount of punch and body to its bass but won't produce any thump or rumble. The response above the TV's LFE is well-balanced, resulting in clear dialog. The TV can get reasonably loud, but maybe not loud enough for crowded environments.
We tested the Q80R with the Adaptive Sound feature enabled, but left Adaptive Volume disabled, as it drastically limited the max volume. This feature could be useful if you find that commercials play at a higher volume than the content you are watching.
Decent distortion performance. The overall amount of harmonic distortion produced is within low limits. Also, there is not a big jump in THD under heavier loads either, which is good.
The Samsung Q80R has very good smart features. It runs the latest version of Samsung's Tizen smart interface which is very simple and easy to use. At the Samsung app store, you can find one of the widest collections of smart apps and you can be sure that you will find what you need. The remote control is the same as the one found in all North American QLEDs and integrates well with Bixby, Samsung's smart voice assistant. Unfortunately, the TV has ads and the Samsung SmartThings remote app has not evolved since the last version. The TV has a nice ambient mode that many people enjoy. When in this mode, the TV loops through various pieces of artwork, creating a nice ambiance.
Although we had no serious issues during our testing, we did encounter the same bug found on the 2019 QLEDs. When you switch the input icon from PC to any other input, the Fit-to-Screen setting doesn't always work. To fix this, you just have to navigate into picture size settings, but you don't need to change anything.
Just like all Samsung TVs we've tested so far, the Q80R has ads in a few places. They appear in both in the app store and on Samsung's Smart Hub and can't be disabled.
Samsung's app store has a very large selection of apps to choose from. The apps on the Samsung Q80R run well, although they are not always very smooth.
The remote control is identical to the Q60R, the Q70R, and the North American Q90R. It has three new quick access buttons for Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. It does not require line-of-sight and it integrates well with Bixby (Samsung's voice assistant). You can control most of the TV functions with your voice, including launching apps and changing settings. You can even ask the TV to answer basic questions, for example, 'How's the weather in Montreal?'. Unfortunately, it's not clear which apps support voice search. 'Search Netflix for Marco Polo' did not work, but we were able to search within YouTube.
The remote can also act as a universal remote for other devices, even if they don't support HDMI CEC, using Samsung's One Remote feature.
The Samsung SmartThings app is very basic. It can connect to a lot of Samsung smart devices, but unfortunately, it has limited features when used with a TV. Also, it has a long delay and hangs quite often.
Just like the Q70R and the Q90R, the TV controls are located right under the Samsung logo. The keypad has five buttons that serve as a D-pad and allows you to do pretty much anything. You can open the input list, change channels and volume, access the settings, and even launch the Home menu.
If you need to launch the Home menu while you are in an app, press and hold the center button. To close the Home menu, do the same; press and hold the center button.
We tested the 55" (QN55Q80RA) version, AA01/QRQ80. For the most part, we expect our review to be valid for the 65" version (QN65Q80RA) and the 75" version (QN75Q80RA).
There is also an EU only variant of the TV, the Q85R. The Q85R is advertised as having more local dimming zones and comes along with a One Connect box, but otherwise seems identical to the Q80R. We have not tested this unit so we can not be sure.
If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their Samsung Q80R doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we will update the review.
The 55" Q80R we tested was manufactured in Feb. 2019.
The Samsung Q90R and the Samsung Q80R have very similar performance. The Samsung Q90R has a slightly faster response time, which some enthusiasts might notice when watching sports. Also, the Q90R has more effective local dimming thanks to the greater number of local dimming zones than the Q80R. Although our Q90R test unit was a larger variant, we expect this to be true for the same size variants of the Q80R. All of the other differences are mainly in the design. The Q90R has a One Connect box, supports a no-gap wall mount, and its stand has a smaller footprint.
The Samsung Q80R is better than the Samsung Q70R. The Samsung Q80R can handle reflections slightly better and has a wider viewing angle thanks to the 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer. Its local dimming is better than the Q70R and significantly helps improve dark room performance. The Samsung Q70R, on the other hand, has a higher native contrast ratio and can deliver deeper and more uniform blacks, even though its local dimming is not as effective.
The Samsung Q80R is somewhat better than the Samsung Q8FN. The Samsung Q80R has wider viewing angles thanks to the 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer, so the image remains accurate when viewed from the side. The Samsung Q8FN, on the other hand, has better reflection handling, which is great if you place it in a room with many light sources. The Samsung Q80R has slightly better local dimming performance, which is great when you watch movies, and a slightly lower input lag, great for playing video games.
The Samsung Q80R is marginally better than the Vizio P Series Quantum. The Vizio has a faster response time, which produces crisper motion, and a higher native contrast ratio, which is great for movies. The Samsung Q80R has wider viewing angles thanks to the 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer and can remove 24p judder from any source.