Samsung Q80D TV review: great QLED pictures at an attainable price

A mid-range TV with high-end skills

Samsung Q80D showing abstract image
(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

Samsung’s spectacular, but pricey new high-end TVs are likely out of reach for many AV fans, but the Q80D proves there’s also quality to be had in the more affordable half of the brand’s TV range. In many ways, the Q80D feels like an ex-high-end TV that’s been repurposed as a modern mid-ranger. Which is just fine by us.


  • +

    Excellent contrast and black levels

  • +

    Vibrant Quantum Dot colour

  • +

    Surprisingly good sound


  • -

    Slight out of the box colour issues

  • -

    No Dolby Vision support

  • -

    Minor backlight inconsistencies

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Samsung Q80D TV: Two-minute review

The Samsung Q80D is a reasonably priced TV that inevitably loses the company’s most cutting-edge tech but still has more to offer than most other mid-range TVs in its class. That’s good news because, although Samsung’s various 8K, Quantum Dot OLED and Mini LED TVs for 2024 are undoubtedly impressive and rank among the best TVs, their lofty prices make them merely the stuff of dreams for many households. 

The well-built bodywork on the Samsung Q80D plays host to a contrast-friendly VA LCD panel illuminated by LEDs placed directly behind the screen and controlled by Samsung’s powerful Neo Quantum 4 Gen 2 processor driving an impressive local dimming system. This engine also delivers exemplary 4K upscaling and contributes to much richer colours and far greater sharpness and detail than you might reasonably expect with a mid-range TV.

The Q80D’s audio, meanwhile, actually outperforms some of Samsung’s more premium TV options, while smart features are provided by the content-heavy (including a dedicated Gaming Hub) Tizen OS platform. 

Pictures need a little attention to get the best from the Q80D, but that best is well worth the effort for gamers as well as movie and TV fans.

Samsung Q80D remote controls on table

The Samsung Q80D's SolarCell (top) and regular (bottom) remote controls (Image credit: Future)

Samsung Q80D TV review: Price and release date

  • Release date: February 2024 
  • QE50Q80D: £1,099 / $999 (around AU$1,500)
  • QE55Q80D: £1,399 / $1,199 (around AU$1,800)
  • QE65Q80D: £1,799 / $1,599 (around AU$2,400)
  • QE75Q80D: £2,499 / $2,199 (around AU$3,300)
  • QE85Q80D: £2,999 / $3,299 (around AU$5,00)

The 55-inch Samsung Q80D I tested launched in June 2024 in multiple territories around the world. In the UK it’s already been discounted for £1,199 at the time of writing, and its price has dropped $100 in the US for an asking price of $1,099. The Q80D range, which is available in 50 to 80-inch screen sizes, is not currently being shown as available or coming soon for the Australian market.

The UK and US prices both confirm the Q80D as sitting at the top of the relatively basic half of Samsung’s 2024 TV range. By which I mean that it’s the most premium Samsung TV you can buy this year before you get into the much higher prices demanded by Samsung’s top-tier TV technologies. This positioning potentially makes it a great option for anyone wanting to get (hopefully) plenty of Samsung’s trademark LCD picture quality for much less money than those premium technologies require.

Samsung Q80D TV review: Specs

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Screen type:QLED
Refresh rate:120Hz
HDR support:HDR10+, HDR10, HLG
Audio support:40W across 2.2 channels, with Dolby Atmos
Smart TV:Samsung Tizen OS
HDMI ports:4x HDMI 2.1
Built-in tuner:ATSC 1.0

Samsung Q80D TV review: Benchmark results

Samsung Q80D rear panel ports

The Q80D's side-mounted connections include four HDMI 2.1 ports (Image credit: Future)

Samsung Q80D TV review: Features

  • HDR10, HLG and HDR10+ support
  • Full gaming features across all HDMIs

The Q80D’s position in Samsung’s range means that it gets a 4K resolution rather than an 8K one, uses regular-sized LED lights rather than mini LEDs, and isn’t a Quantum Dot OLED. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t still have anything to get excited about, though.

