Here it is, Samsung’s latest OLED TV. After the successful introduction last year, Samsung is presenting this year with a new type of panel that is brighter and more efficient. Could this QD-OLED be a threat to the new generation of W-OLED panels? We put the QE55S95C on the test bench.
Samsung QE55S95C – specifications
|Ultra HD 4K 144 Hz QD OLED TV
|55 inches (139cm)
|4x HDMI (4x v2.1 (40 Gbps), eARC, ALLM, VRR, 4K120), 1x optical digital out, 3x USB, 3x antenna, Bluetooth
|HDR10, HLG, HDR10+ Adaptive, WiFi (802.11ac) built-in, Tizen 7.0, AirPlay 2, USB/DLNA media player, DVB-T2/C/S2, dual tuner, CI+ slot, Neural Quantum 4K Processor, Smart Calibration
|1225 x 771 x 268 mm (incl. base)
|23.9 kg (incl. base)
|SDR 84 W (W) / HDR 151 W (W)
Samsung QE55S95C – Design
Samsung has also selected the most beautiful design for its best QD-OLED TV this year. The TV was given the Infinity One design, which is typically reserved for the top models. And it definitely doesn’t look out of place on the S95C. The entire device is now barely 11mm thin over the entire surface. A titanium black metal frame all around provides a strong board.
The flat back has a vertical stripe pattern, with six striking loudspeakers in it, and the connection for the One Connect box in the centre. We can easily imagine that the TV looks beautiful on the wall.
The metal titanium black base that comes in the box is remarkably heavy. For comparison, the device itself weighs just under 14 kg, the base alone weighs 10 kg. This makes for a very sturdy setup. Falling over is absolutely impossible. The screen also seems much firmer than last year.
Samsung QE55S95C – Connections
Samsung made a striking decision, the S95C got a One Connect box. That in itself is no surprise, after all, the device is very slim and the One Connect box only reinforces that image. But what is striking is that the QN95C, the Neo QLED top model, no longer has a One Connect Box. Those who want the specific convenience of this solution should therefore opt for the QD-OLED TV.
The box has four HDMI 2.1 connections, all with a 40Gbps bandwidth and support for ARC/eARC (on HDMI 3), ALLM, VRR and 4K120. There are also three USB ports, an optical digital output, Ethernet, WiFi and Bluetooth.
The One Connect box is a real asset if you opt for wall mounting, because only one cable runs to the TV that provides both data and power. If you place the TV on a piece of furniture, you can put all source devices together with the box in a cabinet. Or you can place the box on the back of the foot, for which Samsung supplies a shorter cable.
Samsung QE55S95C – Ease of use and smart TV
Tizen 7 is a small adjustment compared to the big step Samsung made last year. Then it implemented a full-screen interface for the first time. The main good news? Samsung has been working on a smoother experience. Visually little seems to have changed, but you navigate much faster and the interface does not falter, problems that occasionally disturbed us last year.
The structure of the Home screen is unchanged. You can adjust the row of apps in the center of the screen, both what it says and the order. Your HDMI sources and live TV also have a place there. On the left under the apps you will find the most recent source, in addition to channel recommendations from Samsung TV Plus. If you scroll further down, you will find recommendations from all kinds of streaming services. You can’t adjust any of that. We remain moderately enthusiastic about the layout, due to the lack of personalization.
In the fold-out section on the left side of the Home screen, there is now an icon that takes you directly to the quick settings, and one that shows the connected devices. That already saves a few clicks compared to last year, but we don’t think it’s ideal. Samsung would do well to think more carefully about how you group different functions and make them quickly and clearly accessible. You can also reach the quick settings by pressing the button at the top left of the remote.
Later in the year we will provide a new overview article of the Smart Hub.
The new remote is a lot smaller and thinner than its predecessor. The layout of the keys is largely unchanged. Only the hotkey for MultiView has disappeared at the top. The small remote uses a built-in rechargeable battery. Charging can be done with the photovoltaic panel at the back. And if you urgently need some extra charge, you can use the USB-C port.
The remote control is convenient to use. The keystroke is light and clear, and the layout and limited number of keys make it very simple. A button to select a different input would have been useful. And those who still zap a lot with the number of TV channels may miss a numeric keypad. Due to its small size, we see it disappear even more easily between the seat cushions.
