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Review: Samsung QE55Q950R (Q950R series) 8K QLED TV

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Combine the QLED showpiece from Samsung with an 8K panel and the result is this QE55Q950R. Samsung pulls out the 8K card. Until recently, only for the really large models, but at IFA this 55-inch version was nevertheless announced. We are testing the smallest 8K TV.

Samsung QE55Q950R – specifications

  • What: Ultra HD 8K Full Array LED LCD TV with local dimming (30 × 16 segments)
  • Screen size: 55 inch (139 cm) , flat
  • Connections: One connect box: 4x HDMI (4x v2.1, VRR, ALLM, 2K / 4K HFR, eARC), 3x USB, 1x digital optical audio out, 3x antenna, network connection, Bluetooth
  • Extras : HDR10, HDR10 +, HLG, WiFi (802.11ac) built-in, Tizen Smart Hub, USB / DLNA media player, dual DVB-T2 / C / S2, 1x CI + slot, Smart Controller, voice control, One Connect Box, Invisible Connection, Ambient Mode
  • Dimensions: 1,233 x 778 x 221 mm (incl. Base)
  • Weight: 21.7 kg (incl. Base)
  • Consumption: 292 / 0.5 watt (Energy rating D)
  • Recommended retail price: 3,499 euros

A complete overview of all models that Samsung brought to market in 2019 can be found in the 2019 Samsung LCD LED TV line-up . Here you will also find the complete specifications per model.

Samsung QE55Q950R – design

Like the Q90R series, this Q950R series is a bit more robust in appearance. The screen has a profile of about 30 mm with a dark metallic frame that you hardly see from the front. The back is finished with a stripe pattern.

The device stands on two particularly light L-shaped feet. So you need a piece of furniture that is as wide as the device. The feet are so narrow that they are barely noticeable, but as a result they look a bit cheap and give the design no real accent.

The only connection on the back of the QE55Q950R is the connector of the Invisible Connection, which runs to the One Connection box, where you can find all connections.

Samsung QE55Q950R – Connections

The One Connect box of the Q950R series is identical to the version of the Q90R series. That means that you will find four HDMI connections, type HDMI 2.1. They are of course all ready for Ultra HD HDR, but also for 2k / 4K120p (HFR) and 8K60p. The supported features are ARC, ALLM, VRR, and with a firmware upgrade coming soon also eARC . More info about all these features can be found in our HDMI 2.1 article .

In addition to the antenna connections and wired network, there is also WiFi. You can use Bluetooth to connect wireless headphones or to send audio from your smartphone to the TV.

The cable between the One Connect box and television is very thin (3.4 mm) and partly transparent. He not only takes care of all data transport but also supplies power to the television. You can neatly guide it away through slots in the back. The supplied cable is five meters long, and an optional fifteen meters long version is available.

The One Connect box and the special cable are a unique solution that provides a great deal of flexibility during installation. Whether you opt for wall mounting or a set-up on a piece of furniture that keeps all peripheral devices out of sight, both are very easy to realize.

Samsung QE55Q950R – ease of use and smart TV

The smart TV environment from Samsung, the Smart Hub, works particularly smoothly and pleasantly. That is a strong asset. Smart Hub also only covers the bottom of the image, and quickly brings you to the settings, inputs or apps, including preview of content in the apps. All possibilities of the Samsung Smart Hub can be found in our Samsung Tizen Smart Hub overview article .

We already know the Smart controller from previous reviews of 2019 models. The slim, light remote eye is very luxurious in its light metal. Performance. It also feels great in the hand. The keys are easy to operate and you can even find them by touch. The remote works perfectly with the Smart Hub so that you rarely experience the lack of keys as a loss. At the bottom you will find three shortcuts for Netflix, Prime Video and Rakuten TV. With the SmartThings app you can use your smartphone as a limited remote.

The Smart Controller can be used as a universal remote for your peripheral devices after a simple installation procedure. That worked great, you just have to make sure that the One Connect Box is not covered up in a concealed position compared to the devices to be operated. After all, it sends out IR signals for operation.

Functions

The Q950R series is equipped with a double tuner for all digital TV options (ether, cable and satellite) but no double CI + slot. You can record to a USB hard drive and watch another channel at the same time, but only if one of the two channels is not encrypted. It is doubtful whether these tuners will ever support 8K.

For Apple users there is good news, the Smart Hub now also offers Airplay2 support and via the Apple TV app you can access the Apple TV + streaming service.

Stream 8K content, it can theoretically. Your only option is currently YouTube, but the current app provides up to 4K streams. Here too it is doubtful whether you will ever be able to see 8 K.

If the TV is switched off, you can give it a function with the help of Ambient mode. Photo or info frames, or an interactive artwork, there are a lot of options. The SmartThings app is a handy way to experiment with the different possibilities.

