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Samsung S95D OLED TV review: Reflections begone

Samsung S95D OLED TV review: Reflections begone

Samsung S95D

Much has been said about the new matte anti-glare layer (dubbed OLED Glare Free) on the Samsung S95D OLED TV. But the proof is in the pudding, and it's delicious, so to speak. Unless you're watching most of your TV in a near pitch-black room, I say the S95D, with its incredible matte screen finish that seemingly absorbs and diffuses ambient light, is currently my top pick for a premium 2024 OLED TV. Now, there is a drawback to this anti-glare feature, though I believe the upside is worth it.

Quick specs

  • 4K resolution with HDR10+, and HLG
  • 4x HDMI 2.1 ports (4K@120Hz, up to 144Hz for PC gaming)
  • Comes in 55″ (tested) and 65″, and 77″ sizes
  • Supports ALLM, VRR, and eARC

I'm used to seeing glossy TV screens, so the Samsung S95D's matte screen finish is a stark contrast. It looks and feels like paper, almost like an ebook reader. The screen just seems to suck all the light in. When I point a light source directly at the TV, like the flashlight from my smartphone, the light gets mostly diffused and suppressed. But comparing the S95D with my own LG OLED TV when both TVs are turned off, the S95D doesn't appear quite as dark. This impression is reinforced when using it. In a brightly-lit room, blacks appear slightly more grey, and not as deep as other OLED TVs.

On the other hand, you don't get distracting reflections. So there's a compromise here. I'm leaning towards the Samsung S95D since I usually watch TV with the lights on. More importantly, the S95D is sufficiently bright that specular highlights retain their impact even in a bright room. Standard mode, which isn't the most colour accurate, really shows off the TV's brightness levels. I have lost count of the number of times my eyes flinched in this mode. Like other OLED TVs, the S95D also offers excellent screen uniformity and great viewing angles.

Samsung S95D
Taken with a smartphone camera with flash turned on. Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

The Samsung S95D has a slim but solidly-built design that's perfect for wall mounting. You can place the separate, external One Connect box with the inputs (four HDMI 2.1 supporting up to 144Hz refresh rate for PC) away from the TV, connected only by a single, near-invisible cable. If you choose to put the S95D on a TV console, it's sufficiently tall to accommodate most soundbars.

Inside the One Connect box is the new NQ4 AI Gen2 Processor that is said to offer improved performance for things like upscaling, colour mapping, and depth enhancement. The processor is presumably responsible for the new AI Auto Game Mode that switches the profile based on the game genre. It worked as intended for sports games, but it wasn't able to identify the genre for other games, like Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. Gaming is great on the Samsung S95D, but I had to tone down the screen brightness. Dolby Vision fans should also look away because Samsung still doesn't support the format.

Samsung S95D
Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

It's not all roses. The speakers are insipid and lacking in just about every department. Well, except for the Amplify mode that does a good job at enhancing the dialogue. There's little bass to speak of. The speakers don't get loud or weighty enough, though at least there's no distortion. Overall, they just sound flat. Perhaps Samsung is betting that customers who buy an expensive TV like the Samsung S95D will have a soundbar. I did test the S95D paired with a Samsung Music Frame speaker (review soon!) using the Q-Symphony feature. It does improve the sound slightly, and is very easy to setup.

In addition, Samsung's Tizen interface still got on my nerves a couple of times. For starters, Samsung has — since last year — required users to sign in to a Samsung account before they can use even third-party streaming apps like Netflix. Let's just say I'm not a fan. Another annoying quirk: Newly-installed apps are not placed automatically on the Home Screen. I had to hunt for the app listing, and manually Add to Home.

See Also
Xiaomi Smart Band 8

At over S$4,000 for the 55-inch version that I tested (and around S$5,200 for the 65-inch model), the Samsung S95D is slightly more expensive than its predecessor at launch. But the S95D certainly brings enough to the table — the Glare Free OLED feature is really impressive in real life. It's not just an incremental upgrade. That being said, the S95D has its flaws, too, from the middling audio to the less-than-dark blacks. It all boils down to whether you like that new matte finish, and your TV viewing environment. If you really can't stand reflections, get this TV, which is available now from the Samsung Store on Shopee and Lazada.

Note: Review unit provided by Samsung.


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Verdict



CAN BUY

Incredible anti-reflective screen

Buy it at Shopee
Buy it at Lazada (55-inch)

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