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(Pocket-lint) - If you're looking for a new television and want one of the finest pictures on the market, then Samsung's range is sure to be on your list.

There are QLED TVs from the past few years, and in 2021, Samsung introduced the next-gen Neo QLED, powered by Mini LED tech, as well as MicroLED, albeit limited to 110 inch size only.

The latest range of QLED models all offer connectivity through common voice assistants, the latest streaming services from Apple and Disney - including AirPlay 2 - as well as a lot of technology to boost the picture performance.

Understanding Samsung TV names

If you're wondering about model codes in Samsung designations: 'R' is 2019, 'T' is 2020 - but Samsung seems to have moved back to 'A' for 2021, with a reshuffling of the technologies on offer.

You'll also notice that triple digits is 8K - QN900A - and double digits is 4K - QN90A, for example, which helps you see what you're getting at a glance.

Worth noting is that QN (QLED Neo) seems to be the designation for the new display tech; Q is the incumbent QLED tech; and U is LED - or Crystal UHD as Samsung calls it.

There are also named lifestyle TVs: Serif, Sero, Frame and Terrace, all with specific design features. We're not covering those in this list, instead we covering "normal" televisions.

Samsung 2021 TV choices

Here's the latest Samsung 4K and 8K QLED TV line-up and how each model differs from the next, covering the last couple of years. This isn't an exhaustive list of all Samsung models in all regions, but is designed to give you an idea of where your choices lie when it comes to buying a new Samsung TV.

We're regularly updating this list to ensure that the prices are the best you can buy and the models are still available. Again, there will be regional differences.

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  • Screen sizes: 65in, 75in, 85in
  • Neo QLED, 8K resolution, Quantum HDR 48X, Infinity Screen, One Connect

The 2021 Samsung flagship comes in popular sizes from 65-85 inches and features an Infinity Screen, offering edge-to-edge viewing with a practically invisible bezel. It's a more advanced panel than previous QLED models, using the new Mini LED backlighting system, promising less bleed, more precise blacks and greater brightness for an even better HDR10+ Adaptive experience. The HDR will adapt to the room to give the best performance, while the panel supports 120Hz and is an 8K model.

There's a slim One Connect box which can be attached to the TV stand to hide it out of the way, while sound is boosted by Object Tracking Sound Pro, designed to more accurately match the sound location to the action on the screen.

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  • Screen sizes: 65in, 75in, 85in
  • Neo QLED, 8K resolution, Quantum HDR 32X, Infinity One Design, One Connect

The step-down model from the 2021 flagship is the QN800A. This again comes in popular sizes and retains the 8K screen with 120Hz and all the upscaling technology, but there's a slight step down in HDR performance, as this features Quantum HDR 32X rather than the 48X on the QN900A.

There's object tracking sound again, but there's a simpler arrangement of speakers, with a lower overall output - while the design of the TV sticks to Infinity One Design, rather than the full Infinity Screen of the model above - so there's a little more bezel here. Otherwise, these models are pretty similar.

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  • Screen sizes: 65in, 75in, 85in
  • QLED, 8K resolution, Quantum HDR 4000, One Connect

The 2020 QLED 8K flagship, this TV offers near-complete edge-to-edge viewing and a smart, premium design. We think it's a sophisticated package that's sure to appeal to many after a premium set but who have so far resisted the leap to 8K.

The enhanced image processing borders on magic, too, while the beefed-up audio system benefits from additional processing and object tracking sound.

Samsung's smart TV platform is superb here and we think it's one of the best TVs currently on the market for HDR, too. Of course, it has been updated with the QN900A. 

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  • Screen sizes: 55in, 65in, 75in, 85in
  • Neo QLED, 4K resolution, Quantum HDR 32X, NeoSlim Design

Samsung's flagship 4K TV for 2021 is the QN90A or the QN95A in the UK. It offers many of the same benefits as the top 8K televisions, in that it still supports HDR10+ Adaptive and 120Hz, but here with a 4K resolution instead. It also comes in a smaller size, starting at 55-inches, adding appeal for those with smaller rooms.

There's a slight step down in audio output compared to the QN800N, but it offers a similar 70W speaker setup with object tracking. The connections for the TV don't have a separate box, they are all on the rear of the TV itself - but all that comes with a more approachable price.

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  • Screen sizes: 55in, 65in, 75in, 85in
  • Neo QLED, 4K resolution, Quantum HDR 24X, NeoSlim Design

The 2021 QN85A steps down from the QN90A, again making a couple of changes to present a TV that hits many of the same spec points on the panel, but makes a few cuts elsewhere to make it more affordable. It keeps the 4K resolution, but here offers Quantum HDR 24X, so this is a couple of steps down in HDR performance from the top models. Importantly it still offers 120Hz, however. 

It also continues to reduce the audio performace. While it has a 2.2.2 configuration, the output for this model is 60W with a less sophisticated object tracking arrangement than the models above it in the range. Again, the connections are all on the TV itself, but there'a also a design change, with a less premium stand than the QN90A.

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  • Screen sizes: 55in, 65in, 75in, 85in
  • QLED, 4K resolution, Quantum HDR 2000, Direct backlight, One Connect

Called the Q95T in the UK and Q90T in the US, Samsung's flagship 4K QLED TV for 2020 is a cracker, offering a wide range of premium features, such as the One Connect box for easy cable connectivity. It offers great pictures quality, as well as the latest gaming features, like 120Hz for those next-gen consoles. 

