Best Samsung TVs 2021 for all budgets

Our guide to the best Samsung TVs explains the best 4K and 8K QLED TV buys for all budget levels

Included in this guide:

Best Samsung TV 2021 image shows lots of Samsung TVs on plinths in a showroom
(Image credit: Samsung)

The best Samsung TVs are among the best-selling TVs of any company for good reason – when it comes to bang for your buck, few can beat Samsung. And as an added bonus, the smart TV software is the same easy-to-use system on all its TVs, no matter how much you spend.

The best Samsung TVs feature strongly in our list of the best TVs overall, and the company dominates our guide to the best 8K TVs. In particular, its Neo QLED technology, new for 2021, has taken its high-end TVs to a whole new level.

But it's not just about the elite stuff – Samsung is one of the most reliable and high-quality brands for more affordable models, and always takes high spots in our guides to the best TVs under £1000, best TVs under $1000, and best TVs under £500.

Just below, you'll find our very quick guide to the best TVs in Samsung's current range for different budget levels, then we'll jump into our bigger list covering more models to fit different needs. That list isn't just in order from top model to cheapest – we've picked out the models we think offer the best balance of performance to price.

And below the list, you'll find a kind of glossary of the key unique features of Samsung TV with weird marketing names, explaining what they really mean – you can jump to it here. And don't forget our list of the best soundbars for Samsung TVs – they can deliver huge sound upgrades whatever budget you're working to.

What is the best Samsung TV?

Overall, the best Samsung TV of 2021 is the Samsung QN900A, no question. It's an 8K TV with Samsung's most elite screen technology – it goes brighter than any other Samsung set, yet also offers more precise contrast than any others. And its 8K screen and advanced processing makes 4K movies look better than any 4K screen has managed so far.

Our pick of the budget Samsung models is the Samsung AU9000, which is the higher-end of its cheaper offerings. You don't get a QLED screen, but the handling of colours and dark tones is way beyond the average budget TV, and it deals with upscaling older content to 4K really well.

As for splitting the difference, the Samsung Q80A is an extremely good price for a well-specced and gorgeous looking TV. QLED tech makes it stunningly bright and  colourful for its price, and you still get some high-end features in there, including a next-gen HDMI port, just like the best gaming TVs.

The best Samsung TVs of 2021: the list

Samsung QN900A on white backgroundT3 Awards 2021 winner badges

(Image credit: Samsung)

The best Samsung TV if money is no object

Specifications
Sizes: 65, 75, 85 inches
Resolution: 8K
Screen type: Neo QLED
HDR rating: 4000 (3000 on 65-inch model)
Reasons to buy
+Astounding mini-LED panel+8K really looks better than 4K+Beautiful bezel-less design
Reasons to avoid
-Elite price to match the visuals

The very top of Samsung's range features an array of cutting-edge screen technology, including a Neo QLED panel, which is Samsung's name for mini-LED tech combined with its QLED display. Together, you get massive brightness, contrast-rich local dimming, and incredible colours – when it comes to realistic and dazzling HDR, nothing does it better. 

The 8K display packs 33 million pixels, and it really does make things look better than 4K TVs do, thanks to the astounding processor inside, which adds detail to 4K or HD movies so well that they feel like they're higher resolution.

You get effectively every single feature that Samsung offers here, including an array of speakers around the edges for positional audio, plus a separate One Connect box where all the processing and connections go, with just a single cable to the actual TV – perfect for wall-mounting, or just keeping things very tidy.

And the design is beautiful too – astoundingly thin, and with bezels that basically aren't there at all, so the image seems to just float above the stand. Here's our full Samsung QN900A review.

Samsung AU9000 on white background

(Image credit: Samsung)

The best Samsung TV on a limited budget

Specifications
Sizes: 43, 50, 55, 65, 75
Resolution: 4K
Screen type: Edge-lit LED LCD
HDR rating: N/A
Reasons to buy
+Excellent image quality for the price+Top-tier smart TV platform+Nice slim design 
Reasons to avoid
-Mediocre sound-Struggles with upscaling from SD

The Samsung AU9000 is the highest-end TV that doesn't come with a QLED panel, instead featuring Samsung's 'Crystal UHD' tech, including its Crystal Processor 4K. Basically, expect colours to be a bit less vibrant then QLED screens, and upscaling to be a bit less elite than more expensive models.

However, you'll be amazed at what this TV can do for its price. It's not especially bright, but its control of contrast is really strong, making it look better for HDR than anyone would expect. And it's a super upscaler of HD to 4K, while 4K is handled cleanly and with bags of detail.

The smart TV platform is the same as on Samsung's high-end TVs, meaning it's fantastic for apps, and is really easy to use – it's one of the highlights here.

