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Review: Samsung QE65Q950TS (Q950TS series) 8K QLED television

Review: Samsung QE65Q950TS (Q950TS series) 8K QLED television
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Samsung is firmly committed to 8K, and the new flagship, the QE65Q950TS (Q950TS series), clearly illustrates this. The device comes with a number of new features, from design to upscaling, which we do not find on the 4K models.

Samsung QE65Q950TS – specifications

  • What: Ultra HD Full Array LED-LCD TV with local dimming ( 24 × 14 segments)
  • Screen size: 65 inch (163 cm), flat
  • Connections: 4x HDMI (3x v2.0, 1x v2.1 (40 Gbps), eARC, ALLM, VRR, HFR), 1x optical digital out, 3x USB, 3x antenna, Bluetooth
  • Extras: HDR10, HLG, HDR10 +, WiFi (802.11ax) built-in, Tizen 5.5, AirPlay 2, USB / DLNA media player, DVB-T2 / C / S2, CI + -lock, Quantum 8K Processor, Invisible Connection / One Connect box, No Gap-Wallmount
  • Dimensions: 1,433 x881 x 262 mm (incl. base)
  • Weight: 32.1 kg (incl. base)
  • Consumption: 344 / 0.5 watt (Energy Label D)
  • List price: 5,999 euros

A complete overview of all Samsung models with their specifications can be found in the Samsung 2020 QLED TV line-up . All other line-ups for 2020 can be found here .

Samsung QE65Q950TS – Design

An flagship has an impressive design. And yes, Samsung has certainly succeeded. The “Infinity” design focuses on images in a way we rarely saw. A border around the screen? No, there is not, if you forget that tiny two mm edge. Which is not difficult, because you don't see it from a normal distance.

That typical bump at the back of every device? Gone. The Q950TS series is barely 15 mm deep, and perfectly flat all over the rear. And yes, there is a Full Array Local Dimming background lighting. The side is finished with an alloy strip, perforated with numerous small holes.

The heavy, yet elegant central foot makes the QE65Q950TS float effortlessly above your furniture. The screen leans back slightly (4 °). And if you want to hang this beautiful piece of design on the wall, no problem, the No Gap wall mount is included in the box. In a world where TV designs are strangely boring and uniform, this Samsung is a real relief.

Samsung QE65Q950TS – Connections

To keep installation as simple and neat as possible, you get the One Connect box with all connections stand. A cable between the TV and the box is sufficient to send all data to the TV and to power it. The One Connect box is a piece of hardware that has been thoroughly washed out. It is slightly higher, but less wide than last year's model, and quite heavy.

On the One Connect box of the Q950TS series you will find four HDMI connections, one HDMI2.1 to provide a higher bandwidth. . On HDMI 4 you can use 40 Gbps bandwidth, enough to offer 4K120 10 bit 4: 4: 4 signals. The device also supports eARC, ALLM, and VRR (HDMI VRR and AMD Freesync). Learn more about all of these features, and whether you need them, in our HDMI 2.1 article . You will also find an optical digital audio output, the network connection and antenna connections. On the side are three USB connections. There is no headphone connection, but the Q950TS does have Bluetooth for wireless headphones.

Samsung QE65Q950TS – Ease of use and smart TV

Samsung uses the same smart TV environment on all its QLED models, so we will resume part of our [19659029] Q80T review . Installing can be done in the classic way, using the remote control, but those who prefer to use their smartphone install the Samsung Smart Things app. It makes the whole process even easier.

Samsung's Smart Hub interface is clear and convenient to use. The interface is very responsive and easy to navigate. This new version seems to only contain cosmetic changes. For example, the tiles on the Home screen are now square so that they take up less space and the background color of the interface is dark. Whether older devices will get the new interface is not yet certain. Samsung does not systematically introduce new features on older models.

Some of the settings such as the picture and sound mode, or the game mode can be selected from the Home menu. The full settings menu is well organized, with only the simplest settings quickly accessible. For more complex settings, go to the “expert settings”. You can find settings for the game mode under “General, Manage external devices”. The Smart Hub certainly remains one of our favorite smart TV platforms. For a complete overview of the possibilities, please refer to our background article about the Samsung Smart Hub .

