Surely not the cheapest option out there but know that compared to lesser QLED models, this set can handle those annoying glares and reflections slightly better and boasts improved wide-viewing angles. However, keep in mind that it is still lacking somewhat when placed side-by-side with the much-vaunted OLED panels.
The Q80 excels in providing outstanding overall image quality with plenty-deep black levels. The high light output—a major strength of QLED HDTVs—and the full-array local dimming also work wonderfully well, so you’ll surely enjoy the lively and accurate colors for big sporting events and family movie nights.
Samsung’s backlighting technology is able to precisely control the amount of lighting across every part of the picture, which helps provide incredible contrast—even in bright, sunlit rooms. Also, be prepared to be impressed by the set’s robust video processing capability, a welcome boon for both diehard gamers and lovers of action flicks.
Not to be outdone, you’ll also be blessed with a true 120Hz panel, which does improve the TV’s overall motion performance, and you can be rest assured that it fully supports much-coveted HDR content in HDR10+ and HLG formats.
Your immersive gaming experience will also be ramped up with Game Enhancer, as the panel has the ability to eliminate any chance of screen tearing and stuttering. The end result is noticeably smoother gameplay—no matter how graphics-intensive the games are. You can consider yourself good to go while waiting to get your hands on the next-generation consoles from PlayStation and Xbox.
For the Q80 and other QLED models, Samsung employs its own built-in digital assistant Bixby—but many users have shared their frustrations with this feature. Bixby, unfortunately, doesn’t come close to the skills of industry giants Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, which can often be found on rivals from LG to Sony. Keep in mind that the 2019 and later versions, though, will be able to respond to voice commands issued via Alexa and Google Assistant smart speakers.
Another downside is its smart TV platform, which is powered by Tizen. First introduced in 2015 after years of development, the Tizen OS, much like Korean archrival LG’s webOS, has a pleasant stripped-down interface but it really lacks any real punch that is needed for today’s data-heavy streaming TV world. Yes, Tizen offers access to popular run-of-the-mill apps like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, but a platform like Android TV or Roku TV will surely give you much more bang for your buck.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.