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Samsung Q95T (QE55Q95T) QLED 4K TV Review

Samsung's 4K flagship proves to be a feature-packed alternative to 8K

SRP: £1,999.00

What is the Samsung QE55Q95T?

The Samsung Q95T is the company’s flagship QLED 4K TV for 2020. It boosts a direct full array backlight with local dimming, the latest AI-enhanced upscaling, an anti-reflection screen, Object Tracking Sound (OTS), gaming features, a One Connect box and the full Tizen operating system.

Unlike last year, there are certain differences between the Q95T and Samsung’s range of 8K TVs – aside from the higher resolution of course. As a result, the Q95T includes OTS rather the OTS+, meaning it has six rather than eight speakers, and it also uses fewer dimming zones in its backlight.

However, in most other respects it’s largely the same, offering the majority of the company’s latest high-end features. The Samsung Q95T is available in four screen sizes: the QE55Q95T (£1,999) reviewed here, the QE65Q95T (£2,999), the QE75Q95T (£4,499), and the QE85Q95T (£5,999).

Design, Connections and Control

The Samsung Q95T sports the company's new ‘boundless’ design, which basically means there’s almost no bezel, just a tiny 2mm wide frame around the top and side edges of the chassis, and a slightly wider one at the bottom where the Samsung logo is located. This frame is presumably there to hold the panel in place, but there's also a 3mm black border around the image itself. So unlike the Q950TS and Q900T which boast the 'Infinity' screen, the image doesn't go right out to the edge.

Samsung QE55Q95T
Samsung Q95T Bezel

The chassis is essentially a rectangular slab, and it’s a gorgeous piece of industrial design that’s completely flat, with a brushed metal outer edge and textured rear panel. The build quality is excellent, and while not as thin as Samsung’s new ultra-slim models, the Q95T is only 35mm deep, despite containing a direct full array LED backlight and six speakers. There's also a highly effective anti-reflection filter on the front of the panel.

Samsung QE55Q95T
Samsung Q95T Stand

The Q95T comes with a sleek and robust stand that slopes to create the impression the image is elegantly floating in space. The stand is finished in carbon silver and measures 300 x 280mm, which is good news because it means you don't need a wide surface on which to install the TV. There’s 110mm of clearance under the screen, so bear that in mind if you’re planning to use a soundbar.

 

The design is attractive, the build quality excellent, and the One Connect box remains a great idea

If you’d rather wall-mount the Q95T there’s the optional ‘No-Gap’ bracket. The results using this bracket look stunning, with the panel flush against the wall. Samsung’s clever One Connect box is another design winner, allowing the screen to be connected with a single thin cable, making wall mounting extremely easy and incredibly tidy.

This nearly-invisible 10m cable (an optional 15m version is also available) provides the panel with everything it needs including power, allowing all the other devices to be connected to the One Connect box. This simple idea ensures the minimum of cabling is actually going to the panel, and helps keep things neat and today when it comes to cable management.

Samsung QE55Q95T
Samsung Q95T One Connect Box

The One Connect box houses four HDMI inputs, one of which (HDMI 3) supports eARC. While Samsung don't refer to any of the inputs as HDMI 2.1, one of them (HDMI 4) is capable of handling 4K/120Hz 10-bit 4:4:4, along with dynamic metadata (HDR10+), VRR and ALLM.

There are also two USB 2.0 inputs, twin tuners for terrestrial and satellite broadcasts, a CI slot, an optical digital output, an ex link 3.5mm jack and an Ethernet port. In terms of wireless connections, there's Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and support for Apple AirPlay 2.

Samsung QE55Q95T
Samsung Q95T Remote Control

The Q95T comes with the same One Remote as last year. This metal controller certainly looks premium and feels comfortable in the hand. The button layout is simple and intuitively laid out, with navigation controls and direct access buttons to Netflix, Amazon and Rakuten. There’s also the SmartThings app, along with built-in Bixby, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant (via a firmware update later in the year).

Smart TV

The Samsung Q95T uses the Tizen operating system, which this year has been enhanced with a cleaner blue interface (much easier on the eyes than the previous bright white version) and a host of new features that includes the aforementioned built-in Bixby, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, or even Apple’s Siri via Airplay 2.

