Samsung S95B 4K QD-OLED TV Review: An Incredible Panel for Gamers – GameRant
Samsung’s S95B QD-OLED 4K Smart TV is a perfect option for gamers looking for a stunning picture, deep customization, and useful gaming features.
For gamers, the TV market is becoming increasingly complex as manufacturers begin to find ways to leverage new technologies to deliver jaw-dropping 4K resolution visuals while supporting the high frame rates of the next-gen consoles. Moreover, these TVs still need to fit the needs of the non-gamer, who simply want an impressive picture, key customization features, and a few bells and whistles to sweeten the pot. Samsung’s S95B 4K QD OLED Smart TV comes in either a 55-inch or 65-inch model and it more than meets the challenge of gamers, hardcore cinephiles, and anyone in between.
QD-OLED is a new technology only seen in a few TV panels up to this point and this is Samsung’s first foray with the S95B. Quantum Dot OLED TVs are likely to be the new sector for high-end TVs because the Quantum Dots are able to produce more accurate colors with a wider range of tones, while also maintaining the ever-important contrast between whites and blacks without losing any detail. The only main concern currently with QD-OLED TVs is burn-in, but most panels have solutions that solve that issue.
For this review, Game Rant tested the 55-inch Samsung S95B model, which is impressive right out of the box. Razor thin, impossibly thin – whatever users want to call it, the S95B is less than a centimeter thick at the top and gets a bit wider towards the bottom to account for the ports and power supply. Still, this is a TV that should be handled with care when installing or moving. It’s not flimsy to the point it feels like it would bend or break, but a delicate touch is necessary.
It comes with a modestly sized size base that secures into the panel with four screws and keeps everything feeling sturdy. The base doesn’t take up too much real estate on an entertainment center, so there should be plenty of room for a sound bar or a couple of speakers.
Port selection on the S95B includes 4 HDMI 2.1 ports, one of which includes eARC support for easy sound bar/system connectivity. HDMI 2.1 is the new standard as far as current-gen gaming consoles are concerned, so having four ports is a big plus for Samsung’s TV. The panel also has two USB ports for powering smaller devices, an Ethernet port, and an S/PDIF output for digital audio. It includes Wi-Fi support as well.
While 4K TVs are no longer an exorbitantly expensive proposition, many of them make concessions to keep the price low. Retailing for around $1,600 for the 55-inch or $2,000 for the 65-inch, Samsung’s S95B is on the higher-end in terms of its price, but it ensures that users have all the bells and whistles where connectivity is concerned. Not limiting the number of HDMI 2.1 ports would have been the first place to cut corners, but Samsung kept this model fully featured.
Those bells and whistles extend to the TV’s support for many of the premium audio and visual formats on the market. It’s a 4K 120Hz panel, which is a great start for gamers right out of the box, but it also supports HDR and HDR10+ for more vibrant color and detail. On the audio side, the Samsung S95B supports Dolby Atmos through its 2.2.2 60w internal speaker system or eARC connectivity to wired soundbars as well as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connections for a wireless speaker setup.
Out of the box, the Samsung S95B has four pre-set picture modes: Dynamic, Standard, Filmmaker, and Movie. Standard gave the most accurate (to the eye) picture but it required tweaks to get everything dialed in. Filmmaker is where we preferred to start for hardcore calibration and once that was done, any piece of content – SD, HD, or gaming – looked impressive on the panel. However, those four picture modes will more than do the trick for the average user, and they won’t feel like they are missing out on anything major.
With any of those four settings, the picture is vibrant with colors that pop, blacks that are rich and deep, and whites that don’t feel flat or too glow-y. In particular, the S95B gives reds and oranges an intensity that is stunning to look at it. Its color accuracy is impressive all on its own, but those tones are what will really help sell users on the power of the panel. Because of the QD-OLED technology, the S95B can more accurately hit a range of colors without them becoming diluted in the same way traditional OLED TVs do. Moreover, the TV can reach a higher brightness (of over 1,000 nits at peak) to make sure that color vibrancy comes through. Contrast is also stronger with QD-OLED TVs and darker scenes are easier to pick out details in. We took a look at the notorious House of the Dragon episode that many complained was too dark, and it actually looked stunning on the Samsung TV. It was a lot easier to pick out detail and see the general composition, even on the Standard picture mode setting.
