Samsung is probably the best known and largest TV manufacturer. The Korean company uses almost exclusively VA-LCD panels for its TVs. Thus, all TVs have a good black level and high contrast. With QLEDs, the Quantum Dot layer is added.
The 2020 Samsung televisions are richly equipped with Dolby Digital, Amazon Alexa and HDR10+. Unfortunately, you have to do without DTS sound formats, Google Assistant and Dolby Vision.
The “Crystal UHD TV” TU7000 represents the low-cost entry level model of the Samsung 2020 lineup. With its VA panel, it has a relatively high contrast, but the picture from the side appears a bit washed out. Unfortunately, the TU7000 doesn’t offer a wide color gamut and rather low brightness, which makes it more suitable for darker room environments, such as movie nights. The TU7000 has a refresh rate of only 60 Hz, but the motion handling is altogether satisfactory for its price class: The response time is low at around 5 ms, so fast moving objects hardly leave behind a veil. In addition, the backlight flickers at 600 Hz, which the human eye can hardly perceive. In gaming, it offers advantages and disadvantages: Firstly, the input lag is very low, which is still supported by the existing Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), and the TV has an analog video input. But HDR gaming doesn’t work perfectly, as the input lag increases here. And also an HDMI 2.1 connection and therefore a VRR is unfortunately missing.
In terms of sound, the device clearly lacks bass. Dolby Atmos is present, but DTS and Dolby Digital are not. Furthermore, there is no Twin Tuner and thus no functions like TimeShift and PVR.
The next higher model in Samsung’s 2020 lineup is the TU8000, which is almost identical to the TU7000. Both the design and the performance are close together. The TU8000 has a slightly better contrast with 6400:1 and gets a bit brighter with 300 nits. Its response time is ~5 ms, which results in less motion blur. The input lag at 4K 60Hz SDR gaming is almost identical, only at 4K 60Hz HDR the TU7000 performs considerably better. But since HDR content is not really different from SDR on both devices, this difference is not very important. The included remote control of the TU8000 is the One Remote, which is a bit more comfortable than Samsung’s standard remote. It is also used for the more expensive QLEDs. In addition, Samsung TU8000 offers a Twin Tuner and thus functions such as TimeShift and PVR.
The Samsung Q60T may be the cheapest model in the QLED range from 2020, but it is superior to the UHD devices. It has an Edge LED backlight. The black level of the Samsung QLEDs is very good. So, unlike the lower UHD TVs, it is also suitable in bright rooms. As the first TV from the Samsung 2020 lineup, the Q60T offers a wide color gamut. Unfortunately, the response time of around 8ms is slightly longer than the TU8509. The contrast is a bit higher at 7000:1, as is the maximum brightness with 500 nits. In terms of gaming, it unfortunately doesn’t offer more than the TU series.
The Q70T is to be placed directly above the Q60T. In comparison to the latter, it has a refresh rate of 120 Hz as well as a slightly higher contrast, a higher peak brightness and a slightly shorter response time. Moreover, judder can’t be found in any resource. The Q70T is also better suited for gaming: Thanks to VRR via FreeSync and an HDMI 2.1 connection, nothing stands in the way of smooth gaming – even with the new console generation.
The viewing angle and also the reflection handling of the Q80T are significantly better than that of its less expensive sister models: Samsung has used the Ultra Viewing Angle layer to compensate for the blurred image of the VA panel from the side. Unfortunately, contrast and brightness suffer a bit from this. The rates are still relatively high, but the contrast ratio is clearly below the one of the the Q70T, while the peak brightness is higher.
The Q90T is the highest ranking QLED from Samsung’s 2020 lineup. The Ultra Viewing Angle coating is also used here. Thanks to Full Array Local Dimming and 96 dimming zones, it achieves an excellent contrast ratio of 10500:1, and the peak brightness of around 1150 nits is also significantly higher than the Q80T.
“The Frame” and its sales variant “The Serif” represent the lifestyle models from Samsung, whose focus is on additional design features. They do not belong to the QLED series, but can be compared with it. Overall, The Frame and Q70T perform relatively similar. Like the Q70T, The Frame also doesn’t have local dimming. The maximum brightness and contrast are somewhat better than on the Q70T. The Q70T’s response time is also slightly worse and it produces judder. It’s a pity that The Frame also lacks a layer to improve the viewing angle. This is only reserved for the better QLED models. Unfortunately The Frame also doesn’t have a twin tuner and therefore doesn’t allow PVR and TimeShift.
Samsung is on of the market leader among TV manufacturers and was for example the first to release a complete 3D lineup in 2010. The South Korean company relies on key features, such as the Quantum Dot technology (QLED) developed specifically for the display sector and the Quantum Processor 8K in combination with artificial intelligence (AI). Another characteristic feature of Samsung is the almost exclusively installed VA panel. The company advertises its “Anti-Glare” development on the QLED models, which is supposed to produce a strong brightness and high contrast. Another keyword is “Dual-LED“, Samsung’s patented backlight technology, which uses two different types of LEDs with different color temperatures to provide high native contrast. Only the high-end models also feature full array local dimming.
In the area of sound, the manufacturer is focusing on three special features: Object Tracking Sound (OTS), Active Voice Amplifier (AVA), an adjustment of the sound to the respective ambient noise and Q-Symphony, which is used to expand the audio range of the internal speakers with a soundbar.
Unfortunately, the Dolby Vision and DTS formats are not available on Samsung TVs. The fact that the DTS audio format isn’t supported by the TV isn’t that bad, as it’s easy to find a solution to solve the problem. But the fact that the high-end models in particular don’t support Dolby Vision is really annoying, as Dolby Vision will almost certainly prevail among the dynamic HDR formats and the better Samsung TVs would actually have the necessary test values to display Dolby Vision content effectively.
In the Smart TV category, the key features are the Tizen OS software and the Smart Remote control. Since 2019 the models also bring Apple TV and AirPlay 2 with them.
In general, Samsung represents a minimalist design in which the lifestyle models “The Frame”, “The Serif” and “The Sero” stand out. The new Samsung models feature an Infinity Screen with a 99 percent screen to body ratio.
For your orientation: Samsung’s model designations consist of letters and numbers. The letters used stand for the year of release (from K=2016 to T=2020), while the number says something about the quality of the TV model. Roughly speaking, the higher it is, the better the TV. The letter Q indicates that this is a QLED model.