The S95C has a double TV tuner for digital TV (DVB-T2/C/S2) and one CI+ slot. Watching and recording another channel at the same time is only possible if one of the two channels is unencrypted. You can cast YouTube and Netflix to the TV via Google Cast, and for iOS users there is support for Airplay2. The media player is good, but it doesn’t handle the older Divx or Xvid and it won’t play DTS soundtracks. Subtitles and HDR were no problem, and the audio player is complete.
No shortage of features. There is of course the Ambient Mode with which you can give the TV a decorative function when you are not watching TV. There is Workspace where you can connect to a Samsung smartphone, Windows or Mac PC. With MultiView you can view multiple sources at the same time, including a USB camera or the camera of your smartphone. And with Google Meet you can video conference. The TV has a built-in Zigbee hub and supports Matter.
Samsung QE55S95C – Image processing
Samsung doesn’t give its Neural Quantum Processor 4K generation numbers like other manufacturers do, and it seems to us that performance this year is largely on par with last year. However, we can be quite satisfied with that, because the processor performs very strongly. Film and video content is displayed flawlessly on the TV, thanks to excellent deinterlacing, and fast and reliable detection of the content type. Samsung is one of the few that succeeds in avoiding step formation even on the most difficult test pattern. The noise reduction can be found together with the motion settings under the “Sharpness” settings. You can choose to have the TV adjust those things automatically. If you don’t want a hassle, that’s definitely a good option.
We found the result fine, both for motion and noise reduction, with no obvious flaws. The noise reduction is not too aggressive, but on the other hand it neatly eliminates the heaviest noise, even if it is somewhat stronger compression noise (blocking). The upscaling is excellent, with great detail. Only if the noise reduction also has to work at that moment, often the case with DVD for example, is the result somewhat soft. A little more choice in the strength of the noise reduction could prevent that. To give it some extra spice, you can increase ‘sharpness’ to five. There is still room for improvement, however, in dealing with color bands in soft color transitions. Especially with dark low-quality images such as the Game of Thrones test scene, he cannot get rid of everything and it sometimes remains really disturbing.
The motion sharpness is excellent, as we expect from OLED-type panels. Not a single double border is visible, and edges are sharply defined. Only the finest detail remains hidden in fast-moving images. The motion interpolation intervenes very quickly and correctly, film pans are smooth, without stutter and with minimal artifacts. With “Led Clear Motion” you activate a Black Frame Insertion (what is BFI ) at 60 Hz. However, that gave little or no improvement and introduces visible flickering in the image.
|Image Sharpness Setting
|Picture mode: Filmmaker mode
Picture format settings: 16:9 standard
Fit to screen size: On
Contrast Enhancement: Off
Film Mode: Auto
Tint: Warm 2
Gamma: BT.1886 / 0
Shadow Detail: 0
Color Space: Auto
Maximum Brightness: Medium
|Auto or Customized:
Blur Reduction : 10
Noise Reduction: Auto or Off
Samsung QE55S95C – Picture quality
The S95C is equipped with QD OLED panel. If you want to refresh yourself on exactly how QD-OLED works , you should read our background article. This year, Samsung has a new panel that uses a hyper-efficient electroluminescent material and real-time power management. That panel must be brighter, more reliable and more energy efficient.
The sub-pixel distribution is unchanged, using a triangular pattern. This means that above and below white objects on a black background you can see a very fine colored border (green above, magenta below). However, this is completely invisible at normal viewing distances, but can be a point of attention if you want to use the TV as a monitor for a PC, and you are very close to the screen. Unfortunately, we cannot say whether the panel is more resistant to burn-in.
The Filmmaker Mode is exemplary calibrated and close to reference level. The pure and neutral gray scale guarantees a beautiful color reproduction. All of our test clips look their best, with natural tones and accurate skin tones.
In the darkest test scenes, we notice that the S95C is a little darker than desired, so that you lose a minimum of shadow nuances. The impact is very limited, and you can optionally opt for the gamma value to 2.2 if you prefer a slightly lighter image.
Samsung QE55S95C – HDR
What is the performance of this new panel in HDR? Because that’s where the biggest differences between devices lie. The S95C delivers a peak brightness of 1363 nits on the 10% window, leaving 271 nits on a completely white field. That’s a solid 30% improvement over the S95B. In that respect, Samsung certainly lives up to its promise. If we compare that with the LG G3, Samsung can only present a clear win on the completely white field. On all other windows, the G3 has a lead of about 10%. But of course we don’t just watch white screens. What about the color reproduction?