Remote control

The Q950TS naturally comes with Samsung's luxury, metal remote. It is identical in layout and functionality to the black remote that you will find with the Q80T. It is also unchanged from, for example, the Q90R. The slim remote is made of light metal. It not only looks luxurious, but also feels very pleasant. 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.

Our only complaint: if you still have the habit of keying in channel numbers, you have to do that with an “on screen” number block. because there are no number buttons on the remote control itself. There are keyboard shortcuts for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Rakuten TV. You can configure the remote to control connected devices. Select the ribbon with all sources, and at the far right choose “Set universal remote control.”

Functions

The Q950TS has a dual TV tuner for digital TV (DVB-T2 / C / S2) and one CI + lock. . 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 cannot handle older Divx or Xvid and he does not play DTS soundtracks. Subtitles and HDR were no problem, and the audio player is complete.

The remote is equipped with a microphone, so you can give a lot of commands or say searches. Unfortunately, there is no support for Dutch yet, although you can use Bixby in English.

With Ambient Mode, Samsung also has a nice asset to give the Q950TS series a function as you don't actively watch TV. Choose a nice pattern, a work of art, or your own photos and the TV becomes part of your interior.

Samsung QE65Q950TS – Image processing

The Samsung Quantum 8K processor can further elaborate on the excellent results of the 4K version. . Of course, it is especially looking forward to the upscaling performance of the processor. Samsung included 8k demo content, and you can also view 8K content via YouTube, but let's be clear, a lot of 8K content is not there. Full HD and 4K will be the majority of your viewing pleasure for a long time to come. The previous 8K models used Machine Learning, where an algorithm was trained based on low-res and high-res pairs of images. That training results in a number of formulas that the processor uses to upscale each image in the best way. This year, the processor will add deep learning to this. A neural network can make even finer decisions, even learning as it works. Some more info can be found in our report of the 8K Summit in the section 'Evolution in upscaling techniques'.

The upscaling results, especially with high quality 4K and Full HD content, are really very handsome. The pixels are so small that you can no longer see them, and with all that detail, the Samsung often creates a very handsome, almost living impression. All the impression of an artificial image disappears, giving way to a tangible realism. Our test model is only a 65 inch, so the added value is limited, but we can easily imagine that the same results on 75 or 85 inch have a huge impact. In the 'Film' image mode, the sharpness is at 0, we found that it could easily go to 5 to even 10 to give the image just that little bit extra depth.

But this technology has also been limits. Those who watch SD content (such as DVD) should not expect miracles. Each pixel must then be converted into 80 (!) Pixels, and the processor cannot possibly come up with that much detail. SD content looks fine, but is irrevocably recognizable as such. Also keep in mind that the noise reduction must then perform relatively heavy work, so that those images sometimes look a bit flat. You can have the same effect with very low quality HDR images, such as our Game of Thrones test scene. We notice that the processor there relatively good color bands, but in the same step also sweeps a lot of detail under the mat.

The Q950TS has a very good motion sharpness. The “Auto” setting provides all detail and smooth images, with just a little too much image artifact. A better choice we think is the “Custom” setting with “Haze Reduction” at 10 for maximum detail in fast-moving images. You can set “Flicker reduction” between 6 and 10, depending on how much you dislike image interpolation. “LED Clear Motion” activates Black Frame Insertion (which is BFI ) for razor sharp images, but generates some visible flicker.

Key Settings

In our article on professionally calibrating a tv you can read all about the possibilities to achieve the best picture settings with a professional. If you want to get started yourself, please read our home cinema information guide . Here's an explanation of the main picture settings and tips for setting up your TV.

General Expert Settings Picture Sharpness Settings
Picture Mode: Movie
Picture Format Settings: 16: 9 Standard
Adjust on screen: On
Brightness: 32
Contrast: 45
Sharpness: 5-10
Color: 25
Tint (G / R): 0
Local Dimming: Standard
Contrast enhancement: Off
Movie Mode: Auto
Color Tone: Warm 2
Gamma: BT.1886 / 0 (-2)
Shadow Detail: 0
RGB Mode: Off
Color Space: Auto
Modified:

Blur. : 10
Vibration Reduction: 6-10
Led Clear Motion: Off

Noise Reduction: Auto or Off

Samsung QE65Q950TS – Image Quality

Samsung still uses a VA panel on its QLED models and quantum dot technology. The 8K panel uses a special viewing angle filter which makes the picture unclear. It seems to us that Samsung has adjusted the film compared to last year. The VA panel has an ANSI contrast of approximately 1.819: 1, which is on the low side. But as soon as you set local dimming to the standard mode, the contrast increases to an excellent 6,700: 1 and even 20,000: 1 and higher depending on the test pattern. Therefore, leave local dimming activated.

