The S95B is an impressive return to the OLED TV market for Samsung and benefits enormously from the use of quantum dot technology
- Awesome SDR images
- Bright HDR for an OLED
- VRR, ALLM, and 4K at 120Hz
- No Dolby Vision
The Samsung S95B marks the brand’s return to OLED TVs after almost a decade, and it was certainly worth the wait. A new panel design based around quantum dots delivers all the benefits of OLED plus purer colours and brighter highlights. Image accuracy is excellent, colours are saturated and HDR pops.
The smart system is comprehensive, while the gaming features are sure to delight next-gen console owners. The sound system is limited compared to other high-end Samsung TVs, but there’s still onboard Dolby Atmos decoding, leaving the lack of Dolby Vision as the S95B’s only real weakness.
Samsung S95B review: Key specifications
|Screen sizes available:||55in QE55S95B|
|Resolution:||4K/UHD (3,840 X 2,160)|
|HDR formats:||HDR, HLG, HDR10+|
|Audio enhancement:||Object Sound Tracking, Dolby Atmos|
|HDMI inputs:||4 x HDMI 2.1|
|Freeview Play compatibility:||No|
|Tuners:||Terrestrial, cable, satellite|
|Gaming features:||4K at 120Hz, ALLM, VRR, Game Bar 2.0|
|Wireless connectivity:||802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.2, AirPlay 2|
|Smart assistants:||Bixby and Google Assistant built-in, works with Alexa|
|Smart platform:||Tizen OS|
Samsung S95B OLED review: What you need to know
The Samsung S95B is a 4K (3,840 x 2,160) HDR smart TV that uses new proprietary Quantum Dot OLED (QD-OLED) technology – although surprisingly, Samsung markets this new range as simply an OLED TV with no mention of the underlying QD-OLED panel design. The range offers two screen sizes: 55in and 65in; with Samsung providing the 65in QE65S95B for this review.
The new panel employs a blue OLED to self-illuminate each pixel, with quantum dot layers used to create the red and green sub-pixels. This approach eliminates the issue of the blue OLED decaying faster than the OLEDs used for red and green, but according to Samsung, this panel design also delivers brighter images and more precise colours.
The S95B’s picture is powered by Samsung’s 4K Neural Quantum Processor, and it runs the latest iteration of the South Korean giant’s Tizen operating system. It also includes a Filmmaker mode, and supports HDR10, HLG, and HDR10+ – but not Dolby Vision. The absence of the latter remains a disappointment.
This OLED TV sports an ultra-slim design, so there’s limited space for speakers. As a result, the S95B only includes the basic version of Samsung’s Object Tracking Sound system, but like the brand’s other 2022 TVs, there’s onboard Dolby Atmos decoding. All the major content streaming platforms are also present and correct, plus a host of next-gen gaming-related features.
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Samsung S95B OLED review: Price and Competition
The 55in Samsung S95B costs £1,799, while the 65in reviewed here retails for £2,799. This is competitive pricing from Samsung for what amounts to new technology, and especially tempting when compared to the pricing on Sony’s A95K range, which uses the same Samsung-made QD-OLED panel. The 55in A95K will set you back £2,699, while the 65in version costs a hefty £3,499.
If you’re looking for alternatives, both LG and Panasonic offer high-end OLED TVs that use the more traditional WRGB panel design but can achieve brighter luminance levels thanks to the addition of a heat sink. The LG G2 OLED evo range has an impressive selection of screen sizes with 55in (£1,999), 65in (£2,999), 77in (£4,299), and 83in (£6,299) options. Meanwhile, Panasonic’s LZ2000B range has yet to go on sale, but will offer a choice of 55in, 65in, and 77in models.
Anyone looking for a non-OLED alternative should check out the Samsung QN95B. This 4K Neo QLED range-topper features a Micro LED backlight, Quantum Dot technology and neural-network processing to deliver an impressive visual and audio performance. It has the same smart platform and gaming features as the S95B, but includes the One Connect box, and beefed up sonics thanks to OTS Pro. There’s a choice of 55in (£2,199), 65in (£2,899), 75in (£4,499), and 85in (£5,999) screen sizes.
Samsung S95B OLED review: Design, connections and control
The Samsung S95B looks fairly similar to the majority of other OLED TVs on the market, with an ultra-slim design that widens out to 40mm towards the bottom to accommodate connections, electronics and speakers. However, even by OLED’s size-zero standards this TV is skinny.