The Q95T includes the new Digital Butler, which allows for quick and easy connection of all nearby devices by automatically detecting them and then representing all of them in a graphical fashion. The TV scans the area for three minutes based on signal strength, looking for nearby Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices.

 

Samsung's Tizen operating system is excellent, and currently the most comprehensive of the 2020 platforms

The results are shown using an intuitive representation that also includes any infra-red devices and those that are physically connected via HDMI or USB. You can then select any detected device from the graphical interface and set it up, before moving on to the next one.

This feature makes detecting and registering devices very easy, allowing the TV to act as a centralised control point for all the connected devices in your home. The Q95T also offers the benefits of built-in smart assistants in the form of Bixby, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Although the latter won't be added until later in the year.

Samsung QE55Q95T
Samsung Tizen OS Launcher Bar

Of course, a TV is primarily for watching things on, so the more video streaming services it supports the better. Samsung offers a comprehensive selection that includes Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Rakuten TV, Now TV, Apple TV+, Disney+ and all the UK catch-up services. The Q95T also supports HDR10, HDR10+, HLG and Dolby Atmos where appropriate.

The downside to all this choice is that you can become overwhelmed, so to make things easier Samsung has developed the Universal Guide. This feature curates and recommends content based on your viewing habits, and this year it has been updated to be more content driven, rather than relying on the support of content partners.

Measurements

SDR Out of the Box

The Samsung Q95T has the latest menu system, where the first control you see is Brightness, which actually adjusts the brightness of the TV. It’s what was previously called the backlight control, and the traditional ‘brightness’ control, which actually adjusts the black level, is now called Shadow Detail. The latter is found further down the menu system beneath the gamma control, and will hopefully avoid a situation where unfamiliar users end up destroying their TV's black levels in a misguided attempt to increase the overall brightness.

The motion controls are now in a sub-menu called Picture Clarity and here you can turn the frame interpolation on or off. You can also customise the Blur Reduction and Judder Reduction settings, as well as turn the LED Clear Motion (black frame insertion) control on and off. This sub-menu is where you'll also now find the Noise Reduction control.

The Local Dimming control has three settings: Low, Standard and High, but unlike the Q950TS the Low setting doesn’t turn off the local dimming. On the Q95T there appears to be no way of turning off local dimming, making it impossible to measure the native black level.

Related: What is Filmmaker Mode?

There’s the usual choice of picture modes, including Movie which is the most accurate out of the box. According to Samsung there is also a Filmmaker Mode, although currently it activates automatically when the TV receives content containing the necessary metadata. At present no content does, so we couldn’t test or measure this mode. Samsung has said it will add a manually selectable Filmmaker Mode with a future firmware update.

Samsung QE55Q95T
Out of the Box Greyscale and Gamma
Samsung QE55Q95T
Out of the Box Colour Saturation Tracking

As you can see in the above graph on the left, the out of the box greyscale is excellent, with DeltaEs (errors) that are all below the visible threshold of three. The gamma is tracking at 2.4 with the gamma control set to BT1886 and the slider at zero, which is correct.

 

The out of the box accuracy was very good, especially the greyscale and gamma

The colour tracking is also pretty good, with accurate luminance measurements, which are not shown on the graph above. There were some minor hue errors in cyan and magenta, and a slight over-saturation of blue caused by a slight excess of blue energy in the greyscale.

SDR Calibrated

The Samsung Q95T has extensive calibration controls that include a White Balance control (two and 20-point) and a colour management system. New this year is the ability to run CalMAN automated calibration using Wi-Fi rather than a physical connection. Unfortunately, this feature wasn’t available during testing.

Related: Should I get my TV calibrated?

Samsung QE55Q95T
Calibrated Greyscale and Gamma
Samsung QE55Q95T
Calibrated Colour Saturation Tracking

As you can see above, the greyscale can be fine-tuned to deliver a reference level of accuracy with all errors well below one. The gamma curve is tracking around our target of 2.4 with the BT1886 slider set to zero.

 

The calibration controls worked very well, resulting in a near-reference level of accuracy

The colour accuracy is also much improved after tweaking the greyscale and using the colour management system. The luminance measurements remain spot on, and most of the colours are now tracking their targets precisely, with only a minor hue error in magenta at 25% saturation.

