While the lack of 8K content memory and inability to afford it is a major barrier to entry, the Samsung Q950TS 8K QLED TV is both a testament to what our future viewing will look like, as well as a good example of how good a TV makes 4K content look right now.
Bright, detailed images
Expensive by any measure
No Dolby Vision
The Samsung Q950TS represents part of the company’s latest and most cooperative effort to convince the public to buy TVs that a giant – and overly determined – TV is not only reasonable but actually a reasonable proposal.
It is a little difficult to sell for two reasons. For one, 8K TVs are terribly expensive and, for some others, the original content is not available. But Samsung, at least, seems to be trying to democratize the technology as it appears to want to keep its 8K TV prices at just ‘absurd’.
Well, there exist 8K cameras and yes, Netflix has obviously used a camera to develop some content. And yes, if this summer’s Tokyo Olympics are not against coronavirus paranoia, Japanese broadcaster NHK plans to broadcast the entire shebang in 8K. But really, 8K content in any meaningful quantity is still a long way off.
But if it creates any kind of case itself, the Q950TS will have to do wonders with things of lower resolution that it will spend all its time display. Thankfully, it absolutely does.
Price and release date
Samsung Q950TS is Samsung’s flagship QLED 2020 TV. U.S. shoppers have a single 85-inch model, priced at $12,999.
For UK shoppers, it’s quite expensive at £7,999 for the 75-inch model (rated here), although you can drop to £5,999 for the 65-inch model – or up to £11,999 for the 85-inch model.
Honestly, expectations are low when it comes to tv design. As long as the screen is large and borderless, it is the work that is done.
And in the case of Q950TS, Samsung succeeded.
Screen size: 75- and 85-inches | Tuner: RF, satellite | Panel technology: QLED | Panel resolution: 7680 x 4320 | Smart TV: Samsung/Tizen | HDR: Yes (HLG, HDR10, HDR10+) | Inputs: 4x HDMI (inc 1 x HDMI 2.1), 3 x USB, ethernet | Dimensions: 94 x 165 x 1.5 cm (HxWxD) | Weight: 36kg
The 75-inch screen is large in anyone’s language, and Samsung has tried to wrap it into what is actually the thinnest border ever seen on production TVs. With a thickness of 2mm, it hardly exists – and if you sit a reasonable distance away from this TV, it will actually disappear from view. As the party’s tricks go, this is one of the good things.
Almost impressive is the depth of 15mm of the chassis. It is clear that QLED technology requires a backlight layer, so it will never achieve the crowd-redness thinness of OLED, its main rival, but since Samsung has eliminated all the input, output, and power requirements, the Q950TS does not have OLED- lumpy styling or bulging in any position at the back of its frame.
All inputs – those are four HDMI sockets (one of which is specified 2.1), three USB inputs, the in-air pillar of the RF and the satellite TV, the ethernet socket – that are contained in the rather large One Connect box. It also has a digital optical output and even takes care of the main power supply – just a modest connection to the TV is all that is needed. So, if you intend to wall your expensive new TV, it will be almost without water.
However, if you don’t have a bit of wall-mounted spare parts big enough, Samsung will be quite happy to sit on a pedestal in its central position. From here, it leans a little further back than three degrees, to direct its screen into your eyes and not into your waistline. Because you’re not going to stand a big TV like this on a high surface, are you? After all, you don’t want to watch TV like sitting too close to a screen in a movie theater …
TL design; DR: Out-of-board connections, unique thin frames, and ultra-thin borders make up one of the most discreet 75-inch TVs around.
Smart TV (Tizen)
Since its 2019 TV series all possess the best user interface / smart TVs, Samsung has decided very reasonably in resisting its winning formula. The interface originating from Tizen has been modified the background color from white to light blue to reduce eye strain, but in all aspects, it is still a logical, logical, sensitive, and easy-to-customize system as before. And it is still fully loaded applications.
The settings menu adjusts the image quality very comprehensively, but not so scary, and editing the image to suit your requirements and preferences is also not complicated and time-consuming. And finally, Samsung’s excellent remote control, which has a weight and not too many buttons, will help a lot. So is the built-in Alexa function – and has compatibility with the Google Assistant for “early access.”
Indeed, if the Q950TS can work well with this relatively difficult resolution standard, then it is completely free. After all, the complete scarcity of original 8K content means Samsung will spend most of its time upgrading things with lower specifications to match the powerful 7680 x 4320 resolution – and a 1920 x 1080 Blu-ray disc by Douglas Gordon and Phillipe Parreno. Zidane: The 21st-century portrait provides just over 2 million pixels of information. This causes Q950TS to have more than 30 million remaining images to fill in the information.
However, thanks in no small part to Samsung’s massive machine learning and AI efforts, the 75Q950TS can cross-reference the structure of the image with its huge information database. Then it may have a much more educational effort in upgrading the image to fit its huge resolution than ever before.