The panel itself is mere millimetres deep, and given the bigger lower section only covers about half its width, the overall integrity is a bit wobbly. As a result, the panel bends to an alarming degree as you attach the stand, which uses clips to lock itself into place.
Once assembled, the S95B feels a bit more solid, and the stand’s smaller footprint makes positioning it easier, but you still need to be careful when moving the TV. If you prefer, you can wall mount the TV using a standard 300 x 200mm VESA bracket or Samsung’s Slim Fit support. The 65in S95B measures 1444 x 40 x 832mm (WDH), and weighs 21.2kg without the stand, increasing to 1444 x 288 x 898mm and 25.5kg once it’s attached.
The S95B doesn’t use Samsung’s One Connect box, but has a full complement of connections with four HDMI inputs – two facing sideways and two downwards. All are capable of handling 4K/120Hz, VRR and ALLM, with HDMI 3 also supporting eARC. There are also two USB 2.0 inputs at the side, and facing downwards you’ll find twin tuners for terrestrial and satellite broadcasts, an optical digital output, and an Ethernet port. In terms of wireless connections, there’s Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and support for AirPlay 2.
The S95B ships with two remotes – a standard black plastic zapper, plus a solar-powered smart version offering a stripped-down set of controls that include direct access buttons for Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, and Samsung’s TV Plus.
Samsung S95B OLED review: Smart TV platform
The Samsung S95B runs the latest version of the Tizen-powered smart platform, which remains a bit of a mixed bag. On the plus side, the choice of video streaming apps is comprehensive, with all the main services available such as Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV+, Disney+, Now TV, Rakuten, YouTube, plus all the UK catch-up services.
There’s also the SmartThings app, which makes setup simple, along with voice control via Bixby, Google Assistant or Alexa. You can easily make an AirPlay 2 connection thanks to a proactive prompt that pops up when a compatible device is detected. Finally, there’s a two-screen Multi View option combined with a video call app, although you’ll need a camera for the latter.
On the negative side, the newly designed full-screen home page has a tendency to appear overwhelming due to layers of recommendations and curated content. In addition, accessing the inputs and settings menus using the smart controller are a pain, and the system as a whole is somewhat sluggish, with a less-than-intuitive navigational interface.
Samsung S95B OLED review: Image quality
The Samsung S95B ships in the Standard picture mode, which suffers from the usual massive amounts of blue in the greyscale and wildly over-saturated colours. Selecting the Filmmaker mode fixes all of these issues with a single button press, producing a greyscale with an average DeltaE (error) of 1.5, a gamma that tracks 2.4, and colours with an average error of 1.65.
These measurements are well below the visible threshold of three, so calibration will have no real impact, but there are calibration controls for those who seek perfection. This superb level of accuracy ensures SDR images are stunning, with deep blacks, excellent shadow delineation, precisely rendered details, and natural colours thanks to the use of quantum dots.
Picture processing is also impressive, with the 4K Neural Quantum chipset bringing out all the details in high quality images and giving them added depth. The upscaling and image enhancements are both superb, ensuring that even lower resolution content is watchable, while the motion handling is equally capable, producing moving images free of judder or other motion artefacts.
Samsung S95B OLED review: HDR performance
The Samsung S95B makes good on the company’s claims about the benefits of QD-OLED, delivering a peak luminance of over 1,000cd/m2 on 1% to 10% windows, and managing to generate over 200cd/m2 on a full-field pattern. These are class-leading numbers for an OLED and mean the S95B is able to result display 1,000 nits content without resorting to any tone mapping.
The quantum dot layers used for red and green also play their part, creating wider and purer colours with HDR. This is evidenced by the DCI-P3 coverage, which measures 100%, while the BT.2020 coverage hits an impressive 76%. Crucially, the saturation sweeps of DCI-P3 within BT.2020 are also very accurate, resulting in expertly rendered colours with HDR content.
The HDR greyscale measurements are equally accurate in Filmmaker mode, tracking red, green, and blue almost exactly, and the EOTF maps the PQ target precisely. This ensures artistic choices are maintained, regardless of whether the grade uses 1,000, 4,000 or 10,000 nits. The S95B supports high dynamic range in the form of HDR10, HLG, and HDR10+ Adaptive.
The Samsung’s HDR prowess is immediately obvious when watching Stranger Things 4 on Netflix. The scenes where Elle is ‘remote viewing’ use a black environment with water on the floor and the subjects she’s viewing are very brightly lit. The S95B handles these scenes superbly well, rendering the blacks with depth, picking out reflections on the water, and illuminating the subjects without any loss of detail.
