Samsung Q80/Q80R QLED TV Review

Updated May 16, 2019 at 11:07 am
Samsung Q80/Q80R QLED Picture
Usage Ratings - Version 1.3
8.7
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: LG B9 OLED
8.6
Movies
8.6
TV Shows
8.5
Sports
9.2
Video Games
8.5
HDR Movies
8.9
HDR Gaming
8.9
PC Monitor
Type LED
Sub-Type
VA
Resolution 4k

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.

Our Verdict

8.7 Mixed Usage

The Samsung Q80R is an excellent TV for mixed usage. It performs just as well in a dark room, for movies and HDR content, and in a bright room for sports or TV shows. It has a fast response time, a low input lag, and supports some advanced gaming features that will please gamers, no matter if you're gaming on a console or a PC.

See our Mixed Usage recommendations
8.6 Movies

The Q80R is an excellent TV for watching movies. It produces deep, uniform blacks that enhance the picture quality in a dark room. It can remove 24p judder from any source, and has an optional motion interpolation feature for soap opera effect fans, which also comes in handy if you wish to remove stutter in movies.

See our Movies recommendations
8.6 TV Shows

The Samsung Q80 is an excellent TV for watching TV shows. It has excellent reflection handling and can get very bright, so you can easily place it in any bright room without issue. The 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer keeps the image accurate for wider angles when watching from the side, so you can walk around doing house chores while watching your favorite TV show.

See our TV Shows recommendations
8.5 Sports

The Q80R is excellent for watching sports. It is a very bright TV with remarkable reflection handling, so you can place it in a bright room with many lights or windows and still enjoy a great picture. It has a very fast response time, so fast action looks crisp and the image remains accurate for wider viewing angles. This is great for watching the big game with a group of friends. Finally, the TV has decent great uniformity that won't spoil your sports watching experience.

See our Sports recommendations
9.2 Video Games

Outstanding TV for playing video games. The input lag is remarkably low and the TV responds almost immediately to your actions. The fast response time delivers crisp motion and the TV is packed with gaming goodies. It supports FreeSync for nearly tear-free gaming, low input lag with motion interpolation, and a convenient Auto Low Latency Mode.

See our Video Games recommendations
8.5 HDR Movies

The Q80R delivers an excellent HDR movie watching experience. The high contrast ratio, excellent black uniformity, and good local dimming support produce deep blacks in a dark room where HDR is meant to be seen. The wide color gamut and high HDR peak brightness deliver HDR content with rich and vivid colors and highlights that stand out.

See our HDR Movies recommendations
8.9 HDR Gaming

The Samsung Q80R is a remarkable TV for playing HDR games. It has a very low input lag in HDR and responds immediately to your actions. HDR games are displayed remarkably well, full of vivid colors and bright highlights, thanks to the wide color gamut and excellent HDR peak brightness.

See our HDR Gaming recommendations
8.9 PC Monitor

The Q80R is an excellent TV for use as a PC monitor. It has a very low input lag and it reacts instantly to your actions. The response time is very fast and thus only a small blur trail follows fast-moving content. It can display proper chroma 4:4:4 and has decent viewing angles that deliver a uniform image at the edges when you sit up close. As a VA panel, the Q80R appears to be immune to temporary image retention or permanent burn-in.

See our PC Monitor recommendations
  • 8.7 Mixed Usage
  • 8.6 Movies
  • 8.6 TV Shows
  • 8.5 Sports
  • 9.2 Video Games
  • 8.5 HDR Movies
  • 8.9 HDR Gaming
  • 8.9 PC Monitor
Pros
  • Very low input lag and great gaming features.
  • Excellent motion handling.
  • Very bright in both SDR and HDR.
Cons
  • Some gray uniformity issues at the edges.
  1. Update 8/2/2019: We retested the Q80R with the latest firmware. The SDR Peak Brightness, HDR Peak Brightness, and Input Lag measurements and scores have been updated, and it is no longer skipping frames in PC mode with a 120Hz signal.

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Video

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context

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.

Design
Design
Stand

The stand supports the TV well but won't prevent wobbling if you nudge the TV. It takes up a lot of space, but it's not as wide as the TV.

Footprint of the 55" stand: 34.8" x 10.0".

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 200x200

The back of the Q80R is nearly identical to the Q70R and the Q8FN. Cable management is serviced either through the hollow legs or through the ridges at the bottom of the TV when wall-mounted.

Unfortunately, the inputs are hard to reach when the TV is wall-mounted.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.39" (1.0 cm)

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.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 2.48" (6.3 cm)

The TV is just a bit thicker than last year's Q8FN. It is quite uniform and won't stick out much when wall-mounted. Unfortunately, there is no support for a no-gap wall mount like the one found on the Q90R.

Design
Temperature
Maximum Temperature
95 °F (35 °C)
Average Temperature
89 °F (32 °C)
8.5
Design
Build Quality

The build quality is excellent. The Samsung Q80 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.

Picture Quality
8.4
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
3681 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
5721 : 1

The Samsung Q80 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.

8.0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
Yes
Backlight
Full-Array

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.'

8.9
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
689 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
957 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
1005 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
930 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
691 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
559 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
933 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
950 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
900 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
690 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
557 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.031

Update 08/02/2019: We have retested the Q80 with the latest firmware, and the SDR peak brightness has increased a bit. We've updated our measurements and scores.

The TV has excellent peak brightness and it is suitable for a bright room as it will easily fight glare. The Samsung Q80 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.

8.8
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
875 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
966 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
1107 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
944 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
752 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
624 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
945 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
1078 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
936 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
752 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
621 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.029

Update 08/02/2019: We have retested the Q80R with the latest firmware, and the HDR peak brightness has increased a bit. We've updated our measurements and scores.