As a top model, the Q950TS is of course equipped with a Full Array backlight with local dimming . It uses 24 × 14 (336) segments, fewer than the Q950R that offered 30 × 16 segments. Samsung puts it to good use, and we immediately recognize their typical approach. Where necessary, light accents are made a bit darker so that the TV prevents as many visible jumps in the brightness or visible segment boundaries as possible. In our Gravity test scene where Sandra Bullock tumbles through space, the image gave a vignette effect, the starry sky covering the entire screen was dimmed in the four corners. However, we never had the feeling that excessive black detail was missing, on the contrary the Samsung often showed a lot of black detail.

Subtitles can apparently recognize the processor, which it dims in dark images does not cause adverse effects, that worked fine. Only the most extreme HDR examples, such as the above fireworks, can still cause slightly visible segment boundaries.

The screen has good uniformity. A thin bezel around the entire screen is slightly darker and tint light blue, but the bezel was thin enough not to disturb while viewing.

The 'Film' image mode is calibrated slightly too cool (small blue overtone), and even with Local Dimming on low there is still influence so that the brightest shades are a bit too bright. This had little effect on normal content. The image is sufficiently clear in the Movie image mode, but those who bring the backlight (it is now called “Brightness” in the settings) to the maximum can make it even brighter and with Local Dimming on High you can even get HDR brightnesses. The color reproduction is good, but the errors regularly flirt with the visible border. All in all, we expected better calibration from this top model. Not a problem for the average viewer, but the buyer of this model is probably not your average viewer. It is best to get a calibrator to get the maximum potential from this screen, it can incidentally be calibrated automatically with Calman.

Samsung QE65Q950TS – HDR

Samsung still supports HDR10 + in addition to HDR10 and HLG. On this flagship, Jet has to do without Dolby Vision, a flaw that we cannot ignore.

In addition to local dimming, Samsung has now also ensured that the power that is not needed can be used in the bright zones. . Therefore, the peak luminance must improve without higher power consumption. In practice, we don't notice that much in the Films HDR image fashion. On a 10% window, the Samsung peaks to 1439 nits, and on a completely white screen it is still at 386 nits. A good performance, but with that it is significantly below the 2019 Q950R (which reached 1750/476). Whether that has to do with another panel, limitations due to the design, or the upcoming stricter energy standards cannot be said.

The color range is still in the same range: 90% DCI-P3 and 66% Rec. 2020. Samsung generally calibrates its devices too bright in HDR and we still see that on the Q950TS. The brightness is clearly too high over the entire range. Fortunately, the banding problems as we saw them in clear 8K content on the Q950R last year have disappeared. It also neatly displays all white detail based on the metadata, up to 10,000 nits.

In addition to being too bright, the Q950TS series is also calibrated a little too coolly. As a result, HDR images have a very light blue overtone that you will probably only notice with a reference next to it. The measurement seems to indicate that the Samsung clips black detail, that test pattern turned completely black on our screen, but fortunately that turned out to be better. Yes, the device pushes away a little bit of black detail, but in many of our HDR test clips, the Samsung gave the impression of showing a lot of black detail. That is of course because it is also calibrated a little too clearly. HDR content is one of the strong points of this Samsung. The combination of all the light, a nice contrast with deep black and that smooth, really feeling image quality ensures impressive results.

Samsung QE65Q950TS – Gaming, Reflections and viewing angles

One of the great advantages of the top Samsung models (Q90T) and above), is the use of a very good anti-reflection film and excellent viewing angle. Reflections are well tempered, but do have a somewhat wider spread effect. The Q950TS has a different viewing angle film than last year. The film that was used last year gave excellent viewing angle results, but it did cause some debate whether the screen was still an 8K screen since the film sharply reduced the contrast between adjacent pixels. The new viewing angle film still delivers a good result, but the viewing angle is now closer to that of Sony's X-Wide Angle. From 20-30 ° you can clearly see the gamma value drop, making midtones a bit brighter. In extreme HDR images, the zone boundaries become more visible. The color reproduction remains very good. The viewing angle performance is still excellent, but no longer stands head and shoulders above the LCD competitors.

