Samsung The Sero TV Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Reviewed Aug 27, 2020 at 08:18 am
Samsung The Sero Picture
7.0
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: Vizio M7 Series Quantum 2019
6.0
Movies
7.8
TV Shows
7.6
Sports
7.8
Video Games
5.9
HDR Movies
7.1
HDR Gaming
7.9
PC Monitor
Type LED
Sub-Type
IPS
Resolution 4k

The Samsung The Sero is a decent 4k TV with a unique feature that allows you to watch vertically-filmed content on a big screen. The rotating IPS screen has borders that make it look like a beautiful piece of art, and it's mounted on a stand that looks like a futuristic easel. It has decent reflection handling, and it gets bright enough to combat glare in well-lit rooms. However, it doesn't perform well in dark rooms due to its low contrast ratio and bad black uniformity. Its fast response time and low input lag make it a good option for gaming, but sadly, it has a 60Hz panel and doesn't support variable refresh rate (VRR). Also, it runs on a simplified version of Tizen OS that isn't well-optimized for portrait mode. On the bright side, it has excellent color accuracy and decent front-firing speakers. Overall, although this TV's novelty feature might not be to everyone's liking, it undoubtedly turns heads.

Our Verdict

7.0 Mixed Usage

The Samsung Sero is a decent TV for most uses. It has good visibility in bright rooms, decent viewing angles, and it upscales lower resolution content like cable TV and videos from social media sites well. It has a fast response time and low input lag, making it a good option for gaming and use as a PC monitor. Unfortunately, its low contrast ratio and bad black uniformity make it less ideal for watching movies. Also, it can't deliver a satisfying HDR experience due to its low HDR peak brightness and lack of local dimming.

Pros
  • Good SDR peak brightness.
  • Decent viewing angles.
  • Can rotate to portrait mode.
Cons
  • Mediocre contrast ratio.
  • Bad black uniformity.
6.0 Movies

The Samsung Sero is mediocre for watching movies. It upscales lower resolution movies well and can remove judder from all sources. However, its low contrast ratio and bad black uniformity make blacks look grayish in the dark, and it doesn't have a local dimming feature.

Pros
  • Can remove judder from all sources.
  • Doesn't stutter much in low frame rate content.
Cons
  • Mediocre contrast ratio.
  • No local dimming.
  • Bad black uniformity.
7.8 TV Shows

The Samsung Sero is good for watching TV shows. It gets bright enough to fight glare for watching daytime TV, and its IPS panel has decent viewing angles, so you can get good picture quality even when you're walking around. It upscales lower resolution content from cable TV well, and there's no risk of permanent burn-in if you leave it on the same news channel all day.

Pros
  • Good SDR peak brightness.
  • Decent viewing angles.
Cons
  • Doesn't handle direct reflections well.
7.6 Sports

The Samsung Sero is good for watching sports. It has a fast response time that results in minimal motion blur and a Black Frame Insertion Feature to further improve clarity. Visibility in bright rooms is good as it's able to overcome glare easily, and its decent viewing angles allow you to watch a big game with a group of people. Unfortunately, its backlight flicker causes image duplication in fast-moving scenes, which can be distracting for some.

Pros
  • Good SDR peak brightness.
  • Good response time.
  • Decent viewing angles.
Cons
  • Doesn't handle direct reflections well.
7.8 Video Games

The Samsung Sero is good for playing video games. It has exceptionally low input lag and fast response time; however, it lacks VRR support, and the refresh rate is limited to 60Hz. Also, it isn't well-suited for dark room gaming due to its low contrast ratio and bad black uniformity.

Pros
  • Low input lag.
  • Good response time.
Cons
  • Mediocre contrast ratio.
  • No VRR support.
5.9 HDR Movies

The Samsung Sero is sub-par for watching movies in HDR. Its IPS panel has a low contrast ratio and bad black uniformity, making it less ideal for dark room viewing. Also, even though it has an impressive color gamut, it lacks local dimming and can't get bright enough to make highlights pop.

Pros
  • Impressive HDR color gamut.
  • Can remove judder from all sources.
  • Doesn't stutter much in low frame rate content.
Cons
  • Mediocre contrast ratio.
  • No local dimming.
  • Mediocre HDR peak brightness.
  • Bad black uniformity.
7.1 HDR Gaming

The Samsung Sero is decent for gaming in HDR. It has a fast response time, and its input lag is extremely low even when playing in 4k @ 60Hz with 10-bit HDR. Sadly, its HDR performance is limited by a low contrast ratio, mediocre peak brightness, and lack of local dimming. Also, it doesn't have any VRR support.

