The Samsung QN95C is evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but delivers significant improvements over the 2022 model
- Impressive SDR images
- Remarkable HDR performance
- Excellent next-gen gaming support
- No Dolby Vision
The Samsung QN95C Neo QLED 4K TV picks up where last year’s QN95B left off, adding more zones to its Mini LED backlight, but losing the One Connect Box in the process. Otherwise, it’s business as usual, with class-leading local dimming, cutting-edge image processing, and a comprehensive smart platform.
Thanks to this state-of-the-art technology, the QN95C delivers superb SDR and HDR images, while Atmos-enhanced audio, extensive next-gen gaming capabilities, and an attractive design round out an impressive package. There’s still no support for Dolby Vision, but otherwise, this flagship TV is a definite winner.
Samsung QN95C review: Key specifications
|Screen sizes available:||55in QE55QN95C|
|Panel type:||LED (Neo QLED)|
|Resolution:||4K/UHD (3,840 x 2,160)|
|HDR formats:||HDR, HLG, HDR10+|
|Audio enhancement:||Object Tracking Sound Pro, Dolby Atmos|
|HDMI inputs:||4 x HDMI 2.1|
|Freeview Play compatibility:||No|
|Tuners:||Terrestrial, cable, satellite|
|Gaming features:||4K at 144Hz, ALLM, VRR (FreeSync), Game Bar 3.0|
|Wireless connectivity:||802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.2|
|Smart assistants:||Bixby built-in; works with Alexa and Google Assistant|
Samsung QN95C review: What you need to know
The Samsung QN95C is the top 4K model in the company’s Neo QLED lineup for 2023. It uses a VA LCD panel with a quantum dot filter, Mini LED backlight with an increased number of zones, and the latest 4K Neural Quantum Processor.
The smart platform is powered by the Tizen operating system, with all the main streaming services included. The QN95C supports HDR10, HLG, and HDR10+, along with onboard Dolby Atmos decoding to take full advantage of the extra speakers offered by Object Tracking Sound Pro. There’s also a host of features aimed at the latest gaming consoles and graphics cards.
The QN95C range includes 55in, 65in, 75in and 85in screen sizes, and for this review, we’re taking a look at the 65in Samsung QE65QN95C.
Samsung QN95C review: Price and competition
In terms of competition, there’s Sony’s new X95L lineup of 4K HDR TVs that all use a Triluminos panel, Cognitive Processor XR, a Mini LED backlight, and Acoustic Multi-Audio+. Screen sizes are expected to be 65in, 75in, and 85in, but prices haven’t been announced yet.
If OLED is more your bag, there’s Samsung’s own S95C QD-OLED or LG’s new G3 evo OLED, both of which promise peak highlights bright enough to compete with the QN95C. The S95C will be available in 55in (£2,699), 65in (£3,599), and 77in (£5,099) screen sizes, while the G3 offers 55in (£,2,599), 65in (£3,499), 77in, and 85in options.
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Samsung QN95C review: Design, connections and control
The Samsung QN95C looks identical to last year’s model, which is no bad thing given the Infinity One is a gorgeous piece of industrial design. The emphasis is on contemporary minimalism, with a bezel-less screen enclosed in a rectangular slab and wrapped with a brushed metal outer trim.
The TV is surprisingly slim given it houses a direct full-array backlight, a multichannel speaker system, and all the connections. Sadly, Samsung has decided to drop the One Connect Box on the QN95C and only offers this feature with the S95C and 8K models this year.
The stand is well made and provides robust support while also using a smaller footprint than its 2022 predecessor, making it easier to install the QN95C on a narrower surface. If you prefer, you can also wall mount, with an optional ‘no-gap’ bracket available for that purpose.
The connections are located at the rear right as you face the screen, and include everything you’ll need, with four HDMI inputs, one of which (HDMI 3) supports eARC, and all of which are capable of handling 4K/144Hz, VRR and ALLM – making the QN95C an ideal choice for PC and console gamers.
There are also two USB 2.0 inputs, twin tuners for terrestrial and satellite broadcasts, a CI slot, an optical digital output, and an Ethernet port. In terms of wireless connections, there’s Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and support for Apple AirPlay 2.
The Solar Cell remote has been simplified since last year, and is now smaller, with a new shape that has curved corners and a smooth, black plastic finish. Samsung makes these remotes from recycled plastic and they use rechargeable batteries to help enhance the company’s ‘green’ credentials.
The zapper remains well-designed and intuitive to use, with most of the necessary buttons and functionality, plus direct access keys for Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney+. It’s comfortable to hold and has all the controls sensibly laid out, making them easy to access with one hand.
