Our pick of Samsung’s best televisions. Which one should you audition?
No other TV manufacturer offers quite such a diversity of TVs as Samsung. From highly specified, budget belters to fancy flatscreens, it boasts a baffling array of different models large and small, but it’s worth investigating because the best Samsung televisions are among the finest you can buy.
HOW TO PICK THE BEST SAMSUNG TV FOR YOU
Korean giant Samsung has been the world’s most prolific TV maker for years, earning its position with slick design and often innovative tech. If there’s an envelope to push, Samsung will push it.
No-one can accuse the brand of playing it safe. High concept offerings like the Serif and Frame are spectacular evidence that it’s willing to take chances, and it’s still persisting with curved TVs where other brands have gone back to flat.
At CES 2018, Samsung unveiled the MicroLED Wall, a modular TV concept that rethinks the entire notion of a TV display. It may be some years before it finds any buyers, and even longer before it’s the norm, but it’s another example of the brand’s drive to innovate.
Samsung will also take an early lead with 8K later this year.
In the meantime, it offers plenty of solid value options in boring old, non-modular 4K. Whether its HDR, a curved screen, designer looks or just a great bargain, we’ve got a little Samsung something for you.
SAMSUNG’S BEST TVs, IN OUR ORDER OF PREFERENCE
Samsung is the unequivocal champion of curved TVs. It pioneered their introduction, and it keeps the faith now, even as others abandon the form factor. The current range of well-specified models is led by this mighty 65-inches.
With a curved iteration of the brand’s QLED glass and high contrast Moth Eye filter, the Q8C makes no compromises when it comes to image quality. Not to be confused with OLED, Samsung’s innovative QLED uses ‘Quantum Dot’ technology to improve off-axis viewing and give an extended colour palette for vibrant colour.
The screen supports HDR10 and HLG and is also compatible with HDR10+, a dynamic metadata rival to Dolby Vision that’s being adopted by Amazon Video. Peak brightness is very high – upwards of 1500 nits, for the technically minded.
The titular bend doesn’t actually add much to the set’s bulk, and if you sit close, the curvature adds to the sense of immersion. You do need to be careful when it comes to room reflections, mind, as they can distort quite weirdly. It’s best placed in a darkened space.
Because the panel is so slim, connectivity is delegated to Samsung’s One Connect junction box, which supports four HDMIs, three USBs, and ethernet, connecting to the screen via a single cable.
Samsung’s smart pantry is well stocked, with BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, All 4 and My5 catch-up services, as well as the likes of Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube. The Q8C comes with two remotes, one Bluetooth with voice integration, and the other a standard IR zapper. Don’t try and use both at once.
Don’t fancy a curved set but still want QLED finesse? This is the cheapest QLED TV on the market right now and priced at less than a grand it’s quite the steal. The set is compatible with HDR10 and adds HDR+ processing to upscale SDR sources.
The sound system has plenty of oomph too, thanks to a 40W power output. Connections include four v2.0 HDMIs and three USBs, though you’ll need to find a place for Samsung’s external OneConnect junction box. Also in the box: a OneRemote smart controller with the microphone, for voice control.
Build quality is high, and the design cute (or ‘Qute’, if you prefer).
Samsung’s smart platform features catch-up TV players from all the main channels (BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4 and My5), as well as Netflix, Amazon, NowTV and YouTube. Tuner options include Freeview HD and twin Freesat HD
In conclusion, this is the bargain for savvy, high-end Samsung hunters.
Offering an expansive spec for relatively little expense, this 55-inch iteration of Samsung’s best-selling 6-Series is hard to resist. The right side of slim, with a fashionably thin bezel, the design is smart without being flashy. A flying V-shaped pedestal stand will be easy to accomodate on most AV furniture.
The set is HDR10 compatible and offers a crisp 2160p picture. This one is not QLED, it’s edge-lit LCD, but vibrancy is still high thanks to the brand’s PurColour processor, and the panel employs UHD dimming technology for improved contrast.
Further image processing niceties include Ultra Clean View noise reduction and Auto Motion Plus, an image interpolation mode to reduce panning judder.
There are only three HDMI v2.0 inputs and two USBs, one of which you can use to time-shifting onto a USB hard drive, plus legacy inputs for older kit.
There’s no Freeview Play but Samsung’s Smart Hub platform has a wide range of streaming apps including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube, as well as its own Samsung TV Plus Video, on-demand streaming service. As with most of these TVs, the UE55MU6120 comes with a smart remote featuring an integrated microphone for voice control.
The onboard sound system is rated at 20w, and makes a fair noise, but I still think you might want to spend the money saved on this televisual bargain on a soundbar.
Samsung flexes its design muscles with the Frame TV, a conceptual sequel of sorts to the brand’s Serif designer telly. The Frame is designed for those what want a gogglebox that can double as art. Although what we’re basically talking about here is a TV that’s also a very large digital photo frame, in terms of execution the end result is very hard to fault.
First up, it is an excellent 4K television, with very punchy HDR visuals. There’s a full consignment of HDMI and USB inputs, too.
Engage Art mode and the TV displays paintings and images when it’s done displaying boring stuff – you know, TV shows and films. There are a number of pictures to choose from out of the box, including wildlife and landscapes, and you can also purchase further works of art from the Samsung Art store. Or, perhaps more realistically, display your own masterpieces, either uploaded via the USB stick or cast from your phone.
Almost as impressive as the panel itself is the No-Gap wall mount, which allows you to hang The Frame virtually flush to the wall. The only problem here is that it must connect to Samsung’s One Connect tuner box using an optical cable, and a plug socket using a power cable, so you will have to consider placement carefully, and possibly even consider a spot of rewiring.
Despite that, The Frame could well be a work of artistic genius.
If you’re hankering after a high-performance Samsung, but can’t quite spring for the two QLEDs at the top of our chart, this 7 Series set deserves your undivided attention.
For one thing, it sports extremely bright HDR (up to 1000 nits for spectral highlights), making it ideal for sucking the most out of HDR10, HLG and HRD10+.
Although an edge-lit panel, UHD Dimming is employed to enhance contrast, by independently adjusting tone and brightness based on. The set also has upscaling skills to make the most of HD SDR sources.
Dynamic Crystal Colour technology keeps images on the right side of ripe, while Precision Black image processing improves shadow detail.
Sports fans will take a shine to Samsung’s Supreme Motion processing cocktail, which reduces image blur and judder. We’d advise against using it for movies, as it brings with it the dread soap opera effect, where all images have a cheap-looking video-like sheen, but that’s just a given.
Streaming services available include Netflix and Amazon, both with 4K streams. There’s also Samsung’s own TV Plus VOD service on hand, should you fancy an impromptu movie night. There’s a level of voice navigation too, via S Voice on the remote. A Quad Core processor keeps things sprightly.
Design wise, the UE55MU7000 looks terrific, from the thin-bezel front to the sleek back panel. Clever cable management means you can run connecting cables down through the legs of the stand. Connections include four HDMIs, all 4K ready, and a trio of USBs, so there’s plenty of room for further 4K sources.