Pros
  • Low input lag.
  • Good response time.
  • Impressive HDR color gamut.
Cons
  • Mediocre contrast ratio.
  • No local dimming.
  • No VRR support.
  • Mediocre HDR peak brightness.
7.9 PC Monitor

The Samsung Sero is a good TV for use as a PC monitor. It supports most common resolutions and can display proper chroma 4:4:4. It has low input lag, fast response time, and no risk of permanent burn-in with its IPS panel. Its portrait mode allows you to use it as a second screen to keep track of important information or for those who need more vertical space.

Pros
  • Low input lag.
  • Good response time.
  • Decent viewing angles.
Cons
  • Doesn't handle direct reflections well.
  • 7.0 Mixed Usage
  • 6.0 Movies
  • 7.8 TV Shows
  • 7.6 Sports
  • 7.8 Video Games
  • 5.9 HDR Movies
  • 7.1 HDR Gaming
  • 7.9 PC Monitor
  1. Update 9/28/2020: We've added a video of the TV rotating from portrait to landscape mode.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The Samsung The Sero is a TV from their LifeStyle TV lineup, which includes other TVs such as Samsung The Frame 2020, Samsung The Serif, and Samsung The Terrace. Due to its unique rotating feature, there's no direct competition from other manufacturers. Performance-wise, it's comparable to the LG NANO81 and the Sony X750H.

Design
9.0
Design
Style
Curved No

Update 09/28/2020: We've added a video of the TV rotating from portrait to landscape mode; you can see it here.

The Samsung Sero has an outstanding design. It has a 43 inch screen that can rotate to portrait mode to consume vertically-filmed content, like on social media sites. Like Samsung The Frame 2020, it has thicker borders that make the screen look like a piece of art, and it's mounted on an easel-like stand that supports the TV very well. The bottom portion of the stand is covered by a navy blue fabric, protecting the TV's front-firing speakers. There are wheels that you can purchase separately if you often need to move the TV around.

Design
Stand

The stand is a mix of metal and plastic. It supports the TV very well and doesn't wobble at all.

Footprint of the 43" stand: 22.1" x 11.9"

Design
Back
Wall Mount No Mount

The back of the TV is plain except for a fine texture that's etched into it. For cable management, there's a panel to hide the inputs, and cables are routed through a cutout at the bottom of the kickstand. Also, the front of the stand extends down far enough that you can hide your Blu-ray player or gaming console behind it.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.63" (1.6 cm)

The borders on the Samsung Sero are thicker than other high-end Samsung TVs and are closer in design to Samsung The Frame 2020's.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 2.52" (6.4 cm)

The TV is pretty thick with the stand, but the screen itself is only 1" (2.5cm).

8.5
Design
Build Quality

The Samsung Sero's build quality is excellent. It's mostly plastic except for the stand, which has a metal frame below the plastic shell. There's no flex at all and it doesn't wobble. The rotating mechanism is hidden and works very smoothly.

Picture Quality
6.3
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
1169 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
N/A

Unlike most Samsung TVs, the Sero uses an IPS panel with a mediocre contrast ratio. This results in blacks that look grayish when viewed in a dark environment.

Note that the contrast ratio can vary between units.

0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
No
Backlight
Edge

The Samsung Sero doesn't have a local dimming feature. The video above is provided for reference only.

7.6
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
398 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
166 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
422 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
421 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
420 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
420 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
164 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
422 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
421 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
420 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
419 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.062

Good SDR peak brightness. It's very consistent when displaying different content, except for the 2% window, which is caused by frame dimming. It's bright enough to overcome glare in most lighting conditions.

We measured the SDR peak brightness after calibration, using the 'Movie' Picture Mode, with Brightness set to maximum and Gamma set to 2.2.

If you don't mind losing image accuracy, you can achieve a higher peak brightness using the 'Dynamic' Picture Mode, with Brightness set to max. We were able to get 461 cd/m² in the 10% window using these settings.

6.1
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
410 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
210 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
441 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
439 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
439 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
439 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
208 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
440 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
439 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
438 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
438 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.049

Mediocre HDR peak brightness. It's only marginally brighter than SDR and has the same frame dimming in the 2% window. It isn't bright enough to make highlights pop in HDR content.

We measured the HDR peak brightness before calibration, using the 'Movie HDR' Picture Mode, with Brightness and Contrast set to maximum.

