Samsung is the biggest TV manufacturer in the world, thanks to its broad range of 4K and 8K TVs with LCD and QLED displays.
Each year it debuts a new raft of TVs at tech trade show CES (Consumer Electronics Show). Samsung usually leads with high-end sets with cutting-edge features and the latest tech.
These top-tier TVs aren't right for everyone, but it's exciting to see what Samsung is focusing on and the direction TV tech is headed. Plus, it doesn't take long for the high-end features to filter down into cheaper models.
In this guide we'll explain the key differences between all of Samsung's TV ranges and go into detail on the technology that makes them tick.
We only know about Samsung's high-end Neo QLED TVs for the moment as that's all it's been announced. We'll add more about its other ranges - including the more affordable sets - as soon we get the information.
The Neo QLED tech that shrinks LEDs in the backlight to fit more of them in is still the order of the day in 2022, but Samsung is taking it further: four times further.
Backlights create dimming zones. It’s an area of distinct lighting control, and the more a TV has, the more control there is over how the screen is lit. Samsung says the previous iteration of its Quantum Mini LED backlights had 4,069 dimming zones and the new ones will have 16,384.
It’s a massive leap that should make colours look more accurate, help objects look defined, create deeper blacks and precise bright whites. Samsung has also added something called a ‘Real Depth Enhancer’. It’s software that should make foreground and background images stand out better to create a more three-dimensional effect.
There are sound improvements, too. For the first time, Samsung TVs will have upward-firing speakers to send audio overhead. Most TVs have Dolby Atmos sound processing to do this, but without speakers pointing in the right direction it can only be a simulation (which doesn’t tend to work very well).
TVs from the Frame range are designed to be wall mounted and display works of art when you aren't watching anything. The interchangeable picture frames that wrap around the TV complete the look along with a near-transparent cable that connects the TV to a separate box that houses the HDMI and USB ports.
It's a clever design for anyone who doesn't fancy having a big black rectangle dominating their living room.
Frame TVs have 4K QLED displays with a matte finish to make them look more like paintings without detracting from the picture too much when you're watching a moving image.
They come in a wide range of sizes and there are more than 40 different frames to choose from. It's available in 43, 50, 55, 65, 75 and 85 inches.
There are plenty of features that make Samsung's QLED and LCD TVs stand out, including ambient mode, invisible connections and a new backlight.
Neo QLED makes the LEDs in the display much smaller and packs more of them in. This means contrast should be improved. Neo QLEDs will have more control over colour and which parts of the screen are lit. It also means the TVs are slimmer than standard QLEDs.
Whether this will get the contrast to OLED levels remains to be seen, but it's likely to be a step in the right direction.
AI (artificial intelligence) upscaling analyses every object on screen and refers back to an enormous database of reference images to reduce blur and increase the clarity of whatever's being displayed. Originally this was reserved for 8K sets, but now all Samsung's QLEDs can do it.
On an 8K TV, AI upscaling should bring SD, HD and 4K footage close to the quality of true 8K content. We've seen the results, and the sharpness is staggering. Without this technology, 8K TVs would currently be completely irrelevant, since there's very little consumer 8K content available yet – on broadcast TV, streaming services or physical media.
Samsung builds on this technology every year to improve the upscaling and it's now found some 4K TVs, too.
Like a bat sending out sonar to understand the layout of its surroundings, Samsung TVs with AI Sound register their position in the room and the location of any furniture to adjust sound for the best audio experience.
AI sound adjusts volume automatically, too, so if someone starts vacuuming in the other room the volume will get louder to compensate.
If you've long wished your TV would just blend in seamlessly with your living room decor, then ambient mode is for you.
When in ambient mode, your TV screen will copy the wall behind it – whether or not the TV is mounted – although the effect will be better if you have your TV on the wall. Wallpaper, brickwork, paint, wood; just about any surface can be displayed on the screen.
First, you take a picture of your wall and send that to your TV. The screen can then mimic your decor, adjusting to the pattern, colour and brightness. This technology, coupled with the new invisible connection and ever-shrinking bezels, means Samsung TVs can go virtually unnoticed when they aren't turned on.
Alternatively, ambient mode can display news bulletins, the weather or your own photos.
Ambient mode is present on all Samsung QLED and Neo QLED TVs.
If you have a Galaxy smartphone, you'll be familiar with Bixby. Samsung's voice assistant is now making the move to TVs, and it's built into all the brand's QLED TVs plus its 8 Series. You'll be able to use Bixby to control your TV. Just speak into the remote to control anything from searching for specific programmes to opening apps.
To activate the microphone you usually need to press a button on the remote, but on the One Remote that comes with mid-range and high-end Samsungs, there's a far-field microphone similar to those found in Amazon Echos. These improved mics let you talk to the TV even when the remote isn't in your hand or you've misplaced it.
It's more conversational now. Your first question could be asking to see what Star Wars films are available. You could then ask to watch the third one from the list and Bixby will understand you're referring to the list drawn up by your first question. These contextual responses are important for assistants to be more useful.