HDR

The Samsung Q95T stays in Movie Mode when it detects an HDR signal, but it disregards the calibrated settings for SDR and resets the controls for HDR content separately. This is the best approach and allows for fine-tuning of the greyscale if necessary. This year the Standard local dimming setting applies dynamic tone mapping, while the High setting just tone maps according to the PQ EOTF.

As with all of Samsung's TVs the Q95T supports HDR10, HDR10+ and Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), but doesn't support Dolby Vision, which is a competing dynamic metadata format.

Related: What is High Dynamic Range (HDR)?

Samsung QE55Q95T
HDR Greyscale and PQ EOTF Tracking

The measurements above are out of the box, and as you can see the Q95T tops out at 1,700nits in Movie mode. The greyscale is almost perfect, which is impressive, and the PQ EOTF is tracking the target closely aside from a very slight deviation in the mid range. This is a big improvement on previous years, where Samsung was more concerned with hitting higher peak brightnesses rather than tone mapping correctly to retain the content creator’s artistic intentions. Samsung is now concentrating on retaining that original creative intent, and based on these measurements the company is doing a good job.

Samsung QE55Q95T
HDR Peak Brightness

The measurements above show the peak brightness at different window sizes, and as you can see the brightness peaks at 1,700nits on a 10% window. The 55Q95T is still producing 749nits on a full field (100%) pattern, and all these numbers are far beyond the capabilities of any OLED TV. As a result, the TV does not need to apply tone mapping to content graded at 1,000nits, but it does with content graded at 4,000nits.

Samsung QE55Q95T
HDR P3 Colour Gamut Coverage

The 55Q95T covered 90% of the DCI-P3 wide colour gamut using xy coordinates, and 94% using the uv coordinates. This is lower than expected considering colour reproduction is a strong point of QLED TVs, but corresponds to measurements taken on the flagship 8K Q950TS. However, the higher brightness of the Q95T means that it is still capable of a large colour volume.

Samsung QE55Q95T
HDR P3 within Rec.2020 Colour Saturation Tracking

The HDR colour tracking of DCI-P3 within Rec.2020 is very good, with most of the colours measuring close to their targets within the limitations of the native colour gamut. This is certainly a better performance than the pre-production Q950TS I measured, suggesting that Samsung has made improvements to its HDR colour tracking.

 

Peak brightness is 1,700nits, greyscale is excellent, colour tracking good and tone mapping accurate

Performance

The Samsung Q95T might not include the full-monty 8K AI image processing with neural networking that thinks for itself, but the 4K Quantum Processor with AI-enhanced machine learning still does a fantastic job. It makes full use of the 10-bit Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) VA panel to deliver impressively detailed image, whether from a native 4K source or by upscaling lower resolution content.

It also includes the wider viewing angles introduced last year, along with a very effective anti-reflection filter. This means the picture looks great from any angle, and even when there’s ambient light in the room. Thanks to its direct array backlight it’s also very bright, while the local dimming ensures deep blacks and excellent contrast. Using my trusty Spears & Munsil 4K disc I counted 15 x 8 or 120 independent zones.

 

The 120 independent zones seem like more thanks to some highly effective local dimming algorithms

This is significantly fewer than the Q90R, which has nearly 500 independent zones, but as is often the case, it’s not just the number of zones available but what you do with them that counts. Samsung has always utilised highly effective local dimming algorithms, and the Q95T is no exception. In fact, in some respects the images were better on the this TV than the pre-production Q950TS I tested, so it looks like Samsung has been listening to feedback.

As a result there were deep blacks with no apparent crush, and bright highlights that were largely free of blooming or haloing. The areas just above black are also well defined, with excellent shadow detail. This was demonstrated using the scene in Gravity where Sandra Bullock tumbles alone in the darkness of space. The Q95T handles it really well, revealing all the stars in the Milky Way behind Bullock, and avoiding any blooming on her bright white space suit against the blackness of space.

Samsung QE55Q95T
Samsung Q95T Side View

This test was in SDR, but what really impresses is the local dimming’s ability to handle HDR content. There is occasional haloing, but even with challenging content the Q95T proves accomplished and the black bars on 'scope movies remain black. The torture test scene in the film First Man where the Apollo 11 spacecraft first goes into the shadow of the moon looks surprisingly good. The illuminated surface of the moon through the command module’s window is well-defined and largely free of blooming, even in a darkened room.

