Samsung’s QLED TVs have gained a reputation for their stunning colors and vivid high dynamic range (HDR) performance. But are these quantum dot-powered displays really better than competitor OLED and LED/LCD TVs on the market?
This comprehensive review will examine Samsung’s 2023 QLED lineup and how it stacks up to other options when it comes to price, performance, features and more. Read on for an in-depth look at QLED technology and whether these TVs live up to the hype when it comes to delivering the most vibrant displays around.
An Introduction to QLED TVs
Samsung first introduced QLED (quantum dot LED) TVs in 2017 as a competitor to OLED. While OLED pixels emit their own light, QLED TVs, like conventional LED TVs, use an LCD panel illuminated by LED backlights.
However, QLED TVs have a quantum dot filter that allows for narrower, more precise light wave bands that can produce 100% color volume. This gives QLED the ability to deliver deeper blacks, more brilliant colors, and exceptional brightness compared to standard LED/LCD TVs.
Over the years, Samsung has continued to refine QLED technology to boost color accuracy, viewing angles and HDR performance. They’ve also added gaming-centric features and smart TV capabilities.
But how do the latest Samsung QLEDs stack up to other flagship TVs on the market when it comes to price and real-world performance? Let’s take a detailed look.
Samsung’s 2023 QLED Lineup
Samsung’s 2023 QLED lineup includes 4K and 8K ultra HD models across its Q60, Q70, Q80, and QN90 series. The higher-end TVs add more backlighting zones for increased contrast, wider viewing angles, and boosted brightness. Here’s a quick overview:
- Q60 – Entry-level 4K QLED TVs with dual LED backlighting.
- Q70 – Mid-range 4K QLEDs with full array local dimming (FALD) backlight.
- Q80 – Higher-end 4K QLEDs with Direct Full Array Elite backlighting and ultra viewing angle technology.
- QN90 – Flagship 4K and 8K Mini-LED QLEDs with Quantum Matrix Technology Pro, HDR10+ Adaptive, and slim one connect box.
In this review, we’ll focus on the Q70R, Q80T and QN90B series as they represent Samsung’s main mid-range and premium QLED offerings.
QLED vs OLED – A Detailed Comparison
OLED TVs from LG, Sony and others provide impressive contrast and viewing angles thanks to their per-pixel illumination. But how do they stack up against Samsung’s QLED TVs? Here’s an in-depth feature comparison:
Color accuracy – QLED quantum dots allow for 100% color volume. However, properly calibrated OLEDs can match QLED color performance.
Contrast – OLED has essentially infinite contrast since pixels turn off completely. QLED contrast depends on the number of backlight zones.
Brightness – QLED TVs can achieve higher peak brightness, especially in HDR content. But OLED matches or exceeds QLED at lower APLs.
Viewing angles – OLED maintains perfect contrast and color at all angles. QLED angle performance varies by model but generally can’t match OLED.
Motion handling – 120Hz panels and black frame insertion provide smooth motion on both. OLED has a slight advantage with instant pixel response time.
Upscaling – The latest AI upscaling is comparable between QLED and modern OLED TVs. Samsung’s processor has a small edge.
Winner – Overall picture quality advantage goes to OLED thanks to per-pixel illumination. But QLED comes very close and offers higher peak brightness.
Input lag – Both TV types can achieve impressively low input lag around 10ms. QLED TVs reduce input lag at lower resolutions.
VRR support – QLED and OLED TVs support HDMI 2.1 variable refresh rate for smooth gaming from PCs and recent consoles.
ALLM – They also include auto low latency mode to automatically switch to low lag game mode when needed.
4K/120Hz – Both technologies support upscaled 4K at 120Hz signals from new consoles and PCs. Native 4K/120 not widely supported yet.
Winner – Nearly identical excellent gaming performance. QLED TVs get a slight edge for lower input lag at lower resolutions.
Features and Smart Platform
Interface – Samsung’s Tizen platform is faster and more polished than LG and Sony’s webOS and Android TV. Easier to navigate with less lag.
