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Samsung S95D review: The future of OLED TV has never been so bright

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £3599
inc VAT

Samsung’s S95D is a flagship TV that redefines the possibilities of Quantum Dot OLED


  • Incredibly bright HDR for an OLED
  • Exceptional image accuracy
  • Superb gaming support


  • Still no Dolby Vision support

The Samsung S95D is the brand’s latest Quantum Dot OLED TV and promises to take the nascent panel technology to another level thanks to a ground-breaking new screen filter, an upgraded processor, a significant increase in HDR brightness, and more accurate colours.

On top of these performance improvements, the S95D also retains all the features that impressed on the Samsung S95C, including proprietary technology like Object Tracking Sound Plus and the One Connect box. The comprehensive Tizen smart system has also had a few tweaks, while some new features have been added to Samsung’s cutting-edge gaming support.

If the S95D lives up to its potential, it could be a contender for best TV of the year before most of Samsung’s rivals have even announced their new lineups.

Samsung S95D review: Key specifications

Screen sizes available:55in QE55S95D
65in QE65S95D
77in QE77S95D
Panel type:QD-OLED
Resolution:4K/UHD (3,840 x 2,160)
Refresh rate:144Hz
HDR formats:HDR, HLG, HDR10+
Audio enhancement:Object Tracking Sound Plus, 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
Wireless connectivity:802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.2, AirPlay 2
Smart assistants:Bixby built-in; works with Alexa and Google Assistant
Smart platform:Tizen

Samsung S95D review: What you need to know

The Samsung S95D is a 4K (3,840 x 2,160) HDR smart TV that uses third-generation Quantum Dot OLED (QD-OLED) technology. The range offers 55in, 65in and 77in screen sizes, and for this review, Samsung provided the 65in QE65S95D for testing.

The third-generation panel has been fine-tuned for brighter highlights, while a ‘Glare-Free’ filter, first introduced on Samsung’s The Frame TV, promises a better viewing experience and improved blacks when watching with ambient light by eliminating distracting reflections.

The S95D’s imaging is the result of the latest NQ4 AI Gen2 picture processor, while the smart platform continues to use the Tizen operating system. There’s also a Filmmaker mode, and support for HDR10, HLG and HDR10+ Adaptive – but sadly still no Dolby Vision.

This OLED TV has a sleek design, includes the One Connect box for clutter-free cable management and benefits from an Object Tracking Sound Plus audio system alongside 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 S95D review: Price and Competition

Samsung has confirmed that the 65in S95D will launch at £3,599 – the same price as its predecessor cost last year. That TV is still available and now costs £1,699 for the 55in model and £2,099 for the 65in variant. The 77in option was not in stock at Samsung at the time of writing.

Samsung has not revealed pricing for the other screen sizes or communicated a firm release date, though I expect it to go on sale at some point in April.

As for other brands, there haven’t been many official announcements to date, but the LG G4 will probably be the S95D’s main competition. Other rivals include Sony, Panasonic and Philips, all of which are expected to launch premium OLED TVs this year. 

Samsung S95D review: Design, connections and control

The Samsung S95D retains the same ultra-slim and bezel-less ‘Infinity One’ design as last year and remains both elegant and extremely well-made. The One Connect box keeps all connections separate, allowing for a panel that’s an incredible 11mm deep.

The new ‘Glare-Free’ screen filter is remarkable, and so effective at rejecting ambient light and reflections that it borders on witchcraft. I shined a torch directly at the screen and could barely see a reflection, thanks to the filter’s embossed surface with its new coating that diffuses light in multiple directions to eliminate unwanted glare.

The attractive all-metal stand provides solid support, and sufficient clearance for a soundbar, while its smaller footprint makes positioning the TV on narrower surfaces easier. If you prefer, you can wall mount the S95D using a standard 400 x 300mm VESA bracket or Samsung’s Slim Fit support.

The Slim One Connect box houses all the connections and attaches to the TV using a single cable, allowing it to be discreetly hidden away or mounted to the rear of the stand. All four HDMI inputs support HDR10, HLG, HDR10+, VRR, ALLM and 4K@144Hz, plus eARC in the case of HDMI 3.

The other physical connections include a pair of USB connectors, an Ethernet port, dual satellite and terrestrial tuners, a CI (Common Interface) slot, a 3.5mm jack and an optical digital output. In terms of wireless connectivity, there’s Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Apple AirPlay 2.

The S95D ships with two remotes: a standard black zapper, and the Solar Cell controller. The latter offers a stripped-down choice of buttons that cover all the main functionality and controls, plus there are direct access keys for Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and Samsung’s TV Plus.

