The Samsung S95B is the OLED TV that the South Korean firm needs to compete with rival LG, which has enjoyed much success with this self-emissive display technology. The S95B's QD-OLED (QD stands for Quantum Dot) technology uses a different way of illuminating the display (blue light source instead of the extra white subpixel found in LG OLED panels), leading to richer and brighter pictures than existing OLED TVs. In practice, the S95B looks fantastic even in its most colour-accurate, and restrained Filmmaker mode, putting up pictures that rival, and in some ways, edge out the best OLED TVs now.
- 4K resolution with HDR10+, and HLG
- 4x HDMI 2.1 ports (4K@120Hz)
- Comes in 55″ and 65″ (tested) sizes
- Supports ALLM, VRR, and eARC
I tested the 65-inch model. QD-OLED panels currently only comes in 55- and 65-inch sizes. The S95B is incredibly thin, about as thick as a stack of three bank cards. This also means the TV creaks and wobbles if you so much as accidentally brush its sides. Instead of a separate One Connect box, the ports and other electronics are built into the TV's slightly thicker lower half, and you can route and conceal cables through the stand. There's sufficient allowance below the screen to fit a compact soundbar like the Sonos Beam (Gen 2). Despite being potentially fragile, I really like this design. It shows off the sleek and glossy near-bezel-less OLED panel to great effect. The TV speakers are also very decent, especially the clarity of dialogue. But as is often the case, the bass is lacking compared to a proper soundbar.
I tested the Alienware 34 Curved QD-OLED monitor, so I had high expectations for the S95B. It certainly didn't disappoint. Its Dynamic picture mode looks extremely vivid and saturated, particularly for animated shows. Of course, Dynamic mode is inaccurate colour-wise, but whatever floats your boat. My review set uses the latest 1303 firmware, which reportedly lowered the brightness compared to earlier versions. But the S95B is still plenty bright for an OLED. Viewing angles and screen uniformity are fantastic. In a side-by-side comparison with the Sony A90K for HDR content, the S95B offered slightly more shadow detail. Highlights also looked more white and impactful on the Samsung while they appeared slightly yellowish on the Sony. But overall, the differences between the two TVs in the most accurate Filmmaker mode are subtle and minor. Out of the box (in Filmmaker mode), the A90K looks better, while the S95B requires some tweaking.
The Samsung S95B is excellent for gaming. For starters, Samsung has added a new Game Picture mode to its Game Bar overlay. So you can choose among several game modes like FPS or RPG, for example. PC gamers can also switch to an ultra-wide screen ratio (21:9 or 32:9). The S95B has four HDMI 2.1 ports, and supports the latest gaming features such as ALLM and VRR. These ports can also output 4K 120Hz with compatible game consoles and PCs. However, Samsung persists in not having Dolby Vision, so you can't enjoy this popular (and almost universally supported by other TV makers) HDR format for games and videos on the S95B.
The TV uses Samsung's revamped Tizen OS, which feels clumsy to me, especially with the minimalist TV remote control. Getting to the TV inputs, for example, takes more clicks than expected. But that aside, Samsung's first QD-OLED TV is excellent, with some spectacular moments. Hopefully, Samsung is also done tweaking the TV. It's unusual for a TV's picture quality to vary so significantly with firmware updates — and not always for the better. My 65-inch review set has an SRP of S$5,399, which is slightly cheaper than LG's flagship G2 (S$5,499 for 65″) OLED TV. But the equally-impressive LG C2 (S$4,599 for 65″) arguably gives LG the price advantage here. So it's a good thing then that Samsung currently has a promotion (till Sep 15) for the S95B that includes a free Q600B soundbar worth S$1,199. Get it now at Shopee and Lazada.
Note: Review unit provided by Samsung.
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