Review: Samsung Q950R

We’ve been hearing about 8K for a while now, and it sounds fantastic. With four times the resolution as 4K, technically speaking, this is revolutionary. But now it is time to get up close and personal to see if the latest entries offering true 8K resolution live up to all the anticipation. Today, we are looking at Samsung’s flagship second generation QLED TV the Q950R 8K.

The initial impression of Q950R is jaw-dropping astonishment. 82″ inches of 8K with Samsung’s very latest quantum-dot technology creating a new level of quality in colour reproduction, brightness, and motion processing. With a demo of native 8K content on the screen, it is hard not to blown-away by this TV.

It is challenging to offer a truly unbiased review of a set like this since there is so little to compare it to. While displaying native 8K content, there is just no comparison to rival 4K sets. However, this is still brand new technology, so these sets are not yet perfect. Let’s take a look at some of the greatest aspects of this new set and some of the growing edges for Samsung and the 8K TV market.

What is 8K TV content going to look like? A picture of a Samsung QLED 8K TV

Samsung Q950R: Picture Quality

Samsung Quantum Processor 8K

8K is at its best on very large displays like this. While it takes a closer look to see the difference on sets smaller than 65”, the level of detail is stunning at 82”. Of course, to truly appreciate it, you will need access to native 8K content, which is still quite limited. But, with Hollywood filmmakers already shooting in 8K and streaming providers rushing to meet demand, it won’t be too long. 

For a taste of 8K, streaming services are adding more 8K content every day. So, while you may be waiting a while for feature films, there is plenty of material to see what your set can do.

Samsung Q950R: Upscaling

In the meantime, a lack of 8K content doesn’t mean you won’t get an impressively upgraded picture even with 4K content. Knowing the current gap in 8K content, Samsung has made significant upgrades to upscaling. 

The Q950R features a two-stage upscaling system using AI and machine learning to optimise 4K and even HD content for 8K. 

Samsung’s Quantum AI processor is certainly no gimmick, meaning this TV delivers a near 8K experience even with much lower resolution content.

Samsung Q950R: Wide Viewing Angles

Q950R Optimised sound

Another feature of the Q950R that is impressive even without native 8K content is the wide-angle viewing support. Samsung has added two new layers to the LCD panel to enable a broader range of viewing angles. 

While some have been critical of QLED due to the limitations of viewing angles as compared to OLED, Samsung has made serious improvements here. 

Viewers will no longer lose colour and clarity when moving off centre, which is excellent news for many home theatre applications.

Samsung Q950R: Greater Brightness and Deeper Blacks

Samsung’s new flagship has also made extensive improvements in contrast. The first part of that equation is brightness where the Q950R pushes brightness levels up to 4000nits, with direct full array backlighting. Samsung has only addressed the other side of the equation by adding a new black filter to the front of the panel. This absorbs ambient light giving the set the appearance of deeper black levels. The blacks may still not be as impressive as OLED sets, but they are substantially better than previous generation QLEDs.

Samsung Q950R: What’s Missing?

Since the 8K market is still mostly undeveloped, it is not surprising to see some different levels of standards support between manufacturers. Samsung’s Q950R is compatible with a variety of content formats, but one that is oddly missing is support for Dolby Vision. It also lacks the support of eARC. While it still uses the older ARC system to pass sound through the TV to a soundbar or receiver, it is not able to take advantage of the new technology in HDMI 2.1 that allows the exchange of higher quality, uncompressed digital audio.