The image accuracy in both SDR and HDR results in natural-looking pictures, and the travelogue images of people and landscapes in the film Samsara are fantastic, with saturated but accurate colours, great blacks and lovely shadow detail. The upscaling of this 1080p Blu-ray is also excellent, squeezing every last pixel out of the superior source material.

This also applies to HDR content, where the Q95T’s ability to not only deliver a higher peak luminance but also a brighter full field image, results in a more impactful experience. In particular the detailed snowscapes of The Revenant really pop, and the images appear incredibly realistic. The HDR colour accuracy and increased colour volume of QLED also gives films like Pan and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 a greater wow factor. Samsung’s improved tone mapping ensures that, despite the higher peak luminance, details are never clipped.

 

The HDR performance is excellent, with bright, detailed and saturated images that are correctly tone mapped 

The Q95T also impresses when it comes to motion handling. This is clearly an area where Samsung has made improvements this year, and with the Picture Clarity settings turned off, 24p content looks smooth and judder-free, but crucially without the adding of any unwanted artefacts. The various motion features, along with the noise reduction controls, are all now in the Picture Clarity sub-menu.

The motion settings apply frame interpolation, resulting in smoothing, which can be useful with sport. The LED Clear Motion setting uses black frame insertion, which darkens the image, but does improve the motion without adding any 'soap opera effect'. It also doesn't cause flicker (at least for me), but due to the darkening effect, I wouldn’t recommend using it with HDR.

Gaming

The Samsung Q95T includes a host of features aimed at gamers, and since it uses an LCD panel there's no danger of image retention or screen burn. It supports 4K 120Hz 10-bit 4:4:4, VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) and ALLM (Automatic Low Latency Mode), but new this year is support for AMD FreeSync.

Other new features include a multi-view mode that allows users to game and watch game-related videos simultaneously. However, this feature isn’t just for gamers, and anyone can view two pieces of content at the same time, either side-by-side or as picture-in-picture.

 

A 9.4ms input lag, support for VRR, ALLM and FreeSync, plus no danger of screen burn is sure to please gamers

There’s also a new Surround Sound mode specifically for gaming that offers extra tuning designed to emphasise sound effects within the game, and the existing Game Motion Plus feature has been improved to deliver smoother movement when gaming.

In testing, the Q95T delivered an input lag of 9.4ms in Game mode with all the extra gaming features turned off. If you use the Dynamic Black Equaliser, the lag remains at 9.7ms, even at the highest setting, and if you select the Surround Sound mode the lag stays at 9.7ms. Using the Game Motion Plus will improve the motion handling, but it also increases the lag to 22.5ms.

Sound Quality

The Samsung Q95T has an enhanced sound system that's built around six drivers in a four speaker array. This creates a 2.2.2-channel layout with two height speakers on either side at the top, two front speakers on the underside firing downwards, a pair woofers built into the rear of the chassis, and 60W of amplification.

The integration of the speakers is seamless, hidden behind a pattern of tiny holes in the outer edge of the TV cabinet. The sound quality is also impressive, with an open soundstage and plenty of power in the amplification. However, all the testing was conducted while stand mounted, raising the question of how wall mounting would effect the woofers built into the rear of the TV?

This should be addressed when you first set the TV up, because there's a sound optimisation feature that sends out test tones and measures them using built-in microphones. The Q95T also applies AI-enhanced processing to its sound capabilities, using audio spatial intelligence to analyse the signal and environment, thus allowing it to deliver an improved sonic experience.

 

Object Tracking Sound adds height speakers to create a 2.2.2 system that gives the audio greater presence

There’s Active Voice Amplifier, which detects ambient noise in the room and automatically adjusts the vocal clarity accordingly. Another major new audio feature is Object Tracking Sound (OTS), which uses the six drivers built into the TV to deliver a bigger soundstage with greater height and dimensionality.

This is achieved by analysing the audio signal, and using the available speakers combined with sophisticated processing to create sounds that are more aligned with the location of specific images on the screen. This certainly works, helping to create a more engaging experience that has improved directionality and immersion.

Samsung still doesn’t support on-board Dolby Atmos decoding (although the Q95T can send Atmos back via ARC from its internal apps to a supporting soundbar or AV receiver). It also supports eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel), so can pass lossless audio back via ARC to a supporting soundbar or AV receiver.

