Hands on: Samsung S95C review

The brightest QD-OLED yet looks stunning so far

What is a hands on review?
Samsung S95C QD-OLED TV
(Image: © Future)

Early Verdict


  • +

    Wonderfully bright and vibrant

  • +

    Seemingly tuned for authenticity

  • +

    Lovely design


  • -

    No Dolby Vision

  • -

    Will go up against similarly bright new OLED rivals

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We’ve been talking about QD-OLED for so long, it’s easy to forget that the very first QD-OLED TV hasn't even been in shops for a year yet. Said TV, the Samsung S95B, certainly set the cat amongst the pigeons when it burst onto the scene, thanks to its combination of OLED’s pixel-level contrast control and QLED’s colour vibrancy and (some of its) extra brightness.

It’s a great TV, too, receiving the full five stars in our Samsung S95B review, but it is worth remembering that it’s a first-gen product – and something of a toe in the water for a company with a long-standing anti-OLED stance.

Thankfully, Samsung now seems happy to venture a little further into the vibrant blue water of QD-OLED, doubling the number of models in the 2023 range. Admittedly, that still means there are just two of them, making this more of a paddle than a full-on swim, but it’s progress.

Crucially, Samsung appears to have learned a lot about this nascent technology in the last twelve months, and the new S95C flagship model, which I’ve just seen in action for the first time, clearly takes things up a notch but also appears to be subtler and more refined than its predecessor.

The final What Hi-Fi? verdict on the new set will have to wait until we can get it into our test labs for comprehensive, comparative testing, but here are my initial thoughts from the hands-on session.


So far (with the exception of a single, sole US price), we only have EU pricing for Samsung’s 2023 QD-OLEDs, but that does tell us something: the S95C will likely launch at a slightly higher price than the S95B did, but the S90C will be the cheapest QD-OLED TV yet – at least in terms of launch price.

This is the first time that a 77-inch QD-OLED will be available. Sadly, there’s still no model smaller than 55 inches.

Here’s the full pricing:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 55 inches65 inches77 inches
S95C (2023)€2500 (around £2200 / $2655 / AU$3885)€3300 (around £2900 / $3485 / AU$5175)€4800 / $4500 (around £4235 / AU$7525)
S90C (2023)€2000 (around £1760 / $2125 / AU$3115)€2800 (around £2470 / $2955 / AU$4395)€4000 (around £3530 / $4220 / AU$6270)
S95B (2022 – launch price)€2200 / £2399 / $2200 / AU$3495€3000 / £3299 / $3000 / AU$4495No such model


Samsung S95C QD-OLED TV

(Image credit: Future)

2022’s S95B is one of the most strikingly thin TVs ever made, with the vast majority of its chassis being just a couple of millimetres thick. It has a chunkier section that houses the processing hardware, speakers and connections, but even this is more compact than the equivalent of most OLED TVs.

The S90C has a very similar design to last year's model, but the flagship S95C goes another route – one that’s reminiscent of LG’s G-series “Gallery” models. Here, the set is a uniform thickness of 1cm. That allows it to be mounted more or less flush against a wall, makes it less worryingly flimsy, and also allows for better placement of the speakers.

This uniformly thin design has been achieved by moving all of the connections – including power – to an external “One Connect” box. This year’s One Connect, which is exclusive to the S95C QD-OLED and the QN900C, QN800C and QN700C 8K QLEDs, is very similar to last year’s – i.e. much wider but slimmer than the brick design of old, and attachable to the rear of the stand for those who are happy with a more typical arrangement. Those who do position the One Connect box away from the set will then have just one, brilliantly slim cable running to their TV.


Samsung S95C QD-OLED TV

(Image credit: Future)

2023 is the year of super-bright OLED TVs, and the S95C will likely be one of the brightest, though there appears to be some confusion about how much brighter it will actually be. I’ve personally been told it will be 20% brighter, but it’s not been made entirely clear whether that’s in comparison with the S95B, the S90C, or both. Meanwhile, Samsung USA is saying the S95C is in fact 30% brighter than last year’s S95B.

Ultimately, putting a figure on this sort of thing is always tricky as peak brightness can be measured in a variety of ways and in a variety of different picture presets. The long and short of it is that the S95C will be brighter than any QD-OLED that’s gone before it, and noticeably so.

