Review: Samsung The Sero (QE43LS05T) lifestyle TV- We close the year with a review of what is undoubtedly the most remarkable Samsung TV set. The Sero is fully targeting a younger audience, attached to TikTok and Instagram, who view their videos largely in portrait fashion. Can The Sero seduce us?
Samsung The Sero – specifications
|What||Ultra HD LED LCD TV|
|screen size||43 inches (109 cm), flat|
|Connections||3x HDMI (3x v2.0, eARC, ALLM), 2x USB, 2x antenna, Bluetooth|
|Extras||HDR10, HLG, HDR10+, WiFi (802.11ac) built-in, Tizen 6.0, AirPlay 2, USB/DLNA media player, DVB-T2/C/S2, CI+ slot, Quantum 4K Processor|
|Dimensions||565 x 1200 x 327 mm (incl. foot)|
|Weight||33.3 kg (incl. feet)|
|Consumption||SDR 115 (G) / HDR 135 watts (G)|
|Recommended retail price||999 euros|
Samsung The Sero – Design
An unusual television that requires an unusual design. The Sero (QE43LS05T) is not intended to stand on the TV cabinet! No, he just takes a place in the room, on the floor. The screen leans back, a wide leg provides the necessary support. There is quite a bit of weight in the bottom of the housing. This is of course necessary, because when you swivel the screen you want everything to remain stable.
The whole unit is finished in navy blue plastic. That looks good, but not particularly luxurious. There are also no other colors available, which was a bit disappointing (navy blue is not our favorite color), especially for a device that still has a hip approach. The front bottom is covered with fabric, behind that are the speakers.
All in all, it’s a pretty nice design. The intention is also that you can move The Sero, but because of its weight this is certainly not obvious. If you think that’s a likely scenario, get the optional wheels. So you only have to pull out the socket and you can drive The Sero around your house.
Samsung The Sero – Connections
The Sero (QE43LS05T) has a very specific audience and use in mind (smartphone users), and you will notice that with the connections. Three times HDMI 2.0, and as HDMI 2.1 features you only get eARC and ALLM. Furthermore, there are only two USB connections and two antenna connections.
No headphone output, you have to use Bluetooth for that. But strikingly, no Ethernet connection either. WiFi is of course available. All connections are hidden behind a cover at the rear at the bottom. You can let cables run along the support to keep the cable management a bit tidy.
Samsung The Sero – Installation
Like other Samsung TVs, The Sero uses the Tizen Smart Hub system. The installation would therefore go smoothly, but a surprise awaited us there. After all, The Sero must be fully installed via the Samsung Smart Things app on your smartphone. That is a logical choice, because the device is specifically intended for use with a smartphone. In the first step, however, things went wrong. The app found the TV but refused to connect to the TV. We thought no problem, we will install in the classic way with the remote. However, that is not an option. It really can only be done via the smartphone. Connecting an Ethernet cable is not a solution either, because… no Ethernet connection is available. And of course you can only configure WiFi via the Smart Things app. In the end we gave the device a factory reset,
Here’s a tip for Samsung: provide the option to install in the classic way with the remote.
Ease of use and smart TV
We already know the Tizen Smart Hub, so let’s immediately look at the special features of The Sero (QE43LS05T). For a complete overview of the possibilities, we refer you to us background article about the Samsung Smart Hub. The Sero switches from vertical (portrait) mode to horizontal (landscape) mode at the push of a button (on the remote or in the Smart Things app). It’s a classic 16:9 television in the horizontal position, and a target for your portrait videos in the vertical position.
You can configure what the TV shows when it’s just in portrait mode. This can be done via Smart Things or via the icon to the left of the Home icon in the start menu (see photo above). You can use this to set a kind of screensaver, either with your own photos or with atmospheric images or videos from Samsung. Very nice, and very decorative. The last option you will find there is the ‘Soundwall’, which are visualizations for your music. You use them by playing music via Bluetooth or via Smart View.
But of course we are especially curious about the use of The Sero for video. You use the portrait mode by rotating the screen itself, for example with the remote, and then playing portrait content. Samsung claims that The Sero also rotates itself based on the detected content, but that was very rarely the case in our tests. We almost always had to intervene manually. That is of course not a big problem.
Where do you get portrait content from? The most obvious options are TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat. But all those apps are not on your TV, so you have to watch it on the TV via Mirroring. Mirroring causes a slight loss of quality, so it’s not ideal, but the impact is minor. That went smoothly with the Samsung Galaxy S21 that we received (via Smart View). Your smartphone screen and the TV do not have the same aspect ratio. You can therefore select in the settings of the app whether you want to limit the smartphone screen to 16:9 format so that it fills the screen on the TV (and you therefore have small black bars above and below the content on your smartphone). Or you can opt for a full smartphone screen, but then you will have some black bars on the TV. The first option almost always seems the best to us.
