Samsung 98Q80C 98-Inch TV Review: A Monster Hit

Not counting Hisense’s Laser TVs, which really use extremely quick throw projectors and a projection display screen to attempt to replicate a TV impact, Samsung’s 98-inch QE98Q80C is by far the most important TV I’ve examined since a Panasonic 103-inch plasma was lifted into place in my home by a crane again in 2007.

The proven fact that it’s taken so lengthy for me to search out myself again in entrance of such a TV behemoth is a sorry image of how sluggish progress has been in making such large screens extra mainstream. This, although, is exactly what makes Samsung’s 98Q80C so fascinating. For in addition to being monumentally mammoth, it’s additionally a part of a Samsung mid-range TV collection quite than being priced within the 5 and even six determine stratosphere.

The Samsung 98Q80C is big – however surprisingly inexpensive for a near-100in TV.Photo: Samsung
I’ll come again to the 98Q80C’s pricing shortly. Right now, although, I need to stress that nonetheless a lot you may stand in entrance of king-sized TVs just like the 98Q80C on huge showroom flooring at AV trade occasions, there’s actually no underestimating how colossal a near-100 inch display screen seems to be whenever you’re it in a traditional, home setting. Even the occasional 85-inch screens which have headed my approach lately look puny by comparability, and the shift in expertise getting into the close to 100-inch membership offers you from simply watching TV to feeling such as you’ve actually obtained a cinema in your house is irresistible.

While greater is at all times higher from this dwelling cinema perspective, although, going so huge together with your TV typically comes with strings hooked up past the mere practicalities of dealing with such an enormous expanse of display screen. In specific, sustaining at such huge display screen sizes the identical type of image high quality (particularly with comparatively inexpensive LCD applied sciences) you may get on a 65 or 75-inch display screen is difficult to the say the least. Issues reminiscent of pixel pitch (until the display screen is 8K) and the necessity for backlighting methods to work throughout a lot display screen acreage can and do current makers of king sized TVs with some main challenges.

The specification bit
As a primary step to nailing down how properly the 98Q80C handles these challenges, let’s drill down into its key specs. Starting with the truth that it’s a 4K quite than 8K TV, and is constructed on panel tech that locations it roughly in the course of Samsung’s 2023 QLED TV collection. Which means, extra particularly, that it sits on the prime of Samsung’s vary of non Mini LED Quantum Dot color TVs, with these so-called ‘Neo QLED’ Mini LED fashions solely kicking in from the Q85C upwards.
The 98Q80C makes use of a Full Array with Local Dimming backlight system.Photo: Samsung

While the additional gentle controls and precision mini LED TVs present may properly have helped the 98Q80C in its battle in opposition to the important thing points king-sized LCD screens can face, although, it does not less than use a direct full array panel design with native dimming (the place completely different zones of its LEDs will be set to output completely different gentle ranges with any given body, unbiased of the opposite LED zones).

