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Samsung 2021 TV lineup: everything you need to know

Samsung 2021 TVs
(Image credit: Samsung)

This is looking like a big year for Samsung TVs. Having somewhat trodden water in 2020, the company appears to be striding forward in 2021, with highlights that include consumer MicroLED models, 'Neo QLEDs' with astonishingly small Mini LEDs, and a new version of the One Connect box that can be attached to the TV's pedestal stand.

Samsung has so far delivered the information on its 2021 TVs in the form of hours of video presentations, rather than a complete and concise list of models and the features of each. That means there are still gaps in what we currently know but, by piecing together the various snippets of information, we think we've got a fairly good handle on what's coming from Samsung TVs in the next few months.

Certainly, the new technologies and features have been fairly well outlined, and you'll find info on those if you scroll down just a smidge. Below that, we've attempted to divine the model lineup. There's a lot of info there, but there's more that needs adding and clarifying, which we will do over time as Samsung releases the details.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, a quick overview of 2021 model designations: 2021 appears to be year 'A' for Samsung, whereas 2020 was year 'T' (as in 'Q70T') and 2019 was 'R' (as in Q70R). You can therefore expect QLED model numbers to end in an 'A' (Q70A, for example), and LCD models to have one before their series designation (e.g. 'AU8000').

Finally, you'll also see an 'N' in some QLED model numbers – 'QN85A', for example. We believe this denotes the Neo QLED (i.e. Mini LED) models from those that utilise standard LED backlights.

Samsung MicroLED TV

Samsung MicroLED

(Image credit: Samsung)

While Samsung has been talking about MicroLED for quite some time now, 2021 will finally see the launch of consumer models.

For the unfamiliar, MicroLED is a next-gen TV technology that essentially takes the best qualities of OLED and removes more or less all of its shortcomings. Like OLED, each pixel is self-emissive, so one can be completely black while those next to it can be bright white or a vibrant colour, creating incredible contrast.

MicroLEDs can actually go much brighter than OLEDs, though, theoretically resulting in even more spectacular contrast. Samsung is quoting a peak brightness rating of 2000 nits in regard to this new MicroLED TV, which makes it around twice as bright as even the best OLEDs. What's more, unlike OLED TVs, which use organic materials ('OLED' stands for 'Organic Light Emitting Diode'), MicroLEDs are inorganic, so don't degrade and can't suffer from image retention or burn-in.

The new consumer MicroLED TV, for which we don't yet have an official model number, measures an absolutely huge 110 inches on the diagonal and comes pre-assembled as a complete flatscreen TV; unlike the commercial MicroLEDs, which come as smaller modules that can be assembled in various configurations.

Interestingly, given its huge size and next-gen credentials, this new consumer MicroLED TV boasts 'only' a 4K resolution. That's because the size of the individual MicroLEDs (each of which represents a single pixel, remember) means there are physical limitations to pixel density (how many pixels can be crammed into each inch of screen). In other words, MicroLEDs will have to get even smaller before MicroLED TVs become available at smaller sizes with higher resolutions.

Of course, what you really want to know is how much Samsung's new consumer MicroLED costs. Unfortunately, there's no official word on that yet (we have asked), but Business Korea claims that it's expected to be priced over 100-million won, which translates to roughly £70,000 ($90,000, AU$125,000).

Neo QLEDs with Mini LED backlighting

Samsung Neo QLED

(Image credit: Samsung)

While MicroLED remains the preserve of the super-rich for now, Samsung is bringing Mini LED tech to its premium QLEDs, which it refers to as 'Neo QLEDs'.

Samsung explains that the majority of a typical LED's size is made up of its protective packaging and light-guiding lens, both of which it's done away with for its so-called 'New LEDs'. Not only that, it's also miniaturised the LEDs themselves, to quite astonishing effect.