We had less luck with our Google Pixel 4a, which refused to mirror to The Sero, even from the Smart Things app that was not possible. That is probably a limitation of the Pixel, but it does reveal that it is best to have a Samsung Smart Phone to be sure. If you use iOS, no problem, The Sero has Airplay2 on board, so your iPhone can mirror you perfectly to The Sero.
You can cast YouTube and Netflix to The Sero, so that works without loss of quality (and also worked flawlessly on our Pixel). You can also use the YouTube app on The Sero itself in portrait mode. Video in portrait, we’ve always been told that’s heresy, but honestly, there are beautiful videos to be found that illustrate that there are indeed good things to do with it. This one ‘Impact’ by Bluearth Production for instance.
The TV received the standard Samsung remote control, so not the new version with a photovoltaic panel on the back. The white remote provides a limited number of keys, but they work well with the Smart Hub interface. Moreover, we suspect that you will use your smartphone a lot.
At the top right, Samsung provided a key to rotate the screen, which is, in addition to the volume key, the most important reason to keep the remote at hand.
The Sero has a single TV tuner for digital TV (DVB-T2/C/S2) and one CI+ slot. The media player is good, but can’t handle the older Divx or Xvid and it doesn’t play DTS soundtracks (which it doesn’t pass through eARC either). Subtitles and HDR were no problem, and the audio player is complete. Via TV Plus you stream a number of extra channels via the internet. They are integrated into the Live TV environment. To make it really useful, Samsung hopes to expand the current channel offering in TV Plus, possibly even with local content. You also get Ambient Mode and there is a slightly more limited version of ‘PC on TV’ where the video chat option via Google Duo seems to be missing. MultiView is unfortunately not available on The Sero.
Samsung The Sero – Image Processing
The Sero (QE43LS05T) uses the Samsung Quantum Processor 4K, so good image processing is assured. Good deinterlacing, sharp upscaling, excellent noise suppression, we all know those things. Still, compared to the other models we tested this year, we see a few differences. For example, it detects slightly slower when horizontal or vertical overlays/tickers appear on the screen. Such a running text is then torn for a few seconds, or stutters, after which the processor suddenly finds the right cadence and the text is clear. As on all Samsung models, the noise reduction is behind a simple on/off setting. That noise reduction can make the image a bit softer in some cases, but it is essential if you want to get rid of color bands. In our dark Game Of Thrones scene, however, the color bands were noticeably less distracting, presumably because of the limited contrast. So we were more inclined to leave that setting off. But because the average content via TikTok/Instagram is rather mediocre, we still recommend that you leave that setting activated. You can then always give ‘sharpness’ a small push, up to 5 for example. And as tempting as it may be to activate the Contrast Enhancement, we don’t recommend it. The low setting makes the image faded, the high setting suppresses too much black detail. You can then always give ‘sharpness’ a small push, up to 5 for example. And as tempting as it may be to activate the Contrast Enhancement, we don’t recommend it. The low setting makes the image faded, the high setting suppresses too much black detail. You can then always give ‘sharpness’ a small push, up to 5 for example. And as tempting as it may be to activate the Contrast Enhancement, we don’t recommend it. The low setting makes the image faded, the high setting suppresses too much black detail.
The Sero is equipped with a 50/60 Hz panel, so don’t expect too much motion sharpness. There is a clearly visible double blurry edge on fast moving objects, even if you set ‘Sharpness settings’ to ‘Auto’. With ‘LED clear Motion’ there is an option to activate Black Frame Insertion, and that makes edges significantly less blurry, but makes the double edge even more visible. In addition, you also see a 60Hz flicker, so all in all it is better to leave that off. The motion interpolation holds up fairly well, but in fast moving images there is always a clear stutter, even if you set ‘Vibration Reduction’ to 10. ‘Auto’ still seems the best choice for this group of settings.