Of course, manufacturers of traditional OLED TVs also have a new brightness-boosting weapon in their arsenal in the form of Micro Lens Array technology. My impression is that Samsung’s S95C will be in the same brightness ballpark as MLA-boosted OLED TVs such as the LG G3, Panasonic MZ2000 and Philips OLED908, but we’ll of course put that theory to the test when we have all of the TVs in for comparative review.

Brightness isn’t everything, of course, and Samsung will point out that the Quantum Dot element of its QD-OLED TV will give it an advantage over those traditional OLEDs when it comes to colour vibrancy, particularly in the brightest parts of the picture.

Naturally, you’ll want to send lots of HDR content at the S95C in order to see it at its best. As ever, the HLG, HDR10 and HDR10+ formats are supported, but Dolby Vision is not. Samsung still claims that it sees no benefit to Dolby Vision over the formats it already offers, but it's hard not to see the decision as a bit petty and stubborn when Dolby Vision content is so widespread.

A lack of Dolby Vision support means Dolby Vision gaming is obviously off the menu, but the S95C supports every other gaming feature of note, including 4K/120Hz (144Hz for PC), VRR and ALLM, across all four of its HDMI inputs. Cloud gaming is also natively supported via built-in apps for the likes of Xbox Cloud Gaming and GeForce Now.

Dolby Atmos is on board, and the S95C has a 70W 4.2.2 sound system. This should be a big improvement on the pretty weak 60W 2.2.2 arrangement of the S95B, not simply because the numbers are higher, but because the new design allows for the speakers to be more ideally positioned.


Samsung S95C QD-OLED TV

Please note: the picture demo session took place in a dedicated area with blackout curtains, where photography wasn't permitted. The photos in this piece are therefore from a separate display area. (Image credit: Future)

The hands-on session involved a 77-inch S95C being compared side-by-side with a “competitor OLED” that was clearly the LG G2. Samsung stated that both TVs were in ‘Movie’ mode, but the G2 doesn’t have such a preset. My assumption is that it was in Cinema, but this does highlight one of the many issues with manufacturer-managed comparisons – which is why we only draw firm conclusions on a product once we’ve had it in our own test labs for full, independent review.

That said, I was able to get an idea of the S95C’s talents, and they appear to be plentiful. During a clip of the Matera car chase in No Time to Die, I was struck by the extra brightness and vibrancy of the Samsung model. There was real pop to the delivery, but there also seemed to be an extra degree of subtlety and naturalism that wasn’t always there with last year’s S95B. In this demo, Madeleine looked suitably pale while Bond was flushed but not exaggeratingly red.

A clip of The Matrix Resurrections featured a bright sunset that was clearly punchier on the S95C. The Samsung also maintained the orange glow through to the centre, which looked decidedly pale on the G2. That said, the G2 actually revealed more of the detail at the centre of the sunset, with the S95B seemingly struggling to reveal a couple of cloudy tendrils creeping across.

The demo session wrapped up with a seconds-long clip designed to show the S95B’s natural anti-banding properties. Sure enough, a gradual colour fade looked significantly cleaner on the S95B than the G2. Noise reduction was apparently switched off on both sets.


Samsung S95C QD-OLED TV

(Image credit: Future)

It’s worth repeating that no verdict can be reached from a manufacturer-run side-by-side demonstration such as this, not least because they often, as was the case here, pit a new model against a rival from last year. As we know, the G2 is about to be replaced by a vastly brighter G3.

Still, there are impressions to be had, and I came away from the session struck primarily by how Samsung appears to be combining the obvious extra brightness of the S95C (over the S95B) with an added commitment to balance and authenticity. This could be a TV that wows whilst also remaining faithful to creative intent, and that would make it a very popular TV indeed.

Whether the S95C can really deliver on this early promise will only become clear once we’ve had it into our test labs for a full review against rival 2023 sets but, if you’ll excuse the very obvious pun, the future of Samsung QD-OLED is currently looking very bright indeed.


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Tom Parsons

Tom Parsons has been writing about TV, AV and hi-fi products (not to mention plenty of other 'gadgets' and even cars) for over 15 years. He began his career as What Hi-Fi?'s Staff Writer and is now the TV and AV Editor. In between, he worked as Reviews Editor and then Deputy Editor at Stuff, and over the years has had his work featured in publications such as T3, The Telegraph and Louder. He's also appeared on BBC News, BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4 and Sky Swipe. In his spare time Tom is a runner and gamer.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.

  • swebnz
    How long before they nerf the brightness like the did with the S95B?
    What they did last year was borderline criminal