If you don't mind losing image accuracy, you can get a brighter image in HDR using the 'Dynamic HDR' Picture Mode, with Brightness set to maximum and Adv. Contrast Enhancer set to 'Medium.' Using these settings, we achieved a peak brightness of 475 cd/m² in the 10% window.

7.8
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
5.082 %
50% DSE
0.146 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.635 %
5% DSE
0.074 %

Gray uniformity on our unit of the Samsung Sero is good. The sides are visibly darker, but there's only a small amount of dirty screen effect. Uniformity is much better in near-dark scenes.

Note that gray uniformity can vary between units.

7.0
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Washout
29 °
Color Shift
60 °
Brightness Loss
33 °
Black Level Raise
70 °
Gamma Shift
24 °

The Samsung Sero has decent viewing angles when it's in landscape mode, and is suitable for a small to a moderately large room. Unfortunately, viewing angles are narrower when the TV is in portrait mode, as black level rise and gamma shift happen a lot sooner. You can see the portrait mode (vertical) viewing angle in this video.

The angle at which the video is shot looks different due to the screen's natural upward tilt.

4.7
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
2.884 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
N/A

Black uniformity on our unit is bad. There's clouding throughout the screen and some backlight bleed too.

Note that black uniformity can vary between units.

7.2
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Semi-gloss
Total Reflections
5.7 %
Indirect Reflections
0.5 %
Calculated Direct Reflections
5.2 %

Decent reflection handling. The semi-gloss coating handles ambient reflections well, but not direct reflections, so it's best to avoid placing the TV opposite bright lights. You can see the reflection handling when the TV is in portrait mode in these pictures:

The white lines in the portrait mode pictures show where a landscape image would be displayed and aren't visible in regular content.

If you need a TV with better reflection handling, check out the LG UN7300.

8.5
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
White Balance dE
1.99
Color dE
2.12
Gamma
2.12
Color Temperature
6622 K
Picture Mode
Movie
Color Temp Setting
Warm 2
Gamma Setting
2.2

The Samsung Sero has excellent color accuracy out of the box. Most color inaccuracies aren't noticeable and white balance is only slightly off. The color temperature is on the cooler side despite the 'Warm 2' Color Tone setting, giving images a blueish tint. Gamma doesn't follow the target; dark scenes are too dark, and bright scenes are too bright.

Note that color accuracy can vary between units.

9.4
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
White Balance dE
0.36
Color dE
1.18
Gamma
2.20
Color Temperature
6664 K
White Balance Calibration
20 point
Color Calibration
Yes
Auto-Calibration Function
Undetermined

Update 09/29/2020: We've changed the Auto-Calibration function status from 'Untested' to 'Undetermined'. Like other 2020 Samsung TVs, the Sero hasn't been listed as compatible with CalMAN.

After calibration, color accuracy is exceptional. White balance and gamma are nearly perfect, but the color temperature is still cooler than our 6500K target. Except for blues and reds, the remaining inaccuracies shouldn't be noticeable without the aid of a colorimeter.

You can see our recommended settings here.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

The Samsung Sero upscales 480p content, such as from DVDs, well and without any visible artifacts.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

720p content like cable TV is upscaled well.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

There are no issues with the upscaling of 1080p content.

10
Picture Quality
4k Input

Native 4k content is displayed perfectly.

0
Picture Quality
8k Input

The Samsung Sero is a 4k TV and can't display an 8k image.

Picture Quality
Pixels
8.0
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
88.07 %
DCI P3 uv
93.61 %
Rec 2020 xy
65.31 %
Rec 2020 uv
72.16 %

The Samsung Sero has a great HDR color gamut. It has outstanding coverage of the DCI P3 color space used in most HDR content, and decent coverage of the wider Rec. 2020 color space. The 'Movie' EOTF follows the PQ curve relatively well, with just some over-brightening in very dark scenes to avoid crushing. The 'Game' mode EOTF follows the curve much closer, as you can see here.

If you find HDR content too dim, you can make it brighter by setting the Picture Mode to 'HDR Movie,' Contrast Enhancer to 'High,' and ST. 2084 to maximum. These settings result in this EOTF.

6.8
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
76.6 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
26.5 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
58.5 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
20.3 %

Okay HDR color volume. It has trouble displaying bright colors because it has a low HDR peak brightness, and it can't display dark colors well due to a low contrast ratio.

8.6
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
0.100 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
0.107 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
0.080 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
0.084 dE

Excellent gradient handling. There's only some banding in the darker shades and in the reds, which shouldn't be noticeable in most content. Unfortunately, enabling Noise Reduction doesn't seem to have any effect on our test pattern or in regular content.

