After making, arguably, the most impressive debut in TV hardware history last year, Samsung’s new Quantum Dot OLED technology is back for round two in the slinky shape of the QE65S95C. Surely, though, we can’t reasonably expect Samsung to have improved much on such a spectacular debut in the space of just 12 months, can we?
Actually, we can. It’s instantly, and gloriously, obvious that the 65S95C delivers much more than just an incremental improvement over 2022’s S95B QD OLED series. This is particularly true when it comes to the TV’s brightness. The 65S95C’s pictures are more than 30% brighter than the already ground-breakingly bright efforts of its predecessor - a genuinely remarkable single-generation leap, especially for a TV technology as new as Quantum Dot OLED. A brightness jump of this magnitude matters for multiple reasons.
First, brightness is a big deal for doing justice to the expanded brightness range of today’s high dynamic range content. Second, the 65S95C’s brightness leap puts really clear brightness water between QD OLED and regular WOLED TVs. Although, LG’s new, and currently unique, G3 series of WOLED TVs, which I’ll come back to later, is anything but regular. Third, the sort of brightness levels that the QE65S95C can achieve knocks a few lumps out of the argument that premium LCD TVs are a better option for bright room environments than traditionally relatively dim OLED TVs.
Head to head comparisons with regular OLED TVs; Samsung’s own S95B Quantum Dot OLED debutante from last year; and a couple of premium LCD TVs confirm that all of these on-paper benefits of the QE65S95C’s spectacular brightness hold up in the real world. HDR has simply never looked as spectacular. Especially with full-screen, bright HDR images, on any other OLED TV (bar the aforementioned LG G3), looking much duller by comparison - even last year’s S95B QD OLED. Even flagship LCD TVs now only really manage to maintain a consistent brightness advantage over the QE65S95C if you run them in their most extreme and usually rather over-aggressive dynamic or vivid modes.
The QE65S95C’s advancement in brightness also helps contribute to, arguably, the QD OLED’s main advantage over its WOLED rival: incredibly pure, rich and dynamic colours. While traditional WOLED TVs add white light to the traditional red, green and blue subpixels to help achieve more brightness, QD OLED delivers a pure red, green and blue colour system. In this system, a self-emissive blue light is shone through red and green Quantum Dot layers. This pure RGB approach helps the QE65S95C to retain richer saturations in bright picture areas in more presets than any other TV I’ve ever seen - at least when it comes to relatively pure tones of yellow, blue, red and green. This helps it achieve closer parity to the most extreme vivid colour tones that I’ve ever seen created, using professional mastering monitors that cost upwards of £10,000.
While the QE65S95C’s brightness and colour advantages make it a spectacular TV and movie display, it is actually at its most astonishing with the latest video game sources. High dynamic range; 4K/120Hz; and variable refresh rate graphics from the last gaming consoles (PS5, Xbox Series X and high-end PCs) are reproduced with levels of precision and punch that can finally challenge LG OLED TVs as the finest gaming TV in town. The QE65S95C also supports a wide range of genuinely helpful gaming features, such as: ultra-wide screen ratios, a virtual aim point, Mini Map zooming; an exceptionally fast input lag of just 9.2ms in Game mode; the option to sacrifice small amounts of input lag speed in return for smoother motion; and the facility to brighten only the darkest parts of gaming images to help you spot enemies lurking in dark corners.
Playing 4K games on the QE65S95C also makes it clear just how exceptionally sharp and detailed its pictures really are. This is a result of both outstanding picture processing and exceptional levels of local contrast and colour precision that you can only be achieved with self-emissive screen technologies, where every single pixel makes its own light and colour independent to its neighbours. Rest assured, the sharpness holds up just as well with premium video sources too, such as the stunningly crisp and clean 4K Blu-ray of Top Gun: Maverick.
Additionally, the QE65S95C’s self-emissive panel technology means that it delivers its dazzling new brightness without damaging the stunning purity, depth and consistency of the black colours that are the trademark of all good OLED-based screens. Being able to deliver such immaculate black levels, right alongside pixels capable of hitting the new brightness levels of the QE65S95C, results in levels of local contrast that I’d previously only seen on LG’s OLED65G3. The QE65S95C’s pictures are also more stable than that of the vast majority of LCD TVs, with no sign of common LCD issues such as: shifting brightness levels as a scene cuts between dark and bright shots or the dimming of small, bright highlights to avoid backlight clouding. The QE65S95C sees off LCD technologies further, when it comes to the outstanding amounts of shadow detail it can resolve in dark scenes. This helps dark scenes display the same sense of depth and detail you can see during bright scenes, creating a more consistent viewing experience.
One final notable strength of the QE65S95C’s pictures concerns its viewing angles. No matter how extreme an angle you look at it from, its pictures remain free of common viewing angle issues such as: colour shifting, filter tinting, colour desaturation, and reduced contrast.
It’s honestly hard to fault the 65S95C’s pictures, but I guess I’m duty bound to try! So, here goes. It’s default auto-setting for its Picture Clarity Processing System can generate some distracting glitches around or over moving objects - but this is fairly easily fixed by selecting a custom setting and shifting the judder and blur reduction processing elements to level three or four on their sliding strength scale.