Samsung describes the 98Q80C’s dimming engine as Supreme UHD Dimming – which, regardless of how grand it sounds, really sits a step down from the highest degree Ultimate UHD Dimming engine Samsung saves for fashions which have the best variety of dimming zones. A standing that boils all the way down to a complete dimming zone rely on the 98Q80C of 120 (as confirmed by a go to to the TV’s service menus).
I can hear the sharp intakes of breath from right here. Surely, some will shout, in a 12 months the place we’ve seen a lot smaller TVs – together with from Samsung – sporting actually a whole lot extra dimming zones than the 98Q80C carries, 120 simply isn’t going to be sufficient to ship an incredible image on a 98-inch display screen.
Even earlier than entering into the 98Q80C’s efficiency, although, I’d counter this argument by saying that there’s been loads of first-hand proof over time to point out that whereas having gazillions of dimming zones can definitely class as a ‘good begin’, it’s not the be all and finish all of an incredible TV image. To abuse a standard phrase, it’s not at all times the variety of dimming zones you have got that counts, however what you do with them.
It will certainly assist the 98Q80C’s gentle management that it makes use of a VA kind of LCD panel quite than an IPS one. IPS panels can supply barely wider efficient viewing angles, however discover it notoriously troublesome to manage the quantity of sunshine that seeps by them throughout darkish scenes.Detail of the 98Q80C’s connections.Photo: Samsung
The Quantum Dot shade engine, in the meantime, ought to allow the 98Q80C to ship a extra vibrant shade palette able to dealing with extra brightness with out tones and shades beginning to look skinny. Talking of brightness, I measured the 98Q80C to be able to delivering a peak brightness output of 1173 nits on a white HDR window protecting 10% of an in any other case black display screen. This was achieved in Dynamic mode, with the TV’s native dimming set to ‘excessive’.
Not that I’d advocate that anybody really use the Dynamic preset for real-world viewing. It’s designed, mainly, for in-store situations, not your lounge. Happily, although, the opposite rather more efficient Standard, Movie and Filmmaker Mode presets all turned in figures comfortably above 1000 nits on the identical 10% window. Brightness dropped round 300 nits with every of essentially the most helpful three presets utilizing a 1% white window – a fairly pure results of a 98-inch TV pushed by 120 native dimming zones.
It’s price mentioning, too, given the 98Q80C’s clear need to supply a viable cut-price different to king-sized OLED TVs, that it achieves between 700 and 770 nits throughout the image preset board with a full-screen white HDR sign. That’s practically twice as vivid as even the most recent premium OLED TVs can go together with full-screen vivid photographs.
I couldn’t assist however marvel how a lot brighter Samsung may need been in a position to go together with the 98Q80C if it wasn’t having to work inside the EU’s newest draconian TV energy consumption rules. The TV ships in a dark-looking Eco preset that I’d advocate you turn away from immediately (earlier than you then additionally flip off the ambient gentle adaptive image controls tucked away within the Eco part of the ‘General’ TV menu), and Samsung has hinted to me that the brand new EU guidelines actually have been a problem. There’s probably not a lot level dwelling on hypotheticals at this level, although – and anyway, really the type of brightness figures I obtained out of the 98C80C really look completely respectable for a mid-range mannequin.The 98Q80C makes use of Samsung’s personal Tizen-based sensible system, full with a number of voice management … [+] choices.Photo: Samsung
All of the 98Q80C’s image parts are powered by Samsung’s Neural Quantum 4K processor. This is similar one discovered on Samsung’s 4K mini LED premium TVs, with an added bonus: a brand new Supersize Picture Enhancer that apparently makes use of AI-driven strategies to ship upscaling, noise discount, sharpness and and black enhancement strategies specifically optimized for the TV’s colossal photographs.
As ever with a king-sized display screen, an important query when you’ve determined you possibly can deal with one is how a lot it’s going to price. And right here I feel the information is fairly thrilling: within the US you possibly can decide up a 98Q80C for a cent below $8K (in reality on the time of writing it’s really $7k at by way of a restricted time promotion), whereas within the UK the set is at present going for £6,499. That’s a fraction of the value such a large TV would have price you simply a few years in the past – and continues to be a fraction of the value you’ll want to pay for comparable sized self-emissive display screen applied sciences. LG’s upcoming 97-inch OLED97M3 OLED TV, as an illustration, is ready to retail for just below $30,000.
Just as importantly, the 98Q80C’s value makes stepping as much as such a colossal display screen not practically as vital a monetary leap from considered one of Samsung’s a lot smaller high-end mini LED TVs because it has at all times been earlier than. The 75-inch Mini LED 75QN900C, as an illustration, prices £6K within the UK, and $5,000 within the US. That is an 8K quite than a 4K set, however that doesn’t actually alter the core proven fact that the 98Q80C’s value now offers you a real alternative between Samsung’s most premium image applied sciences and actually cinematic display screen sizes.The Samsung 98Q80C is a stunning gaming show.Photo: John Archer