10
Picture Quality
Temporary Image Retention
IR after 0 min recovery
0.01 %
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 are no signs of temporary image retention.

Note that temporary image retention can vary between units.

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

While some IPS panels like this have some temporary image retention, this doesn't seem to be permanent as the IPS panel in our long-term test appears to be immune.

Motion
7.5
Motion
Response Time
80% Response Time
5.0 ms
100% Response Time
16.0 ms

The Samsung Sero has a good response time, resulting in only a short blur trail behind fast-moving objects. However, there's a bit of overshoot in the darker transitions that can cause some motion artifacts.

4.0
Motion
Flicker-Free
Flicker-Free
No
PWM Dimming Frequency
120 Hz

The backlight is flicker-free when the TV's brightness is at maximum. Below that, the backlight flickers at 120Hz in all picture modes. Unfortunately, this flickering frequency causes visible image duplication. Turning on Picture Clarity doesn't affect the frequency rate, but enabling LED Clear Motion does and lowers it to 60Hz.

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
N/A
Min Flicker for 60 fps in Game Mode
60 Hz

The Samsung Sero has an optional Black Frame Insertion (BFI) feature to improve motion clarity called LED Clear Motion, located in the Picture Clarity Settings menu. Turning it on lowers the backlight's flickering frequency to 60Hz, but there's terrible crosstalk causing image duplication.

You can use BFI when gaming by turning on LED Clear Motion in the Game Motion Plus Settings menu.

Motion
Motion Interpolation
Motion Interpolation (30 fps)
Yes
Motion Interpolation (60 fps)
No

The Samsung Sero can interpolate lower-frame content up to 60 fps to make motion look smoother. Unfortunately, it doesn't perform all that well. Motion looks smooth in scenes that aren't busy, but artifacts appear the moment the action gets intense before the TV stops interpolating entirely, resuming only in quieter scenes. There's noticeable image duplication in the photo due to the backlight's 120Hz flicker.

If you want to use motion interpolation, set Picture Clarity to 'Custom' and the Judder Reduction slider to '10'.

7.9
Motion
Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
25.7 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
0.7 ms

Even though the TV has a relatively fast response time, lower frame rate content doesn't stutter much. If image stutter bothers you, enabling motion interpolation 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 Sero can remove judder from all sources. It does it automatically for content from 24p sources and native apps. For 60i or 60p sources, you need to set Picture Clarity to 'Custom' and leave the Judder Reduction slider at '0'.

0
Motion
Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
60 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
No
HDMI Forum VRR
No
FreeSync
No
G-SYNC Compatible
No
4k VRR Maximum
N/A
4k VRR Minimum
No VRR support
1080p VRR Maximum
N/A
1080p VRR Minimum
No VRR support
1440p VRR Maximum
N/A
1440p VRR Minimum
No VRR support
VRR Supported Connectors
No VRR support

The Samsung Sero doesn't support variable refresh rate technology.

Inputs
9.3
Inputs
Input Lag
1080p @ 60 Hz
9.5 ms
1080p @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
75.8 ms
1440p @ 60 Hz
9.0 ms
4k @ 60 Hz
9.1 ms
4k @ 60 Hz + 10 bit HDR
9.1 ms
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
9.2 ms
4k @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
58.9 ms
4k @ 60 Hz With Interpolation
25.2 ms
8k @ 60 Hz
N/A
1080p @ 120 Hz
N/A
1440p @ 120 Hz
N/A
4k @ 120 Hz
N/A
1080p with Variable Refresh Rate
N/A
1440p with VRR
N/A
4k with VRR
N/A
8k with VRR
N/A
Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)
Yes

The Samsung Sero has exceptionally low input lag and remains low even when playing in 10-bit HDR. The TV allows for the use of motion interpolation when gaming; however, it adds a considerable amount of latency.

To get low input lag, turn on 'Game' mode. If you want to use motion interpolation when gaming, enable Game Motion Plus in the Game Motion Plus Settings menu and leave the Judder Reduction slider at '0.' There's an 'Auto Low Latency Mode' that automatically puts you in 'Game' mode when a game is launched from a compatible device. To use it, set 'Game' mode to 'Auto' and enable Anynet+ (HDMI-CEC). For PC use, enable 'Game' mode and label the input in use as 'PC.'

8.3
Inputs
Supported Resolutions
1080p @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
1080p @ 120 Hz
No
1440p @ 60 Hz
Yes (native support)
1440p @ 120 Hz