At a time when home entertainment, WFH and video calls (so many video calls) are occupying such a central role in our lives, our household tech is coming under the kind of scrutiny it usually escapes. So, here’s a bet: for the first time in years, you’re thinking about upgrading your TV this summer – and let’s face it, with Formula One, the Premier League and long-awaited games such as The Last Of Us Part II, there’s plenty to ensure that a new TV will earn its keep. Our advice is simple: don’t do half measures. You won’t replace it again in a hurry, so you owe it to yourself to buy as specced-out a model as possible.
How to suss out the lay of the land? You could take a look through John Lewis & Partners’ technology category, which is carefully edited to showcase the products at the cutting edge (what’s more, all of them come with a five-year guarantee). Take, for instance, the Samsung Q95T Flagship QLED 4K HDR 2000 Smart TV, the manufacturer’s most advanced 4K TV this year.
The most important thing is the picture, which is not only pin-sharp in its detail – thanks to the 4K display – but extraordinarily vivid. That’s down to the “QLED” part of its name. This refers to a screen technology comprising LCD panels backlit by LEDs behind a quantum dot nanofilter. (Translation: it makes for extremely precise colours and high levels of brightness.)
Samsung has pioneered this kind of display, and for the Q95T has combined it with a system that adapts the brightness to your room and intelligently shifts power away from darker areas of the picture and towards lighter areas to heighten contrast. Which brings us to the “HDR 2000” part of its name. HDR stands for “High Dynamic Range” and seeks to capture brighter whites and darker blacks, so you can see detail even in shadows.
The Q95T’s HDR 10+ system can reproduce over a billion shades of colour, emulating the colour standard used by Hollywood films. So whether you’re watching a nature documentary or a sci-fi epic, the image packs a hefty punch – and the anti-reflection screen maintains that impact no matter your viewing angle or how much sunlight is streaming in through the window.
The design philosophy was all about showcasing that beautiful picture and removing as much as possible that which might distract from it. The bezel is therefore just 2mm wide on the top and sides, so whether it’s the smallest (55-inch) or largest (85-inch) model, from sofa distance it looks unbounded. The back is just as sheer as the front so it can be mounted flush with the wall, and it only requires a single “near invisible” wire to work. So what about all your HDMI cables? Well, they just run into the One Connect Box (tuck it away in a cupboard) on the other end of that wire. It’s an elegant solution.
Design, of course, is about software as much as hardware, and Samsung’s Eden smart TV platform is widely regarded as an industry leader. It’s compatible with every major app; while many of those offer 4K content, the Q95T uses its Quantum 4K processor to upscale a standard definition source to a much richer, far more detailed version than you might imagine possible. The interface is clean and intuitive, plus it integrates built-in Bixby, Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can continue using your go-to voice commands.
Now, let’s face it. If you’re buying a television this high-end, chances are it’s going to be teamed up with a surround-sound system or at least a soundbar. But Samsung isn’t taking that for granted. There are eight speakers in the Q95T, which combine with its “Object Tracking Sound” software to position audio accordingly. Imagine: you’re watching a plane loop from the bottom left of the screen to the top then to the bottom right. The TV locks onto its flight and shifts the sound of the engine’s roar accordingly. That’s not the only audio innovation. The TV can also detect background noise and use AI to recalibrate the audio profile accordingly – which it also does in response to what’s on screen. If you’re watching a stadium concert, you’ll get the full effect.
All of these features are obviously extremely appealing to gamers and, indeed, the Q95T has kept that customer firmly in mind. The “Real Game Enhancer+” matches the screen’s refresh rate to the console’s for a smoother picture, and “Dynamic Black Equalizer” technology increases the brightness of shadowy areas to help you spot enemies lurking in the dark. But it’s not just about what you can play today, it’s also equipped for the future. The Q95T has an HDMI port that can handle 4K HDR games with the frame rates expected of the next generation of Xbox and Playstation consoles. Because we know exactly what you’re thinking: it’s almost time to upgrade your gaming set-up too.
To find out more about the Samsung Q95T, from £1,999, visit Johnlewis.com