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Best Samsung TV: our top QLED picks for 2020

best Samsung TV
Samsung Q800T QLED TV (Image credit: Samsung)

After the best Samsung TV? You're in luck, as we've put the very best Samsung 4K TVs and 8K TVs head to head in one handy guide, so you can tell which set is really the right one for you.

Those of us at TechRadar are busy continually testing, comparing and compiling what we think are the best Samsung TVs, whatever your budget might be. Whether you're angling for a cheap LCD set that won't break the bank, or a super-bright QLED display that certainly will, there's a broad range of Samsung TV models for a variety of needs, tastes, and price points – especially now that a fleet of new Samsung TVs has been launched, including 4K QLED models like the Q60T, Q70T, Q80T, and Q90T.

The South Korean TV maker clearly has a lot in store for 2020, with a new OTS audio system enhancing sound in its fancier sets, a rotating Sero TV for watching smartphone videos, and new 32-inch / 75-inch sizes for its stylish The Frame TV. We'll be sure to update this guide once more of these new televisions have been reviewed – though you can be sure that there'll be improvements across the Samsung TV range, from new health-tracking apps to the arrival of Disney Plus.

As the world's biggest TV maker, Samsung has a huge number of new sets coming out every year, and that means picking out the very Samsung TV is harder than with a lot of other TV brands.

The next Samsung TV announcements are likely to be in September around IFA 2020 – even if Samsung will be doing a virtual showcase rather than attending in person. For now, though, these are the best Samsung TVs on the market that we can vouch for. 

Scroll down for an our pick of the top models available to buy, along with a run-down of Samsung the brand and how to tell their TV product names apart.

The best Samsung TVs at a glance:

  1. Best Samsung TV: Samsung Q90 QLED
  2. Most reasonably priced: Samsung Q80 QLED
  3. Best designer TV: Samsung The Frame (2020)
  4. Best budget set: Samsung RU7470 LED
  5. Blowout option: Samsung Q950TS 8K QLED

Top Picks

samsung q90 best samsung tv

(Image credit: Samsung)

1. Best Samsung TV: Samsung Q90R QLED TV

The best QLED to date

Superb picture quality
Incredible HDR performance
Wider viewing angles
Comprehensive smart platform
No Dolby Vision support
No Dolby Atmos speakers

Samsung's flagship 4K QLED for 2019 has somehow managed to outdo last year's Q9FN, which previously held the top spot on this list.

As the top model in Samsung's QLED range – 8K models like the Q950R aside – the Q90R offers a truly dynamic picture with market-leading picture processing and incredible HDR images. Not to mention a dazzling peak brightness of 1,600 nits (double that of most OLEDs). And with a sleek, bezel-less design, and the OneConnect box to tidy away all your cables, the Q90R is as nice to look at when the TV is off as well.

But one of the most impressive innovations with the Q90R is the viewing angles: something that LCD panels traditionally struggle with, given that backlighting usually faces directly forwards. Samsung has tackled the problem admirably, with its Ultra Viewing Angle technology meaning that contrast and color are as strong off-axis as they are head-on.

Add to that the built-in Bixby voice assistant and comprehensive smart platform, and you have a top-class television full able to compete with any OLED TVs.

We've seen a 2020 successor, the Q95T QLED, rear its head – but the new model isn't as highly specified as the Q90R, meaning our 2019 favorite is still the Samsung TV to consider. If you want the absolute best Samsung TV, the Q90R most certainly is it.

Read the full review: Samsung Q90R QLED TV

Samsung Q80R QLED best samsung TV

(Image credit: Samsung)

2. Most reasonably priced: Samsung Q80 QLED TV

A mid-range QLED that has the goods

Consistent black levels
Direct Full Array backlight
Excellent image processor
No Freeview Play
No Dolby Vision

The Samsung Q80R QLED TV isn't the flashiest QLED put out this year – in fact, it's third in the line-up after the Samsung Q90 and Samsung Q85. The difference between each one might be incremental, but by the time you've got the the Q80R, you've got a substantial price saving from the higher-end models.

The Q80R still packs in everything that makes a QLED a QLED in 2019: a dazzlingly bright display, a direct full array backlight, and Samsung's new Ultra Viewing Angle technology (which keeps colors looking rich even from off-axis). Not to mention voice control through Samsung's Bixby voice assistant, and Airplay 2 functionality.