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Samsung S95D review: Smart TV platform

The Samsung S95D runs the latest iteration of the brand’s Tizen-powered operating system, and it remains a well-designed, intuitive-to-use and highly responsive smart platform. The homepage is similar to last year but adds three sub-tabs towards the top titled ‘For You’, ‘Live’ and ‘Apps’.

The ‘For You’ tab includes recently watched content, some recommendations based on your viewing habits, a row of apps and then layers of additional content that’s also based on your viewing history. The result is a more personalised experience when using the smart system.

The ‘Live’ tab offers live TV content for you to browse, and includes the electronic programme guide (EPG) with its sensibly laid-out channels, times, information and thumbnail image. Finally, the ‘Apps’ tab includes various recommended apps directly provided by Samsung applications.

The Media section contains every streaming video service imaginable, along with any connected HDMI devices, which makes life finding and selecting content easier. There’s also a dedicated Game Hub, which curates all the latest cloud gaming services and any connected consoles into a single location.

Searching for content and finding recommendations is simple, while Samsung’s TV Plus offers an expanded channel lineup. The Smart Hub automatically detects and connects smart devices in a single handy location, plus the HDMI ports will detect and set up any newly connected devices.

Whatever your preference when it comes to video streamers, the S95D has you covered with Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV+, Disney+, Now, Rakuten, YouTube and all the UK catch-up services. All these apps offer 4K, HDR10, HLG and Dolby Atmos where appropriate.

Samsung’s SmartThings app makes setup simple and provides an extensive amount of control. The brand’s Bixby smart assistant is built-in, but the S95D also works with Amazon Alexa and you can even access Siri thanks to the TV’s support for Apple’s AirPlay 2. There’s no Google Assistant, however, following a change to Google’s policy that comes into effect in March.

Samsung S95D review: Image quality

The Samsung S95D ships in the Eco mode, which is designed to hit energy consumption targets but also delivers an image with way too much blue in the greyscale, a manipulated gamma and overly saturated colours. The result is a highly inaccurate mode compared to industry standards.

Thankfully, simply selecting Filmmaker mode addresses all these issues, and the resulting images are incredibly accurate. Out of the box, the greyscale measures an average DeltaE (error) of 0.8, colours have an average error of 1.2 and the gamma tracks around the target of 2.4.

These measurements are exceptional and can’t be improved in any noticeable way through calibration, which is bad news for any professional calibrators out there. The resulting SDR images are fantastic, with the deep blacks expected of OLED, exceptionally well-defined shadow delineation, pixel-precise details and deeply saturated but natural-looking colours.

The QD-OLED panel certainly plays its part by delivering increased brightness and significantly expanding the colour gamut, even at higher luminance levels. The other big benefit of OLED is a very wide field of view, with no drop-off in quality, even at extreme angles.

The new screen filter does an incredible job of rejecting ambient light in the room and eliminating all reflections. The result is an improvement to the overall contrast performance when viewing content under these conditions, with even better black levels than last year’s S95C.

The upgraded NQ4 AI Gen2 processor uses 20 individual neural networks and deep-learning algorithms to bring out all the details in high-quality images, while also giving them added depth. Features like perceptual colour mapping and object detection processing also play their part.

The upscaling and image enhancements are superb, ensuring that even the lowest resolution content is very watchable, while Full HD content looks almost 4K. The processing can eliminate noise without scrubbing other picture details, producing well-defined images.

The motion handling is equally capable, producing moving images free of judder or other motion artefacts, even when the Picture Clarity setting is off. This is the best option if you want films to still look like films, but if you prefer smoother motion with sport, the Custom setting is effective.

Gravity on Blu-ray brought all these strengths to the fore, with the inky blacks of space complemented by the pixel-precise star fields. Colours are saturated but natural, the upscaling squeezes every detail out of the image, and the whites of the spacesuits pop without clipping.

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Samsung S95D review: HDR performance

Samsung refers to the S95D as offering HDR OLED Pro, and the brand isn’t kidding, with the latest panel and processing delivering previously unseen levels of peak brightness with a 10% window hitting 1,700cd/m2. In addition, the full-field brightness has also been increased significantly with a 100% window now reaching 362cd/m2.

These are the highest numbers I’ve measured on an OLED TV to date, and the overall increased luminance not only makes an obvious difference but means HDR content graded at 1,000 nits requires the minimum of tone-mapping.

The HDR greyscale accuracy in Filmmaker mode is as impressive as it is in SDR, tracking red, green and blue almost exactly, and the EOTF maps the PQ target precisely. This is important because it retains the original artistic intent, and can maintain this accuracy even when handling grades with higher levels of peak brightness.