Voice assistant – Both support hands-free voice control via Bixby (QLED) and Google Assistant/Alexa (OLED). QLED has some Bixby-exclusive commands.
Gaming features – Samsung packs in more dedicated gaming enhancements like Game Bar, Super Ultrawide GameView, etc.
HDR support – Samsung supports HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG. LG OLEDs add Dolby Vision. OLED has better dynamic tone mapping.
Next-gen features – QLED models currently support more HDMI 2.1 gaming features than OLED. But lag will likely narrow.
Winner – Tizen gives QLED the edge for smart features and gaming. But OLED HDR performance is better.
Thinness – OLED panels are paper thin by nature. QLED requires backlights so is inherently thicker, especially with more dimming zones.
Bezels – Both can achieve impressively thin bezels on premium models. OLED has an advantage on the most compact designs.
Stand – Stand quality and configuration options are brand dependent for both technologies.
Cables – Samsung’s external one connect box keeps cables tidy on premium QLED TVs. LG premium OLEDs have internal power and thin cables.
Winner – OLED’s thin profile gives it an advantage for minimalist aesthetic. But Samsung’s external box is practical.
Lifespan and Burn-In
Longevity – OLED lifespan shortened by permanent burn-in risk. With reasonable care, QLEDs can last over 50,000 hours to half brightness.
Burn-in mitigation – LG has developed compensation cycles and anti-burn-in features, but it remains a risk. Samsung QLED TVs not affected by burn-in.
Cumulative brightness – To reduce burn-in risk, LG OLED TVs dim peak brightness over time to as low as ~50% after 4,000 hours. QLED maintains 100% cumulative brightness.
Winner – QLED’s brightness stability and lack of burn-in make it the easy winner for long-term reliability.
65 inches – The 65″ Samsung Q80T QLED costs $1,600. The LG CX OLED is $400 more at $2,000.
75 inches – Steeper price difference at this size. The 75″ Q80T is $2,600, while the 77″ CX OLED jumps to $3,700.
** Flagship pricing** – Samsung’s 85″ QN90A flagship 8K QLED is $6,500. LG’s 83″ C1 8K OLED is $2,000 more at $8,500.
65-inch sweet spot – For smaller screen sizes, QLED provides greater value. The price gap widens as display size increases.
Winner – Across the lineup, QLED TVs are generally 15-30% cheaper than the latest comparable OLEDs. Significant savings for larger screen sizes.
Based on this detailed side-by-side comparison, Samsung QLED TVs edge out OLED in several key areas while offering similar performance in others at a lower price point. But OLED retains advantages in viewing angles and motion handling.
Samsung Q70T QLED 4K TV Review
Samsung’s Q70T QLED TV series represents a mid-range offering with full array backlighting and quantum dot enhancement. It steps up from the more basic Q60T with better black levels and brightness control. But it lacks the flagship design and features found on the pricier Q80T and Q90T.
The 55″ Q70T debuted at $1,200 but has since dropped below $1,000. The 65″ model launched at $1,600 but now sells for around $1,200. Let’s see where this TV excels and where it falls short versus higher-end Samsung QLEDs:
- Very good 4K image clarity and upscaling of HD/SDR content
- Wide DCI-P3 color gamut with quantum dot enhancement
- Bright, vibrant colors that pop
- Full array backlight with 56 zones for better contrast than Q60T
- Fairly deep blacks but limited dimming control
- Good HDR brightness but not as high as Q80T/Q90T
- Mediocre off-angle viewing – contrast and color fade at >30°
- Prone to blooming around bright objects
- Rare stuttering or flickering in panning shots
The Q70T delivers pleasing 4K images with rich colors and solid contrast. But viewing angle and backlight limitations prevent it from rivaling OLED or premium QLEDs. Still, it meets or beats mid-range LCD options.