Samsung QN95C review: Smart TV platform
The Samsung QN95C uses the Tizen operating system, which appears to be largely the same as last year in terms of its layout and features. The homepage fills the entire screen, with an emphasis on recommendations, but you can customise the Media section so that all the main streaming apps and important inputs are in one easy-to-access area.
The system’s functionality and customisation are good when it comes to content searching and recommendations. There’s also Samsung’s TV Plus, with its expanded channel lineup, and the Smart Hub which automatically detects and connects smart devices in a single location. In addition, the HDMI ports will detect and set up newly connected devices.
There’s a dedicated section for gaming that provides access to connected games consoles and various gaming apps. While Samsung’s desire to curate all the game-related content in one area makes sense, it’s a shame you don’t seem able to also include game consoles with all the other connected devices in the Media section.
Samsung offers a comprehensive selection of video streaming services, with Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV+, Disney+, Now TV, Rakuten, YouTube, and all the UK catch-up services. All these apps proved responsive, with 4K, HDR10, HLG and Dolby Atmos where appropriate.
The SmartThings app makes setup simple, as well as providing a degree of control, and there’s also Bixby built-in, along with the ability to work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. You can even access Siri via Apple’s AirPlay 2 if that’s your preference.
Samsung includes a Slim Fit USB camera with the QN95C, although you can also use the camera on your phone if you prefer. Whichever method you choose, you can use it with apps like Google Meet, Workout, and Samsung Health, along with the two-screen Multi View functionality.
Smart Calibration Pro is a feature that enables you to calibrate any supporting Samsung TV with a smartphone (iOS or Android). Just run the app, which connects to the TV over Wi-Fi, hold the phone camera over the test patterns, and follow the instructions – the software does the rest.
The Basic option calibrates the greyscale and colour gamut in around 30 seconds, and works surprisingly well, with DeltaEs below the visible threshold of three for SDR and HDR. There’s also an Advanced option that takes longer but is more flexible and delivers even greater accuracy.
Samsung QN95C review: Image quality
The Samsung QN95C appears to use a new light rejection filter that’s a definite improvement over previous years. It effectively eliminates reflections without causing any unwanted artefacts and significantly reduces the impact of ambient light in the room while maintaining the black levels.
The off-axis performance of the QN95C is also excellent, and again an improvement on last year where there was some blooming. Now the optimal viewing angles are much wider, and while not quite as good as OLED, wherever you’re sat in the room you should enjoy impressive images.
The QN95C ships in the Eco mode, which suffers from an excess of blue in white and over-saturated colours. Thankfully the Filmmaker Mode delivers an accurate greyscale with an average DeltaE (error) below two. The gamma tracking is excellent, and the colours are equally impressive, with an average DeltaE that’s also below two.
While the Smart Calibration app is a nice feature to have, based on these measurements there’s not much the Basic option could do to improve the accuracy, and even the Advanced option probably wouldn’t make a noticeable difference.
Thanks to the superb level of greyscale, gamma and colour accuracy, SDR images are stunning, with deep blacks, excellent shadow detail, precisely rendered pictures, and gorgeous colours that benefit from the purity offered by the Neo QLED panel’s quantum dot filters.
The benefits offered by the direct Mini LED backlight are obvious, with Samsung’s class-leading local dimming and image processing playing their part. The VA panel ensures deep blacks, but the definition just above black is also impressive, bringing out details in the shadows.
A moving dot test pattern reveals there are 48 horizontal and 28 vertical zones, giving a total of 1,344 independently dimmable zones. This is double last year’s number, and the improvement in local dimming is immediately obvious when watching the scene in Gravity where Sandra Bullock is framed by the Milky Way. The stars really pop, but the letterbox bars are absolutely black.
Picture processing is also class-leading, with the 4K Neural Quantum Processor bringing out all the details in any image, and flawlessly upscaling any lower-resolution content. The motion handling is equally impressive, and even with the Picture Clarity frame interpolation turned off the QN95C delivers fluid motion that’s free of any judder or unpleasant artefacts.
Samsung QN95C review: HDR performance
All the attributes that make the Samsung QN95C’s SDR picture look so good, apply even more when it comes to HDR. The combination of an effective filter, wider viewing angles, an increased number of independent zones, peerless local dimming algorithms, and cutting-edge processing result in HDR that has deep blacks, incredibly bright highlights, and virtually no blooming.
In Filmmaker mode the peak brightness measures 2,150cd/m2 on a 10% window, and hits a massive 719cd/m2 on a 100% full field pattern. Not only is this impressive, it means the QN95C can accurately display 1,000 nits HDR content without needing to resort to any tone mapping.
