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Samsung QE98Q80C

Once upon a time not so very long ago the idea of owning a TV with a screen nearly 100 inches across would have been nothing but a guilty fantasy for most people. Even for the most home cinema obsessed among us, if the sheer practicalities of getting such a massive screen into our homes weren’t off-putting enough, then the similarly gigantic (typically five figure) price tags attached to them would be enough to seal the ‘only in your dreams’ deal. 

We’re delighted to report, though, that times they are a-changing for the once out of reach world of the king-sized TV. Their designs are getting slimmer and more manageable, and best of all, their prices are finally starting to plummet as the demand for them grows and manufacturing economies of scale kick in. All of which brings us neatly to the Samsung QE98Q80C: A £5,499 98-inch TV that turns your home into a cinema without destroying either your home or your bank balance.

Picture Quality

As you might expect given how strikingly affordable it is by huge TV standards, the QE98Q80C doesn’t benefit from all of Samsung’s most cutting edge TV technologies. In particular, it doesn’t use Mini LED lighting, sticking instead with regular chunky LEDs. It also runs on a more limited number of local dimming zones (where different segments of the LEDs can output different light levels at any given moment to suit the local light requirements of each image frame) than some of Samsung’s high-end TVs too: 120 versus, for instance, the massive 1,344 zones found on the relatively puny 65-inch model of Sony’s flagship QN95C 4K TV range. 

On paper these two issues sound like they could be a pretty big problem for a TV as huge as the 98Q80C. After all, the bigger the screen, the more likely it is to reveal any limitations (clouding or blooming, for instance) a backlight system might be carrying. As we’ll see, though, Samsung’s long experience with local dimming and LED lighting ensures that the 98Q80C’s price-focused light engine arguably does more good than harm.

Despite its affordability, the 98Q80C does still benefit from a Quantum Dot colour system. This ensures that there’s plenty of rich saturation to go with what turns out to be a really impressive peak brightness output that measures just under 1,200 nits on a 10% HDR window, and even more impressive 750 nits or so measured on a full screen white HDR window. Even the best new OLEDs, for context, can only achieve around 400 nits with a full bright screen. Though I should add here that as with any LCD TV using local dimming technology, I’ll need to be on the look out for really small bright highlights looking less intense than they do on OLED screens. More on this later.

The 98Q80C thankfully uses a VA type of LCD panel rather than one of the contrast-challenged IPS alternatives, and doesn’t let the Q80C’s mid-range positioning prevent it from driving its pictures using Samsung’s latest Neural Quantum 4K processor. This AI-bolstered system delivers upscaling of sub-4K images, advanced local dimming, intelligent noise reduction systems, and even a Supersize Picture Enhancer feature Samsung has specifically designed - again using AI machine learning - to tweak a combination of noise reduction, sharpness and black tone enhancement features so that pictures hold up better when stretched to the 98Q80C’s epic dimensions.

As I hinted earlier, the 98Q80C’s pictures do remarkably little to betray the fact that they’re illuminated with the help of ‘just’ 120 local dimming zones. Even with the very darkest HDR images I could find, for instance, the screen managed to portray black colours that actually looked black, rather than some shade of washed out or milky grey. 

More surprisingly, it was hard to pick out really any significant backlight blooming around bright objects that appear against dark backdrops. I’d honestly expected blooming to be a literally massive problem on such a bright and large TV being driven by just 120 dimming zones, but Samsung’s ability to marshal its light zones so that they go about their contrast-boosting business without doing anything distracting for most of the time is almost unfathomable. Even the black bars above and below film aspect ratios wider than the TV’s 16:9 shape remain fairly free of telltale accidental light pooling if a streetlamp, say, appears right up against them.

The biggest shock of all with the 98Q80C’s backlight performance, though, is that the screen doesn’t have to dim small bright highlights as much as some of Samsung’s more premium LED ranges do in order to keep backlight clouding at bay. I’m not saying clouding doesn’t happen at all; it does occasionally, especially if you’re watching the TV from much of an angle, or, contrary to what you might expect, if you’re using the 98Q80C’s Movie and Filmmaker Mode picture presets rather than its Standard setting. Fortunately, though, I would strongly advise you to use the Standard picture preset anyway, as it also delivers the best contrast, colours and sharpness without making the picture look unnatural or forced. 