The Batman on 4K Blu-ray has gorgeous cinematography that uses darkness and a richly textured colour palette as a narrative device. The S95B renders this content with skill, producing images that match the film’s brooding hero. The fight scene in a corridor that’s entirely illuminated by muzzle flashes is particularly impressive, and perfectly demonstrates OLED’s strengths.
The snow-white landscapes of The Revenant on UHD disc often reveal the limitations of OLED, but here the S95B also shines and is able to generate enough brightness to ensure these images retain overall pop. The deliberately over-saturated colours of Inside Out on 4K Blu-ray are also reproduced in HDR with remarkable depth and subtlety.
Finally, the S95B does an excellent job with HDR10+, especially when dealing with a challenging film like 1917. The scenes in No Man’s Land are rendered with exceptional clarity and detail, while the various shades of green and brown are wonderfully nuanced. The nighttime scenes are also impressive, with perfect blacks, detailed shadows, and brightly lit flares in the sky.
To test the Samsung S95B we used Portrait Displays Calman colour calibration software.
Samsung S95B OLED review: Sound quality
The Samsung S95B sounds surprisingly good considering its super-slim proportions, but the overall sonic delivery isn’t as impressive as some of the brand’s other high-end TVs. This is understandable given the limited amount of space available for speakers, and as a result the S95B uses the basic version of Samsung’s Object Tracking Sound technology.
The soundstage is well-balanced, with dialogue that’s clear and focused on the screen. There’s also a degree of dimensionality to the audio, although expectations should be managed. While this TV supports Dolby Atmos, the degree of actual immersion is minimal, and the amplification quickly runs out of steam once you start dialling up the volume, resulting in some distortion.
The sound system is fine for general viewing, but there’s limited overall power and very little bass. So if you want proper cinematic sonics to accompany this TV’s gorgeous big-screen images, you should probably invest in one of our favourite soundbars. If you do take this approach, the S95B includes support for Q-symphony, allowing it to seamlessly integrate with any compatible Samsung soundbar.
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Samsung S95B OLED review: Gaming
The Samsung S95B is a top-drawer gaming TV, thanks in no small part to its support for 4K at 120Hz and VRR (variable refresh rate), which includes AMD Freesync and Nvidia G-Sync, although the latter isn’t formally acknowledged by Samsung for some reason. There’s also the company’s Motion Xcelerator Turbo Pro technology for a superior gaming experience.
The game mode is automatically selected when the TV detects a console thanks to support for ALLM, and the input lag is a staggeringly low 9ms. The Game Motion Plus controls help deliver smoother motion without noticeably increasing the lag, and there’s support for the 21:9 and 32:9 ultra wide aspect ratios offered by a number of PC games.
The Game Bar 2.0 brings all the game-related information into a single convenient display, popping up automatically when a game console is detected, or when you hold down the play/pause button. The Game Bar includes HDR info with support for HDR10+ Gaming and HGiG, plus the frame rate and VRR status, as well as key gaming picture adjustments.
Samsung’s recently launched Game Hub offers a choice of streamed gaming services, but however you access your games, you’ll be delighted with the results. The S95B produces detailed and dazzling 4K HDR images that give games plenty of punch, ensuring a slick, responsive and fast-paced gaming experience.
However, it’s worth pointing out that the tone-mapping with gaming can be slightly aggressive, resulting in clipping in some of the highlights. This isn’t apparent with normal video content, suggesting it might be due to the metadata used with games, so if you prefer accurate rather than punchy gaming visuals, you’ll need to dial down the ST.2084 control a little.
Samsung S95B OLED review: Verdict
The Samsung S95B is a fantastic SDR and HDR performer that fully justifies the manufacturer’s faith in its new quantum dot OLED TV technology. The inclusion of a Filmmaker mode ensures you get an accurate picture out of the box, while the potential of more saturated colours and brighter highlights is delivered not only in terms of measurements but also with real world content.
There’s a pleasingly natural appearance to the picture, but also a nuanced depth, while the added luminance ensures HDR has real punch. The blacks are flawless, the shadow detail is excellent, and the motion handling impressive. A host of cutting-edge features provide a superlative next-gen gaming experience and the insanely thin panel looks wonderful.
The S95B isn’t without its foibles, however. The thin panel feels a little flimsy, and there’s not much room for speakers, which compromises the audio performance, although you do still get Dolby Atmos. HDR tone mapping with games can be a little over-zealous, and the Tizen interface is overwhelming at times. But all of these issues are very minor, and it’s only the lack of Dolby Vision support that truly disappoints on this otherwise exceptional TV.