Review : The Best Samsung QLED 4K TVs

The best Samsung purchases

Which Samsung TV is the very best buy? We test ourselves through the jungle of QLED screens!

Samsung is the world’s largest TV manufacturer, something they are also happy to show off. The Korean manufacturer offers an overwhelming number of TVs on the Norwegian market, with almost 80 (!) Different variants from budget to luxury class. Even among the top models in the QLED segment, there is a wide range of different levels to choose from. No wonder a poor TV buyer can get confused!

We in Tech Reviews editorial staff receive inquiries daily from prospective TV customers, and one of the most common questions is precisely “what is the difference”. Product names and model codes can seem cryptic, and the specifications are so well hidden that even an “insider” has to look twice to distinguish the models from each other. And differences on paper are one thing – how do they degenerate in practice? And are they worth paying extra for? Here is just one thing to do: Test and compare!

QLED above everything else

Samsung has attracted attention by going in the opposite direction of the rest of the TV industry. While competitors such as LG and Philips swear by OLED, the Koreans are investing in their own QLED technology, which is basically a variant of traditional LCD with LED backlight.

Deep down, it’s still about the LCD, top-trimmed to a point where there is little “old” technology left: Advanced image panels with anti-glare treatment, Quantum dot color filter, wider viewing angle and intelligent “AI” image processors are just some of the tricks taken in use to squeeze out even better image quality.

If an LCD TV is to have any hope of keeping up with OLED in important areas such as contrast and black level, a precise backlight is required. So-called edge LEDs with mirrors are cheap and efficient, but have nothing to do with a high-end TV in our opinion. It seems that Samsung has understood, because in 2019 they will introduce direct LED taillights on far more models than before. Almost all of the new QLED models (all except the Q60R) come with full-blooded “Direct Full Array” taillights, where the most important difference from model to model is the number of individual LED zones.

The test

A typical group test usually consists of 4-5 different TV manufacturers as participants, but this time we have chosen a slightly untraditional approach. To be able to say more about the performance from the various QLED models, we have taken a real deep dive into the Samsung range, and called models such as Q60R, Q70R, Q80R, and Q85R to compete. In addition, we have included the regular UHD model RU8005 to compare with an “ordinary” LCD TV. Such a test will hardly give us all the answers, but it at least gives a clue as to which member of the Samsung family gives the most pictorial value for money.

Which Samsung TV offers the most picture for the money? Is it Q60R, Q70R, Q80R, or Q85R? We test!

What do you think?

0 / 5. 0

Samsung Q82R (QE65Q82R)

Silk black!

Tired of mirror-bright TV screens? With Samsung Q82R it's like staring into a black hole in the universe…!

Our verdict

The Samsung screen serves vivid images with very good contrast and brightness. Mirror images are a thing of the past, thanks to the super-matte screen surface.
Impractical foot. The light control is not as fine-meshed and precise as the flagship models.
  • Size / type: 65 ”4K QLED LCD
  • Resolution: 3840×2160 (4K Ultra HD)
  • Operating system: Tizen
  • Inputs: 4 HDMI, 2 USB
  • Outputs: Optical digital audio output
  • HDR: HDR10 +
  • Other: Direct Full Array 6X backlight, Ultra Viewing Angle
  • Web: samsung.com/
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Price 2799 £

Samsung Q82R takes over the baton after last year’s Q8D, which was the first “affordable” Samsung model with direct LED taillights. Until then, only the flagship Q9 could boast of this, but here Samsung had seen its cut to use some of the technology in a slightly scaled-down version.

With this year’s Q80 / 82, there is really nothing reminiscent of downscaling: It has surprisingly much in common with the top model in the Q90 series. On the other hand, it is worth noting that this model only comes in 55 “and 65” sizes. Nothing bigger, unfortunately!

In terms of design, the Q80 has a lot in common with the rest of the QLED family, but the foot itself stands out: Instead of two small feet, the Q80 has a center-mounted foot, which is adapted for concealed cabling. It is stylish to look at, but at the same time a bit impractical as it gets in the way of a possible soundboard.

Image quality

This year’s Q82 comes with a number of Samsung’s latest image enhancements. To begin with, it has a genuine QLED panel with direct backlight. The number of dimming zones is identical to the little brother Q70R, but with a slightly higher maximum brightness (1500 nits). In addition, this model boasts a wider viewing angle (Ultra Viewing Angle).

Just as with the Q70R, it is clear that the more expensive backlighting has a great effect on the image quality. The Q80 / 82R delivers a sparkling contrast-rich image, which really brings out the details in our test scenes. It is also striking how colors and contrast retain the splendor, even when we look at the screen from the outside.

