Samsung QLED Q80T test

We’re checking out one of Samsung’s newest QLED TVs – the Q80T model, designed for gamers and people looking for a TV that offers all the latest technology. How does the Q80T perform in practice?

With the debut of next-generation consoles, the popularization of 4K streaming video content, the increased interest in TVs with screens of 50 inches or more, and the standardization of the HDMI 2.1 port, the next phase in the world of TVs has officially begun. If we want to have a good TV set, a model prepared for the coming years, we have to think about a specific purchase, not the first model from a store tempting with a very low price. QLED Q80T is supposed to be a “long-term” TV for gamers and technology fans. We check whether it really is so.

Design and performance

In the box you will find a TV, a remote control (market name: One Remote) and a power cable. Mounting is trivially easy. The black stand placed in the middle ensures perfect stability of the TV. The receiver itself has a slim and frameless design – every year TVs are getting “smaller”, this is mainly due to disappearing frames.

The control panel is placed at the bottom, in the middle, under the Samsung logo – you’ll have to get used to it if you need to use the buttons rather than the remote control.

The overall dimensions of the 55-inch model – because that’s the one we tested – with the stand are: 1227 by 783 by 255 mm, and the weight with stand is 21 kg. A more detailed specification of the TV can be found at the end of this video, but it is worth mentioning the HDMI 2.1 port (only one) at the back of the TV – it is marked with a gamepad icon, not surprisingly, since the benefits of HDMI 2.1 will be used primarily by gamers.

To sum up, in terms of design it is difficult to fault the described model – the TV looks modern and elegant. On the market, including Samsung, we can find televisions with even more stylish design, but in this case the company focuses on pragmatism. As for its price segment – Q80T looks very well.

A few more words about the remote – One Remote looks very modern, fits perfectly in the hand and is equipped with the most useful of options, including Netflix and Amazon Video button. The third direct access button is Rakuten TV, it begs to be YouTube – but, whatever you prefer.

The process of starting up and configuring the TV is smooth, after a few seconds we can start using it.

Image and sound technologies

The tested QLED has a number of technologies related to the support of picture and sound. Let’s discuss some of the most relevant ones before continuing the reading. We should start with the zonal x8 LED backlighting – it is thanks to it that we are dealing with black and white better than in a regular LCD TV. The second important element is the Quantum 4K processor, thanks to which the image generated in resolution lower than 4K can be upscaled to 4K – in practice the processor works very well.

Thanks to the Picture Adaptation function, the TV adjusts its settings (brightness) depending on the conditions (light) in the room. It’s really a strong point of Q80T – with a special coating on the screen, reflecting daylight is not a threat to it. It will not be necessary to cover the windows while watching. Samsung mentioning HDR in the specification refers to the standard Quantum HDR 1500, which actually translates into HDR at a maximum level of about 700 cd/m² – a good result. The TV supports HDR10 and HDR10+, but as is common with Samsung TVs, there is no Dolby Vision.

Samsung’s engineers have made a very big leap in the audio capabilities of the TV. The difference between the previous generations is noticeable from the first minutes. The RMS speaker power is 60 watts (2.2.2 CH), under the screen we find four speakers, which can additionally – thanks to the Q-Symphony technology – be paired with Samsung’s new line of soundbars. However, even without the speaker list we get good bass, surround sound and perfectly separated dialogue track.

Additional sound effects include object following sound (OTS) technology, which adapts to what’s happening on screen. But we particularly liked the Active Voice Amplifier (AVA), which automatically increases the volume when there are external sounds – from a vacuum cleaner to screaming children playing. For the latter, the TV was checked multiple times during testing, each time changing the volume level at the appropriate time.

Smart TV, Ambient Mode and Multi-View

Samsung’s usual bet on its Tizen OS and – as every year – we’re dealing with a top-of-the-line Smart TV. The app store is where you’ll find the essentials, although the most crucial of the key apps are installed on the TV out of the box. The navigation bar is placed at the bottom of the screen, it does not take up much space, the interface remains clear, and, for example, when you select Netflix or another service, you get suggestions of the most interesting productions. The panel provides quick access to Options, picture settings and connected devices and TV.