This addition to Samsung TVs is focused on gaming and making the frame rate as stable as possible. Frame rate is basically how many frames of an image the TV displays per second. Some TVs can now display up 120 frames a second, but sometimes games struggle to output a steady frame rate.
That's where FreeSync comes in. It uses variable refresh rate to register when a frame is missing and smooth out the picture so you don't notice. This minimises judder and screen tearing while gaming.
All Samsung's TVs, even the QLED sets, use LCD displays with lights behind or around them creating the image. A full-array backlight means the LEDs sit directly behind the screen. Since there are more LEDs in full-array backlights, the TV has more control over which areas of the screen are lit. This minimises colour bleeding onto darker areas of the screen.
Edge-LED backlights put the lights around the edge of the TV. This means there are fewer dimming zones and less control over what's lit on screen. Edge-LED TVs are more likely to suffer from halo effects, where light bleeds from light images onto a darker background.
You'll find full-array backlights on most QLED TVs. Some cheaper QLEDs and Samsung's LCD ranges have edge-lit screens.
While its competitors look to Dolby Vision for HDR, Samsung is putting its weight behind HDR10+. Samsung isn't alone though: Amazon Video, 20th Century Fox, Universal, Paramount and Warner Brothers are all planning to support HDR10+. You can learn more about high-dynamic range in our .
HDR10+ is built into all Samsung's QLED and LCD TVs.
Along with ambient mode, invisible connection is Samsung's way of making its TVs as inconspicuous as possible. None of the HDMI or USB ports are on the TV itself; instead, one thin transparent wire connects the TV to a separate box housing the connections. This means you won't have any unsightly cables descending from your TV and you have greater freedom about where you put your connected devices.
The invisible connection is only available on Samsung's most high-end 4K and 8K TVs.
Samsung isn't shy talking about Micro LED technology at every trade show. It's Samsung's first true OLED competitor, thanks to its self-emitting pixels that create their own light, just as OLEDs do. This means a backlight isn't required to make a picture, allowing the TVs to be thinner.
Where Micro LEDs differ from OLEDs is the pixels, which are inorganic. This means, unlike OLEDs, the pixels won't degrade over time. Samsung says this allows them to push the displays harder, creating brighter images than OLED.
Generally, TV screens are made of one sheet of glass with several layers underneath, but Micro LED screens are made of several smaller panels that can be arranged in different shapes and sizes.
Samsung hasn't revealed every aspect of the TV yet, but it's possible that one day we could increase or decrease the size of our TV. Imagine moving house to somewhere with a bigger living room and rather than buying a whole new set, you could just add a few panels to it.
This intriguing tech does exactly what it says on the tin. The speakers, which sit behind the display rather at the base pointing down, follow the sound around the screen. Imagine a car roaring from the left of the screen to the right, the sound should follow it to create a more positional and immersive effect.
All Samsung's TVs use backlights, but on a QLED TV the bulbs illuminate quantum dots as well as liquid crystals. This technology is said to produce more vibrant colours without compromising realism.
Rather than fiddling with your new and still unfamiliar remote, you can use your smartphone to set up the TV instead. Downloading the lets you use your phone to input any details the TV needs, such as your email address and password for your Samsung account.
With your permission, it can copy over the password for your wi-fi and any apps you have on your phone that are also on the TV, so you don't need to enter the same information repeatedly for each app. This could be for Amazon Video, BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Spotify and other streaming services.
Samsung's 2021 TV ranges came packed with many of the features we've highlighted; we've rounded up what each of the brand's then-new Neo QLED series had to offer.
See our quick snapshot table or keep reading for more detailed information.
|Samsung 2021 ranges||Notable features||What you need to know|
|QN900A||8K, Neo QLED display, Neo Quantum Processor 8K, Infinity screen (no edge), single wire that plugs into a connection box, Object Tracking Sound +||Top-tier high-end range. Expensive. Comes in 65, 75 and 85-inch sizes.|
|QN800A||8K, Neo QLED, Neo Quantum Processor 8K, Infinity screen, connection box, Object Tracking Sound +||£1,500 cheaper at launch than the QN900A. Doesn't have as many speakers, software isn't as advanced.|
|QN95A and QN94A||4K, NEO QLED, Neo Quantum Processor 4K, Object Tracking Sound +||QN95A range has the connection box, and is more expensive. QN95A smallest screen is 55 inches; QN94A is 50.|
|QN90A and QN85A||4K, NEO QLED, Object Tracking Sound||Two cheapest ranges to support NEO QLED. QN85A has 'light' version of Object Tracking Sound which also has two fewer speakers than the +, QN90A has the same but only on the 50-inch.|
|Q80A, Q70A and Q60A||4K, QLED, Object Tracking Sound||Lacks Neo backlights of other models, plus don't have the same gaming features. Q70A and Q60A only have 60Hz display.|
|8000 and 7000||4K, LCD||Samsung's cheapest TVs, but still come with decent features such as HDR10+.|
These top-tier 8K sets come with all the bells and whistles you'd expect from such a high-end range. They use Neo QLED displays meaning they are thin and should have better contrast than other backlit TVs.