That stated, I’m obligation certain to level out that on the time of writing the 85-inch Q80C is out there for £2,799 within the UK, and $2,500 within the US. So whereas the 98Q80C is remarkably low cost by 98-100in TV requirements, its further 13 inches over its 85-inch sibling nonetheless work out at round £/$285 an inch. So whereas, as I’ve stated, the shift as much as 98 inches is transformative by way of the expertise it delivers, you’d nonetheless higher make certain you actually need that further dwelling cinema oomph over and above the 85-inch Q80C earlier than you get your order in.
Picture high quality
Since it’s the world the place a vivid king-sized LCD TV with native dimming is almost certainly to battle, let’s kick this evaluation of the 98Q80C’s image efficiency off with its dealing with of black ranges, distinction and backlighting.
Right away I used to be critically impressed by how deep the 98Q80C’s black ranges can get. There’s hardly any basic low-contrast greyness hanging over scenes and elements of the image that ought to look predominantly black, regardless of my fears of what I’d discover on this respect with solely 120 zones working a 98-inch display screen.
Even in a blacked out room black ranges look remarkably and constantly convincing. Especially, for causes I’ll element later, when utilizing the Standard preset.
Even extra stunning than the straightforward depths of black the 98Q80C can hit, although, is how constant and pure these black ranges are. For one factor, shadow element is remarkably properly sustained – higher in some actually darkish scenes, in reality, than it’s with some Samsung TVs that deploy much more dimming zones. Especially, once more, when utilizing the Standard preset. It’s nearly as if the bigger areas of ‘shared gentle’ you get with fewer dimming zones to work with has really helped the 98Q80C’s gentle management processing obtain a greater stability between black tones and delicate low-light particulars.The Samsung 98Q80C certain fills a wall. Photo: Samsung
Also, although, and maybe most significantly of all, within the Standard image preset not less than backlight blooming is unfeasibly properly suppressed – even with excessive dynamic vary content material. Particularly powerful stuff for regionally dimmed LED TVs to deal with, such because the torch that glows by Georgie’s pocket in Andy Muschietti’s first ‘It’ movie as he retrieves the wax for his boat from the darkish cellar and the fixed aggressively mastered combine of sunshine and darkish areas in the course of the debauched mansion ‘celebration’ that opens Babylon (each on 4K Blu-ray) seem on the 98Q80C in Standard mode with solely the faintest traces of blooming. So you don’t actually discover the ‘leaping’ between dimming zones that Georgie’s torch shifting may cause, whereas the Babylon sequence avoids the overall mistiness that may creep in with much less spectacular native dimming methods.
I used to be very glad to see, too, how in Standard mode valuable little backlight blooming slipped into the black bars above and beneath movies and TV exhibits that use a wider side ratio than the TV’s 16:9 form. I can’t say for certain that Samsung has particularly configured its dimming zone structure to isolate display screen areas occupied by widescreen black bars, however the restricted stray gentle creeping into them is definitely welcome given how significantly distracting it may be.
A pet niggle of mine with most if not all of Samsung’s in any other case glorious FALD TVs – Mini LED in addition to commonplace LED – is that they’re so targeted on avoiding backlight blooming that they’ll at instances take fairly a bit of sunshine out of small vivid objects that seem in opposition to darkish backgrounds. With the 98Q80C, although, this type of high-level dimming is surprisingly minimal – once more a doable sudden good thing about Samsung’s native dimming engine really having fewer zones per inch to stability gentle throughout.Left angle view of the Samsung 98Q80C.Photo: Samsung
This relative brightness consistency is a power, too, that applies to the entire 98Q80C’s image presets, not simply Standard. This might come as a aid to followers of image accuracy (particularly relating to color tones) who may need turn out to be alarmed by all my speak of the Standard image preset delivering the very best blooming controls (and, consequently, black ranges), quite than the ostensibly extra correct Movie and Filmmaker Mode presets.
There’s nonetheless no denying, although, that each of these non-Standard presets make the workings of the 98Q80C’s dimming engine rather more noticeable. So, as an illustration, utilizing the identical It and Babylon movie examples, within the Movie and Filmmaker Mode presets blooming turns into a lot extra noticeable round Georgie’s torch you could clearly see the 98C80C change between two completely different backlight zones as Georgie flinches from seeing the 2 ‘eyes’ beginning at him from the nook. There’s additionally extra greyness and noticeable backlight zone ‘handovers’ because the beam from Georgie’s torch waves round as he legs it from the cellar. And in Babylon’s opening epic celebration scene there’s a usually cloudier look to proceedings.
There’s markedly extra proof, too, of sunshine blooming into the black bars above and beneath wide-ratio movies within the Movie and Filmmaker Mode presets than there’s in Standard.