Silk mat without mirror images

HDR effects such as sunlight, flames and explosions are served with a slightly greater intensity here than we got with the Q70R. Still, it is at the opposite end – the black level – that the Q80 impresses the most. The Q80 has an ace up its sleeve that you do not get on the Q70R: More specifically, Samsung’s newly developed “anti-reflection” filter. The special screen coating diffuses all the light coming from outside, and contributes to a completely matt and reflection-free screen surface.

Precisely because the screen reflects less light, it also helps to darken dark scenes, without annoying mirror images of surroundings. This is a clear advantage whether you watch TV in broad daylight or in the evening with lamps around the room. Modern TV screens are usually mirror-bright, but here you do not have to be bothered by it.

In terms of contrast, brightness and black level, the Q80R is absolutely impressive, but it does not quite reach the Q85 and Q90R when it comes to absolute light control. The rear light is not as “fine-meshed” and leaves a little more shadow effects on a dark background than what we see on the top models.

Conclusion

The Q80R is “intermediate” in Samsung’s QLED range, but it has most in common with the more expensive models. Here you get both superb contrast and wide viewing angle, and a super matte screen that is comfortably free of mirror images. Add sophisticated smart features and you have a TV that gives a taste of high-end, without costing the shirt. For those who are most concerned with image quality, the Q80R is definitely a good buy.

Note! The Samsung Q80 series is available in two almost identical models: the Q80R which is sold by several retailers, and the Q82 which is only operated by Elkjøp. The only difference (as far as Sound & Vision knows) is a slightly different design on the foot.

Samsung Q85R

Close to the top model

Samsung Q85R is a very well equipped TV, which really breathes the flagship model Q90R in the neck, at a noticeably lower price!

Our verdict

Lots of equipment and good connection options, as well as very sharp image quality, make the Q85R an attractive model.
The flagship Q90R has a horse's head in front in some areas. And when you are still so close, it might be tempting to go for the top model anyway?
  • Size / type: 65 ”4K QLED LCD
  • Resolution: 3840×2160 (4K Ultra HD)
  • Operating system: Tizen
  • Inputs: 4 HDMI, 2 USB
  • Outputs: Optical digital audio output
  • HDR: HDR10 +
  • Other: One Connection, Direct Full Array backlight
  • Web: samsung.com
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Price 2999 £

As mentioned, Samsung has greatly expanded the QLED range this year, and the Samsung Q85R is perhaps the most exciting newcomer. Here we are talking about a kind of junior top model who is the big brother in the industry in several areas.

In terms of design, this candidate is very similar to the Q80R, with a similar T-shaped base – which in our eyes appears a bit impractical. However, the Q85R has some tricks that make it far more tempting to mount on the wall!

Ease of use and features

Unlike the Q80R, the Q85 offers the option of “No Gap Wall Mount” which allows you to hang the screen close to the wall. This is a patent we know from Samsung’s design model The Frame (note, however, that the wall mount itself is optional in this case).

In addition, the Q85 comes with a separate junction box and power supply: The so-called One Invisible Connection allows you to make all of the connections to a separate device that can be hidden away in cabinets or shelving. From this you can pull a thin cable that carries both power and signal up to the screen. Very simple and flexible, and extra practical if you choose to mount the TV on the wall.

The Q85R is also equipped with all the latest features on the smart front, including Ambient Mode, Airplay 2 and fresh apps such as Apple TV +. A separate Auto Low Latency Mode ensures the lowest possible delay for games (down to 15 milliseconds).

Image quality

As mentioned, the Q85R has many similarities with the top model Q90R. The main difference lies in a lower number of LED dimming zones: the Q85R has to settle for far fewer individual LED zones than its big brother, and also has a lower brightness (1500 versus 2000 nits). Apart from that, the technical performance – including screen filter, video processor and image processing – is very similar.

The family resemblance is also evident in the fact that we put the Q85R on the test bench. This TV provides really strong contrast! With ample brightness, precise local dimming and at the same time the very matte “Moth Eye” anti-reflection filter, it is the setting for a picture experience with superb depth and realism. The first impression is that this TV comes surprisingly close to the big brother Q90R in performance, and we actually had to come up with some “torture tests” to really make a difference.

The biggest difference between the Q85R and its big brother lies in the maximum light intensity (measured in the number of nits) and how precise the light control it has. The former is mostly expressed in extreme HDR sequences – Q85R has a little less gunpowder in the brightest parts of the image, but the difference is not huge. For ordinary TV viewing, it has more than enough brightness, even on a bright day. The taillight is also noticeably more precise than models like the Q70R and Q80R, and you have to be pretty close to see the difference from the Q90R.