They use the Neo Quantum Processor 8K, which promises, as usual, to offer the best possible picture. Its main job will be making SD, HD and 4K content look somewhere close to 8K, since there's precious little actual 8K content to watch.
It's one of Samsung's brightest displays and has more speakers than most. They sit behind the screen to create a more positional sound that appears to come from different points on the screen, such as an actor's mouth or distant explosion. This type of speaker array has taken off, with Sony employing similar technology, and it could make a real different to sound quality.
The QN900A range is one of the few to have Samsung's Infinity Screen, which, not unlike an infinity pool, seems to have no edges. This bezel-less design is meant to draw you in and make for a more immersive experience. Whether you agree with that or not, you can't deny the range looks pretty.
In an attempt to keep the clean minimal lines free from clutter there will only be one wire connected to the TV and it's almost transparent. It plugs into a separate connections box which houses your HDMI and USB inputs, as well as the power cable, so you can keep all those unsightly wires out of sight.
The QN900A range comes in 65, 75 and 85-inch screen sizes.
The cheaper and less high-end 8K sets make up Samsung's QN800A range.
So how does the range differ from the QN900As?
Importantly, QN800As are still Neo QLED TVs and it have the same processor, so picture quality shouldn't be wildly different, although the tech specs don't account for any additional tuning or development that goes on behind the scenes in Samsung's labs.
The screens won't be as bright and the HDR boost may be less noticeable since the QN800A software isn't as advanced. It uses Object Tracking Sound+, but doesn't have as many speakers as the QN900As so the effect may be diminished.
Aesthetically the two ranges are pretty similar, though. QN800A TVs have Samsung's Infinity Display, as well as the separate connections box. At £1,500 less than the QN900As at launch, these cheaper 8K sets are starting to look like a pretty good deal.
It's not just 8K TVs that get all the Neo QLED fun, there are several 4K ranges that have these displays, too. As with the two 8K ranges, the differences between the QN95A and QN94A ranges is relatively small and the prices were close at launch.
Both have the 4K equivalent of the Neo Quantum Processor, Object Tracking Sound+ and the same HDR support as the QN800A. The main reason you're paying more for the QN95A, on paper at least, is the separate connections box.
Both ranges have a maximum screen size of 85 inches, but the smallest screen of the QN94A series (50 inches) is smaller than that of the QN95A (55 inches).
Samsung QN95A reviews
Samsung QN94A reviews
The two cheapest ranges to support the new (for 2021) Neo QLED display technology are the QN90A and QN85A.
There are some clear differences between these models and the QN94A above them.
First is HDR. At first glance, Samsung keeps it simple here by making all its 4K TVs support HDR10+, one of the advanced formats. However, to complicate things a touch, each TV also has an HDR rating. The maximum rating is HDR 4000 on the QN900A 8K range. The QN90A and QN85A have ratings of HDR 1500 and HDR 24x respectively.
In theory, the higher the number the better the boost to contrast and colour, but our testing has found that the technology and HDR formats a TV supports is not a clear indication of HDR image quality. Don't assume a higher number here equals better HDR.
Object Tracking Sound (OTS) is the other key difference. The 50-inch QN90A has a 'light' version of OTS, presumably because it's harder to create that sense of sound tracking across a screen when it's smaller. Larger models have the OTS+ technology.
The QN85A uses the light, rather than the '+', version of OTS across all TVs in the range. There are fewer speakers (six) in a Samsung with OTS, while models with OTS+ get eight or more.
Samsung QN90A reviews
Samsung QN85A reviews
Standard QLEDs still have the quantum dot displays, but don't have the Neo backlights for better contrast.
They aren't as high-end in other areas either - they don't have the same suite of gaming features for example. The Q80A has VRR and a 120Hz display, but the Q70A and Q60A only have a 60Hz one.
With all Samsung TVs you get the stellar Tizen operating system and these QLEDs get the One Remote, which is Samsung's fancier model with a clean fascia and multi-use buttons.
With audio you're getting a version of Object Tracking Sound, but without the '+' that you see on Neo QLEDs. That means you should get some sense of audio coming from different parts of the screen, but it won't be quite as pronounced as it is on the Neo QLEDs.
Samsung Q80A reviews
Samsung Q70A reviews
Samsung Q60A reviews
On the bottom rung of Samsung's 2021 line-up is the LCD ranges. Low-end they may be, but they are all 4K and support advanced HDR10+ for adaptive contrast on HDR content that changes with each scene.
It's here you'll find Samsung's cheapest TVs, with many available for under £400, which is about as cheap as 4K TVs from well-known brands get.
Being on the cheaper end doesn't mean they are bad either. In fact, some of Samsung's entry-level TVs scored better than some of its QLEDs.