In fact, the 98Q80C gives us one of those rare occasions where, apart from telling you to definitely switch to Standard from the painfully dull out-of-the-box Eco setting, I’d probably suggest that you spend relatively little time mucking about with the 98Q80C’s settings. Samsung’s Standard mode seems to take care of most things in a very well considered, balanced way. 

The only tweaks I’d suggest would be switching the motion part of the Picture Clarity settings to Custom rather than Auto, and moving the judder/blur elements down to around their three or four power level; and slightly reducing the colour saturation setting to reduce the occasions when exceptionally vibrant tones can start to look a bit overblown. 

These changes made, the 98Q80C delivers a strikingly vibrant but also impressively subtle colour palette that really shows off the advantages of using Quantum Dots in bright displays, while retaining good detailing and sharpness when showing motion without suffering any exaggerated judder.

I’d had a small concern before hanging out with it that I might become aware of the 98Q80C’s pixel structure given that it uses a 4K rather than 8K resolution on such a massive screen. This didn’t prove the case at all from any half-sensible viewing distance, though. In fact, my main take away from watching the sharpest 4K discs in my collection was how clean and detailed the 98Q80C looks, rather than it feeling soft or gritty compared with smaller 4K screens.

That said, the 98Q80C’s picture quality is more dependent on the quality of your sources than it would be on a similarly specified smaller screen. There’s simply less hiding place for imperfections in HD or (ugh) SD sources on such a mammoth screen. That said, the combination of upscaling and noise reduction the 98Q80C’s processing engine applies to sub-4K sources really is pretty outstanding, usually managing to make good HD sources look excellent, and even pretty grubby SD streams look at least bearable. Though I’d still urge anyone who invests in a TV of this magnitude to also set themselves up with as many 4K sources as they can get their hands on.

So long as you’re more the sort of gamer who likes to get fully immersed in a game world than the sort of competitive reaction gamer who needs to be able to take in the whole image at a single instant glance, the 98Q80C is also a spectacular gaming display. It can handle 4K graphics at up to 120Hz frame rates, as well as variable refresh rates and HDR. 

In its Game mode it takes a super-quick 10.7ms to render images, too - though it also provides a helpful Game Motion Plus mode that roughly doubles the response time in return for introducing a touch of motion compensation to reduce judder in low frame rate ‘exploration’ style games that don’t depend on super-fast reflexes.

In fact, in the end no matter what I threw at it - and trust me, I really did try to catch it out with some seriously low-grade sources - the 98Q80C easily outperformed my price and specification-based expectations in every way.

Sound quality 

Perhaps inevitably, the 98Q80C doesn’t manage to pump out the sort of cinematic audio performance such an epic home cinema display really deserves. Its built in speakers are fairly limited in the volume they can reach for one thing, and also lack the steering and power to really project their sound either forward or across the room; everything seems to be locked inside the TV.

Bass can get reasonably deep by TV sound system standards, though under sustained pressure it can cause the TV’s bodywork to buzz.

None of this means the 98Q80C actually sounds bad, though. Voices sound convincing, clean and fairly well contextualised, as well as appearing to come from the screen rather than from some speaker stashed behind or beneath it. There’s a nice rounded tone to the sound too, so that even under pressure the sound doesn’t start to become shrill or thin. 

Finally, while the speakers’ dynamic range might not be particularly earth shattering, it does at least manage to expand far enough to stop the sound from falling back or dropping out during the densest movie soundtrack crescendos.

In any case, though, a TV as cinematic as this really deserves at some point to be partnered if possible with an external sound system. Ideally a high spec sound bar or, even better, a full-blown separates system if finances allow.

