Samsung QN95A Neo QLED 4K TV review

Mini LED takes QLED to the next level with the Samsung QN95A

The Samsung QN95A TV in a grey room displaying a flock of seagulls against a sunset
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Samsung)

TechRadar Verdict

The Samsung QN95A is the tech brand's first foray into Mini LED and it's a resounding success. This Neo QLED TV delivers blacks that give OLED a run for its money, and highlights that are free from blooming. A stylish design and comprehensive feature set make for an impressive 4K TV that’s sure to please.

Pros

  • +

    Stellar picture quality

  • +

    Impressive sound system

Cons

  • -

    No Dolby Vision or Atmos

  • -

    Freeview Play would be nice

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Two-minute review

The Samsung QN95A was the flagship Neo QLED 4K TV when it was launched in 2021, and the first TV to embrace Samsung's Mini LED backlight. 

Not to be confused with Micro LED, which is a completely different self-emissive display technology, Mini LED uses a newly-developed backlight that’s much smaller and more efficient, resulting in a significant increase in dimmable zones and thinner panels.

The results of Mini LED speak for themselves. With superb SDR and HDR images that benefit from deep blacks and brighter highlights, all of which are delivered without blooming or loss of shadow detail. The inclusion of quantum dot technology delivers saturated and nuanced colours, and thanks to the Filmmaker Mode these images are also extremely accurate.

This is why the Samsung QN95A is one of our top picks in our best TV guide, our best Samsung TV guide and our best 55-inch TV guide.

Samsung QN95A Specs

Screen Sizes: 55, 65, 75, 85-inches | 4K: Yes | HDR10: Yes | HLG: Yes | Dolby Vision/Atmos: No/No | Panel technology: QLED | Smart TV: Samsung's Tizen OS | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1670.0 x 958.2 x 26.7 mm (75-inch without stand) | Weight: 33.2kg (without stand) | 3D: No | Inputs: 4x HDMI (1x eARC), 2x USB 2.0 inputs, ethernet | Outputs: 1x optical

The Samsung QN95A boasts an impressive set of features, which is headlined by a well-designed and comprehensive smart platform that includes every major streaming app. There’s also a host of cutting-edge gaming features that’ll please next-gen console owners.

The QN95A doesn’t just look good, it also sounds fantastic thanks to Object Tracking Sound Plus (OTS+), which somehow manages to cram a powerful 4.2.2-channel sound system into the TV’s ultra-slim chassis. This is another triumph of industrial design from Samsung, with a minimalist but elegant shape, solid metal stand, and nearly bezel-less screen.

Given the excellent audio capabilities, it’s a shame there’s no onboard Dolby Atmos decoding and Samsung’s continued refusal to embrace Dolby Vision remains a source of frustration. Otherwise the only real complaint is a lack of Freeview Play support. 

However, overall this is a superb new model, and successfully laid down the Mini LED gauntlet for the 2022 flagship, the Samsung QN95B. Read on for our full Samsung QN95A review.

Samsung QN95A: availability and price

  • Only available in the UK and Europe
  • Prices start at £1,299 for the 55-inch size
  • Prices often reduced

The Samsung QN95A was the flagship Neo QLED 4K TV in 2021. 

It comes in a choice of 55, 65, 75 and 85-inch screen sizes. The model reviewed here is the 65-inch QE65QN95A, which originally retailed for £2,999 but is now priced at £1,499 on the Samsung website.

Currently, the 55-inch is £1,299, the 75-inch is £2,299 and the 85-inch is £2,999. Now the QN95A has been out since 2021, you might find some retailers knocking these prices down further.

The Samsung QN95A was only available in the UK and Europe. If you're in the US, check out our Samsung QN90A Neo QLED TV review. This was the version available stateside but is a step down compared to the QN95A we're reviewing here. 

US readers will be happy to learn that Samsung's flagship QLED of 2022 is available more widely. Read our Samsung QN95B review to find out more about it. 

The newer Samsung QN95B is significantly more expensive than 2021's flagship QLED, costing £2,499 / $2,399.99 for the 55-inch set, but comes with big improvements, so the price hike is to be expected.

