Samsung S95B (QE65S95BATXXH): A bright start to a new era in TVs

Samsung S95B (QE65S95BATXXH): A bright start to a new era in TVs

Matjay Robert

October 15, 2022 at 06:01

OLED screens are taking over and, in our opinion, represent the future even in places where they are still in the minority, for example in laptops and televisions of course. We’ve recommended it here for several years as a best buy, if you can afford it (by the way, it’s now as available as possible in 165cm in diameter). With Samsung finally getting back in the game, even with its own technology, this has increased competition and available volumes, and is already affecting pricing. But what is the first generation of QD-OLED TVs? We tested the S95B in the two largest available diameters (163 cm).

Samsung wanted to be the first to hack OLED TVs, even before direct competition LG succeeded in Seoul. More than ten years ago, they tried the first examples that were even RGB types, that is, they had a « real » color diode for each sub-point. The technology at that time did not work due to problems with the “burn-in” of the screen, and Samsung pushed it a little to the side and then aggressively promoted LCD TVs, although, for example, in phones and tablets it became the main promoter of OLED screens and also the largest supplier of them to the entire industry . They are now back with a slightly different and very promising approach.

How does QD-OLED work?

It’s worth a quick refresher on how OLED TVs « paint » the picture. As we know, the latter consists of a large number of points, exactly 8294400 for 4K TVs. There are 3840 of them along the horizontal axis, and 2160 along the vertical axis. Unlike LCD screens, each point lights up on its own. It is completely black, hence the main advantage of these screens, because those with liquid crystals (which allow or block the path of light to the color filter and beyond) cannot produce a completely true black due to the illumination of larger areas of the dots. OLEDs use diodes from organic compounds to light, hence the name of the technology – organic light-emitting diode. The diode is several times larger than the previously mentioned figure, since LG’s OLED technology needs at least six of them to assemble the classic point. The dot consists of three primary colors – red, green and blue – for each of these sub-dots, two diodes, blue and yellow, create a beam of white light, hence the name white OLED. W-OLED (W for white). In recent generations of screens called OLED Evo or OLED.EX, they added another sub-dot, which increases the screen brightness with only white light. This light goes through a color filter, which otherwise covers all the sub-points, so that the combination of the correct ‘on’ and ‘off’ of the (sub) points and the ‘colour’ of the light creates the image.

In smaller RGB displays, each sub-dot is one of the primary colors and thus the color filter is eliminated. Samsung engineers took a slightly different path for TVs, which QLED technology suggested. They may have deliberately chosen a similar acronym for OLED, even though it was just an LCD screen with an extra layer of tiny semiconductors. These are called quantum dots, and their properties are that when exposed to light, they can glow with light of any color that is pure and very stable. The wavelength of this light depends on the size of the quantum dot. So, simply put, Samsung used blue organic diodes as the basis, which are the most powerful in terms of brightness and most suitable for use with quantum dots. In one of the subdots, the diodes directly create their own portion of the screen dot, and in the other two, they sparkle the quantum dots, which then glow red and green, giving off the other two components of each dot on the screen. There is no color filter, which means that the power of the light is not lost on the way through the different layers of the screen, so the luminance and color saturation, as seen by the human eye, are more intense. The QD suffix in the name naturally represents quantum dots.

But how is this actually known?

Now that we know the theory, I can share the results of what the image looks like in practice. It probably wouldn’t be surprising, even if someone expected something astoundingly different, if you basically sum it up as « OLED ». Much like what can be seen on LG screen TVs, but it’s still different in one, perhaps very important feature. The screen is actually much brighter, but this mainly shows in the fact that the colors are much brighter. By themselves, they’re not much different, sharper or anything like that, at least not in most of them, the exception being, for example, the almost strong yellow and orange subtitles in Netflix. Especially in HDR content, the colors are vividly strong and bright, without losing their « essence ». Often, when increasing the brightness of the screen, it begins to happen that the colors are no longer the same at lower brightness, but somehow become brighter. Here they remain the same all the time. Above all, they are lively and correct at the same time, eg red or green are not exactly « wild », which (was) happens with some other types of screens.

It’s interesting, a little funny, how similar it is, and almost the same picture can be captured on this TV and LG’s OLED C2. I watched them at the same time and marveled at how close they were in terms of display — hue, saturation, contrast, dynamics, and detail — except that the Samsung S95B is 20 to 30 percent brighter. I’m talking about the HDR image. Whether or not this extra « light » is necessary depends on the space, scenes, etc. I don’t miss the competitor’s added shine aforementioned, and I can tone it down a bit, especially in the evening, but a little extra stock wouldn’t hurt.

As I already wrote in the tests of many TVs, with a normal image (SDR), additional brightness does not come to the fore, and even then, the TV does not reach the values ​​\u200b\u200bthat are stated in the promotional materials. While watching a TV show or videos from YouTube, if you are not in HDR format, the screen brightness cannot be “raised” to maximum values, because this already spoils the image, as I described earlier (colors fade and contrasts deteriorate). In any case, the display with these sources is also excellent, it is very nice to set up, none of the colors stand out much, and if the source is almost decent, then this TV is a pure pleasure for viewers.