Related: What is Dolby Atmos?

If you have a 2020 Samsung soundbar, you can not only enjoy lossless audio, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support, but also benefit from Q-Symphony which provides audio synergy with the TV. This feature enables the speakers in the soundbar to work in conjunction with the top speakers on the Q95T, resulting in a more immersive surround experience.

Verdict

Pros

  • Detailed and accurate images
  • Impressive local dimming
  • Excellent HDR performance
  • Effective image processing
  • Very low input lag
  • One Connect box and eARC support
  • Comprehensive smart platform
  • Attractive design and great build quality

Cons

  • No Dolby Vision
  • No Dolby Atmos

Samsung Q95T (QE55Q95T) QLED 4K TV Review

Should I buy one?

The Samsung Q95T is an excellent 4K TV, and despite not including everything found on the company’s 8K TVs, still manages to deliver a great picture, good sound and solid package of features.

This TV is attractively designed and extremely well made, with a smaller but still very solid stand. The optional ‘no-gap’ bracket allows it to be mounted flush against the wall, and the One Connect box means you only need to hide a single thin cable.

The SDR and HDR images are accurate, the upscaling is excellent and the local dimming highly effective despite using fewer independent zones than last year. The gaming features are extensive, combined with a ‘blink-and-you’ll-miss-it’ input lag of only 9.4ms.

The Tizen operating system remains class-leading, with a slick and responsive interface that’s now easier on the eye. Of the current 2020 platforms it’s also the most comprehensive, with every video streaming service you can imagine.

So what don’t you get compared to Samsung’s 8K models? Well obviously there’s no 8K panel or neural networked AI processing to take advantage of all those additional pixels. There are also more local dimming zones, although that doesn’t make as big a difference as you might think. The 8K TVs also have Object Track Sound Plus, which adds two more speakers, but if you’re planning on using a soundbar that’s largely irrelevant.

The other issue when it comes to Samsung’s 8K TVs is that the smallest screen size is currently 65 inches, so anyone wanting a less imposing panel really has to be looking at the company’s 4K range. Thanks to a recent price drop, the QE55Q95T also seems fairly competitive in terms of cost.

So if you’re looking for an accomplished 4K LCD TV that has an impressive picture quality and more than enough features to keep even the most demanding consumer happy, the Samsung Q95T comes highly recommended.

What are my alternatives?

If you’ve you’ve got your heart set on a QLED TV then you could consider the Q800T instead. Although as already mentioned, this will mean moving up to a 65-inch screen size and doubling the cost. 

However if you do decide to go for the Q800T, then you’ll be getting an 8K panel and the amazing AI-enhanced processing that goes with it. There are also more dimming zones, although it's not a huge increase. You’ll also get OTS+ with additional side speakers and extra amplification.

The Q800T looks very similar to the Q95T, aside from being 10mm thinner. However, the Q800T doesn’t come with a One Connect box, which is a shame. If you want that feature on an 8K TV, you have to go up to the flagship Q950TS.

If you're happy with 4K, but want to save some money, you could look at picking up last year’s Q90R. It’s missing a few of the new features but has a One Connect box and nearly 500 dimming zones, plus it currently costs around £1,499.

If you’re thinking of getting an OLED instead, then you should really be looking at the LG CX. This is very competitively priced, with the 55-inch model costing £1,799, and includes just about every feature imaginable, with the exception of HDR10+.

However, for some bizarre reason it’s currently also missing all the UK TV catch-up services, so you might be better off getting the LG C9 instead. This TV doesn’t have Dolby Vision IQ or Filmmaker Mode, but does have Freeview Play and full 48Gbps HDMI 2.1 connections. The 55-inch version is also only £1,299 which is amazing value for money.

Highly Recommended

Scores

Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level

.
9

Screen Uniformity

.
9

Colour Accuracy

.
9

Greyscale Accuracy

.
9

Video Processing

.
9

Picture Quality

.
9

SDR Picture Quality

.
9

HDR Picture Quality

.
9

Picture Quality Out-Of-The-Box

.
.
8

Picture Quality Calibrated

.
9

Sound Quality

.
.
8

Smart Features

10

Build Quality

.
9

Ease Of Use

10

Value for Money

.
9

Verdict

.
9
9
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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