Compared to similar TVs released in 2021, the Samsung QN95B is competitively priced. Check out our Sony X90J review for a TV that's almost identical in price at $1,099 for the 50-inch model (£1,399 in the UK for the 55-inch version). Or look at our LG C1 OLED review for a slightly more expensive TV that comes in at $1,799 / £1,699 for the 55-inch LG OLED55C1.    

A close up of the Samsung QN95A TV's stand.

(Image credit: Stephen Withers)

Samsung QN95A: design

  • Minimalist design with virtually no bezel
  • Slim One Connect box
  • Four HDMI ports and eARC

The Samsung QN95A continues the elegant and minimalist design ethos introduced last year, with a slim panel and virtually no bezel. Considering there’s a full-array Mini LED backlight and eight speakers behind the panel, it’s a wonder Samsung has managed to squeeze everything into a chassis only 15mm deep.

The stand is easy to assemble and complements the overall aesthetic. It’s also fairly heavy, providing robust and stable support. If you prefer, you can wall mount the QN95A using the optional ‘No Gap’ bracket, with the single cable from the clever One Connect box making installation easy, stylish and tidy.

The One Connect box itself has been slimmed down, and is now sleeker and more elegant. The reduced size also makes it more discreet, allowing the box to be easily hidden away if necessary. The textured matte black finish is another welcome addition, replacing the earlier glossy black boxes, which were a magnet for fingerprints and smudges.

The box houses four HDMI inputs, one of which (HDMI 3) supports eARC. All of the HDMI inputs are capable of handling up to 40Gbps, which means they can accept 4K/120Hz, VRR and ALLM. While not full HDMI 2.1 connections, they offer sufficient bandwidth, making this TV a great choice for next-gen gamers who want to take full advantage of their new console or consoles.

In terms of other physical connections, it’s a fairly standard selection with two USB 2.0 inputs, twin tuners for terrestrial and satellite broadcasts, a CI slot, an optical digital output, and an Ethernet port. There’s also a solid choice of wireless connections, with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and support for Apple AirPlay 2.

The QN65A comes with two controllers: a standard black plastic zapper, and the new sleek metal Solar Cell remote. This simplified wand is comfortable to hold, easy to use with one hand, and includes all the main controls, plus some dedicated buttons for popular streamers. New this year is a solar panel on the back that recharges the batteries – making it more eco-friendly.

The Samsung QN95A TV's solar-powered remote.

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung QN95A: smart TV (Tizen OS)

  • Intuitive and responsive interface
  • Built-in Bixby and Alexa
  • No Freeview Play

The Samsung QN95A employs the Tizen-powered smart TV platform, and these days it gives LG’s webOS a run for its money in terms of user interface, responsiveness and functionality. There’s a launcher bar along the bottom and a second layer above that provides faster access to additional content. Navigation is a cinch, and there’s even voice control if you prefer.

The app support is the definition of comprehensive, offering access to every major streaming service. That means you can choose between Netflix, Amazon, Now TV, Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus, Rakuten, YouTube, and all the UK TV catch-up services – to name but a few! The only complaint (for UK viewers) would be the lack of Freeview play support, but otherwise it’s an impressive array of TV smarts.

The amount of choice on offer is sometimes overwhelming, but Samsung’s Universal Guide helps users find the content they want by presenting everything via an intuitive interface. The guide then uses AI machine learning to analyse your viewing habits and create a single ‘For You’ page with personalised content to suit your tastes.

The Digital Butler allows for quick and easy connection by automatically scanning for nearby devices, detecting them and representing them using easy-to-understand graphics. There’s built-in Bixby and Alexa, plus you can access Siri via Apple’s AirPlay 2. There’s also the SmartThings app, which allows for quick and simple setup, and a degree of control.

The Samsung Tizen OS settings TV screen

(Image credit: Stephen Withers)

Samsung QN95A: picture quality

  • Bright, vibrant pictures
  • Exceptional local dimming
  • AI-enhanced processing

The Samsung QN95A is a Neo QLED TV, making it the first model from the manufacturer to employ a Mini LED backlight. This uses a newly-designed micro layer that contains LEDs significantly smaller than previous generations. These LEDs eliminate the protective packaging and lens around the diode, allowing for thinner panels and increased dimmable zones.