- 4K 120Hz, VRR, and ALLM support
- Under 10ms input lag with Game Motion Plus
- Minimal blur and judder for fast gaming
- Lacks some gaming features of Q80T/Q90T
- Mediocre viewing angles affect multiplayer gaming
- Occasional frame pacing issues above 60 fps
Overall, the Q70T QLED provides a responsive big-screen gaming experience thanks to HDMI 2.1 features and low input lag. But the viewing angle and stuttering issues prevent it from being best-in-class for gaming.
Features and Smart Platform
- Speedy, intuitive Tizen smart TV interface
- Universal guide, Bixby voice assistant
- Huge app selection including Apple TV
- Lacks next-gen features like HDR10+ Adaptive
- External box only included with Q80T and up
- Mediocre built-in audio; needs soundbar
Samsung’s Tizen platform offers one of the best smart TV experiences. But gaming and connectivity features lag behind the higher-end Samsung QLED models with their one connect box.
- Fairly slim profile from straight sides
- Metal frame with dual pedestal stand
- Power cable routes through stand
- Bottom is thick due to LED backlights
- Stand only supports basic tilt adjustment
- External one connect box not included
While going bezelleess would have looked nicer, the dual pedestal stand keeps the TV stable. However, the thicker profile and lack of swivel adjustment or cable management makes the design less impressive overall.
With an affordable sub-$1000 price point for the 65-inch model, the Q70T QLED provides strong performance and features for the money. You can step up to the Q80T or Q90T to get HDMI 2.1, gaming features, viewing angles and a better external connector box.
But those models cost 70-100% more. The Q70T hits a sweet spot of balancing price and performance as a mid-range Samsung QLED option.
The Bottom Line
Samsung’s Q70T QLED TV delivers highly detailed 4K images with lively quantum dot color. But mediocre viewing angles and limited dimming zones leave something to be desired. Gamers will appreciate HDMI 2.1 future-proofing. Yet performance bugs spoil the experience.
Overall, the Q70T is a solid mid-range model. But we recommend stepping up to the Q80T for a significant upgrade if it fits your budget.
Samsung Q80T QLED 4K TV Review
The Samsung Q80T improves upon the Q70T as a high-end 4K QLED TV with better backlighting, viewing angles, gaming performance and a sleek external one connect box.
For a 65-inch model, it originally retailed around $1,800 but has dropped closer to $1,500 recently. This puts it at a $300 premium over the Q70T. Let’s examine how it justifies the higher price tag:
- Sharp 4K clarity with great upscaling and processing
- Wide color gamut (95% DCI/P3) with deep hues
- Higher peak brightness than Q70T – over 1,000 nits
- Full array “Elite” backlight with up to 480 zones
- Significantly better contrast control and black level
- Far less blooming around bright objects
- Anti-glare filter greatly minimizes reflections
- Much wider viewing angles with less color shifting
- Near OLED-like picture quality
With its Elite backlight and anti-glare filter, the Q80T achieves outstanding contrast and off-angle viewing – rare for LED/LCD TVs. This helps it rival OLED for overall picture quality.
- 4K 120Hz, VRR, ALLM, HGiG Mode
- Under 8ms input lag with Game Motion Plus
- Smooth motion handling for fast gaming
- Wide viewing angles for multiplayer gaming
- FreeSync Premium Pro and G-Sync compatible
- Latest HDMI 2.1 gaming features
The Q80T is a superb premium gaming TV. The fast response time, low lag, VRR and advanced gaming features provide an amazing experience for both casual and hardcore gamers.
Features and Smart Platform
- Speedy Tizen interface with universal guide
- Bixby voice assistant built-in
- HDR10+ Adaptive adjusts HDR based on room
- Object Tracking Sound (OTS+) audio
- External one connect box with four HDMI ports
- Next-gen gaming connectivity
With the external one connect box, gaming upgrades, and premium audio, the Q80T adds worthwhile features missing from the Q70T. The smarter HDR tone mapping also helps it stand out.
- Ultrathin panel and bezel-free frame
- Metal stand with 360° swivel
- One connect box keeps cables hidden
- Stand lacks height adjustment
- Big external box and second cable
- Panel deeper than OLED; about average for QLED
While not the absolute thinnest QLED, the Q80T still impresses with slim bezels and profile plus a clever cable management system. The trade-off is a bulky box.
