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'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 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".
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 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.
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 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.
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.'
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Older, 480p digital content looks good, with no obvious upscaling artifacts or oversharpening.
720p, like cable TV, is upscaled well. There is no obvious over-softening or upscaling artifacts.
Upscaling of 1080p content such as Blu-rays or game consoles looks good. The image is sharp and there are no obvious issues.
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 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.
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.
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.'
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 sound quality of the Samsung Q80 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 (see our recommendations for the best soundbars).