Samsung has previously used a maximum of 480 zones, but we counted 792 zones on the 65-inch QN95A. This increase in zones requires more processing power and improved algorithms, both of which are present on the new TV. The Quantum Matrix system is designed to coordinate the extra zones, while the Black Detail Boost feature increases perceived shadow detail.

The new Neo Quantum Processor boosts the processing power by employing ‘multi-intelligence’ deep learning. Instead of a single neural network, this processor combines up 16 to create a neural analyser specialised for upscaling and processing video. All this added power is designed to deliver the best possible experience, regardless of what you’re watching.

The QN95A supports high dynamic range in the form of HDR10, HLG (hybrid log-gamma), and HDR10+ Adaptive. The latter uses dynamic metadata to adapt the tone-mapping on a scene-by-scene basis, and now employs a sensor to customise the performance based on the ambient lighting conditions in your room. Annoyingly, Samsung still refuses to embrace Dolby Vision though.

There are a number of available picture modes, with Standard as the default, but purists can opt for Filmmaker Mode, which is designed to deliver images accurately and as the content creators intended. The results are certainly impressive, with natural colours, clean whites, deep blacks, bright highlights and plenty of shadow detail.

Angled view of a lake landscape displayed on the Samsung QN95A

(Image credit: Stephen Withers)

The Samsung QN95A makes full use of all those extra zones, and the impressive dimming algorithms, to produce the deepest blacks and the brightest highlights without causing blooming or losing details in the shadows. Whether it’s SDR or HDR, the pictures produced by this TV are sure to please, especially once you add in quantum dot with its saturated-but-nuanced colours.

The sophisticated processing delivers impressive upscaling that squeezes every last pixel out of lower resolution content. Of course, once you switch to native 4K the TV can really strut its stuff, allowing you to pick out every thread in the ‘60s fashions of The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix).

The streaming apps all look superb, with detailed 4K images and impressive HDR where available. Only the previously mentioned lack of Dolby Vision disappoints, but at least Amazon shows like The Grand Tour benefit from HDR10+. The Mini LED backlight certainly reveals its HDR strengths during the lunar-based scenes of For All Mankind (Apple TV+).

The film First Man proves a particularly effective demonstration of the dimming algorithms during the sequence where the Apollo command module moves into orbit. The screen goes completely black, before the Moon’s brightly-lit surface gradually appears through the spaceship’s window. It’s a tough scene, but the QN95A handles it with skill, eliminating haloing or other artefacts.

The QN95A also handles the increased colour gamut of HDR10 with aplomb, mainly thanks to the higher colour luminance of quantum dot. Films like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 and Pan, with their deliberately over-saturated colour schemes, really pop off the screen in a vibrant display of primary and secondary colours.

The QN95A can deliver over 2,000 nits in its Dynamic picture mode, and over 1,600 nits in the more accurate Filmmaker mode. This means that for a lot of HDR content the TV doesn’t even need to tone map, but when it does apply tone-mapping this is done correctly, ensuring detail is retained in the darkest and brightest parts of the image, and retaining creative intent.

Finally the Samsung is equally impressive when it comes to motion handling, with 24p content looking smooth, and free of judder or unwanted artefacts. The Picture Clarity motion settings apply frame interpolation, resulting in smoothing, which can be useful with sport, while the LED Clear Motion setting uses black frame insertion, darkening the image, but improving the motion.

Screenshot of icons on Samsung tizen home screen

(Image credit: Stephen Withers)

Samsung QN95A: gaming

  • 4K/120Hz, VRR, ALLM, Freesync, and G-Sync
  • 9.2ms input lag
  • Game Bar

The Samsung QN95A uses an LCD panel, which means there’s no danger of screen burn if you engage in extended gaming sessions. It also offers a host of features aimed at next-gen gamers, such as VRR (variable refresh rate), 4K/120Hz playback, and support for AMD Freesync Premium Pro and Nvidia G-Sync compatibility.

Another useful feature is ALLM, which automatically detects a console and selects the Game mode, resulting in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it 9.2ms input lag. The Game Motion Plus mode is designed to smooth out motion without significantly increasing the lag, and there’s even support for the 21:9 and 32:9 ultra wide aspect ratio options offered by a number of PC games.

In fact, there are now so many gaming options that Samsung has introduced the Game Bar to help you keep track. This useful feature pops up when a game source is detected, providing at a glance all the key gaming information such as HDR, frame rate, VRR, etc. It also shows all the key gaming picture adjustments and settings.