There is quite a lot of image noise in the original document, which Samsung can do very little. And in the hands of the 950TS, there is no such thing as absolute certainty when identifying the edges of an object or tracking the relentless movement of a footballer – but nevertheless, Samsung offers an image with an impressive and convincing composition.
It works very well when it comes to recovering details and describing textures – it makes Real Madrid’s jersey look as polished and flammable as we all remember it. The contrast is very strong and the level of detail remains high even in the brightest or darkest scenes. The ability to keep black tones distinguished and white tones clean – even if they are displayed simultaneously on the screen – is impressive at a fairly basic level.
In general, the most remarkable thing is the clarity and confidence about the large number of upgrades that are being made here. No serrations, no overlaps, and very few particles can appear when HD content is upgraded by some 4K screens – so for this Samsung 8K to look like that is quite an interesting thing.
With the deeply impressive performance of the Q950TS with high-resolution content, it is no surprise to see that the Q950TS works well when upgrading the 3840 x 2160 resolution of Blu-ray 4K Mad Max: Fury Road. The image really outperforms any number of highly-rated original 4K screens.
There is no forming aspect that this Samsung does not seem to excel at. It produces unusual levels of brightness, it draws from an astonishingly extended palette, it shows almost indecent levels of detail. Despite the extremely stylized nature of the film and its relentless movement, the movement on the screen is controlled by iron fists. Even the brightest white tones resist bleaching and the deepest blacks retain detail.
Hdr-enabled images of the disk are completely striking from Q950TS – especially too dark red and orange tones capable of dealing with cataracts. But this is not a blunt tool: Samsung’s full-array backlight (480 regions in total) can be controlled down to an individual area. So even if the darkest, brightest colors are scorched off the screen, the darker areas of the scene remain convincingly dark. And only in the most difficult cases will the backlight feel its presence.
However, Samsung cannot eliminate the largest, most even color areas (which in this film means ‘sky’ or ‘desert’) of image noise – it is the only public sign of just how hard the Q950TS’s upgraded engine is working.
In terms of control, dynamic features, and simple reliability, Q950TS will have some beats. The same is true since it seems that they have to spend most of their time working to bring the 4K image to its original resolution.
Of course, Samsung looks nothing spectacular when it comes to displaying original 8K content. But unless you’re in a very prime location, the 8K content you’ll find is similar to the 8K content I get to see: adorable photos of adorable electronic performances of opening flowers, stunning city panning photos, close-up of beautiful animals…
Yes, they all look great. Colorful, high contrast, luxurious details … but until there is any meaningful 8K content available on disk or via the streaming service, it will not really make any difference to your decision-making when taking your credit card (or not) for Q950TS.
You must have some unique thought processes going on if you are considering leaving a small fortune on a new TV but do not yet have a budget for a suitable sound system that comes with it. However, Samsung has moved to address what is often characterized as the ‘bad’ sound of its 2019 8K models, by implementing something they call ‘Object Tracking Audio+’.
Basically, this means that a series of eight speaker drivers are arranged in a way that Samsung describes as the ‘4.2.2’ sort type. That means two mid-range drivers firing from the top of the frame, another pair of mid-speakers plus two low-frequency units firing from the bottom, and a tweeter on either side of the frame about halfway through. The idea is to both expand the field and provide a level of soundtracking for whatever is happening on the screen.
In some respects, it is reasonably successful. Surely eight drivers and their total power of 70 watts produce a loud, well-separated sound – and there is no denying the level of motion tracking along with it. But the negative signature is quite hard and thin, therefore it is not suitable for the elegance of the image with which it comes with almost funny.
Other plates to ponder …
Well, last year’s Samsung 8K models are now available with some attractive discounts… but Q950TS is a good step up from any of those models, so let’s not get involved in any erroneous economy.
It is better to consider one of the larger and more complete 4K TVs in the world, especially those with medium sound quality. And in that respect, it is difficult to look beyond the remarkable Philips OLED + 984. Admittedly, it’s ‘only’ using a 65-inch screen, but unlike Samsung, it a) is equipped with Ambilight, b) including Dolby Vision as well as HDR10+ dynamic metadata compatibility and c) better sound than any other TV on the market thanks to its Bowers / Wilkins integrated Soundbar.
And it is only half the price of 75Q950TS, so it helps you get enough money for an enjoyable holiday or something.
Or you can go to another extreme and spend five figures on an 85-inch Sony Z9G / ZG9 8K TV. It is larger than Samsung, both in terms of screen size and frame depth, but it is a relatively impressive 4K content upgrade. However, it is not as bright as Samsung nor sophisticated with low light details.
75Q950TS is a very worthwhile advance of 8K art. Its original 8K images are almost modest in terms of their honesty, and in the real world, it is a good set of 4K content upgrades as you can buy at any price. The price and lack of original content make it an undeniable private purchase, but it’s hard to imagine anyone seeing the photos it offers and then wishing they didn’t bother.