Samsung QE55Q950R – Image processing

A powerful processor is needed to control the huge amount of pixels on the 8K screen. The Quantum Processor 8K takes on that task. Its performance is in line with that of the 4K version that we found in the other QLED devices. The processor delivers excellent noise reduction, which also works very well with compression noise (blocking). He also works well away from color banding. In this way he delivers a very good result in our Game of Thrones test scene. You leave ‘Clean Digital View’ on the low, in the auto mode a little more noise and banding disappears, but you also lose very clearly in detail. Only if you start from a very low quality source with limited resolution (such as DVD) would we recommend “car”. Upscaling is a hard necessity since 8K content will take a long time. The processor also does this excellently, even from DVD. Those who wish can increase the sharpness to somewhere between 5 and 10 to give the image a little more detail.

The sharpness of motion is excellent, you can see a lot of detail even in fast-moving images. A very narrow, double border is not excluded, but we doubt whether you will often see this in practice. Switch 'Auto Motion Plus' to the 'Custom' position, and set 'Blurness reduction' to 8-10, and 'Vibration reduction' between 3 and 7. Avoid 'Led Clear Motion', the flickering image is too high a price for some extra

Main settings

In our article about the professional calibration of a TV you can read all about the possibilities to achieve the best image settings with a professional. If you want to get started yourself, go through our home cinema information guide . Here you will find an explanation of the most important picture settings and tips for setting up your TV. With the basic settings we have come to the following settings for this TV:

Film Mode Expert Settings Expert Settings
Image Size Setting: 16: 9 standard
Adjust to screen: On
Backlight: 28
Brightness: 0
Contrast: 45
Sharpness: 0
Color: 25
Tint (G / R): 0
Clean Digital View: Low
Auto Motion Plus: Adjusted
Local Dimming: Standard
Contrast enhancement: Off
Film mode: Auto2
Color tone: Warm 2
Gamma: BT.1886 / 0
RGB mode: Off
Color space: Auto

Samsung QE55Q950R – 8K resolution

A 55 inch screen with 8K resolution, we hadn't seen that yet. A pixel shot is difficult, since the screen is equipped with Samsung's Ultra Viewing Angle film, which makes it impossible to focus the pixels clearly.

But do you see all those pixels? That viewing angle film has also been the subject of considerable discussion. Because it smears the light in all directions you inevitably lose some contrast between neighboring pixels. LG claims that the result is that the device does not actually offer an 8K resolution according to current standards. On our newest 8K test pattern we can at least see all the pixel details, but for that we have to approach half a meter. From a normal viewing distance, no, not really. If 8K is nonsense, we have already written about it extensively. In our article about the sense and nonsense of 8K we express our doubts, but more recent input shows that there can indeed be added value.

The problem remains that it added value can only be realized with real 8K content, and you will have to wait for that for quite some time. Only the next-gen consoles may seem to offer 8K within a year. With upscaled Full HD and 4K, there is hardly any advantage to be gained with an 8K screen, and certainly not on such a “small” 55 “.

Samsung QE55Q950R – Image quality

Quantum dots and a Full Array Local Dimming background lighting provides an excellent basis. The background lighting of the Q950R series is, like that of the Q90R series, divided into 30 × 16 segments. Counting was quite difficult because the zones are relatively small, and it sometimes seemed to us that there are only 14 segments vertically. But even if that is the case, this LCD TV has more than enough zones to ensure an excellent result.

The control of the zones is very good and we could not catch the Samsung on pronounced errors. To avoid halo formation, zone boundaries and varying background lighting, Samsung sometimes dims clear accents in predominantly dark images. “Gravity” is such a good example. The starry sky always looks a bit too dark, and in some parts of the sky the stars disappear slightly. Also in the Harry Potter test scene there is a lot of shadow nuance visible but the image is slightly darker than expected. You have to make these compromises.

You cannot switch off the dimming via the menus, which makes your own contrast measurement more difficult. Still we come to a very good result of about 2.500: 1 and with dimming activated it immediately rises to 7.000: 1.

The 'Film' mode is very well calibrated and ensures good images with strong contrast. Color reproduction is accurate and natural with a neutral gray scale. Also in the measurements you see that black detail is a bit too dark, but that is the only comment.

HDR

No surprise: Samsung still doesn't like Dolby Vision. The TV supports HDR10, HLG and HDR10 +. Another well-known phenomenon: Samsung likes very clear images. With a peak brightness of 1750 nits on a 10% window and 475 nits on a completely white screen, an HDR image can be very intense. The results are slightly (around 10%) below those of the Q900R, Samsung's first 8K model. The color range is 92% DCI-P3 and 69% Rec 2020, which is within expectations and more than sufficient for good HDR results.