This is a different display technology to the Neo QLED, however, here using direct illumination rather than the new Mini LED, so it will be out performed by some of the newer models in the line-up. With that said, this is still an impressive TV, with plenty to offer, if you can get it at a good price.

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  • Screen sizes: 55in, 65in, 75in, 85in
  • QLED, 4K resolution, Quantum HDR 12X, Direct backlight

The 2021 Q80A sits in the mid-range for QLED 4K TVs, sitting beneath the QN85A because this set doesn't use the New QLED system, it sticks to the older QLED system. It still offers 120Hz, but the HDR isn't as adept as the QN model that sits above it.

It has a similar design to tthe QN85A, with a similar sound arrangement with 60W 2.2.2 channel system. Like the QN85A it has all the connections on the TV itself - there's no One Connect box as there is on higher spec models, and the older Q95T from 2020. What it lacks compared to the Q80T from 2020 is the smaller 49-inch size.

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  • Screen sizes: 49in, 55in, 65in, 75in, 85in
  • QLED, 4K resolution, Quantum HDR 1500, Direct backlight

The 2020 Q80T is a mid-range QLED model, sitting under the likes of the Q95T. The design is less sophisticated and all connections go into the back of the TV rather than offering a One Connect box, so it's a little less fancy overall. But you still get a great panel, with a 4K resolution and introducing a smaller size at 49 inches, making it even more appealing. Remember that this is a generation older than the 2021 QN85A, so although it has full array direct illumination, it's not the Mini LED system of the latest models.

HDR steps down a little, but you still get 120Hz to support the latest gaming features. There's object tracking audio from a similar speaker setup to the QN85A, aloing with all the normal Samsung functions.

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  • Screen sizes: 55in, 65in, 75in, 85in
  • QLED, 4K resolution, Quantum HDR, Edge illumination

Sitting slightly lower in the range for 2021 is the Q70A, shifting to a design that's not as premium as the Q80 and Q90 models from 2021 or 2020. You still have 4K at 120Hz, but there is a change to the backlighting system.

Rather than full-array direct illumination it uses edge illumination, a system Samsung calls Dual LED instead. This sees a cut in the HDR performance, setting this TV alongside the likes of the Q65T from 2020 and not as capable as the Q80 models above it.

The sound also drops to a 20W dual channel system, less ambitous than other TVs in Samsung's range.

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  • Screen sizes: 43in, 50in, 55in, 65in, 70in, 75in, 80in
  • QLED, 4K resolution, Quantum HDR, Edge illumination

The Q60A replaces the Q60T toward the entry level point of the QLED family. It comes in a wider range of sizes from 43-80-inches and keeps the 4K panel with HDR support. Like some of the other lower-range QLED sets, this uses edge illumination, so can't deliver the HDR performance of other TVs in the range. 

It also misses out on the faster refresh rate, so if you're a gamer you might want to give it a miss, as it won't support the best frame rates from the latest consoles. 

Like a couple of near models, the sound is 20W in a two channel arrangement, so not as ambitious as sets further up the range.

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  • Screen sizes: 43in, 50in, 55in, 65in, 75in
  • QLED, 4K resolution, Quantum HDR, Edge illumination

The Q65T - or Q60T in the US - is closer to the entry-level for 2020 Samsung TVs. While still offering 4K resolution, it comes in a range of sizes right down to 43-inches. Again this is the older QLED tech, not the fancy new New QLED system, and here is uses edge illumination rather than the direct illumination found on other models. The HDR punch isn't as potent as a result.

The panel also leaves out another desirable feature - it doesn't support 120Hz, so it's less attractive to gamers wanting the latest support for the newer consoles.

On top of a couple of sacrifices on the image side, the audio is weak overall. That's not a problem if you're connecting to a more advanced sound system. There's still some merits, however. You get a lot of visuals for your money and if you only want to stream movies and have a separate soundbar, it could be the bargain you've been looking for.

What to consider when buying a new TV

There's a lot of things that you need to consider when it comes to buying a new TV. Perhaps the biggest consideration is the space that you have in your room. 

The trend is moving towards larger televisions, but if you can't take it all in when sitting on the sofa - so you have to turn your head to take in the picture - then it's too big for the room. However, much of the increase in resolution in recent years has been about accomodating larger screens. 

It wasn't long ago that we sat a long way from 32-inch televisions. Now we're sitting the same distance from TVs that at 65-inches, with increasing resolution and upscaling making sure that the content looks sharp and you don't have a drop off in quality and spend your time looking at a poor picture. Ultimately, an 8K TV lets you go bigger, because a 4K TV at those larger sizes might look less sharp as the pixels would be so large.

Generally speaking, 8K only really applies to TVs in the top sizes - and 4K will be fine for the majority from around 50 inches upwards. Remember that there's almost no native 8K TV yet and that these models rely on upscaling to improve the picture, so if you're looking for a 65-inch TV right now, you probably don't need to worry about buying 8K. 

As for features, one of Samsung's best features is the One Connect box. This allows you to plug all your devices into an external box and then have one cable running from the One Connect box to the TV itself, which can make for much cleaner installation. Not all Samsung TVs have this box, it's reserved for the top models - but be sure to see if this is what you get. 

Elsewhere, Samsung doesn't offer Dolby Vision, instead pushing HDR10+ instead, but it does offer great picture quality, a highly connected smart TV interface and compatibility with your smartphone and other devices.

Writing by Mike Lowe. Editing by Chris Hall. Originally published on 14 February 2019.
Sections TV