The color range seems virtually unchanged from last year. With 99% P3 and 83% Rec.2020, the Samsung presents impressive figures, and thanks to the RGB pixel structure, pure colors are much brighter than those on the G3. For example, the S95C scores a much higher color volume, with particularly intense and clear color reproduction.
Just like in SDR, the HDR Filmmaker Mode turns out to have a very good calibration. A tiny bit of black detail is lost in our dark test scenes, but it’s absolutely minimal. The notoriously dark House of Dragons test (1 nit!) does deliver excellent results. The S95C follows the required EOTF curve almost perfectly, but does clip a bit of white nuances to very clearly mastered content (4000 nits). Samsung has a new tone mapping setting “HDR Tone Mapping”. It is set to “Static” in Filmmaker Mode, so that no dynamic tone mapping takes place. Switching it to “Active” improves the shadow nuances and the TV also avoids clipping in the brightest tones, but unfortunately it makes many other scenes a bit too bright. As a result, you lose some depth or exceptionally some color. Do you look in a lot of light,
HDR images are a wonderful showcase for the TV that can deliver intense colors and deep contrasts. Unfortunately, Samsung sticks to its decision not to support Dolby Vision, which would really make the TV complete in terms of image performance.
Samsung QE55S95C – Gaming, Reflections and viewing angles
Thanks to the QD-OLED technology, the S95C has an almost perfect viewing angle. It tempers reflections well, but there is a slightly pinkish glow on the screen when a lot of light falls on it. That also tempers the contrast somewhat, so avoid strong direct sunlight.
The S95C is well equipped for games. With its four HDMI 2.1 ports, for example, you can easily connect a soundbar and still use more than one high-end game source. Not only does the QD-OLED panel provide perfect contrast and excellent motion sharpness, but the HDMI 2.1 ports also have a very low input lag of 5.6ms in 2K120 and 10.4ms in 4K60. They support VRR in all variants, HDMI VRR, AMD FreeSync and NVIDIA G-Sync Compatible, even though the latter is not in the specifications. The S95C supports up to 144Hz refresh rate, but you will hardly see that difference with 120Hz. The Game Bar gives you a good overview of the video properties and allows you to quickly adjust settings. You can also game in 21:9 (via PC).
Samsung QE55S95C – Sound quality
You would expect that the 70 watt 4.2.2 channel configuration can provide a solid soundtrack, but that turned out to be absolutely not the case. The TV delivers much less volume than expected, and there is hardly any bass reproduction. The sound is fine for dialogues, which are crystal clear. And even at high (relatively speaking) volumes, the processor does not need to intervene clearly.
But for movies, this is definitely not a gift. Epic soundtracks seem to come from two small narrow speakers, without any punch or clear surround. It seems to us that the S95C absolutely needs a good soundbar.
Samsung QE55S95C – Conclusion
Last year, Samsung introduced an OLED TV for the first time in a long time. The QE55S95C is a great successor to that model. The fact that Samsung does not support Dolby Vision is a pity, and remains a drawback. That the S95C has an under-performing audio system is worse. Especially in comparison with the image performance, the contrast is rather stark.
And that brings us to the strengths of the S95C. The new panel delivers a good 30% more peak brightness than the predecessor. Of course, it retains its excellent contrast, intense, bright colors, incredible viewing angle and very good motion sharpness. The calibration of the Filmmaker modes is exemplary, both in SDR and HDR. The images have an almost tangible depth and sparkling color and light accents. The image processing also delivers strong performance so that almost all content looks fantastic. The S95C is of course aimed at movie fans, but gamers will also find everything to maximize their gaming pleasure. The small improvements to Tizen are welcome. Not only is it now more responsive, but it’s a little more organized, now offering Matter and Zigbee support. The price seems correct at first glance, but it’s slightly more expensive than the LG G3, while you’ll have to reach for a soundbar for comparable audio performance. Samsung followed a very aggressive pricing policy last year, so it may also be worthwhile this year to watch the cat out of the tree.
- High peak brightness
- Handsome slim design
- Excellent contrast and good black detail
- Very good image processing
- Nearly perfect viewing angle
- Tizen smart TV delivers a lot of functionality, including Zigbee and Matter
- Very good motion sharpness
- Beautiful HDR display
- HDMI 2.1 connection and gaming features
- No Dolby Vision
- Substandard audio