For starters, it deploys its regular LEDs within a FALD (full array with local dimming) lighting system. This means the LEDs are placed directly behind the screen rather than around its edges, and are divided into what I counted to be 100 (10x10) separately controllable zones. The idea behind this being to enhance the TV’s contrast by allowing different parts of the picture to receive different amounts of light at any given moment depending on the ever-changing needs of the picture.

There are TVs out there these days with far more than 100 dimming zones. Experience has shown, though, that while a high dimming zone count is a good starting point, ultimately it’s not so much how many zones you have as what you do with them that counts.

The Q80D’s panel is a VA rather than IPS type, meaning its pictures may lose a bit of contrast when viewed from an angle but should deliver much better contrast when viewed head-on. Those expectations I will naturally be checking up on in the course of this review.

Driving the Q80D’s lighting engine, 4K upscaling, colour management, motion processing, noise reduction and all the other picture features the TV boasts is the second generation of Samsung’s Neo Quantum 4 processor. This, impressively, is the same processor that’s used on Samsung’s flagship 4K mini LED TVs for 2024, the Samsung QN95D range.

As you might guess from the use of Quantum in the Q80D’s processor name, the set’s colours are created by Quantum Dots. Quantum Dots handle high brightness better than traditional RGB filters, enabling TVs to achieve the bigger colour volumes needed to do justice to HDR footage.

Talking of HDR, the Q80D can handle the HDR10, HLG and premium HDR10+ formats, the latter of which adds extra scene-by-scene metadata to the feed to help TVs produce more accurate and dynamic results. Samsung continues, though, not to support the Dolby Vision premium HDR format; anything encoded in Dolby Vision will drop down to its generic HDR10 ‘layer’ (minus Dolby Vision’s extra scene-by-scene data).

As you would expect of even a mid-range Samsung TV these days, the Q80D is equipped with all the tools necessary to have it professionally calibrated. You can even have a go at this yourself thanks to the TV’s Smart Calibration system, which can perform a surprisingly effective auto calibration with no other external kit required than a recent and sufficiently high-quality mobile phone.

The Q80D carries an excellent roster of connections for a mid-range TV, including, most importantly, four HDMI ports able to handle the latest gaming features. (I’ll come back to this in the dedicated gaming section.) One of the HDMIs is also equipped with eARC functionality, to pass lossless Dolby Atmos audio tracks to soundbars and AVRs, while elsewhere there are two USB ports, an Ethernet port, an RF port, a digital optical audio output, and the now ubiquitous Bluetooth (including headphones) and Wi-Fi support.

  • Features Score: 4.5/5

Samsung Q80D showing landscape image

The Samsung Q80D's picture can lose some contrast and color saturation when viewed from off-center seats (Image credit: Future)

Samsung Q80D TV review: Picture quality

  • Great black levels and contrast
  • Vibrant colours
  • Sharp 4K and HD pictures

The Samsung QE55Q80D immediately addressed my biggest pre-testing concern about its picture quality by delivering an outstanding contrast performance, combining more brightness with deeper, more natural, and more consistent black levels than any other LCD TV I can think of in its class.

The brightness strikes you in two ways. First, the brightest bits of HDR images have a real intensity to them – and for the most part, this intensity doesn’t come at the expense of subtle toning and details in those extreme areas. Second, the screen retains markedly more intensity with bright HDR images that flood the whole screen than most other mid-range TVs. In fact, while more expensive OLED TVs can look more intense still with small light peaks, especially when those peaks appear against dark backdrops, not even the brightest current OLED can get as bright with a full-screen HDR light show as the Q80D.

Measurements confirmed out-of-the-box peak brightness of just over 1,000 nits using 10% and 25% HDR windows – though thanks to the way the local dimming system works, the highest measurements on the 10% window were achieved in Movie and Filmmaker modes, while with the 25% window the highest measurements came with the Standard and (rather over-aggressive) Dynamic picture presets.

On a 100% HDR window, the 55-inch Q80D peaked at just under 700 nits in Standard and Dynamic mode, or around 600 nits in the Movie and Filmmaker Mode presets.

Samsung’s more advanced LCD TVs can, of course, get significantly brighter still than the Q80D. By general mid-range LCD TV standards, though, 1,000 nits is a very good effort. Especially when allied with those inky black levels I mentioned.