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 123%, while the BT.2020 coverage hits an equally impressive 89%. Crucially, the saturation sweeps of DCI-P3 within BT.2020 are also very accurate, resulting in expertly rendered colours with HDR content.

The Samsung supports high dynamic range in the form of HDR10, HLG and HDR10+ Adaptive, with a choice of Static or Active settings for the first two formats. The Static option tracks the PQ target precisely, while Active analyses the HDR signal and adjusts the brightness.

The Active mode has been upgraded and its dynamic tone mapping works exceptionally well without introducing any unwanted clipping. This feature proved very useful for watching HDR during the day and with very dark HDR grades like The Long Night episode of Game of Thrones.

The increased brightness is immediately obvious when watching HDR content, and the significant uptick in luminance on a full-screen image makes a noticeable difference compared to previous OLED TVs (QD or WRGB). This is most evident when watching a film like Top Gun: Maverick, where the icy and snowbound mountains pop in a way I’ve never seen before on an OLED TV.

The level of detail is also remarkable, and watching a film like Oppenheimer with its 65mm and IMAX photography is a revelation, with insane amounts of fine detail in the image. The colours are also wonderfully deep and natural, bringing the breathtaking desert vistas to life vividly.

The S95D’s incredibly wide gamut handles highly colourful HDR grades with skill, with the deliberately over-saturated images of Inside Out taking full advantage of this QD-OLED’s ability to deliver a colour gamut that goes beyond DCI-P3.

An LCD TV may be able to go brighter on a full-field image, but it can never come close to the pixel precision of an OLED, no matter how many dimming zones it has. This is best demonstrated in the scene in First Man where Apollo 11 goes into the shadow of the moon: it’s perfectly rendered, with the surface of the moon gradually shining through the window as it pierces the darkness and illuminates the faces of the spellbound astronauts.

To test the Samsung S95D I used Portrait Displays Calman colour calibration software.

Samsung S95D review: Gaming

Like all of Samsung’s TVs, the S95D is a great choice for gamers, offering support for all the latest tech available. PC gamers can benefit from Freesync Premium and Motion Xcelerator Turbo Pro 144Hz, while the HDMI inputs support console features like 4K/120Hz, VRR and ALLM.

The Game Hub offers a choice of cloud gaming services, while a dedicated Game Mode delivers a lightning-fast input lag of 9.2ms. As a result, gameplay is smooth and highly responsive, with excellent motion handling free of tearing or other artefacts, even at the highest frame rates.

The Game Bar provides quick access to all the main gaming settings and information, as well as key game-related menus that users can adjust to personalise their gaming experience. The new AI Auto Game mode allows the TV to select the correct setting for a specific type of game genre.

Other new Game Bar features include Mini-map Auto Detection, which eliminates the hassle of manually searching for a mini-map by automatically finding it through frame analysis and then zooming in to the selected location.

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Samsung S95D review: Sound quality

The Samsung S95D uses Object Tracking Sound Plus (OTS+), which manages to cram a 4.2.2-channel speaker system and 70W of amplification into a super-svelte chassis. The results are remarkable for a TV this slim, producing a surprisingly big soundstage with width and height.

There’s no doubt the speakers at the top of the panel help, giving the audio more dimensionality, while the rear woofers, composed of two sets of four drivers, help generate a surprising amount of bass. There’s also good stereo separation, while the mid-range and treble are impressive.

The inclusion of OTS+ processing produces a more engaging sonic experience, with sounds moving around to match specific actions on screen, while the amplification has sufficient grunt to remain coherent and composed, even at very high volumes.

The onboard Dolby Atmos decoding, along with the ability to send Atmos back via ARC, works effectively; plus the combination of OTS+ and Atmos’s psychoacoustic processing adds a greater sense of height, width and depth to the audio, resulting in a feeling of improved dimensionality.

The S95D will never be as immersive as a dedicated soundbar with actual rear speakers and a separate sub, but for a TV this thin, it’s a remarkable sonic achievement. If you have a Samsung soundbar that supports Q Symphony, this feature allows the TV to sync with it and operate in harmony. In testing, this worked well, with the two products automatically connecting and syncing correctly. 

Samsung S95D review: Verdict

The Samsung S95D is, if you’ll pardon the pun, a quantum leap for OLED televisions. It delivers previously impossible levels of brightness and adds a screen filter that borders on sorcery.

It also redefines what a 4K OLED TV can do in terms of image accuracy, colour gamut and HDR performance. Add gorgeous design, superior smarts, peerless picture processing, an effective audio system and cutting-edge gaming features, and you’ve got a very early contender for TV of the year.

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