Our full Samsung AU9000 review talks more about its strengths and the areas where the budget nature shows though, but for the price, it doesn't really get any better.

Samsung QN85A on white background

(Image credit: Samsung)

3. Samsung QN85A

Samsung's top-of-the-line 4K QLED TVs

Specifications
Sizes: 55, 65, 75, 85 inches
Resolution: 4K
Screen type: Neo QLED
HDR rating: 1500
Reasons to buy
+Affordable Neo QLED screen+Rich and nuanced image quality+Great design
Reasons to avoid
-Middling sound-Some imperfect motion handling

This is the most affordable Samsung TV with a Neo QLED panel, meaning you can get the most advanced screen tech for a realistic price. It's a 4K screen, and doesn't go as bright as the QN900A (or QN95A below), nor does it have as many dimming zones in its backlight, so contrast is a little less precise… but what it can do is still mind-blowing for the money it costs.

It goes much brighter than the OLED TVs its price puts in competition with, yet still manages deep and rich black levels. And the quality of the backlight, mixed with the impressive colours of QLED tech, means its images are impressively subtle.

As our full Samsung QN85A review says "[it] isn’t flawless in the way it performs, but it’s mighty close … The picture quality here is so impressive, it makes the relative weakness of the accompanying sound a moot point."

Samsung AU7100 TV on white background

(Image credit: Samsung)

The cheapest Samsung TV is a winner for its price

Specifications
Sizes: 40, 50, 55, 58, 65, 70, 75, 85 inches
Resolution: 4K
Screen type: Edge-lit LED CD
HDR rating: N/A
Reasons to buy
+Detailed and strong 4K images+Solid contrast and motion+Great smart TV software
Reasons to avoid
-Not very bright-Weak sound

This is Samsung's cheapest range of TVs this year, and as you'd expect, it's basically a version of the AU9000 with some of the fanciness dials turned down, to make it even more affordable than that version.

But just like the AU9000, Samsung never sacrifices quality, and the actual images are seriously great for such a low-cost set, and you can but in basically every size that 4K TVs have ever been made at, which is useful.

Our Samsung AU7100 review dives into where it does well: "Detail levels are high across the board, which means the all-important skin-tones and skin-textures pretty much any live-action movie relies on are confidently described. ‘Confident’ is also as good a way as any to describe the way the AU7100 defines edges and handles on-screen motion."

It all means that the AU7100 really makes the most of being a 4K screen, with the weaker points being the depth of contrast and the sound – both things that other budget TVs always struggle with too.

Samsung QN95A on white background

(Image credit: Samsung)

The best Samsung TV of 2021 for 4K image quality

Specifications
Sizes: 55, 65, 75, 85 inches
Resolution: 4K
Screen type: Neo QLED
HDR rating: 2000
Reasons to buy
+Astounding Neo QLED HDR+Gorgeous detail and upscaling+Excellent design and features
Reasons to avoid
-Fairly expensive

This is the highest-end 4K model in Samsung's range, and it features Neo QLED technology for HDR that goes beautifully bright and is astoundingly precise for scenes of high contrast, with light and dark next to each other. It's not quite as capable at this as the flagship 8K QN900A, of course, but this costs a ton less… although it's still one of the priciest 4K TVs available today.

The image quality is simply phenomenal, and it's also well-equipped for connections, and again features the excellent One Connect external box, so that its super-slim design isn't marred by wires.

As our full Samsung QN95A review says: "From its stunning control of precise light and dark to its generous helpings of detail and smooth motion control, it impresses start to finish. It’s the most complete LED-lit LCD TV we’ve seen in we don’t know how long – maybe ever."

And, even better, it's going to be available in smaller 43-inch size as well, so high-end quality will finally come to a compact screen.

Samsung Q80A on white background

(Image credit: Samsung)

6. Samsung Q80A

The best Samsung TV for mid-range quality

Specifications
Sizes: 50, 55, 65, 75, 85 inches
Resolution: 4K
Screen type: QLED
HDR rating: 1500 (1000 on 50-inch model)
Reasons to buy
+Great balance of quality and price+Beautiful QLED HDR+Excellent image processing
Reasons to avoid
-50-inch model is weaker than others-Not Neo QLED screen

This is a great balance of Samsung's higher-end tech at an affordable price. The 55-inch and above versions deliver really bright and punchy images, with truly rich black tones adding contrast, plus features such as HDMI 2.1 support and speakers all around the edges for impressive positional audio.

The 50-inch version has a less bright screen and just a regular speaker setup, so is not such good value in the same way, though remains a really strong option compared to the competition. But it's the big-screen sizes where this model really excels.