Dark scenes really do look fantastically convincing for the most part. The lack of any substantive blue, green or grey wash over areas of the picture that should be black is an awesome find at this level of the TV market. The amount of shadow detail the set reveals, especially in its Movie and Filmmaker Mode presets, is also excellent for such a contrast-rich FALD TV.

Even better, the local dimming system that’s largely responsible for this black level depth works its magic while throwing up impressively few backlight blooming or clouding issues. Even where something like a torch or streetlight shines out against a night sky there’s only the faintest hint of extraneous light leaching into the surrounding darkness.

If you’re watching an HDR film with black borders above and below it in a very dark room you can occasionally see a faint patch of greyness creep into the borders where a particularly bright part of the image appears right up against them. Even in these quite extreme circumstances, though, these slight ‘blooms’ are very faint for such a punchy mid-range TV.

The Q80D also proves actually more subtle than its brighter Samsung LCD siblings in a couple of areas – at least in its agreeably eye-catching Standard preset. You’re much less likely to see the TV sharply adjust its general brightness level during abrupt cuts between dark and bright shots, and bright highlights of mostly dark images don’t tend to dim down as much to prevent blooming artefacts.

I’m not saying the Q80D is totally immune to either of these occasional and short-lived backlight adjustment inconsistencies, but they’re certainly both less common and less aggressively obvious than they have been on some previous Samsung TVs I’ve reviewed.

Samsung Q80D showing cartoonish abstract image

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung TVs have long tended to thrive on 4K diets, and so it proves again with the Q80D. Native 4K sources look truly pin sharp – breathtakingly so with the best quality sources. Classic 4K showcase minutiae like the weave in clothing, facial pores, individual strands of hair, individual blades of grass in a meadow or grains of sand on a beach are all starkly obvious. As is the enhanced sense of depth associated with a high-resolution screen being able to deliver a more defined draw distance.

All of this is being delivered on a 55-inch screen, remember – hardly the biggest showcase for 4K’s charms by today’s standards. But the difference all those pixels make is plain as day. The Neo Quantum 4 Gen 2 processor proves so good at upconverting HD sources into 4K, too, that the Q80D’s 4K talents remain clear even when you’re not watching a true 4K source.

The Q80D’s colour performance is also (predictably at this point) very good by mid-range TV standards after a touch of tweaking - though it does also give us one of the TV’s main out of the box weaknesses.

At first glance, all seems well. Tones in all modes (though especially the daft Dynamic and very watchable Standard presets) enjoy bold saturations that aren’t in the least bit thinned out by the screen’s high brightness, while the more accurate Movie and Filmmaker Mode settings tone things down for a more balanced, ‘accurate’ look without, still, looking in the least bit thin or muted.

Fine blends are handled without striping, coarseness or blockiness, too, helping colours play their part in creating the image’s three-dimensional feel.

The issue that you gradually start to notice is a slightly artificial pinkish tone creeping into skin tones and some really bright parts of HDR pictures. This is particularly noticeable in the Dynamic and Standard presets, but it’s also slightly present with the more accurate Movie and even Filmmaker Modes.

Our SDR Colour Checker tests using Portrait Displays’ Calman software, C6 meter and G1 pattern generator confirmed this colour issue to some extent, as while the set registered an excellent overall Delta Error 2000 (Delta-E) figure of under three, the consistently largest colour errors came with tones most likely to be found with skin tones and peak whites. Fortunately, running the Q80D’s Smart Calibration feature can improve this problem, as can nudging the TV’s Tint control a couple of points towards green.

Another smallish sign of the Q80D’s mid-range rather than premium Samsung nature is the way the backlight blooming that the set handles so well when viewing it head-on can become quite a bit more noticeable if you have to watch the TV from more than 30 degrees or so off-axis.

Samsung’s default motion processing options for its Standard picture mode also deliver their usual heavy handed mix with 24p services of overly aggressive smoothing and messy processing side effects. So you’ll need to head into the Picture Clarity settings and either turn all motion processing off or, if you find the resulting judder too jarring, establish a Custom mode with blur and judder reduction both set below halfway (I’ll leave it to you to choose the exact settings according to your tastes).