At around 30% more expensive than the Q70T, the Q80T demands a significant premium. But the better contrast, viewing angles, gaming features and external box make it worthwhile for home theater and gaming fans. Its picture rivals OLED, too.
The Bottom Line
With elite backlight control, great HDR gaming, and one of the best smart TV systems, Samsung’s 4K Q80T QLED TV performs like a flagship but costs hundreds less than the 8K Q900TS. We recommend the Q80T as one of the best high-end LED/LCD TVs available.
Samsung QN90B Neo QLED 4K TV Review
As Samsung’s 2022 flagship 4K TV, the QN90B “Neo QLED” packs in cutting-edge mini-LED backlight technology along with quantum dots and advanced gaming connectivity.
The 65-inch QN90B debuted at $2,600 but now sells for around $2,200. That’s over $1,000 more than the Q80T and $2,000 pricier than the Q70T. Let’s see what you get by stepping up to Samsung’s highest-end 4K QLED:
- Sharp 4K clarity and brilliant colors
- Huge brightness – consistently over 1,500 nits
- Near OLED black levels with minimal blooming
- Quantum Matrix Pro precision dimming
- Ultra wide viewing angle retains colors
- Anti-glare for bright rooms. Stunning HDR.
- Lacks the per-pixel control of OLED
- Occasional LED halo effects in dense blacks
- Lacks Dolby Vision HDR format
With mini-LED backlights providing over 1,500 zones, the QN90B achieves incredible contrast and brightness. Combined with quantum dot color, it delivers some of the best 4K image quality on the market.
- HDMI 2.1 4K 120Hz, VRR, ALLM
- New HDR10+ Gaming features
- Under 5ms input lag with Game Motion Plus
- Wide viewing angles for multiplayer
- AMD FreeSync Premium Pro support
- Game Bar, Super Ultrawide GameView
- Lacks Dolby Vision gaming on Xbox
- Large format not ideal for desktop gaming
- Mediocre built-in audio
As Samsung’s 2022 Neo QLED flagship, the QN90B is one of the best gaming TVs available. The HDMI 2.1 connectivity and ultra-low lag provide an amazing experience with the latest consoles and PCs.
Features and Smart Platform
- Powerful Tizen smart TV platform
- Bixby, Alexa, Google Assistant voice control
- HDR10+ Adaptive adjusts HDR scene-by-scene
- Object Tracking Sound Pro (OTS Pro)
- Slim external One Connect box
- Easy cable management
- Lacks next-gen ATSC 3.0 tuner
- Dodgy Bixby voice assistant
- Fewer apps than Google TV or WebOS
The polished Tizen interface and external One Connect box keep the QN90B feeling futuristic. Heavy gamers may miss a newer tuner and certain niche apps however.
- Incredibly thin panel at just 0.2″
- Near bezel-less “Infinity” design
- Monolith metal stand with slim cable
- External One Connect box is thick
- Stand only offers basic tilt adjustment
- Not as razor thin as OLED
With an impossibly thin panel and sleek metal stand, the QN90B delivers a dazzling modern design that catches the eye. The tradeoff is a bulky external box.
At over $2,000 for 65 inches, this cutting-edge Neo QLED TV carries a steep premium over Samsung’s lower 4K QLED models. But it outperforms them significantly in contrast, gaming features, and design.
Compared to OLED TVs with similar performance, the QN90B is priced much closer, especially in larger sizes. Overall, its exceptional picture and features somewhat justify the price for premium shoppers.
The Bottom Line
Samsung’s Neo QLED 4K QN90B brings mini-LED backlighting, quantum dots, advanced gaming, and beautiful design together into one incredible television. AI image processing provides stellar real-world performance that surpasses normal LED TVs. This makes it a worthy flagship 4K model.
Are Samsung QLED TVs Worth the Money?