While picture customization can be tricky for a lot of novice users, Samsung has done a lot to simplify the process. For many of the more finicky settings on the TV, Samsung offers both an “Auto” or “Custom” option that will adjust a feature based on best practices or personal preference. For example, SD and HD content can look a little pixelated on the TV depending on the content, but users can dial into the contrast, sharpness, and motion smoothing features to get things just right. They can also toggle on the TV's Intelligent Mode setting and let the S95B’s Neural Quantum Processor do a lot of the work. Similarly, configurations like brightness and contrast offer settings that will adjust based on the ambient lighting in a room or the type of content being viewed.
There is no doubt that the picture on the S95B is exceptional but it does have a bit of a stutter effect when handling long panning shots in media. But just toggling the Smooth Motion setting to Auto might not be to everyone’s liking because it can deliver a “Soap Opera” effect with certain types of content. Luckily, those finer adjustment sliders help smooth out that motion so it doesn’t look as jittery, but not to the point that the picture looks artificial.
Samsung has an extensive range of sound bars and most TV manufacturers do recommend using some form of sound system with their panels, but the audio on the S95B is still very good. The speakers don’t sound cheap or tinny, and the bass is strong enough to give action movies that nice aural pop. And when paired with a solid sound system, the Dolby Atmos support blew us away. Oftentimes, the audio lags behind the picture but for this TV, we didn’t notice any major deficiencies.
While it has become standard for most Smart TVs to include support for all the major apps, it is worth pointing out that the Samsung S95B has the key bases covered. Alongside the apps that have dedicated buttons on the remote like Netflix, Disney Plus, and Amazon Prime, users can install Hulu, YouTube, Paramount+, and more onto the device. And any apps that support 4K or HDR streaming will get a larger benefit from the panel’s feature set.
The Samsung S95B TV remote is economical in its button selection and delivers a slimmer form factor as a result. One of the coolest things about the remote is that, in addition to a standard USB-C charging port, it has a solar panel on the back for passive charging. Simply turn the remote upside down when not in use and it will gain a little energy boost in the interim. Having used a similar remote in the past, passive charging is a huge boon and makes it so you never have to worry about charging at all.
Again, button selection is minimal but gets the job done. The volume and channel buttons can pivot up or down to raise or lower the respective function or click in to mute or bring up a guide while viewing cable TV. Navigation with the remote is simple and intuitive, but it’s made even easier with voice support. The Samsung S95B can tap into Alexa or Google Assistant to switch between apps, change channels, or even ask general questions (how is the weather, for example). And for Alexa, there is even a setting to have it activate hands-free, which can be a bit inconsistent in terms of recognizing the “Alexa” command amidst room and TV noise, but is pretty useful when just casually browsing.
Some might miss the lack of numbered buttons for precise channel searching, but personally, the voice navigation more than got the job done. And for streaming and moving through apps, the remote works exactly as expected.
On the software side, Samsung’s main app menu looks a lot like the Xbox’s with panels featuring each app’s logo. The apps can be organized based on personal preference and the Samsung S95B offers all the popular ones either pre-installed or as a download from its App Store. Having used an older Samsung TV before, the app switching is a bit slower on this newer model but that seems to be a byproduct of surfacing more information. You can actually view what’s playing on the most recently accessed HDMI input, for example, or you can toggle to a side navigation bar and quickly jump into Samsung’s Gaming HUB.
Anything that a power TV user could want is at their fingertips through the Samsung software and everything works as expected. The only thing that would have been nice is if the most recent apps cycled to the front of the slideshow after use, but that’s a small nitpick. The most important thing is that a user of any age knows exactly where each streaming service is and how to get to their cable service, and the Samsung 4K TV surfaces that info perfectly.
For gamers, the Samsung S95B ticks all the boxes for next-gen console and high-end PC support. It includes the aforementioned 4 HDMI 2.1 ports, which are all capable of running 4K 120Hz games from the Xbox Series X/S, the PS5, or a high-end PC. The panel also has support for Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), which is huge for next-gen consoles specifically. For those that might not be familiar, VRR works a lot like Vsync on a monitor, making sure that the refresh rate of the TV matches the frame rate of the console. When activated, VRR ensures the smoothest picture possible and eliminates any of the artifacts that might occur from fast motion during gaming.