But you get all that for only £1,999 / $1,999 (around AU$2,900) RRP for the 55-inch model, with prices already dropping to £1,699 / $1,599 (around AU$2,300) through most retailers. Buyers in the US also have the option of some massive 75-inch and 82-inch sizes alongside the regular 55- and 65-inch models.

As it's Samsung, there's no Dolby Vision support – meaning you won't get the best of dynamic HDR through Netflix and the like – opting instead for HDR10+, which is used by Amazon Prime.

If you're after a compromise between price and performance in your hunt for the best Samsung TV, you're looking at it.

Those in the UK, be warned though: you won't get the Freeview Play UI, though you should be able to access most domestic channels' catch-up services individually.

Read the full review: Samsung Q80 QLED TV

Samsung The Frame (2020) TV

(Image credit: Samsung)

3. Best designer TV: Samsung The Frame (2020)

A fashion-first QLED TV

Beautifully crafted
Art Mode
Color issues
Low brightness

Samsung The Frame (2020) is the most accomplished iteration of Samsung's painting-inspired television we've seen so far. With a bold metal casing, customizable frames, and an Art Mode function that displays classic artworks and photographs, this is the closest any television gets to looking like an actual painting – and when it's wall-mounted your guests really might not tell the difference.

With an Ambient Mode offering more dynamic screensavers, clock faces, and weather or news updates, there's plenty of customization for how much attention you want your Frame TV to get when not in use. The QLED panel and Quantum Processor 4K upgrade doesn't go amiss either, with predictably above-par upscaling and an impactful picture – even if The Frame's brightness is surprisingly dim for a QLED television, and skin tones can occasionally seem a bit off.

But if you want a television that really puts appearances first, and will blend in seamlessly with the decor throughout the day – with a OneConnect box cabling solution to keep things tidy – Samsung The Frame (2020) is an excellent choice for your home.

Read more: Samsung The Frame (2020) review

Samsung RU7470 best samsung TV

(Image credit: Samsung)

4. Best budget set: Samsung RU7470 Series UHD TV

A fantastically good (and cheap) Samsung TV

Superb upscaling from HD
Tizen OS
4K and HDR at 43 inches
Viewing angles could be better
Screen not that bright

As impressive as the above QLED TVs are, we have to acknowledge that even the mid-range sets in the range may be out of the price range of many – and if there's a cheap Samsung TV that offers a great performance at a low price, why not just go for that?

The Samsung RU7470 is one of the best small TVs we've reviewed in recent times, with excellent upscaling from HD for the set's 4K screen, and impressive HDR (high dynamic range) despite its low-end processor. The Tizen OS makes for a simple and easy-to-navigate interface, too, and to get all that in a compact 43-inch television is no short of a marvel.

It's worth noting that the RU7470 is a UK exclusive at Currys, but is similar in specs to the RU7100 in the US and Australia.

There are corners cut, of course, compared to the other sets in this guide. You're not getting quite the same knockout performance, especially with more limited brightness and viewing angles that won't flatter the picture if you're looking in from the side.

But at only £399 for the 43-inch model, and additional 50-inch, 55-inch, and 65-inch sizes, you're absolutely getting what you paid for – and then some.

Read the full review: Samsung RU7470

best samsung TV

(Image credit: Samsung)

5. Blowout option: Samsung Q950TS 8K QLED

An 8K marvel for 2020

Extraordinary upscaling
Bright, detailed images
Expensive by any measure
No Dolby Vision

The Samsung Q950TS 8K QLED is the flagship 8K set from Samsung this year – and boy do we mean flagship. With a panel boasting 33 million pixels, and cutting-edge upscaling to make even low-quality sources shine, the Q950TS has plenty to recommend it.

The real change from last year's Q950R, though, is the design. The Q950TS has an almost imperceptible bezel, giving the impressing of a floating display which – at 75-inch in the UK, and 82-inch in the US – is sure to make an impact in your home.

The OTS+ (Object Tracking Sound) audio technology certainly gives a sense and scale and height to the sound, too – as you'd hope with eight drivers and 70 watts of total power – even if our full tests found the sonic signature was a bit thinner than we'd hoped. 