As part of a video presentation, Samsung demonstrated to us the degree of difference by putting a petri dish containing 100 traditional backlight LEDs next to another containing its New LEDs. The traditional LEDs are big and clear, filling their dish, while the New LEDs genuinely look like nothing more than sparkly grains of sand. Samsung says the New LEDs are a fortieth the size of traditional LEDs, but even that doesn't convey how incredibly tiny they appear.

Instead of a lens, Samsung's New LED backlights use a new 'micro layer' that guides the light through the quantum dots (which provide the set's colours). The result is apparently no light leakage or blooming, and because the New LEDs are so much smaller, significantly more of them can be packed in – one slide we saw referred to "ten-times greater density". Given that Samsung's top 2020 model, the Q950TS, is said to have around 500 dimming zones (Samsung doesn't publish specific numbers), we're potentially talking about around 5000 zones for these Neo QLEDs.

Of course, Samsung isn't the first TV brand to utilise Mini LEDs, but the company claims that its are the smallest and most precise out there – mind you, that was before LG announced its own Mini LED TVs.

Neo Quantum Processor

Of no surprise at all is that Samsung is introducing a new processor for its 2021 TVs. This 'Neo Quantum Processor' brings with it, among other things, more precise dimming and a local power distribution feature that sends power to the brightest areas of the picture and away from the darker parts. It also works in conjunction with a sensor integrated into the TV's frame to adjust brightness and contrast in response to ambient lighting conditions.

In Samsung's 2021 8K TVs (we're not yet sure if this also applies to the 4K models), the Neo Quantum Processor also utilises something that Samsung calls 'Multi-Intelligence Deep Learning' to improve upscaling. The company explains that in 2020 its deep learning produced a single neural network, but in 2021 the system can produce up to 16 neural networks that enhance resolution and overall video quality. Essentially, it seems that each of the neural networks specialises in a different area of picture quality, then a Neural Analyser selects the most appropriate for the specific content being played.

Extension of Object-Tracking Sound (OTS)

Samsung Neo QLED OTS

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung introduced Object-Tracking Sound with last year's QLEDs, but this year it's being expanded, both in terms of the models it covers and the number of speakers involved.

There are now four versions of OTS, with the new OTS Lite at the bottom and OTS Pro at the top. Each version differs in terms of the number of speakers involved.

OTS Lite consists of two physical speakers at the bottom and two 'virtual speakers' that provide height. It's available on the most premium LCD models. The standard version of OTS adds physical speakers to the top of the set, OTS+ adds side-firing speakers, and OTS Pro adds extra tweeters, taking the complete speaker array up to a total of 6.2.2 channels.

Every version of OTS is designed to fill a room as much as possible and provide three-dimensional tracking of effects, very much along the lines of virtualised Dolby Atmos. Some models (we're not yet sure which) also feature something called 'SpaceFit', which appears to be an enhanced version of the company's existing Adaptive Sound tech that adapts audio performance to the TV's surroundings.

All models also appear to feature Active Voice Amplifier, which is designed to actively detect external noise and boost the volume of the voice track so that dialogue is more audible, and Q Symphony, which allows the TV’s speakers to work in conjunction with a connected Samsung soundbar – and there'll be a whole new range of those in 2021, too.

Design, new One Connect and solar remote control

Samsung Neo QLED

This image shows the new One Connect attached to the rear of the pedestal stand (Image credit: Samsung)

Like many of us humans, Samsung's TVs appear to be on a slimness drive in 2021. The top 8K models were already just 15mm thick, so it's little surprise that they're not getting any slimmer, but all of the 4K models mentioned have a thickness of 2.5cm. That represents a 1cm reduction in thickness for the top QN90A (compared with the Q90T), and a slimming-down of over 3cm for lower models such as the Q70A and Q60A QLEDs and the AU9000 LCD.

If your pockets are deep enough for the flagship QN900A 8K model, you'll also get Samsung's Infinity Screen, which is an essentially bezel-less, edge-to-edge display, as seen with 2020's Q950TS.

