There's no doubting the excellence of the 55-inch Q95T. While it's a downgrade from the 2019 Q90R, the performance remains fantastic, with bright HDR colours, excellent upscaling abilities and consistently good image quality from any source. It's also well placed for the next-gen consoles with VRR and 4K/120Hz support.
- Terrifically bright and punchy HDR performance
- Class-leading gaming performance
- Stylish design
- Impressive upscaling
- Wide app support
- No Dolby Vision HDR
- Requires creating a Samsung account to download additional apps
- Review Price: £1799
- Object Tracking Sound
- AMD FreeSync
- Game Motion Plus
- Full Array Local Dimming
- Ultra Wide Angle Viewing
- Tizen OS
Can the Samsung Q95T (QE55Q95T) continue the good work the 65-inch model started?
The Samsung Q95T is the South Korean manufacturer’s flagship 55-inch 4K QLED for 2020. Except it isn’t the technical powerhouse some expected.
It’s not as high-specced as the 2019 Q90R – something of a last hurrah for Samsung’s 4K QLEDs in technical terms – as well as a sign of Samsung’s focus on 8K. The true successor to the Q90R is the Q800T 8K TV, whereas the Q95T is a more advanced version of the 2019 Q85R.
And that is no bad thing in our books. We gave the Q85R five stars back in November 2019, and the Q95T is only a couple hundred pounds more than a TV we called a “bit of a bargain”. Is the Samsung QE55Q95T another bargain?
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Samsung QE55Q95T design — Minimalist taste is appropriate for wall-mounting
The Samsung Q95T looks every bit a flagship 4K TV, and that’s partly because it looks similar to the Q90R. It’s an elegant looking set with minimalist feel and superb build quality.
The thin bezel gives the 55-inch screen even more space to occupy, while the central stand not only provides height, but the impression the screen extends outwards towards the viewer.
The main difference between the Q90T and Q95T is the inclusion of the One Connect box. That means there aren’t connections on the rear panel – the One Connect feeds all the power, audio and video to the TV via a cable. It also makes the Q95T better suited for wall-mounting as it can sit flush against a wall.
Samsung Q95T features — Plenty of smarts and ready for next-gen consoles
Let’s start with what the Samsung Q95T doesn’t have. It doesn’t have Dolby Vision HDR for refining HDR content on a scene-by-scene or frame-by-frame basis. It doesn’t have Freeview Play either, but this extends to the TV EPG (electronic programme guide). Other than that, the Samsung Q95T has an arsenal of features.
HDR10, Broadcast HLG (for BBC iPlayer, Sky Q) and HDR10+ are supported. HDR10+ is said to offer more headroom for a manufacturer to tailor dynamic HDR metadata to their display, but with a number of 4K Blu-rays and streaming services siding with Dolby Vision, there’s not as much HDR10+ content around. What there is benefits from extra refinement in terms of colours, brightness and tone.
Samsung says the Q95T’s peak brightness is 2000 nits. Average brightness is less, and likely around what the QE65Q95T can do in similar situations, while also being ahead of what either OLED or more conventional LCD LEDs can summon.
Related: What is HDR10+?
Powering the picture is the Quantum Processor 4K, which uses artificial intelligence to upscale standard-def and high-def content to near-4K quality.
Other Intelligent AI features include Adaptive Picture mode, which alters brightness in real-time to adapt to the changing brightness of a room. Adaptive Sound+ analyses audio, as well as the area around the TV, to optimise delivery.
Adaptive Volume adjusts volume levels based on usage patterns, while Active Voice Amplifier (AVA) analyses background noise and boosts vocals for clarity. You get a choice to activate AI settings during set-up, or you can toggle them individually in the General section of the Settings menu. If you do opt in, give Adaptive Picture a wide berth as image quality is not as good.
The Tizen operating system is back and it’s easy to navigate, slick and mostly responsive. It features all the major on-demand and UK catch-up apps and while Apple TV is no longer exclusive, Samsung still has Apple Music and BT Sport. There’s the usual suspects in Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, YouTube and Rakuten TV, and the lack of Freeview Play is no real concern as iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4 and My5 have their own apps. So too does BBC Sounds.
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One aspect about Tizen that still grates is the need to create a Samsung account to download more apps after setup. It’s annoying, and the process of creating an account took nearly 30 minutes, which is about 25 minutes too long.