Here you will find an explanation of the most important picture settings and tips for setting up your TV.
|General||Expert Settings||Sharpness Settings|
|Picture mode: Movie mode
Picture size settings: 16:9 standard
Fit to screen: On
Contrast Enhancement: Off
Film Mode: Auto Color
Tone: Warm 2
Gamma: BT.1886 / 0
Shadow Detail: 0
RGB Mode: Off
Color Space: Auto
|Auto or Customized:
Vibration Reduction: 68_10
Noise Reduction: Auto or Off
Samsung The Sero – Image Quality
The Sero got an IPS panel, which means moderate contrast with a good viewing angle. That is a very reasonable choice for this device. The primary purpose is to watch entertainment from your smartphone, not deliver high-end movie enjoyment. If you watch with friends, not everyone is sitting right in front of the screen, so the wide IPS viewing angle has some added value.
That being said, with an ANSI contrast of 850:1 you will not experience a deep black. The TV uses global dimming, and on a more forgiving pattern we still get 935:1 but you can’t get more. The screen has reasonable uniformity, good in bright images, but a little bright in the corners in dark images. In addition, the screen suffers from ‘glare’, but that is mainly visible from an angle.
The ‘Film’ image mode is properly calibrated. The gray scale is a bit too cool, that won’t bother you. The gamma value is correct, but shows relatively light shadow nuances. That doesn’t prevent The Sero from losing a bit of black detail, though. Combined with the moderate contrast, this leads to very poor results in dark scenes. The color reproduction is fine, and clear images come into their own. Just what you want for all your TikTok and Instagram fun.
Samsung The Sero – HDR
This TV really does not aim for HDR viewing pleasure, but of course it does support it. Like all Samsungs, it offers HLG, HDR10 and HDR10+. But with a maximum brightness of 386 nits, it is not really equipped to do justice to HDR images. In addition, it dims to 208 nits on a 2% window. Small light accents therefore still lose in brightness. Although the quantum dot backlighting provides a 90% DCI-P3 color range (66% Rec.2020), it does have the necessary advantages in terms of color reproduction.
We thought, why didn’t Samsung give The Sero a 500 nits peak? Would that make the image look a lot better? But that wouldn’t change the poor contrast. And without proper local dimming, HDR images would always appear a bit duller than hoped.
We see more or less the same trend in the HDR Film image mode as in SDR. The screen suppresses a little bit of shadow detail, but accentuates what is visible quite strongly. Due to the very low maximum peak brightness, the screen has to be strongly tone maps, and HDR images lose quite a bit of impact. That effect becomes stronger when the content is mastered with high peak values such as 4,000 nits. The Sero does attempt to preserve white detail, but must make the images a lot darker than intended. The color rendering is ok, but could certainly be better.
Gaming, Reflections and Viewing Angles
The QE43LS05T’s IPS panel has a good viewing angle. The image does become darker from an angle, but retains color and contrast well. In a dark room you do see a lot of glare from a corner, but that does not seem to us to be the most typical use of this screen.
The Sero is only a mediocre choice if you’re a gamer. The input lag of 26.4ms is not bad, but it is not really good these days. The 50/60Hz screen obviously doesn’t support HFR (120fps), and VRR isn’t supported either. The only feature you get is ALLM.
Samsung The Sero – Sound Quality
One of the nicest surprises of The Sero is its excellent sound quality. The 4.1 60 Watt sound system delivers more than a solid sound and a lot of bass into the bargain. That is not only very good news for your TV enjoyment but also for your music. You can also use The Sero as a Bluetooth speaker, the nice music visualizations are then included for free.
Samsung The Sero – Conclusion
Samsung The Sero (QE43LS05T) is not just any TV, and we have to keep that in mind. But its unique features are no reason to ignore the basics. For HDR, it is only moderately equipped, with limited peak brightness and contrast. And despite its hip nature, this isn’t the best choice for hardcore gamers, without HDMI 2.1 and with mediocre input lag. Finally, and we find that the most difficult, the compatibility with non-Samsung smartphones is not ideal. That is probably not entirely or always the fault of Samsung, but you do take it into account.
On the other hand, you really get a unique TV at home. The fun and handy design brightens up your living room, even when you’re not watching TV. You can also easily drive it around with the optional wheels. The image quality is fine, with good image processing and proper calibration. The IPS screen guarantees a wide viewing angle. Rotating the screen goes smoothly, and believe us, you suddenly look completely different at TikTok, Instagram or Snapchat. Thanks to the good audio equipment, The Sero also doubles as a Bluetooth speaker, with nice visualizations.
The Sero is really not for everyone, you have to fall for the design, or be really attached to vertical video content. We can live with the price.
- Unique portrait/landscape fashion
- Decent image quality
- Good image processing
- Excellent audio
- Extensive smart TV offer
- Very limited HDR capabilities
- Moderate contrast
- No HDMI 2.1 or extensive gamer features
- Poor compatibility with non-Samsung smartphones