It's obviously not quite as capable as QN85A for awesomely precise contrast control, but it's also massively cheaper than its fancier sibling, and when compared to the other sets you'll find at the same size and the same price, the Q80A is an absolute winner. Everything about it is so clearly premium, from its design to its pictures to its smart TV platform – we think it walks the line between Samsung cheaper models and its more expensive fantastically well.

Samsung Q60A on white background

(Image credit: Samsung)

7. Samsung Q60A

The best Samsung TV for cheap QLED kicks

Specifications
Sizes: 43, 50, 55, 65, 75, 85 inches
Resolution: 4K
Screen type: Edge-lit QLED
HDR rating: N/A
Reasons to buy
+QLED colours for less+Strong 4K detail+Great smart TV platform
Reasons to avoid
-Weaker contrast than other QLEDs-Mediocre sound

This is all about giving you the extra-rich colours of a QLED panel for the most affordable price. It sits right above the AU9000 in Samsung's range, and is kind of a hybrid of the processing, backlight and sound from there, mixed with the QLED colours panel of the Q80A.

The end result is colours that really pop, but without such deep black levels as the Q80A provides. 4K detail is plentiful, and upscaling from HD to 4K is handled really well, though it's not quite as strong for motion clarity or upscaling from SD as the Q80A.

For those who want QLED at a smaller size, or to get a bigger size for the same price, the Q60A will be really popular, and deservedly so.

samsung the frame qled tv on white background

(Image credit: Samsung)

8. Samsung The Frame 2021

The best Samsung TV for style plus QLED image quality

Specifications
Sizes: 32, 43, 50, 55, 65, 75 inches
Resolution: 4K (1080p in 32-inch model)
Screen type: QLED
HDR rating: Not listed
Reasons to buy
+Beautiful design with white frame+Lovely QLED images+Art Mode is a fun addition
Reasons to avoid
-Contrast not the strongest-Average sound

The Frame range has proven to be a huge hit, and it's easy to see why: for those who like their rooms to be pleasant places full of carefully chosen objects, and all-black TV is a bit of an eye-sore. The Frame TVs add a classical look to your set, and they have a fun trick: Art Mode. This displays a range of works of art on the set when it's not in use (with a motion sensor turning the screen off when it detects no one is around to see them).

And it's a pretty great TV too. The 32-inch model is a 1080p screen with QLED's lush colours, which is a rare find indeed. The bigger sizes are 4K screens with the same QLED panel and backlighting as the Q60A above, but they have the more advanced processing of the Q80A, so they're even better than the Q60A for detail, upscaling and motion handling. 

Samsung TVs 2021: the key features explained

You'll see a lot of jargon on Samsung's specs, so here's our glossary to help you know which are worth really paying attention to.

Quantum Processor 4K/8K is the name given to Samsung's latest-gen upscaling tech, which helps lower-resolution video upgrade to 4K or 8K (depending on the screen resolution) and look as close to being as if it was natively filmed that was as possible.

Neo QLED is Samsung's name for a panel that combines a next-gen Mini-LED backlight with its QLED tech for colours. Mini-LEDs are, as the name suggests, much smaller LED light behind the pixels, which enables screens to be bright yet also thinner, and means you can more precisely dim areas of the backlight for truer black levels. QLED is a long-running technology for getting a wider colour gamut from LCD TVs – it's made up of 'Quantum Dots', and you'll only see a few companies use the QLED name (because it's trademarked), but most TV makes use an equivalent tech for high-end models.

Objecting Tracking Sound creates a 3D soundscape from whatever's on screen even if the source video didn't have Dolby Atmos or an equivalent 3D soundtrack. This combines with speakers all around the edges of the set to actually project a wide, tall 3D audio experience.

Q-Symphony is an enhancement to the above feature, but only if you're using a Samsung Q-series soundbar. Basically, the soundbar will handle adding much more oomph to the sound, but the higher-up speakers on the TV will still add height and positional info, so you get the best of both worlds. Again, this is a solid improvement over the Samsung soundbars alone (or the TV alone).

Game Bar is a new menu to help you control how much processing the TV is doing when the Gaming mode, so you can choose between the minimum possible lag or adding some extra prettiness to the pictures. It also helps you control features such as 4K 120Hz or Variable Refresh Rate support when playing on the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X.

Matthew Bolton
Matthew Bolton

Matt is T3's master of all things audiovisual, running our TV, speakers and headphones coverage. He also handles smart home products and large appliances, as well as our toys and games articles. He's the only one on the team who can explain both what Dolby Vision IQ is and why the Lego you're building doesn't fit together the way the instructions say, so is truly invaluable.

Matt has worked for tech publications for over 10 years, in print and online, including running T3's print magazine and launching its most recent redesign. He's also contributed to a huge number of tech and gaming titles over the years. Say hello if you see him roaming the halls at CES, IFA or Toy Fair.