The screen is supposedly anti-reflective, but a few reflections managed to glom onto it. The Ultra Wide Angle Viewing technology reduces the loss of saturation and contrast at acute angles, and unless you’re sitting at a right angle with your nose pressed to the screen, you shouldn’t notice any discernible loss of colour volume or contrast.
Head-on Ultra Wide Viewing Angle
Ambient Mode+ turns that big black abyss of a screen into one that blends better with the surrounding decor: the TV becoming a wallpaper for art, nature backgrounds or your own pictures.
Dimming zones are around half as much as the 2019 Q90R, but a step-up on the Q85R, which had fewer than 100. Samsung has tasked its algorithms to compensate for the reduction so it can derive the best contrast, brightness and motion handling possible.
Related: What is Filmmaker Mode?
Filmmaker Mode is supported, and thanks to an update it can now be chosen from the picture presets. All it does is disable processing, and Samsung suggests you use its own Movie preset as there’s literally zilch in terms of Filmmaker Mode content at the moment. The only difference is that it’s capable of being slightly brighter and darker than the Movie preset.
Cinema mode Filmmaker Mode
The Samsung Q95T is well placed to support the PS5 and Xbox Series X. The TV supports ALLM for automatically plunging the display into Game Mode, and VRR for synching the TV’s refresh rate with the console’s frame rate to ensure less tearing. There’s also 4K/120Hz support.
Samsung also provides two options for gamers in Game Mode and Game Motion Plus. The former nullifies processing for a blink-and-you-miss-it 9.3ms latency, which is class-leading. It does, however, lead to some flickering.
Which is where Game Motion Plus becomes useful. It reduces flickering and adds blur but introduces several milliseconds of latency on top (19.3ms). Picture and brightness are slightly improved, though you wouldn’t use it for fast-twitch games such as Call of Duty: Warzone or Apex Legends. Samsung QLEDs don’t yet feature Nvidia G-Sync, and last we heard this was still in the process of certification. AMD Freesync is compatible, though.
Multi-View splits content so you can watch two different sources simultaneously. An example is playing a game and casting from YouTube to bring up a tutorial. The size of the screens, position of the PiP (Picture in Picture) and which source is the priority for audio can be adjusted. It does have a habit of turning on nearly every time I cast to the TV, and I’ve not figured out how to stop this.
Alexa and Bixby (Samsung’s smart assistant) are built-in, with Google Assistant coming in an update but there’s no hard date as yet. As usual with higher-priced QLEDs, you get two remotes – a standard clicker and an elegant, silver version with a built-in microphone, plus volume and channel rockers. Both remotes have quick access buttons to Netflix, Prime Video and Rakuten TV.
The One Connect box houses all the connections. The 2020 edition is not as wide or as heavy as the 2019 version, but it is a smidge deeper. Around the back are four HDMI – including eARC (HDMI 3) – Ethernet, Optical, a Common Interface connection, terrestrial and satellite antennae plus an EX-Link port, with two side-facing USB 2.0 ports (down from 2019’s three). Bluetooth 4.2 is included for wireless connectivity.
Samsung Q95T performance — Terrific HDR and upscaling performance
Most of those features wouldn’t matter much if the picture quality was middling. Unless you’re after a 4K powerhouse à la the Q90R, most will be very pleased by the Samsung Q95T’s picture quality.
The QE55Q95T delivers a clean, colourful and fantastically bright image regardless of the source. Broadcast content is handled well, with HD a showcase for strikingly clear colours, detail and a presentation that’s natural in its look. There are times where complexions can be shiny and faces slightly smooth, but this is the case with all TVs upscaling HD content.
Standard Def High Definition
Standard def content is also capably handled. While there’s an obvious lack of definition, clarity and sharpness, there’s no egregious artifacting or distracting halos, and colours are reasonably on target compared to the HD signal.
Streaming from various services is also excellent, even if there’s a slight twinge of disappointment that while Netflix, Disney Plus and Apple TV+ support it, Samsung is still reluctant to get onboard the Dolby Vision train. Prime Video’s support for HDR10+ doesn’t quite make up for it. Something I’ve noticed about Samsung’s QLEDs is how quickly the stream gets up to speed, and that’s not always a given as some TVs suffer from distracting pixelation and blurriness.