We were worried about the future of Samsung's One Connect system, which sees all connections (and even power) routed through an external processing box that can be placed out of sight, but Samsung is in fact launching a new version of One Connect for 2021. The big news is that the new One Connect box is significantly smaller and slimmer than the one it replaces, to the extent that it can be attached to the rear of the stand if required.

Those who are wall-mounting (or who simply want to move cable-clutter as far away from the display as possible) can still place the new unit on a separate shelf or in a cupboard, and its new shape and size should make it far easier to find a home for.

The 2021 One Connect will be available on the QN95A 4K set and, we believe, all 8K models.

Samsung has also developed a solar-powered remote control for 2021. It looks very similar to the excellent One Remote of existing models, but there's a solar panel on the rear that enables it to be charged in the ambient light of an average living room. This 'Eco Remote Control' will come with all QLED models.

Gaming features

Samsung Neo QLED

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung's long been at the forefront of gaming TV tech, and that looks set to continue in 2021. 4K@120Hz is supported on all models from the Q70A and up, VRR support includes Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync Premium Pro, ALLM and HGiG are both supported, and input lag is said to be down to just 9.8ms.

Interestingly, Samsung is also promising support for 4K@120Hz on its AU8000 and AU9000 LCD models, even though they feature 60Hz panels. The company's calling this technology 'Motion Xcelerator Turbo', but it's not yet clear how it works beyond Samsung saying that it allows the models to refresh twice as fast. These models are getting AMD FreeSync certification, though – that's apparently a first for a 60Hz TV.

What also isn't clear is how many Ultra High Speed HDMI (aka HDMI 2.1) sockets the 2021 models have. Samsung's 2020 sets had just one, whereas LG's OLEDs boast four. It only currently makes a difference for 4K@120Hz signals but we'd like to see Samsung close the gap here so that those lucky enough to have both the PS5 and Xbox Series X (and/or a high-end gaming PC) can take full advantage.

On top of all of that, Samsung is introducing something it's calling 'Super Ultrawide Gameview', which allows you to force the TV into ultra-wide aspect ratios, essentially simulating the experience of using an ultra-wide gaming monitor. This obviously involves big black bars filling in the screen's unused display area, so we're not sure how appealing it will really be, but time will tell.

Smart features

Samsung Neo QLED

(Image credit: Samsung)

The Tizen smart platform itself seems to have changed very little, but that's no bad thing – it was already the best in the business in terms of its app offering and usability.

That said, Samsung has seen its way to offer some pandemic-friendly features such as Google Duo for video calls and a Smart Trainer app, which appears to be an extension of the existing Samsung Health platform. Taking full advantage of either involves buying an optional video camera, which can track you around the room in the vein of Facebook Portal.

Samsung is also extending its Multi-View feature, which allows you to display multiple sources at once in a split-screen format. It's going to be available on all models from AU9000 upwards, with 4K models supporting two windows and 8K models support four.

Samsung 2021 TV range breakdown

So that's the overview of the technology behind Samsung's 2021 TV range, but what about specific models? The company hasn't supplied a full breakdown, but we've listed every model specifically mentioned in the video briefings we've had and attempted to establish which features each one gets.

On top of that, the Czech Samsung website briefly leaked a number of product details (thanks, FlatpanelsHD).

In short, while there are still some gaps in what we know, and some details should be taken with a pinch of salt at this stage, we've got a good idea of the range breakdown. You'll find all the information we have below, and we'll update this section with more details (including pricing and availability) as they become available.

Samsung QN900A 8K Neo QLED TV

Samsung's very top QLED model for 2021 (at least as far as we know) is the QN900A (though according to leaks, it could yet be the QNA900). This is, of course, an 8K model, and it features the new LED backlight.

Design-wise, it boasts the edge-to-edge Infinity Screen and a super-low profile 4mm pedestal stand, to which the new One Connect box can be attached. It's just 15mm thick, and the three-degree lean of the outgoing Q950TS has gone – this model stands straight up.