The inclusion of all these features results in a highly enjoyable and responsive gaming experience, with an ultra-low input lag and no screen tearing. Images are sharp and detailed, the HDR really pops, and the motion is smooth and clear. The inclusion of the Dynamic Black Equaliser allows you to adjust the darker parts of the picture, helping you spot dangers lurking in the shadows.

Video game screenshot with settings menu on Samsung Tizen OS

(Image credit: Stephen Withers)

Samsung QN95A: audio performance

  • 4.2.2-channel sound system
  • Excellent immersive soundstage
  • No Dolby Atmos decoding

The Samsung QN95A is genuinely impressive in the audio department, thanks to the inclusion of Object Tracking Sound Plus (OTS+). This seamlessly integrates eight speakers into the outer edge of the TV cabinet, creating a 4.2.2-channel system that’s powered by 70W of amplification. The result is a surprisingly large and immersive soundstage, thanks to the addition of top speakers.

However, OTS+ doesn’t just involve more channels, it also analyses the audio signal and aligns sounds with the location of specific images on the screen. This really works, producing an engaging experience with improved directionality and immersion. In addition, the dedicated centre speakers ensure clear dialogue, and the subs add some pleasing low-end presence.

It’s frustrating that despite the inclusion of height speakers, Samsung still doesn’t include on-board Dolby Atmos decoding. But the QN95A can send Atmos back via ARC from its internal apps to a supporting soundbar or AV receiver. Since it also supports eARC, the Samsung QN95A can even pass lossless audio back via HDMI to a supporting soundbar or AV receiver. Take a look at our best soundbars guide and our best AV receivers guide for our top suggestions.

Sports playing on the Samsung QN95A as a man watches with remote

(Image credit: Samsung)

Conclusion

With superior HDR performance, the Samsung QN95A is a solid choice for most people. 

There are some weaknesses, like no Dolby Vision. Samsung will say the superior HDR performance means Dolby Vision isn’t necessary, but it’s difficult to justify the company’s stance when this dynamic metadata format is used by almost every video streamer, and supported by every other TV manufacturer.

However, Samsung’s reticence to decode Dolby Atmos is even harder to understand because the company supports this audio format on its soundbars. While you can output Atmos over ARC, it would be great if the TV’s 4.2.2-channel system could take advantage of Atmos’s height channels.

But the benefits of Mini LED are plain to see here, with the increased number of controllable zones and superior dimming algorithms ensuring deep blacks and bright highlights. 

We'd particularly recommend the QN95A for gamers. Samsung’s TVs have long been the choice of serious gamers, and the QN95A continues this tradition with 9.2ms input lag, support for all the latest features, and a useful Game Bar that shows all the settings at a glance.

Also consider...

If our Samsung QN95A review has you considering which TV is best for you, then here are three alternatives that are worth taking a look at.

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Samsung QN95B
The QN95A was Samsung's first foray into Mini LED lighting. The QN95B is 2022's version. It delivers big improvements in contrast, backlight controls, upscaling, color and HDR-friendly brightness. It unlocks the punchier parts of HDR that other TVs just cannot reach. Of course it's much pricier than the Samsung QN95A, but a worthwhile investment if you have the budget to match.
Read our full Samsung QN95B Neo QLED 4K TV review (opens in new tab)

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Sony A90J
The Sony A90J is an OLED TV, not QLED—that tech is reserved mostly for Samsung. So although we're talking about different panel tech, we think the A90J is a good rival. It's an exceptional OLED TV with exquisite picture quality. Because it's OLED, expect excellent contrast and deep blacks compared to the QN95A. The A90J might be a better option for movies and TV shows, but stick with the Samsung for gaming.
Read our full Sony A90J review (opens in new tab)

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LG C1 OLED TV
A solid competitor to the Samsung QN95A, the LG C1 boasts a beautiful 4K/HDR picture and has four HDMI 2.1 ports, making it another good choice for gamers. It might not get as bright as the QN95A, but it will handle contrast better and offer greater viewing angles, too. Unlike the QN95A, it also has Dolby Vision on-board.
Read our full LG C1 OLED TV review (opens in new tab)

  • First reviewed in March 2021.