Conclusion

Samsung Q85R has a picture quality that is close to the flagship model Q90R at a favorable price: With a price tag that is almost 10,000 kroner lower (65 “), we are definitely talking about a good buy! In addition, it has a number of design advantages over the simpler models in the QLED series, including a separate junction box, slim wall mount and hidden cabling, this TV is extra suitable for wall mounting.

For those of you who want a taste of high-end performance without emptying your savings account completely, the Q85R is definitely a worthy alternative to the Q90R.

Samsung RU8005 (UE65RU8005)

On the edge of QLED

The Samsung UE65RU8005 is Samsung's best ordinary LCD TV before stepping up to QLED.

Our verdict

Great design, excellent remote control and sharp picture quality make the RU8005 a good all-round TV.
Performance is slightly hampered by the edge-LED technology, which puts a damper on the contrast.
  • Size / type: 65 ”4K LED LCD
  • Resolution: 3840×2160 (4K Ultra HD)
  • Operating system: Tizen
  • Inputs: 3 HDMI, 2 USB
  • Outputs: Optical digital audio output
  • HDR: HDR10 +
  • Other: Bluetooth remote control
  • Web: samsung.com
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Price 1599 £

The Samsung RU8005 series is the top model in Samsung’s “Premium UHD” portfolio. In terms of appearance, there is no doubt about the origin: This is a very slim and sleek TV, which is very similar to the more expensive QLED models in design and execution. The back is smooth and has small grooves where you can lead the cables through. The RU8005 also has a sleek and smart remote control with Bluetooth connectivity. It can be programmed to control other devices such as the TV tuner and Blu-ray player.

Ease of use and features

The RU8005 offers no major surprises on the smart front: It uses Samsung’s well-known Tizen operating system, which we consider to be among the best when it comes to usability and app selection. RU8005 has received the latest news on the app front, including Apple’s own streaming service TV +. RU8005 is also well prepared for gaming: Thanks to the Freesync and Real Game Enhancer features, it achieves lower delay (input layer) as well as improved image quality in game mode.

Image quality

Samsung RU8005 is the big brother of RU7475 which we have tested before, and it is easy to see the family resemblance purely pictorially. RU8005 has very good image sharpness, but at the same time we notice that it has a slightly better contrast than its little brother: Light objects on a dark background shine clearer and stronger, in addition to the even distribution of light. This is due to an upgraded image panel, as well as better and more precise local dimming (software-based).

However, it quickly becomes clear that we are still dealing with a relatively ordinary LCD TV. The RU8005 does not have a distinctly high brightness, and the edge-LED lighting also places limits on the contrast. The angle of view is also nothing to cheer about: seen from the side, the colors become noticeably paler.

This is primarily noticeable on modern content in HDR quality. Here, the TV really has to turn up the brightness to bring out the strongest shades, with the result that even black / dark details appear a little gray and washed out. This is a challenge that most edge-LED-based TV screens struggle with, so Samsung is not unique in this case. When you take the price into account, and not least the fact that the Samsung screen is available in a wide range of screen sizes, we still consider it a good buy.

Conclusion

The RU8005 series is the top model among Samsung’s Premium UHD TVs. Here you get several of the qualities we associate with Samsung, including great design and well-assorted smart features, as well as excellent image and sound at an attractive price. Performance has some limitations on contrast and black level. But as long as you do not have extreme demands or challenging viewing conditions at home in the living room, the RU8005 does an excellent job of varied TV viewing.

Samsung Q70R (QE65Q70R)

True QLED contrast

With the Samsung Q70R, Samsung has trimmed away unnecessary luxury in order to offer direct LED taillights at a favorable price.

Our verdict

The Q70R offers stunning contrast and a compelling black level at a great price,
The viewing angle is somewhat limited, and the panel glass slightly shinier than the more expensive QLED models.
  • Size / type: 65 ”4K QLED LCD
  • Resolution: 3840×2160 (4K Ultra HD)
  • Operating system: Tizen
  • Inputs: 3 HDMI, 2 USB
  • Outputs: Optical digital audio output
  • HDR: HDR10 +
  • Other: Direct Full Array backlight
  • Web: samsung.com
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Price 1999 £

With the introduction of the Samsung Q70R, Samsung can offer “direct LED backlight” or Direct Full Array as they call it, at a lower price point than before. This marks the first time the Q70 series comes with direct LED taillights, and it also comes in a wide range of screen sizes from 49 and up to 82 inches.