The crucial thing about the Q80D’s main flaws, though, is that all of them, even the colour one, can be avoided or at least improved with a little manual intervention.

  • Picture quality score: 4.5/5

Samsung Q80D corner detail

The Q80D's substantial bodywork helps with its sonics (Image credit: Future)

Samsung Q80D TV review: Sound quality

  • Large soundstage
  • Good Dolby Atmos staging
  • Plenty of well-placed detailing

Experience suggests that the Q80D’s substantial bodywork relative to some of Samsung’s slimmest TV options could be helpful to the set’s sonics. And so, happily, it proves.

Two strengths in particular jump out. First, there’s hardly any of the buzzing, phutting or drop-out distortions when handling bass that I’ve experienced with some Samsung models. And that’s despite bass reaching quite deep and being more readily involved in the audio presentation than it is with many mid-range TVs.

Also strong by mid-range TV standards is the scale of the Q80D’s soundstage. With Dolby Atmos sources in particular, sound mix elements that aren’t directly connected to the onscreen action, such as the score or ambient effects, appear well beyond the TV’s left and right sides without starting to sound thin or incoherent. This draws you into the action and leaves the more central areas of the sound stage with more room to handle more specific sound elements such as dialogue and separate object sound details.

Dialogue appears decently rounded without losing clarity, and the speakers are subtle enough to bring out even the smallest, most quiet effects. High trebles typically don’t sound gratingly harsh, either, and the ‘Lite’ version of Samsung’s Object Tracking Sound system does a decent job of making effects seem as if they’re appearing from the right part of the screen.

The Q80D doesn’t get as loud as some home cinema fans might wish, and the OTS system doesn’t deliver effects as accurately as the more premium versions of the technology you get on Samsung’s high-end TVs, especially when it comes to voices. Overall, though, the Q80D is one of the best-sounding TVs in Samsung’s 2024 range, and a strong general competitor to other examples of the best TVs for sound.

  • Sound quality score: 4.5/5

Samsung Q80D close up of pedestal stand

Samsung's aluminum pedestal stand for the Q80D (Image credit: Future)

Samsung Q80D TV review: Design

  • Centrally attached pedestal desktop stand
  • Not one of Samsung’s super-thin designs
  • Impressive build quality

Despite not boasting the ultra-thin, futuristic looks of the ‘Infinity’ design applied to Samsung’s high-end TVs, the Q80D still makes an attractive addition to your living space. The silver metallic finish of both its plate-style desktop stand and screen frame/edges looks striking, and is elevated by some impressive build quality by mid-range TV standards.

Neither the frame nor the set’s rear panel are spectacularly thin by modern TV build standards. But that’s not to say the frame doesn’t still look and feel premium, and given that we all spend our lives looking at the front of our TVs rather than the back, I’d rather a FALD TV like the Q80D be given the room for its light system to work properly rather than potentially hurting image quality by trying to make the rear super-thin.

It’s worth pointing out, too, that there are channels on the Q80D’s rear to help keep your cables tidy, and that you can call up photos, videos or even artwork onto the set’s screen rather than having to be left with a big black rectangle in your room when you’re not actually watching TV.

  • Design score: 4/5

Samsung Q80D Tizen smart TV interface

The Q80D's Tizen smart TV interface (Image credit: Future)

Samsung Q80D TV review: Smart TV and menus

  • Tizen OS carries lots of content
  • No Freeview Play in the UK
  • Excellent Gaming Hub feature

The Q80D’s smart features are provided by the brand’s own Tizen OS (also sometimes known as ‘Eden’). This system has undergone extensive changes over the past few years, in particular shifting from a compact interface super-imposed over whatever you’re watching to a full-screen OS.

I still find aspects of the full-screen OS a little daunting in their presentation, and illogical in their navigation. The latest version sported by the Q80D continues to refine things in the right direction, though – especially when it comes to deciding what sort of content is relevant to you (based on analysis of your viewing habits) to highlight on its home screen.

A generally high content level is provided on the Tizen OS, including all the video streaming apps most viewers will ever need. The only exception is that there’s no support for the UK’s Freeview Play system, which brings together all the UK’s main terrestrial broadcaster catch-up apps.