In Movie Picture mode, the input lag is 96.9 ms, which is quite a high result. In game mode it drops to 12.0 which is definitely excellent. Gamers can also use ALLM, and VRR (HDMI VRR and AMD Freesync) with a range of 48 to 120 Hz (more information about all features can be found here ). For this you use HDMI input 4. In game mode you can also adjust Motion plus settings to make more detail visible, although the input lag goes to 28ms. You will also find the “Dynamic Black Equalizer” with which you can make black detail more visible.

Samsung QE65Q950TS – Sound quality

With all that attention to image, you would almost forget that enough attention is also needed for sound. The Q950TS series is equipped with a powerful 70W audio system. Just like on the 4K models, in addition to the usual speakers at the bottom of the frame and the speakers at the top (for OTS, Object Tracking Sound), speakers are also built into the side, hence the name OTS +. The woofers are visible at the back of the screen, the other speakers are perfectly hidden behind the perforated grille on the side of the QE65Q950TS, a clever piece of engineering.

There is absolutely no lack of volume, but a little body. The high and mid tones are remarkably strong, but on the low side it is rather limited. Our drum tracks couldn't really convince. You can activate the tuning based on room acoustics by selecting “General, Intelligent settings, Adjustable Sound +”. It lifted the sound nicely in some of our tracks, but then again made a mistake with Handel's soprano aria Lascia ch'io pianga where the treble of the soprano distorted the speakers. (The distortion disappeared as soon as we switched off the intelligent mode) Obviously, that thin body has its limitations.

OTS + is a nice added value that not only lifts the sound, but also gives it more spaciousness and a clearer stereo image. Great to hear in demos, perhaps less pronounced in test fragments. With all those speakers, it remains a mystery why Samsung does not build in Dolby Atmos support. You can pass Atmos tracks to an Atmos compatible soundbar. Those who also use a Q-series Samsung soundbar will get a collaboration between the speakers in the TV and the soundbar thanks to Q Symphony .

Review equipment

For the lag measurement we use a Leo Bodnar Display lay meters. 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. To analyze any HDR problems, we use an HDFury Vertex. More information about our measuring equipment can be found here

Samsung QE65Q950TS – Conclusion

The Q950TS is a fine example of top technology, even if you look at the design. Are there still things that could be improved? You must accept that the device does not support Dolby Vision or Atmos. And the calibration could be more accurate, especially the HDR images are excessively clear. The handsome frame hides a lot of speakers, which provide a very spacious sound, but they did not produce enough bass sound.

The super slim frame of the Q950TS hides top LCD performance. The 8K screen of the QSamsung E65Q950TS creates impressive images, thanks to clever upscaling performance and the intense contrast of the 336 local dimming zones. Samsung uses that local dimming very well, preserves optimal black detail, and can give images a lot of punch with a high light output and deep black. HDR images splash off the screen, and even in a lot of daylight, they give a strong impression. The new viewing angle filter is slightly less effective than last year, but still provides one of the widest viewing angles for LCD TVs. In addition to all that visual violence, you get very spatial sound with a good stereo image, thanks to Object Tracking Sound +. For gamers there is an HDMI 2.1 connection with all necessary features. The handsome design is complemented by the One Connection box, Invisible Connection and an included No Gap Wallmount so that you can give the Q950TS the perfect place in your home.

The Samsung Q950TS series is a luxury purchase, you will immediately notice to the price tag. That is reasonable for such a chunk of top technology, but it remains expensive. Whoever buys this 8K top model, pays twice as much as for the 4K top model, while we find the added value limited on a 65-inch screen size. If you have a budget enough, choose one of the really big sizes.

Negatives

  • No Dolby Vision / Atmos
  • HDR too brightly calibrated
  • Fairly weak bass sound

Pros

  • Fantastic design
  • Very good local dimming (Contrast and black value)
  • Excellent upscaling
  • Good viewing angle
  • Top motion sharpness
  • Powerful HDR images
  • HDMI 2.1 connection and gaming features [19659107] Homecinema Magazine
    Review 9.0 10 Eric Beeckmans product

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