Before we show you our picks for the best Samsung TV, you should know Samsung has been the top TV manufacturer for the last 10 years – 21.6% of all LCD-LED screens sold came from Samsung just a couple of years ago.
To put those sales numbers another way, at the last count Samsung was selling as many television sets as Sony and LG put together. If you're looking for the best Samsung TV, then you're in good company.
One of the driving forces behind Samsung's success – and probably the reason you're here – is that Samsung puts out A TON of TVs each year. In 2018 alone, Samsung has close to a dozen models, and that's not counting all of the TVs that went on sale in 2017 that are still floating around on store shelves.
You've got a lot of Samsung TV options to pick from, which has its advantages and disadvantages – there should be a set out there for your needs and budget, but telling your Samsung UN55MU7000 from your Samsung UN55MU6490 can be confusing work.
Don't worry though: we're here to help. Whatever it is you're looking for and whatever your budget, we’ll help you pick out the best Samsung TV.
Why Samsung over LG or Sony?
Considering you've landed on this page, we're sort of assuming you had Samsung in mind – why else shop for the best Samsung TV, amiright? 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 more colorful and much brighter than the competition, especially in the QLED range.
Also important to the discussion: Samsung 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 new Xbox One X or PS4 Pro.
On the downside, Samsung TVs are generally more expensive than those made by their rivals, 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.
Best Samsung TV: naming structure explained
Before we dive into specific models, 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)
It probably goes without saying but Samsung, obviously, is the company that makes the TV. Easy!
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.
So, what is the best Samsung TV?
Samsung Q9FN (QN65Q9FN) QLED TV
The best TV ever? Could be!
Put two and two together, and what you come up with is that the Samsung QN65Q9FNFXZA is the best TV of 2018. Not only is it part of Samsung's fantastic QLED line-up but it's the highest model as well, packing in a number of excellent technologies – full-array local dimming, extreme brightness and ultra-smart tone-mapping to name a few – and delivers the best 4K high dynamic range pictures we’ve seen to date.
As well as being even brighter and more colorful than last year’s equivalent model, Samsung's 2018 flagship screens use a completely different lighting system to combat the contrast problems of their predecessors: Full Array Local Dimming rather than edge-lit LED lighting. The FALD panel works in tandem with Samsung QLED Quantum Dots to produce a picture that's brighter and more colorful than near any we've seen come from the South Korean manufacturer.
This means they can be driven harder without losing the plot/aging too fast, resulting in more brightness and a wider color range – or, at least, more color volume – than any other type of consumer TV technology to date.
So, well, if you want the absolute best Samsung TV, then the Q9FN is it.
Read the full review: Samsung Q9FN QLED TV
...but, hold on, that's not a very good answer is it? You knew that you could shell out $3,800 (about £2,720, AU$4,835) and buy yourself something nice. And while we'd all love the Q9FN, it's probably just a bit too far out of reach for most folks.
Instead, let's set the budget at something a bit more reasonable.
What's the best reasonably priced Samsung TV?
Samsung Q7FN QLED TV
Samsung's 55-inch Q7F QLED is a thing of beauty
The Samsung Q7FN QLED TV has most of what makes the class-leading Q9FN great: Its quantum dots help produce a colorful but not oversaturated image, and local dimming has really improved year-on-year. While Samsung’s Q7FN isn't quite the pinnacle of QLED technology, it's a great compromise between price and performance offering a bright screen, three forms of HDR and incredibly accurate colors for $1,799 (£1,999, AU$3,699).
Like the rest of its siblings in the 2018 QLED line-up, the Samsung Q7FN offers seriously good upscaling of HD/SDR content. The result is a picture that has added detail with very little picture noise. Another boon is Auto Game mode which can detect when you’re playing a console or PC game, and automatically switch the screen into its fast-responding Game picture mode. Samsung also has plans to add Variable Refresh Rate sometime down the road which will help with any screen tearing you might’ve noticed in years past, as well as bring the input lag to a remarkably low 7ms.
If you're after a compromise between price and performance in your hunt for the best Samsung TV, you're looking at it.
Read the full review: Samsung Q7FN QLED TV
Still too pricey? We get that! We have one last option!
OK, but what's the best cheap Samsung TV?
Samsung NU7100 Series UHD TV
Looking for 4K/HDR in a cheap-but-good package? Meet the NU7100
If Samsung's Q9F is a Ferrari and the Q7FN a Camaro, the NU7100 is a Honda: It's affordable and gets around just fine. It might not be the most premium machine on the market – and can certainly stand to learn a few tricks from the higher-tiered competition – but it's hard to complain about a TV that, most of the time, costs in the region of $400 (£549).
Called the Samsung NU7120 in the UK, this TV offers almost all of the smart functionality as the top-tier models in a cheaper-but-still-good package. It's not going to blow you away if you're a cinephile, but if you're a gamer on a budget or someone who just wants to see what all the fuss about 4K is, this is a great option for the best Samsung TV on the market.