In terms of design, the Q70R takes a small lift compared to the Q60R: The TV cabinet itself has become a little thicker as a result of the LED backlight, but in return, the actual rim around the picture panel has become even thinner. Thus, the screen actually appears slimmer than the Q60R, when viewed straight from the front.

Ease of use and features

In terms of equipment level in general, the Q70R is very similar to the little brother Q60R. Here you get a well-functioning Samsung smart TV with all the latest features. The Q70R has a standard black remote control with Bluetooth, and comes with all the latest apps, including Apple TV +, Airplay 2 and its own game mode with low delay.

Image quality

There is no doubt that the backlight technology has a great impact on contrast and overall image quality from an LCD screen. This really applies regardless of image content, but is especially important when you want to enjoy modern HDR video in high quality. And not least if you have any hope of competing with OLED!

Precisely for this reason, it is positive that this year’s Q70R model has more LEDs in the arsenal. Here we take a significant step up from Q60, and it is noticeable from the first comparison. The difference is indisputable: the Q70 has significantly better contrast, deeper black levels, and not least higher brightness than its little brother.

With a darker backdrop, the colors “pop out” and get much more bang and punch. This is HDR as it should be!

Conclusion

The Samsung Q70R does not have as large an arsenal of image enhancements as the most expensive QLED models, but it still comes close – and at a much nicer price. With the Q70R, Samsung can finally assert itself with rear LED in a price range that has previously been dominated by uninspiring edge LED screens and pale contrast – here you get instead phenomenal black level, dazzling brightness and gorgeous colors. One of the best TV purchases in the price range in our opinion!

Samsung Q60R (QE65Q60R)

QLED in light version

Samsung Q60R is the most affordable model in Samsung's QLED universe. An affordable and well-equipped TV, which still lacks the superb contrast from the top models.

Our verdict

Q60R is packed with features and refined imaging.
The Q60R lacks the raw contrast that characterizes Samsung's true flagship models.
  • Size / type: 65 ”4K QLED LCD
  • Resolution: 3840×2160 (4K Ultra HD)
  • Operating system: Tizen
  • Inputs: 3 HDMI, 2 USB
  • Outputs: Optical digital audio output
  • HDR: HDR10 +
  • Other: Quantum Processor 4K, Ambient Mode
  • Web: samsung.com
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Price 1699 £

When Samsung introduced its first QLED models a few years ago, it was the Q7, Q8 and Q9 series that mattered. In recent times, there has also been a cheaper Samsung Q60R model, where the goal has obviously been to offer a taste of QLED technology to most people!

In appearance, the Samsung Q60R is confusingly similar to the cheaper RU8005 model we have also tested. Apart from a slightly different design on the feet, the shape is very similar. We immediately get the impression that this is a “crossover” model with a bit from both worlds.

Ease of use and features

On the equipment front, however, the Q60R has much in common with the more expensive QLED models. Under the hood is the advanced video processor Quantum Processor 4K, which provides extra good image processing, and Intelligent mode that measures lighting conditions in the room, analyzes the image material and ensures optimal display. The Q60R is also the most affordable model with Ambient Mode – which provides stylish wallpapers in standby. Otherwise, you get everything you can expect from a top-notch Samsung TV, including Apple TV +, Airplay and smart home management (SmartThings).

Image quality

With sizes from 43 “and up to 82”, there are obviously many uses for the Q60R. It has the same type of image panel as the one we find in the design models The Frame and Seriph. In practice, this means LCD panel with QLED color filter, but (unfortunately) still relatively ordinary LED edge lighting.

Just like with the RU8005, there is a lot to like about the Q60R: The image is razor sharp, with very little noise and also very smooth movements. The image quality is strikingly similar to the RU8005 in many areas, but takes a small step up in contrast, brightness and black level. The QLED model is also marginally richer in color shades, but the difference is not dramatic.

Conclusion

Samsung Q60R is the entry-level model for the QLED world, and in many ways an excellent TV. For a relatively modest additional price, you get a nice image quality and plenty of smart features. But even though this is an excellent TV in many ways, we are unsure if it fully deserves the “QLED stamp”. The contrast is only in the middle of the tree, and the difference down to a regular LCD model like the RU8005 is not huge. As long as you agree with that, the Q60R can be an affordable option. We still believe that many of those who dream of QLED quality will benefit from aiming higher in the model hierarchy.

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Cinema feel with real QLED contrast

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Full of fun at half the price

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