You can control the Q80D to an impressively deep level using just voice commands if you’re okay with talking to your TV, and, finally, there are a couple of great resources for gamers with the Gaming Hub and Game Bar, which I’ll cover in more detail in the next section.

  • Smart TV & menus score: 4.5/5

Samsung Q80D Gaming hub interface

The Samsung Gaming Hub interface lets you easily access connected consoles and cloud-based gaming services (Image credit: Future)

Samsung Q80D TV review: Gaming

  • 4K 120Hz and VRR support
  • All four HDMIs support all gaming features
  • Gaming Hub and Game Bar menu

Along with being a fine TV, the Q80D is an outstanding gaming monitor. For starters, all four of its HDMI ports can handle 4K 120Hz signals delivered by PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles and premium PC graphics cards – the set doesn’t limit you to just two 4K 120Hz HDMIs like many rival TVs do.

All the HDMIs also support variable refresh rates (including the AMD FreeSync Premium format) and auto game mode switching, and when running in its Game mode input lag drops to an outstandingly low 9.8ms.

The Gaming Hub I mentioned in the previous section is a dedicated screen in the Tizen OS that brings together all your gaming sources, from streamed platforms like NVidia GeForce to connected consoles and PCs. The Game Bar, meanwhile, is an onscreen menu you can call up when gaming that provides at-a-glance details about the graphics feed and quick access to specific gaming features. These include mini-map magnification, a super-imposed crosshair, the option to sacrifice a little response time in return for smoother panning in low frame rate games, and the ability to raise the brightness of just the dark parts of a game to make it easier to spot enemies.

  • Gaming score: 5/5

Samsung Q80D rear shot

The substantial Samsung Q80D seen from the rear (Image credit: Future)

Samsung Q80D TV review: Value

  • Samsung’s cheapest non-mini-LED or OLED TV
  • Impressive gaming features for its money
  • Picture and sound quality both above par for a mid-range TV

In many ways, the Q80D feels like a premium Samsung TV from three or four years ago – which is actually a pretty big compliment. Its FALD LCD display delivers much better all-around pictures than we usually find in the mid-range TV world, and they’re backed up by more than respectable sonics too.

It also ticks more feature boxes than I might have expected of a mid-range  TV in terms of its core panel technologies, gaming support and its expansive and unusually intelligent smart TV system.

  • Value score: 4.5/5 

Samsung Q80D showing abstract image onscreen

One of many abstract images available in the Samsung Q80D's Ambient mode (Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the Samsung Q80D TV?

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Samsung Q80D TV
FeaturesFar-reaching and intelligently promoted smart features are joined by support for all the latest gaming needs. There’s no Dolby Vision though.4.5/5
Picture qualityExcellent contrast, sharpness and vibrancy, with a little out-of-the-box colour flaw and some occasionally slightly distracting backlight adjustments as the only minor niggles.4.5/5
Sound qualityWhile not the loudest TV, delivers a pleasantly well-rounded, detailed and dynamic sound that doesn’t distort with bass or become harsh with trebles.4.5/5
DesignDoesn’t boast the futuristic slimness of Samsung’s higher-end TVs, but excellent build quality, a distinctive metallic silver finish and compact desktop mount all retain a premium feel.4/5
Smart TV and menusTizen OS can feel a little overwhelming initially, but ultimately proves a content-rich smart platform supported by comprehensive voice controls.4.5/5
GamingExhilaratingly responsive, bright, sharp and colourful gaming performance and supports 4K 120Hz, ALLM and VRR (including AMD FreeSync) across all four HDMIs.5/5
ValueThe Q80D often feels like a premium TV squeezed into a mid-range price.4.5/5

Buy it if...

You want premium picture quality at a mid-range price
Contrast, colour and sharpness as good and as consistent as you get with the Q80D are rare indeed in the mid-range TV world.

You want a TV that’s also a great gaming monitor
With its ultra-fast response time, excellent game-friendly connectivity, expansive gaming features and bold, sharp image quality, the Q80D is as good a mid-range gaming TV as I’ve seen.

You can’t afford a soundbar right away
Unlike some mid-range and even premium TVs, the Q80D’s built-in sound is good enough to make adding a soundbar something to be done at your leisure, rather than an immediate necessity.