Samsung QN900A specs:

  • Display type: Neo QLED
  • Resolution: 8K
  • Sizes: 65-inch, 75-inch, 85-inch
  • One Connect: Yes
  • Sound: OTS Pro
  • 4K@120Hz: Yes
  • Ultra-Wide Viewing Angle: Yes
  • Anti-Reflective Panel: Yes

Samsung QN800A 8K Neo QLED TV

This step-down 8K model, the QN800A (or perhaps QNA800), appears to be the same as the QN900A above but without the Infinity Screen and with a sonic downgrade from OTS Pro to OTS+. It's still just 15mm thick.

  • Display type: Neo QLED
  • Resolution: 8K
  • Sizes: 65-inch, 75-inch, 85-inch
  • One Connect: Yes
  • Sound: OTS+
  • 4K@120Hz: Yes
  • Ultra-Wide Viewing Angle: Yes
  • Anti-Reflective Panel: Yes

Samsung QN700A 8K Neo QLED TV

The QN700A (or QNA700) appears to be Samsung's entry-level 8K model for 2021. We don't know much about this one, but it seems it might be missing the Ultra Viewing Angle tech of the models above and isn't as slim.

  • Display type: Neo QLED
  • Resolution: 8K
  • Sizes: TBC
  • One Connect: Yes
  • Sound: TBC
  • 4K@120Hz: Yes
  • Ultra-Wide Viewing Angle: TBC
  • Anti-Reflective Panel: Yes

Samsung QN95A 4K Neo QLED TV

Samsung's top 4K model wasn't included in any of the video briefings but was mentioned in correspondence with Samsung when discussing One Connect. It's also included in the Czech Samsung leak, where the model number appears as QNA95. While we can't say for sure, our assumption is that this will be identical to the QN90A below, but with the addition of One Connect.

One interesting point to note is that the Czech Samsung leak suggests both this and the QN90A will be available in a 50-inch size. No previous version of the Q90/Q95 has been available below 55 inches. Perhaps this is an effort by Samsung to offer a rival to the new 48-inch OLEDs.

  • Display type: Neo QLED
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Sizes: 50-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch, 75-inch, 85-inch
  • One Connect: Yes
  • Sound: TBC
  • 4K@120Hz: Yes
  • Ultra-Wide Viewing Angle: Yes
  • Anti-Reflective Panel: Yes

Samsung QN90A 4K Neo QLED TV

The replacement for the Q90T, the QN90A (or QNA90) boasts Samsung's new mini LED-based backlight, a depth measurement of just 25mm (that makes it 10mm thinner than its predecessor), and a 4mm thick metal pedestal stand with integrated cable management. We believe it will be identical to the QN95A, only without the One Connect box.

  • Display type: Neo QLED
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Sizes: 50-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch, 75-inch, 85-inch
  • One Connect: No
  • Sound: TBC
  • 4K@120Hz: Yes
  • Ultra-Wide Viewing Angle: Yes
  • Anti-Reflective Panel: Yes

Samsung QN85A 4K Neo QLED TV

The step-down 4K model, the QN85A (or QNA85) for 2021 does without the Ultra Viewing Angle tech of the models above, but it does retain the Anti-Reflective Panel. It's also just 25mm thick and has a stand with a 4mm bottom plate, although here it connects to the main chassis via a stalk or neck.

If previous models are anything to go by, the QN85A will probably have fewer dimming zones and lower peak brightness than the QN90A, but Samsung is yet to confirm this.

  • Display type: Neo QLED
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Sizes: 50-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch, 75-inch, 85-inch
  • One Connect: No
  • Sound: TBC
  • 4K@120Hz: Yes
  • Ultra-Wide Viewing Angle: No
  • Anti-Reflective Panel: Yes

Samsung Q80A 4K QLED TV

This Q80A model has only been mentioned in passing (and was included in the Czech Samsung leak, as QA80) so we don't know a huge amount about it, but what you will notice is that it doesn't have an 'N' in its model number. This is because it's likely not a 'Neo' model – i.e. it will use the same type of LEDs in its backlight as last year's models, rather than the new Mini LEDs.