The HDR greyscale measurements are very accurate, tracking red, green, and blue almost exactly, and the EOTF maps the PQ target precisely. This accurate tone mapping ensures the creative intent is being maintained, regardless of whether the grade uses 1,000, 4,000 or 10,000 nits.
The overall HDR colour performance was also excellent, with the DCI-P3 coverage measuring 95%, and the BT.2020 coverage hitting 71%. Crucially, the colour tracking of DCI-P3 within BT.2020 is very accurate, with all the colours hitting their saturation targets.
The Mini LED light source is further enhanced with the addition of 14-bit HDR Mapping (which adds even more details to dark and bright scenes), whilst the Quantum Matrix Technology (which controls the Mini LEDs) is made even more accurate with Shape Adaptive Light control.
In addition, energy is redirected from darker parts of the picture to the brighter ones, which not only improves the dynamic range but is more efficient. The QN95C also includes Neo Quantum HDR+ and Auto HDR Remastering to get the best out of all HDR content.
Speaking of which, the QN95C supports HDR10, HLG (hybrid log-gamma), and HDR10+, but not Dolby Vision. Having said that, given the native HDR capabilities of this TV, it is debatable how much benefit the particular dynamic metadata format would add.
The overall HDR performance is often stunning, with the sun-scorched desert vistas of Dune appearing bright and highly detailed. There are no signs of clipping in the highlights, and the clarity is so good you can practically pick out individual grains of sand.
The accuracy of the greyscale, colour gamut and tone mapping ensures that HDR images are wonderfully accurate, retaining natural flesh tones and a nuanced colour palette. At the other end of the scale, the deliberately exaggerated colours of Pixar’s Inside Out pop with incredible richness and vitality.
The Batman is the perfect test of a display’s ability to handle deep blacks and shadow detail, with most of the action taking place at night. The fight between the Caped Crusader and some thugs in a pitch-black hallway is an especially challenging sequence, with the image lit up by machine-gun fire. The QN95C delivered the deep blacks, bright muzzle flashes and briefly exposed shadows with undeniable skill.
Despite its inherent brightness, the QN95C showed no signs of blooming or haloing, even in the most demanding of content. The scene in 1917 where it turns to night is particularly difficult to render, from the details that gradually appear out of the darkness to the bright flares that punctuate the night, it’s a real test of a display’s capabilities. The QN95C passed this test with ease, and the inclusion of HDR10+ with dynamic meta undoubtedly help in this regard.
To test the Samsung QN95C we used Portrait Displays Calman colour calibration software.
Samsung QN95C review: Gaming
The QN95C is an awesome choice for any gamers out there, with every gaming feature imaginable. If you’re a PC gamer there’s Freesync Premium and Motion Xcelerator Turbo Pro 144Hz, while the HDMI inputs support next-gen console features like 4K/120Hz, VRR, and ALLM.
The input lag in Game Mode is 10ms, resulting in gameplay that’s incredibly smooth and ultra-responsive, and the motion handling is equally impressive with no signs of tearing or other artefacts, even at the highest frame rates.
The Game Bar is an excellent feature, allowing you to quickly see all the main settings and technical data, as well as gain access to a number of gaming-related settings that users can adjust to personalise their gaming experience.
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Samsung QN95C review: Sound quality
The sound quality on the QN95C is as impressive as the picture, thanks to the inclusion of speakers along the bottom, sides and top. This 4.2.2-channel configuration produces a big soundstage that fills the wall behind the TV, creating a sonic presence that matches the screen.
The addition of extra height channels really makes a difference, and the inclusion of Object Tracking Sound Plus results in a more involving audio experience. Sounds are clearly moving around the screen to match specific objects on screen, while the 70W of amplification adds real power.
There’s decent width and stereo separation too, mid-range and treble frequencies are reproduced cleanly and there’s even a surprising amount of bass. When fireworks were going off at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, you could clearly hear them exploding above and to the sides of the screen.
The inclusion of onboard Dolby Atmos decoding, along with the ability to send Atmos back via ARC, is also effective. There is clearly more height, width and depth to the soundstage with Atmos content. Overall, this is a great performer that delivers excellent audio with any content.
Samsung QN95C review: Verdict
The Samsung QN95C is a superb 4K Smart TV that combines Mini LED backlighting, class-leading local dimming and cutting-edge image processing to produce some of the best SDR and HDR pictures you’ll see this year.
The QN95C benefits from some stunning industrial design, and despite its thin chassis still manages to sound great. There are extensive gaming capabilities, a responsive smart platform, and a comprehensive choice of apps.
It’s a shame Samsung has dropped the One Connect box from most of its lineup this year – it was a clever idea that made wall mounting a doddle – and there’s still no love for Dolby Vision, but otherwise, this accomplished flagship TV gets just about everything right.