For HDR content, the available formats are HDR10, Dynamic HDR10+ and HLG, which are mainly used in sports broadcast TV shows. Samsung continues to ignore Dolby Vision, the dominant format on video streaming services (even Amazon Prime Video, which was the main user of rival HDR10+, is turning to it), but here again it’s interesting and surprising in its own way that this has almost no effect on the screen. In certain films or series, I noticed some difference, for example, in one of the opening scenes of the third part of Magical Animals, when Scamander went with a boat and a lantern in his hands in almost complete darkness, in Dolby Vision mode, more details are seen in each of the points The brightest and darkest, but the differences really need to be looked for and compared directly. In addition, it can be said that a little overexposure or opacity contributes to artistic expression. Therefore, at least for this TV, which does not have a large screen, the situation is different, and the absence of Dolby Vision support does not seem to me a huge drawback in practice. However, I still insisted that due to its ubiquity in streaming services, Samsung was supposed to include it, because it is only appropriate that the best display shows an image from the best possible source.

Samsung S95B

  • Appearance and connections
  • Screen and picture quality
  • sound quality
  • Software and add-ons
  • price

Should I buy?

As for the screen, there is no doubt that it offers the best combination of vibrant (but correct) colors, excellent blacks, contrast and high brightness on the market. In general, some competitors are more complete, as the weak body, mediocre speakers, and a half-used remote control aren’t very convincing, but anyone who wants the best picture possible at an affordable price should have this TV on their shortlist. The price is not exaggerated at all.

Enough of the picture, what about the rest?

It’s very clear that QD-OLED screen technology is still very expensive and that they had to skimp on some important aspects of TV because of this. The first thing to note and for sure is the design and build of the device itself. The stand is completely unoriginal and the entire case configuration is unconvincing. Fortunately, the TV is the kind of device out there, and basically nobody minds if it’s a little wobbling. On a wall mount, this is not important at all. The same can be said about the speakers. It’s pretty average and far from really surprisingly good on this year’s high-end LG models (the C2 and especially the G2). But I’ve always argued that high-end TVs deserve at least solid speakers with a standalone subwoofer or, better yet, a serious sound system.

The remote is certainly interesting, but it’s not the most innovative at the same time. It does not have classic replaceable batteries, but has a built-in battery that is charged from various sources. It can, if necessary, via a cable with a USB-C connector, but also with solar cells at the back and from radio waves in the room. This way, the batteries should never be replaced (comma – recently a six-year-old TV left the house with original AAA batteries in a normally working remote). It’s also comfortable, at least in terms of size, but less convenient in terms of keys. There aren’t enough of them, and while Samsung is betting on the bare minimum and voice control, the shortcuts to quickly access the streaming service and numbers to switch between TV channels, as we’ve been accustomed to for decades, are still hard to miss. In addition, in our case, the middle button for confirmation did not work from time to time, and only the classic remedy – “turn off and on” helped.

The Tizen operating system and user interface are familiar, and there are no differences compared to other TVs of this brand. Basically, the case is transparent and responsive enough (although sometimes it didn’t look to me as much as I would like), well-stocked with apps and also with a wide range of options for playing content from phones or tablets (via Samsung’s own protocol, Miracast). , Airplay by Apple). But two things bother me. Quite a lot of clicks are required to get to settings etc, rather than having (also) a dedicated button on the remote for this, or at least an icon that can’t be missed when viewing the menu on the screen. And secondly, it is not clear where to find certain items, and most of the « home screen », like most other systems, is completely unused. A maker should really do a tangible renovation here and improve things in order to set an example for others.

The TV provides convenient connections for Playstation 5 and Xbox series X game consoles and gaming PCs. Thus, it is possible to take advantage of variable screen refresh up to 120 Hz (presumably with interventions in the built-in software up to 144 Hz), short delays and other goodies. As it became popular, it is possible to use the remote control to show the game logo on the screen, monitor basic information there, as well as change the settings for the picture mode and more. Even in the field of gaming, of course, Dolby Vision support is missing, which will be quite annoying for gamers who want to use the console and the latest games to the fullest as for fans of series and movies, even if the picture with normal HDR10 is just great.

The Samsung S95B is an impressive TV, especially for the first generation of technology. Nothing else shows such wonderful colors and at the same time true. Of course, it brings all the other advantages of OLED, the only thing missing in terms of image compared to the competition is the support for the Dolby Vision format. But the differences are practically slight, so it’s not really a huge drawback. You can also stick around the poor chassis and mediocre speakers. I will decide something else at most based on the price, which is already very attractive compared to my starting point, dropping from the recommended 3100 to 2100 euros, or on integration into the ecosystem of other devices I use.

  • a great offer
  • The combination of color and brightness outperforms all other TVs on the market (except for the Sony model that has the same screen)
  • Great for gamers with the latest consoles
  • Tizen platform contains all the important applications
  • Good range of options to connect to smartphones
We refuse:
  • Samsung continues to ignore the widely used Dolby Vision format
  • The case is a bit flimsy and the design is not special
  • average speakers
  • The remote control is missing some necessary buttons
  • The user interface is confusing in some places

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