  • Display type: QLED
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Sizes: 50-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch, 75-inch, 85-inch
  • One Connect: No
  • Sound: TBC
  • 4K@120Hz: Yes
  • Ultra-Wide Viewing Angle: No
  • Anti-Reflective Panel: No

Samsung Q70A 4K QLED TV

The Q70A (or QA70) appears towards the bottom of Samsung's 2021 QLED range, but it still boasts a 25mm-thick design and native support for 4K@120Hz. Samsung's video presentation included images of it and the Q60A mounted on a variety of different stands, including a central pedestal/neck, a plate with two legs, and feet that can be placed at different widths and even raised to accommodate a soundbar, but it’s not clear which stand comes in the box with which model.

  • Display type: QLED
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Sizes: 55-inch, 65-inch, 75-inch, 85-inch
  • One Connect: No
  • Sound: TBC
  • 4K@120Hz: Yes
  • Ultra-Wide Viewing Angle: No
  • Anti-Reflective Panel: No

Samsung Q60A 4K QLED TV

Samsung's entry-level QLED model, the Q60A or QA60, will, according to the Czech leak, be available in more sizes than any other, and is the only one that comes in a 43-inch version. We don't know a huge amount else about it, other than it's also just 25mm thick and that it lacks native 4K@120Hz support (although it may still support such signals using the company's new Motion Xcelerator Turbo tech).

  • Display type: QLED
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Sizes: 43-inch, 50-inch, 55-inch, 60-inch, 65-inch, 70-inch, 75-inch, 85-inch
  • One Connect: No
  • Sound: TBC
  • 4K@120Hz: No (Motion Xcelerator Turbo support TBC)
  • Ultra-Wide Viewing Angle: No
  • Anti-Reflective Panel: No

Samsung AU9000 4K LCD TV

Samsung's top LCD model, the AU9000 (or perhaps UA9000) obviously lacks the quantum dots of its QLED siblings, but it seems to be pretty well-specced otherwise.

For starters, it boasts what Samsung is calling an 'AirSlim' design, which results in a depth measurement if just 25mm. The company's achieved this by developing a new backlight structure with almost no gap between the LEDs and LCDs, and by utilising physically smaller video and power components.

As mentioned above, the new Motion Xcelerator Turbo tech adds support for 4K@120Hz despite the set's native refresh rate being 60Hz. It also gets OTS Lite, which apparently adds two virtual speakers that add height to the sound produced by the two physical speakers along the bottom.

  • Display type: LCD
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Sizes: 43-inch, 50-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch, 75-inch, 85-inch
  • One Connect: No
  • Sound: OTS Lite
  • 4K@120Hz: Native 60Hz with Motion Xcelerator Turbo support
  • Ultra-Wide Viewing Angle: No
  • Anti-Reflective Panel: No

Samsung AU8000 4K LCD TV

It's not at all clear at this stage how the AU8000 (or UA8000) differs from the AU9000 above. We know that it features the same AirSlim design, and it appears to feature Motion Xcelerator Turbo and OTS Lite. It may come down to the processor, number of dimming zones or even just the finish. We'll update when we get more information from Samsung.

  • Display type: LCD
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Sizes: TBC
  • One Connect: No
  • Sound: OTS Lite
  • 4K@120Hz: Native 60Hz with Motion Xcelerator Turbo support
  • Ultra-Wide Viewing Angle: No
  • Anti-Reflective Panel: No

Samsung AU7000 4K LCD TV

This model number appeared fleetingly in one of Samsung's video presentations, but we know nothing about it other than it exists (and could yet be the UA7000!). Again, we'll update when we have more.

  • Display type: LCD
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Sizes: TBC
  • One Connect: No
  • Sound: TBC
  • 4K@120Hz: TBC
  • Ultra-Wide Viewing Angle: No
  • Anti-Reflective Panel: No