Unlike Android TV, the system works flawlessly and very quickly – you can see its thoughtful optimization, and the user gets only what he really needs. On the back of the TV you will find, among other things, USB ports – if you want, you can watch movies from external media or view photos. The system copes with the most popular standards, and the TV processor is not afraid of a large number of files in a single folder.

As in previous models, the Q80T also has an Ambient mode, which allows you to display an unusual pattern, artwork or something relaxing on the screen, such as a waterfall or a fireplace. Of course, this feature is not for everyone, but it has its fans and can find some unusual use, for example, during a social gathering as an unusual form of background.

From the additional functions it is worth to mention Multi View – it divides the TV screen into two parts – in one of them it places, for example, YouTube or TV, and in the other the smartphone screen. We tested the feature by connecting the TV to the Galaxy S20 FE – the process was lightning fast and we saw the phone’s screen from the right side momentarily. The smoothness was surprisingly good, as was the technology itself.

On the remote, you’ll find a speaker button – this is, of course, the ability to control the TV with voice commands. Like most Samsung devices, the Q80T can also be part of a smart home – the QLED supports the SmartThing app, and thus can access other devices and systems, such as the kitchen, lights and cleaning robots.

Watching movies

During our hours of testing, we watched multiple episodes of various series on Netflix and movies (“Queen’s Gambit,” “Star Trek: Discovery,” “Cold War,” Back to the Future,” and “Cobra Kai”), YouTube content, and movies on DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K Blu-ray (“The Bourne Legacy,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Alien 2,” “Blade Runner,” and “Planet Earth – Season 2”). What were our conclusions?

The QLED Q80T will work very well as a home theater centerpiece. Intelligent picture and sound selection will be just right for those who don’t want to measure themselves with settings, while more experienced users will benefit from such modes as Filmmaker Mode, which offers the vision closest to what the creator intended. The color palette and picture quality stand at a high level, special recognition goes to the very wide effective viewing angle – this is undoubtedly a TV for the whole family, no matter where you sit, you can see everything on the screen. HDR during movies also remains flawless.

The aforementioned speakers and additional sound technologies will really work well during projection – the days when the speaker on the TV was, at best, correct are gone. If we do not need audio supported by additional equipment, the speakers offered by Samsung in this model will be fully sufficient. Of course, the TV supports ARC and eARC return channels, so plugging in new generation audio equipment is not the slightest problem.

TV for gamers and Xbox Series X

Along with full support for HDMI 2.1, the world of technologies such as: Variable Refresh Rate, High Frame Rate (4K in 120Hz) or Auto Low Latency Mode opens up before the gamer with such a TV (more about them and other important technologies for gamers in HDMI 2.1). It is hard to imagine gaming on next-generation consoles without these technologies if we want to get the maximum possible effects.

During the tests of Q80T, we simultaneously worked on extensive materials on new consoles, so the Xbox Series X console was connected to the Samsung TV for dozens of hours, just like the PlayStation 5. After checking dozens of games on both consoles, we can unequivocally say that the QLED Q80T is a perfect TV for gamers and new consoles, as well as computers, including the latest machines equipped with graphics cards from the Nvidia RTX 3000 series. We will not find a better product at this price.

Input lag depends on image resolution and refresh rate, but in each configuration it presents a very high level, for example, in the case of 4K/120 Hz signal, we’re talking about input lag less than 6 ms – a sensational result. In the course of the game we tested games supporting 120Hz refresh rates in 4K (“Ori and the Will of the Wisps”, “The Touryst”), as well as a number of games with 120Hz refresh rates at lower resolutions. We also had a chance to test VRR (the TV additionally supports AMD FreeSync, and is also G-Sync compatible) in games like “Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla” and “Gears 5” – this technology really delivers. When using VRR, Samsung’s proprietary program (Game Motion) is deactivated.

Samsung’s Game Mode and Game Motion are still very good additions when the game does not support VRR, effectively guaranteeing a smoothness boost in items having less than 60 frames per second. In some titles, such as “Spider-Man: Miles Morales” (30 frame mode) on the PlayStation 5, we can talk about a significant improvement thanks to Game Motion. Simply put, once again, this is the perfect TV for gaming.

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