Don't buy it if…

You hate tinkering with settings
Getting the best out of the Q80D means paying a couple of visits to some of its relatively in-depth picture settings.

You must have Dolby Vision
Samsung has never included Dolby Vision HDR support on any of its TVs, and the Q80D is no exception. Instead, it sticks with Samsung’s rival HDR10+ format. 

You have to watch TV from a wide angle
While the Q80D’s pictures support wider viewing angles than some VA LCD TVs, backlight blooming can become more noticeable if you have to sit at much of an angle to the screen. 

Also consider...

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Header Cell - Column 0 Samsung Q80DLG C4 OLEDSamsung QN90DTCL C845K
Price (55-inch)£1,399 / $1,199£1,699 / $1,999.99£1,699 / $1,999 £599
Screen type QLEDOLEDQLED with mini-LED QLED with mini-LED
Refresh rate120Hz120Hz120Hz120Hz
HDR supportHDR10+/HDR10/HLGDolby Vision/HDR10/HLGHDR10+/HDR10/HLGDolby Vision/HDR10+/HDR10/HLG
Smart TVTizenwebOS24Tizen Tizen
HDMI ports4 x HDMI 2.1 4 x HDMI 2.1 4 x HDMI 2.1 4 x HDMI 2.1

LG’s C4 OLED TV might not be as bright as its dazzling step-up G4 siblings, but it's still an outstanding performer even by the generally high standards of the mid-range OLED market, combining stunning contrast, pixel-level light control and comprehensive gaming features. You can read more about it in our LG C4 OLED TV review.


Samsung QN90D
If you can stretch the budget a bit, you can step up to Samsung’s cheapest Mini LED model, the 55QN90D. Doing so gets you more brightness, more colour volume and tighter light control than you get from the Q80D. Check out our Samsung QN90D hands-on review for more info.


While the C845K’s pictures aren’t as refined as those of the Q80D, its class-leading high brightness, bold colours, extensive range of gaming features and mini-LED lighting system make its £599 price insanely good value.

Samsung QN900D showing test pattern

(Image credit: Future)

How I tested the Samsung Q80D TV

  • Tested over 12 days
  • Tested with 4K Blu-rays, multiple streaming platforms and resolutions, Freeview HD broadcasts, and HD Blu-rays
  • Reviewed in both dark and light dedicated test room conditions, and a regular (corner position) living room set up

As a mid-range TV, my starting point with the 55-inch Samsung Q80D was trying to home in on some of the basic qualities of its panel. So I measured its brightness using an HDR window test from the Spears & Munsil Ultra HD Benchmark 4K Blu-ray disc measured with a professional light meter, and also fed the screen various real-world scenes, such as the early party in the mansion sequence in Babylon on 4K Blu-ray, that feature lots of bright highlights against dark backgrounds. This gave me a feel for how good the set’s backlight controls and viewing angles are.

I also used a test screen featuring a small white square tracking around the outsides of the image to count the number of dimming zones the 55-inch Q80D carries.

From here on in, for the ‘test results’ part of my analysis I used Portrait Displays’ Calman Ultimate software, together with the same company’s C6 light meter and G1 pattern generator. 

For regular viewing tests, I watched all sorts of content, from HD SDR broadcasts via a Sky Q box to HD SDR streams, 4K SDR streams and 4K HDR streams from a selection of the main streaming platforms.

For more consistently dependable results, I also watched several 4K Blu-ray films that I regularly use for TV testing, such as Babylon, Pan, It Chapter One, and Blade Runner 2049. I also watched these sources in a variety of room conditions, from a blacked-out test room to a sun-drenched living room.

Gaming was tested using both a PS5 and an Xbox Series X, with a Leo Bodnar input lag meter used to measure input lag.

You can read an in-depth overview of how we test TVs at TechRadar at that link.

John Archer
AV Technology Contributor

John has been writing about home entertainment technology for more than two decades - an especially impressive feat considering he still claims to only be 35 years old (yeah, right). In that time he’s reviewed hundreds if not thousands of TVs, projectors and speakers, and spent frankly far too long sitting by himself in a dark room.