Living with the Samsung QE98Q80C

There’s no getting round the fact that while Samsung has done a very tidy job of mounting the QE98Q80C’s colossal screen inside a strikingly trim chassis that doesn’t really look (but happily does feel!) capable of supporting so many acres of picture, a 98-inchTV is still a serious imposition on your living room. In fact, for many it’s probably best suited to a dedicated cinema room - the sort of space you might otherwise have put a projector in. Unless your living room is exceptionallyl arge, anyway.

It’s heavy too. You should aim to have at least three burly pals on hand when you’re setting the TV up for the first time. And I’d recommend you call in some actual installation experts if you’re thinking of trying to hang your 98Q80C on the wall.

One small (relative to the TV’s screen size, anyway!) limitation to be aware of is that as with all Samsung TVs, the 98Q80C doesn’t support the Dolby Vision premium high dynamic range format. It will only play the basic HDR10, live event-friendly HLG and premium HDR10+ formats. The HDR10+ format does, like Dolby Vision, provide the TV with extra scene by scene picture data to help it deliver a punchier, more accurate image, but HDR10+ is not as widely available in the content world as Dolby Vision. Any Dolby Vision content you try to play on the 98Q80C will default to the more basic (as in, it doesn’t provide specific scene by scene data) HDR10 platform.

Despite its cinematic dimensions, the 98Q80C is very much a full TV rather than just a monitor. So as well as carrying a built-in tuner and audio system, it’s equipped with a fully fledged version of Samsung’s Tizen-based Eden smart TV platform. This is great news for the most part, as Samsung’s Tizen system is renowned for carrying a comprehensive collection of streaming services, including Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV, YouTube, and all of the catch up services for the UK’s main terrestrial TV broadcasters. The way the Tizen interface organises content and helps you track down stuff that it thinks might interest you based on your viewing habits has been refined and improved from 2022’s Samsung TVs, too.

There’s also a dedicated gaming source screen , which includes access to a wide range of cloud gaming services as well as any consoles or PCs you may have connected, and the whole system is backed up by Samsung’s brilliantly comprehensive voice recognition system. 

Navigating the Tizen menus isn’t always as intuitive as it could have been, but overall the 98Q80C’s smart interface feels like a more friendly and inviting place for TV addicts to hang out than you might have expected from such a ground-breakingly affordable behemoth. 


Samsung’s 98Q80C feels like a real ‘moment’ in AV history; the birth of a whole new home cinema phenomenon. After all, making such a large and impressively specified TV available for a hitherto unimaginably low price has the potential to turn AV fans away from the traditional projector route for their king-sized screen thrills - especially as there’s simply no projector out there that can get anywhere near the 98Q80C when it comes to delivering the true potential and impact of the high dynamic range content AV fans now crave. 

Watching notes

It Chapter One 4K Blu-ray

Some scenes in the first instalment of Andy Muschietti’s surprisingly fun/scary take on Stephen King’s famous novel about a homicidal clown are so dark and rich in contrast that I was convinced they’d prove a nightmare to handle for an LCD TV as big and affordable as the 98Q80C. On the contrary, though, Samsung’s king-sized hero handled such scenes remarkably well, with good black levels and minimal backlight clouding or haloing.

Top Gun: Maverick 4K Blu-ray

There aren’t many 4K discs out there that deliver picture quality as clean, detailed, bright and colourful as Top Gun: Maverick while using a picture aspect ratio that’s almost the same as that of a widescreen TV, so that it fills pretty much the 98Q80C’s whole colossal screen. This combination of picture quality talents and sheer image scale enabled me to fully appreciate just how cinematic  watching the 98Q80C can be.

Slow Horses Apple+ TV

I’d expected the picture flaws associated with even the best-looking streamed video content to be left brutally exposed on a TV as big and relatively affordable as the 98Q80C. However, with the new season of Apple’s excellent British drama Slow Horses, the 98Q80C’s AI-bolstered, big-screen optimised processing did a fantastic job of kicking source noise into touch without making the picture look soft or ‘fake’.

What the press say

Why you should buy it

If you’re looking for a truly cinematic experience at home, the QE98Q80C gives you the scale of a projected image at a ground-breaking price for such a big screen, and gets much more value from today’s high dynamic range imagery than any domestic projector can

Video review

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