Nonetheless, it's a step up from the 8K QLEDS of days gone by. You'll be paying for the privilege, certainly, and those looking for more reasonably-priced quality may still want to consider the Q80R QLED or its 2020 successor, the Q80T. But if paying £8,000 or $13,000 (around AU$21,400) doesn't put you off, this is one set to really show off with.

Read our full Samsung Q950TS 8K QLED TV review

Why Samsung?

Considering you've landed on this page, we're assuming you had Samsung in mind – why else shop for the best Samsung TV? But maybe you’re still in that research phase where you’re not quite sure on Samsung, and would like to know why so many other people – reviewers and enthusiasts alike – ride Samsung’s hype train. 

Samsung holds such strong sway with these folks because its TVs are generally more colorful and much brighter than the competition, especially in the QLED range. 

Also important to the discussion: Samsung smart TVs typically do a great job with upscaling (turning HD into 4K), and usually perform better than LG sets when handling scenes with fast motion. They offer a technology called HDR10+ that makes colors look super vivid, and input lag is generally pretty low, too, which is great for gamers looking to use the TV with the Xbox One X or PS4 Pro.

On the downside, Samsung TVs are generally more expensive than those made by their rivals, and aren’t always incredibly long-lived. I’m not sure if you know this, but Samsung has a bit of a reputation for creating some... explosive products.

The other problem with Samsung TVs is that they don’t support Dolby Vision – an HDR format that delivers higher brightness and better colors than HDR10. 

All that being said, the good often outweighs the bad, and here at TechRadar we recommend Samsung screens to folks who have a little bit more to spend and are looking for the most picturesque TVs (though there are some good budget and mid-range options too, as you'll see in this guide).

Naming conventions

Still confused? Let’s spend a second taking apart Samsung’s naming convention. Once you understand how it works, you’ll be able to read the obfuscated labels just as well as any electronics employee – which is a huge advantage if you’re heading out on Black Friday or Cyber Monday in search of some deals.

We mentioned the Samsung UN55MU7000FXZA up above, so let’s use that as an example. 

Samsung TV Guide Cheat Sheet

Here's a quick cheat sheet for reading a Samsung label:

Example: Samsung UN55MU7000FXZA 

1. UN: Territory that the TV is offered in (UN for America, UE for Europe and UA for Asia/Australia)
2. 55: Screen size (this is a 55-inch TV)
3. MU: Indicates what year the TV was made (MU indicates a 2017 model)
4. 7000: The last number is the series (higher is better but also more expensive typically)

The UN signifies that you’re talking about the American model of the TV. If you’re in the UK, you might be more familiar by seeing a ‘UE’ before all of the other numbers while Australian or Asian readers might have seen a UA prefix before. 

Of course, if you’re buying a new QLED TV from Samsung, you’ll find QN, QE or QA in this spot instead. 

If you buy a TV in one region and move to another, that could present some issues but as long as you buy a TV for your region you’ll be OK. 

The number after the UN/UE pr QN/QE prefix is the screen size. A ‘55’ means the TV is 55-inches. A Samsung UN49MU6500 is an American 49-inch TV, while a Samsung UN65MU6300FXZA is an American 65-inch TV. 

After the MU and the first two numbers come a second letter pair. This pairing helps indicate which year the TV comes from. An M- or an MU- means the TV is from 2017, as are all of the QLED TVs (the Q9F, Q8C, Q8F, Q7C and Q7F). 

If you see KS or KU in the title, the TV was made in 2016. JU and JS TVs were made in 2015. HU was 2014, the F-series from 2013, so on and so forth.

The last four numbers are the series. In 2017, Samsung produces TVs in five main series: the 5-Series, 6-Series, 7-Series, 8-Series, 9-Series, alongside QLED TVs and the more lifestyle-centric The Frame and Serif TVs. 

The higher up the series is, the more functionality it has. It’s pretty hard to break it down by series, as some larger screen sizes have different feature sets than smaller screen sizes, but the higher series TVs have features such as HDR, 4K, higher brightness settings, better motion handling and better operating systems. 

The typical rule of thumb is that higher is better, but also generally more expensive, too. 

Last but not least you have the FXZA – a letter combination that denotes region (the A stands for America) and, for some odd reason, inventory tracking. This last part largely can be ignored unless you’re entering the TVs into a database.

  • On the lookout for a secondary screen or bedroom TV? See our guide to the best small TVs