Based on our detailed QLED TV reviews, we believe Samsung’s premium quantum dot-powered TVs make a compelling case in the high-end display market. Here are a few summarizing points:
- Very close overall picture quality to OLED, particularly with HDR content
- Unbeatable brightness, color vibrance and motion handling
- Industry-leading gaming performance with HDMI 2.1 and VRR
- Excellent smart TV system and voice controls
- More affordable than competing OLEDs
Of course, OLED retains advantages in pixel-perfect black levels, viewing angles and design minimalism. And LG’s OLED TVs outmatch Samsung QLEDs in US market share.
But QLED technology has improved each year while dropping prices. Samsung’s quantum dot enhancement, local dimming and processing prowess allow its high-end QLEDs to rival OLED in real-world picture quality at 15-30% cheaper price points.
Add in gaming prowess and smart features, and QLED becomes an outstanding option for both home theater and gaming setups. The technology can achieve performance that Standard and Premium LED/LCD TVs simply can’t match.
For shoppers seeking premium picture quality along with future-proof gaming connectivity at a reasonable price, Samsung QLED TVs like the QN90B make an extremely compelling choice. They provide an impressive blend of QLED technology refinements and improved manufacturing techniques.
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Things to Keep in Mind
No TV is perfect, so there are a few caveats to consider around Samsung’s QLED lineup:
- Picture quality trails OLED at off-angles
- Risk of temporary image retention, but no permanent burn-in
- Blooming around bright objects on dark backgrounds
- External One Connect box can be unwieldy
But the core strengths around unmatched brightness, vibrant and accurate color, and excellent smart features make Samsung QLEDs stand out as some of the best LED-backlit TVs money can buy. Their heavy gaming focus also caters well to modern entertainment needs.
If you seek a gorgeous television that can serve as both an impressive home theater display and high-performance gaming monitor, Samsung’s 2022 and 2023 Neo QLED TVs are extremely compelling options that leave standard LED TVs far behind.
FAQ About Samsung QLED TVs
Q: How does QLED compare to OLED?
A: QLED comes very close to OLED in overall picture quality, brightness and color, but can’t match its pixel-level black level control and viewing angles. QLED TVs have no risk of permanent burn-in though.
Q: What’s better – QLED or regular LED/LCD?
A: QLED TVs leverage quantum dots for superior color and use better backlight dimming for enhanced contrast. This gives them a big picture quality advantage over standard LCD TVs.
Q: Do you need a soundbar with a QLED TV?
A: Samsung QLED TVs tend to have only mediocre built-in audio. Investing in a good soundbar, or speakers, is highly recommended to get an immersive listening experience.
Q: Are Samsung QLED TVs good for gaming?
A: Yes, Samsung packs the latest gaming features like 4K 120Hz, VRR, ALLM, and low input lag into its high-end QLEDs making them excellent choices for both console and PC gaming.
Q: Is QLED worth the extra cost over LED?
A: The premium for QLED over standard LED is reasonable for the improvements in color, brightness and contrast you receive. Picture quality surpasses normal LED TVs significantly.
Q: Do Samsung QLED TVs suffer from burn-in?
A: No. Unlike OLED, Samsung QLED TVs have no risk of permanent burn-in. Some temporary image retention may occur in extreme cases, but this goes away quickly.
Q: What is the best Samsung QLED TV?
A: The Samsung QN90B Neo QLED 4K TV is our current top pick thanks to its mini-LED backlight, phenomenal contrast, color and brightness, great gaming features, and beautiful design.
The Bottom Line
Samsung’s QLED TVs deliver excellent picture quality, gaming performance, and smart features at fair prices compared to OLED. While they can’t match the viewing angles and true blacks of OLED, quantum dot enhancement and advanced backlights allow premium QLED models to rival OLED in many areas at lower cost.
For shoppers seeking superb all-around performance for mixed TV and gaming usage, Samsung QLED TVs like the Neo QLED QN90B series stand out as great options. We hope this guide has helped explain the pros, cons and differences between OLED and QLED to help you decide which advanced display is the better fit for your home theater needs.