The color reproduction is excellent in the HDR Films mode. We do see that the TV hides a little bit of black detail, probably also a consequence of the background lighting that dims a little too strongly. But as we said, Samsung likes clear images and you can see that clearly in the measurements. The brightness is too high along the whole line, often 80 to 100% more than desired. In most cases this has no adverse consequences. For the most part, white detail is well preserved. But it went wrong in our 8K HDR test. There suddenly a lot of light colored banding appeared visible in the brightest parts of the image. The problem turned out to be less visible in the same 4K image. By lowering Contrast to 40, we not only brought that problem under control, but the entire brightness curve also fell into place.

In short, the Q950R delivers impressively clear HDR images, but we remain Ask Samsung to provide a better calibrated fashion. That the excessive increase in brightness is not without risk is immediately proven.

Samsung QE55Q950R – Gaming, Reflections, Viewing Angle

The Q950R series uses the Samsung Ultra Viewing Angle technology. (reread the operation in our previous article ). Just like on the Q90R, the results are very strong, the screen retains almost all contrast even from a 60 ° angle and shows little color shift, results that come very close to OLED. Moreover, the screen withstands reflections very well.

In the “film” image mode, we measure a lag of 105.7 ms. With the “game” mode active, the lag drops to 15.7 ms, a top result. You activate the game mode in the settings, under “General, Manage external devices, Game mode”. Samsung has also added Motion Plus settings there so that you can also tinker with the sharpness of motion in game mode, although the lag goes towards 40 ms (still good).

Samsung offers support for VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), under the name Freesycnc (such as AMD's technology of the same name). By activating 'improve games', the TV illuminates black detail to a limited extent so that you can see better in the shadows and adjusts the sound.

Samsung QE55Q950R – Sound quality

The sound system seems to take over the Q950R series from the Q90R series. You get firm sound, with audible bass, although you have to be careful not to turn up the volume. The bass disappears a bit in the background. For everyday use, even for film, it is great, for music it falls short. “Intelligent mode” adjusts the sound based on content and acoustics. The result was rather poor, but it is worth trying.

The QE55Q950R does not support Dolby Atmos but can transmit Atmos tracks to a compatible soundbar. In that case do not forget to activate Dolby Atmos in the settings.

Review equipment

For the lag measurement we use a Leo Bodnar Display lag meter. For all other measurements, we rely on a Spectracal C6 HDR2000 Colorimeter, Xrite i1 Pro spectrophotometer, a VideoForge Pro pattern generator, and the Spectracal Calman for Business software. We use an HDFury Vertex to analyze possible HDR problems.

Samsung QE55Q950R – Conclusion

The Q950R series is Samsung's second series of 8K TVs. Better dimming, the wide viewing angle and a One Connect Box with HDMI 2.1 connections are the most important improvements. This makes the device really ready for 8K content via HDMI. But do you benefit from this small screen size now? There is an added value, yes, but it is very small. And with Full HD or 4K content and from a normal viewing distance, the added value is negligible. As a result, you really need to have a clear usage scenario in mind to take advantage of it. For example, do you want to be ready to use the next-gen game consoles, or do you want to deliver 8K from a (powerful) PC? If that is not the case, the price seems too high to us, compared to Samsung's own QE55Q90R the 4K version of this device that offers virtually identical results after resolution, and is considerably cheaper (The official price is currently 2.599 euros.)

But you will certainly enjoy the images on the Samsung QE55Q950R. The 480 zones of the background lighting provide an excellent contrast and Samsung's quantum dots guarantee sparkling colors. The Quantum Processor 8K provides excellent image processing. And with Ultra Viewing Angle technology, Samsung delivers an LCD TV with an extremely wide viewing angle.

SDR content, still the large majority of what we view, allows you to fully enjoy the beautiful image. For HDR you unfortunately have to do without Dolby Vision. And Samsung continues to make the HDR image too clear, although luckily that is easy to correct. With its particularly high brightness, the device is a top choice if you like to look in a lot of light. Although it has to be said, films also look fantastic on eclipse on this TV.

Finally, the One Connect box with Invisible Connection and Ambient Mode are beautiful lifestyle features that give the Samsung Q950R series extra value. Are you in the market for an 8K device for some reason, and you can't wait anymore, then this Samsung QE55Q950R is an excellent choice, although we would personally opt for a larger size.

Cons [19659097] None Dolby Vision / Atmos
  • Calibrated too clearly in HDR
  • Price
  • Advantages

    • Excellent local dimming (Contrast and black value)
    • Unseen viewing angle for an LCD TV
    • Ultra HD 8K and HDMI 2.1
    • Invisible Connection and One Connect box
    • Good sharpness of motion
    • Very clear HDR display

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