Game Mode is a feature that many TVs include but how deep and fully featured it is will vary from panel to panel. In addition to the Samsung Gaming Hub, which will recognize the HDMI device connected and put it as an option in the slideshow, the Samsung S95B has a pop-up menu to fine-tune Game Mode. From the menu, users can set their latency (Fast, Faster, Fastest), pick from genre-specific Game Picture Modes (FPS, RTS, etc.), and set a zoom option for a mini-map.
The Samsung S95B also has a completely separate Game Settings menu that controls HDR intensity and smooth motion. Like with watching video content, Samsung wants the user to have as much control over their picture as possible. Without question, just loading up a game like Destiny 2 delivers incredible results but those who want to dig into the menus can get even more out of games from different genres. And, as far as latency goes, users are looking at about 5ms on high refresh rate games up to 10ms for lower refresh rate experiences.
HDMI 2.1 and VRR are the two major buzzwords for current-gen console gaming and the S95B supporting both puts it at the top of the class. But the aforementioned picture customization features push things over the top. Personally, HDR10+ can be hit or miss depending on the game but when it works well, the S95B delivers a beautifully vibrant picture that is jaw-dropping in more colorful games and atmospheric in darker experiences. We used the S95B while playing through an early copy of God of War Ragnarok and while the experience itself is stunning, the S95B makes everything a little bit more epic. In the game's performance mode, the S95B kept the experience smooth even as the frame rate dipped a bit, and the 4K (upscaled) and HDR picture was nothing short of astounding.
There wasn’t a single game we tested that didn’t look incredible on the Samsung S95B. From the fast motion of a racing game to the simple pleasures of something like Disney Dreamlight Valley, the panel impresses across the board. Even some of the nitpicks that we had with SD content or even streaming content are less of an issue thanks to the HDMI 2.1 Support and VRR.
In addition to its functional boosts to gaming, the Samsung S95B also features some software that makes it perfect for gamers. Past Samsung TV models have offered Bluetooth controller connectivity and support for Steam Link, but newer models like the S95B collect everything a gamer could need into one place via the Samsung Gaming Hub. Here is where users can have quick access to gaming and gaming-related apps like Stadia, Twitch, XCloud, and GeForce Now. The HUB streamlines the controller connectivity process as well and surfaces information like what games are available to play on the various services.
Once each service has been setup, users can seamlessly switch between them and start gaming in no time. Stadia might not be long for this world, but the XCloud and GeForce Now integration give the Samsung Gaming HUB a utility that extends beyond a connected console. Being able to hop into a Game Pass game with minimal resistance is very impressive and on a stable connection the picture is clear and the responsiveness is latency-free.
In a lot of ways, the Samsung S95B becomes its own console with the Gaming HUB and the experience is solid by comparison. Obviously, cloud gaming can be hard on data caps and lower speed service plans, but if your internet can support it the Gaming HUB is a big win for Samsung’s TV line.
There aren’t enough adjectives to describe how beautiful the picture on the Samsung S95B is. What the panel delivers right out of the box is extremely impressive, with vibrant color reproduction and high contrast between blacks and whites without any loss of detail. Gamers are going to love the TV because of its Game Mode settings and the Samsung Gaming HUB, along with the support for HDMI 2.1 and VRR keeping the panel future-proof. But what’s most valuable about the TV is the way it bridges the gap between novice and advanced users with a wide array of customization features. Fine-tuning the picture can get as complex as the user wants it to be, but Samsung has also built in a lot of options that will automatically find the right setting, be it clarity, brightness, or color.
The Samsung S95B is simply an exceptional TV that will meet a variety of users’ needs. Some might be disappointed by the lack of Dolby Vision support, but that’s the biggest nitpick that can be raised at the panel. In truth, it ticks almost every box that a person could want, and even includes features you don’t realize you need.
The Samsung S95B QD-OLED 4K Smart TV is available now. Game Rant was provided a sample for this review.
The Samsung S95B QD-OLED 4K Smart TV is a gamers' dream. It offers support for the latest HDMI spec to ensure high frame rate and 4K resolution, as well as the Samsung Gaming HUB for cloud-based gaming right from the panel.
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An owner of every console since Atari, Anthony is willing to try any video game, good or bad, but prefers the ones that involve a deep and involving story. With the Ocarina of Time gladly sitting as his favorite game of all time, Anthony is a sucker for any game that has players wielding a fabled sword, but can still appreciate everything from a solid sports title to a game with a deep multiplayer experience. By eventually combining his love of video games with his skills in film, Anthony hopes to make Game Rant a fun place to explore all facets of pop culture.