It’s a shame, too, that Samsung continues to refuse to carry support for the Dolby Vision HDR format - though it must be said that its own dynamic tone mapping works extremely well. LG’s G3 WOLEDs, meanwhile, use their new Micro Lens Array technology to look slightly brighter in their most vibrant, sports-friendly picture setting, as well as providing a more granular level of set up control and delivering even better shadow detailing. However, the G3s can’t quite match the purity of the QE65S95C’s brightest colours and aren’t quite as punchy with gaming sources.
In the end, though, there’s nothing - or nothing that isn’t easily fixable via the provide picture settings - about the QE65S95C’s pictures that stops it from being a simply sensational TV that underlines in thick, red ink just how big a part QD OLED looks set to play in the future of home entertainment.
While last year’s QD OLED debutante from Samsung, the S95B, excelled with its picture quality, its sound was a disappointment. Happily, the QE65S95C delivers a huge improvement, managing to produce a compelling and detailed wall of sound. This imposing sound landscape is produced from the QE65S95C’s combination of 70W of power and a 4.2.2-channel speaker configuration.
Bass is much better handled than it was on the S95B. It reaches deeper and suffers much less with distortions and drop-outs. This stops treble details sounding as over-exposed as they could on the S95B and results in a more balanced sound. All of which is achieved without compromising on the impressive sound stage detailing that we’ve come to associate with Samsung’s renowned Object Tracking Sound System. This combines clever processing with speakers arranged around the TV’s bodywork to make sound appear to be coming from the correct area of the screen, and it works brilliantly - especially with Dolby Atmos soundtracks.
Dialogue is always clear and well positioned, and although the sound doesn’t project forwards into the room as strongly as I would have liked, at least the sound seems to come from the screen. In contrast to some of the Samsung TVs of recent years from which sound seemed to be produced from somewhere behind it.
A touch more raw volume and depth extension would have easily sealed the QE65S95C’s audio deal, but it’s certainly good enough to sustain you if you’re going to need to save up for a while before you can add an external sound system.
Bear in mind, too, that if you do decide to add an external sound system at some point, the QE65S95C’s Q Symphony technology means its own built-in speakers can join forces with those in recent Samsung soundbars to produce a larger sound stage than you would get with just the soundbar’s speakers by themselves.
Thanks to an eye-catching monolithic design that’s only just over 1cm deep across its rear, the QE65S95C is a fantastic wall-hanging option. It enhances its aesthetic appeal, too, by placing all of its connections on an external connections box that passes power, picture and sound on to the screen via a single cable, relieving you of the usual TV cable spaghetti burden.
The QE65S95C’s phenomenally bright, colourful and contrast-rich pictures make it a joy to watch in light as well as dark rooms - unlike most traditional OLED TVs - and it’s just as impressive as a gaming display (maybe even more so) as it is a video display.
Unlike its predecessor, it sounds good enough out of the box to render adding an external soundbar a luxury rather than an absolute necessity, and its ability to take in content from pretty much any source you can think of, from smart devices to streaming apps and every external hardware source known to man, is second to none.
The QE65S95C ships with a remote control that is powered by either light (it has a solar panel on its rear side) or the Wi-Fi signals put out from your home broadband router, meaning you never need to change its batteries.
Unfortunately, the QE65S95C’s onscreen menu isn’t the easiest to use, courtesy to a rather complicated layout and navigation system. It’s an improvement on last year’s system, though, and you can also avoid using the menus for much of the time, tand opt for the TV’s excellent voice control support system instead.
Any thoughts that Samsung’s QD OLED technology might be some sort of flash in the pan are obliterated by the QE65S95C. The level of improvement it achieves in just one generation, from its already hugely impressive predecessor, literally has to be seen to be believed. A level of improvement that enables it to take on LCD’s traditional strengths in brightness and matching LG’s also remarkable G3 range punch for punch. TV buyers really have never had it so good.
Top Gun: Maverick 4K Blu-ray
Few if any 4K Blu-rays do such a fantastically consistent job of showing off just how crisp, clean and detailed 4K content can look as the release of Top Gun: Maverick. It also pushes a very bright image with excellent HDR highlights - and all of this is done exceptional justice by the many talents of the QE65S95C.
Puss In Boots: The Last Wish 4K Blu-ray
Although it’s sadly only currently available via import from the US, the 4K Blu-ray of Puss In Boots: The Last Wish serves up some of the richest, purest and brightest colours that I’ve ever seen on a 4K Blu-ray disc. And the QE65S95C with its new brightness and pure RGB colours is better placed to deliver the maximum impact from this eye-catching disc than any other TV I’ve seen.
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla Xbox Series X game
Having put more than 100 hours across many different TVs into the glorious world of Viking-era Britain courtesy of Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla on the Xbox Series X, I can say with confidence that I’ve never seen its landscapes and towns look as gloriously lush, vast and detailed as they do on the QE65S95C.
The second generation of Samsung’s Quantum Dot OLED technology delivers a level of improvement beyond our wildest dreams, resulting in ground-breaking picture quality that’s as dazzlingly brilliant with gaming sources as it is movies and TV shows.