Excellent HDR peak brightness, better than last year's Q8FN, but not as good as the Sony X950G or the Q90R. The Q80R displays HDR content with highlights that pop.

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.

7.3
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
4.943 %
50% DSE
0.182 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.459 %
5% DSE
0.083 %

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.

7.0
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Washout
34 °
Color Shift
40 °
Brightness Loss
41 °
Black Level Raise
70 °
Gamma Shift
23 °

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.

8.7
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
0.650 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
0.915 %

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.

9.0
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Glossy
Total Reflections
1.2 %
Indirect Reflections
1.0 %

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.

7.8
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
White Balance dE
3.40
Color dE
2.17
Gamma
2.25
Color Temperature
6182 K
Picture Mode
Movie
Color Temp Setting
Warm 2
Gamma Setting
2.2

The accuracy of the Samsung Q80 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.

9.6
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
White Balance dE
0.31
Color dE
1.01
Gamma
2.21
Color Temperature
6470 K
White Balance Calibration
20 point
Color Calibration
Yes
Auto-Calibration Function
No

10/31/2019: Unfortunately, it would appear that the Q80R is not compatible with the Auto-Calibration Function.

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.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

Older, 480p digital content looks good, with no obvious upscaling artifacts or oversharpening.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

720p, like cable TV, is upscaled well. There is no obvious over-softening or upscaling artifacts.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

Upscaling of 1080p content such as Blu-rays or game consoles looks good. The image is sharp and there are no obvious issues.

10
Picture Quality
4k Input

Native 4k content is displayed perfectly and looks great.

8.2
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
89.95 %
DCI P3 uv
94.02 %
Rec 2020 xy
67.44 %
Rec 2020 uv
75.72 %

The Samsung Q80 can display a wide color gamut, but it isn't as good as last year's Q8FN and only a little better than the Q70R.

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.

If you find HDR too dim, check out our recommendations here. With these settings, the Q80R is noticeably brighter in HDR, as shown in this EOTF.

7.6
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
85.0 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
50.2 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
66.5 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
39.2 %

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.

7.9
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
0.103 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
0.131 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
0.093 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
0.125 dE

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.

10
Picture Quality
Temporary Image Retention
IR after 0 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 2 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 4 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 6 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 8 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 10 min recovery
0.00 %

There is no temporary image retention on the Samsung Q80R.

10
Picture Quality
Permanent Burn-In Risk
Permanent Burn-In Risk
No

We don't expect VA panels to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.

Picture Quality
Pixels

Unfortunately the TV's 'Ultra Viewing Angle' optical layer makes the pixels hard to see clearly. We had the same issue on the Q90R pixel photo. You can also compare this photo to the photo of the 'X-Wide Angle' layer of the Sony Z9F.

Motion
9.1
Motion
Response Time
80% Response Time
4.0 ms
100% Response Time
11.8 ms

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.

9.9
Motion
Flicker-Free
Flicker-Free
No
PWM Dimming Frequency
960 Hz

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.

10
Motion
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Optional BFI
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps
60 Hz
60 Hz for 60 fps
Yes
120 Hz for 120 fps
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps in Game Mode
60 Hz

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.

10
Motion
Motion Interpolation
Motion Interpolation (30 fps)
Yes
Motion Interpolation (60 fps)
Yes

The Samsung Q80 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.

7.1
Motion
Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
29.9 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
4.9 ms

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.

10
Motion
24p Judder
Judder-Free 24p
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60p
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60i
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via Native Apps
Yes

The Samsung Q80R can remove judder from any source.

See our recommended settings on how to remove judder here.

8.2
Motion
Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
120 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
FreeSync and HDMI Forum VRR
G-SYNC Compatible
Yes
4k VRR Maximum
60 Hz
4k VRR Minimum
48 Hz
1080p VRR Maximum
120 Hz
1080p VRR Minimum
< 20 Hz
1440p VRR Maximum
120 Hz
1440p VRR Minimum
< 20 Hz
VRR Supported Connectors
HDMI

Update 11/28/2019: Although not officially supported by NVIDIA, the Q80R works with NVIDIA's new G-SYNC compatible mode when connected to a recent NVIDIA graphics card. Unlike officially supported TVs, like the LG C9, this must be manually enabled from the NVIDIA Control Center.

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.

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.

Inputs
9.6
Inputs
Input Lag
1080p @ 60 Hz
15.1 ms
1080p @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
70.1 ms
1440p @ 60 Hz
15.0 ms
4k @ 60 Hz
14.7 ms
4k @ 60 Hz + 10 bit HDR
14.7 ms
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
14.9 ms
4k @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
54.4 ms
4k @ 60 Hz With Interpolation
21.6 ms
8k @ 60 Hz
N/A
1080p @ 120 Hz
6.2 ms
1440p @ 120 Hz
6.3 ms
4k @ 120 Hz
N/A
1080p with Variable Refresh Rate
6.1 ms
1440p with VRR
6.4 ms
4k with VRR
14.5 ms
8k with VRR
N/A
Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)
Yes

Update 08/02/2019: We've retested the TV with the latest firmware, and the input lag has decreased slightly across the board. The TV is no longer skipping frames when sent a 1080p or 1440p @ 120Hz signal. We've updated our numbers and scores.

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 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.

9.6
Inputs
Supported Resolutions
1080p @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
1080p @ 120 Hz
Yes (native support)
1440p @ 60 Hz
Yes (native support)
1440p @ 120 Hz
Yes (native support)
4k @ 60 Hz
Yes
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
4k @ 120 Hz
No
8k @ 30 Hz or 24 Hz
No
8k @ 60 Hz
No

Update 08/02/2019: We've retested the TV with the latest firmware, and it is now able to display 1080p and 1440p @ 120Hz without skipping frames in PC mode.

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.

Inputs
Input Photos