Motion is handled well enough. With Blur and Judder set at 4/4, jerkiness of broadcast content is mostly ironed out despite a few stutters here and there. When it comes to fast movement in sports such as football and motorsport, while there’s a bit of untidy edge definition, the Q95T mops it up quickly. It’s a very competent performance.
Local dimming handles brightness in a manner that’s immersive rather than distracting. More dimming zones would make it more nuanced, but it’d be hard to argue the performance on show is anything less than capable. Captain Marvel’s escape from the Kree on Mar-Vell’s ship is given more pop and dynamism as Danvers goes full ‘binary’; starting off as a flicker in a dimly lit corridor before exploding into a bright light, the Q95T never out of step as Danvers grows in intensity.
An earlier scene in Captain Marvel where Starforce attempts a rescue on the planet of Torfa and the Q95T puts in a reasonable showing with low light levels, producing a good degree of detail and clarity despite the general murkiness of the scene.
HDR performance is excellent, both nuanced and punchy in its description. The opening of Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2 is bright, in keeping with everything else the Q95T does, and colours are quite bold and rich – such as the blues and golds in The Sovereign’s throne room – for an attention-grabbing look.
Blooming is kept to a minimum and you’d need a sharp eye to spot any backlight bleed. The reduction in dimming zones means the Q95T is better with bigger and bright objects, but in order to avert potential blooming with smaller objects, it appears to reduce the brightness of these smaller objects (at least in Standard Mode).
In Movie mode colours are wonderfully natural and accurate. Detail levels are sky high – just look at the nicks, scratches and reflections in Thanos’ Avengers: Endgame armour – as the Q95T displays content with razor sharp fidelity and clarity.
A play of Alien in HDR10+ and whites are impeccable throughout. It’s also a fairly three-dimensional image, with the Q95T creating a sense of depth and space with the spaceship’s dank and gritty confines.
Skin tones appear spot on from Yaphet Kotto’s dark skin to John Hurt’s paler complexion. Black levels are deep, though there’s a sense near-dark details are slightly lost. Once into the film’s final third, you can see and feel the sweat on the crew – it’s an impressive image.
Samsung’s OTS (Object Tracking Sound) system results in a respectable TV performance. The 60W, 4.2.2ch set-up has speakers at the top and bottom of the screen. Bass response is modest and while it’s not the widest of presentations, voices are well prioritised – more so when the Amplify function is used.
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Give it some Atmos content – note that OTS is not an Atmos system – and it gives OTS a chance to stretch its legs. David Ayer’s WW2 tank drama Fury features a near-constant soundtrack of machinery, explosions and tanks humming in the background, and the Q95T captures that sense of distance and depth.
It also proves to be fairly accurate in the placement of effects. Bombing runs add a noticeable sense of height, placed just above the TV; while explosions expand the top left and right areas. The OTS system lacks the intensity for Fury‘s action scenes – always go for a soundbar if you can – but it gives the audio more room and more specificity.
Related: Best Dolby Atmos soundbar
The Samsung Q95T supports Atmos from its OTT apps, which the 2019 QLED range initially didn’t. There’s no onboard decoding of Atmos content if that’s a bother. The TV simply passes it through to the connected device to do the decoding itself. The Q95T is also compatible with Samsung’s Q-Symphony soundbars for an even bigger soundscape.
Should you buy the Samsung QE55Q95T?
Judged on its own merits, the Samsung QE55Q95T puts in an excellent all-round performance. It delivers in terms of picture quality across a range of sources, it delivers the quickest gaming performance of any brand, it has all the apps and while it’s audio performance is the least terrific aspect, it’s nevertheless respectable. The lack of Dolby Vision remains a sore point.
It’s closest rivals are just as illustrious. LG’s CX OLED is another excellent performer, capable of producing some beautiful images and the AI upscaling is on par with Samsung. It supports Dolby Vision and isn’t far off in the app stakes, though it’s not as bright. Both cost £1799.
Cheaper than both is the Philips 55OLED805 at £1499. The 805 also has AI picture tech onboard, while Ambilight is Philips’ special trick and it supports all forms of HDR. It’s not a TV for gaming, however.
They’re all mightily impressive, and in the face of this competition, the QE55Q95T impresses with its terrific all-round performance. It is a bit of a bargain.
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