The barely unusual factor in regards to the distinction in backlight clouding between the Standard and Movie/Filmmaker presets is that I couldn’t exactly replicate the Standard mode’s outcomes by taking part in round with the 98Q80C’s native dimming and Contrast Enhancer settings. It’s as if a few of the completely different preset modes’ backlight behaviour has been positioned out of attain within the TV’s service menus.
For occasion, if when utilizing the Movie preset I switched the Contrast Enhancer choice to Low from its extra aggressive default setting, whereas blooming reduces, the image begins to look a bit flat versus the Standard preset, and noise tends to turn out to be a bit too exaggerated in darkish scenes. Trying and failing to resolve the Movie preset’s backlight dealing with to my satisfaction additionally highlighted this preset’s tendency to undergo with a little bit element crushing in very darkish photographs of the kind that’s absent with the Standard and Filmmaker Mode settings.Right hand view of the Samsung 98Q80C.Photo: Samsung
Going again to the attraction of the 98Q80C’s Standard image preset, with HDR content material (which is nearly at all times accompanied by vast color gamuts) its comparatively punchy strategy to paint additionally sometimes works very properly, giving photographs a bit extra punch and vibrancy than you get with the Movie and Filmmaker Mode whereas wanting nearer to mastering requirements than Samsung’s Standard presets sometimes do.
There are a trio of issues with the Standard preset, although. First, its gentle controls may cause some barely noticeable ‘jumps’ in brightness throughout scenes that lower very abruptly between very darkish and really vivid photographs (reminiscent of Georgie’s chat with Pennywise within the drain in It Chapter One). Second, it may possibly very often trigger shade to leach from very remoted image highlights, such because the phrase ‘Replicant’ when it seems in isolation close to the beginning of Blade Runner 2049. Though it will occur so hardly ever below common viewing situations that it’s barely price mentioning.
Third, very aggressively mastered HDR titles, such because the 4K Blu-rays of Pan and, particularly, Babylon, may cause the Standard preset’s shade punch to tip over into wanting fairly over-wrought. All these writhing our bodies within the low-lit Babylon celebration, as an illustration, seem with a really unnatural, over-cooked reddish tone, whereas a few of the skies and sunset-bathed faces in Babylon’s opening desert scenes can undergo with hints of clipping (misplaced shading particulars) of their brightest areas.
Feeding in an HDR10+ sign, with its further scene by scene image knowledge, helps colours retain a little bit extra naturalism in Standard mode (making us want for the millionth time that Samsung additionally supported the Dolby Vision HDR format). What totally solves any shade points, although – fairly fantastically, really – is switching to the Filmmaker Mode preset, which reveals a way more pure, balanced, three-dimensional and delicate picture. Albeit on the expense of extra backlight clouding.The Samsung 98Q80C’s sensible distant management incorporates a handily stripped again button rely, and a photo voltaic … [+] panel on its rear.Photo: Samsung
The Movie mode tends to depart colours wanting a little bit jaundiced until you place the time in to calibrate this inflection out, so most individuals will discover themselves a alternative between the Standard and Filmmaker modes relying on how aggressively a selected supply has been mastered.
If, understandably, you don’t actually need to have to guage from title to title which 98Q80C image preset is the very best one to go for and would quite have only one setting that works properly for every part, then I’d really beneficial utilizing the Standard preset as your place to begin and barely firming down its color saturation, quite than beginning with the Filmmaker Mode and making an attempt to resolve its extra elementary clouding issues.
If you’re fortunate sufficient to nonetheless have just a few hundred {dollars} or kilos left after forking out for a 98Q80C, regardless of it being solely a mid-range TV in spec phrases (other than its colossal display screen) it nonetheless has a large sufficient vary of color and light-weight controls to make knowledgeable calibration doable. Though I’d hope a calibrator would take this monster panel’s fairly particular traits under consideration quite than maybe simply slavishly following each calibration ‘quantity’.
It’s price saying on the again of all this dialogue of the 98Q80C’s principally very spectacular (if dealt with with care) backlighting and color efficiency that its photos additionally look engagingly vivid with HDR sources. This applies to each the overall look of full-screen vivid content material but additionally, as famous earlier, the punch of small vivid highlights in each principally darkish and principally vivid HDR photographs.The Samsung 98Q80C carries on-board Dolby Atmos decoding. Photo: Samsung
I discussed again close to the beginning of this overview that screens as huge because the 98Q80C are the very best argument for 8K decision. And it’s certainly the case that should you get shut sufficient to the 4K 98Q80C display screen – inside round 2m – you begin to turn out to be conscious of seen pixel construction, particularly with vivid photographs. Unless you’re the type of one who at all times has to take a seat on the entrance row on the cinema, although, I wouldn’t think about that the majority 98Q80C consumers will need to sit nearer to it than the 3m Samsung recommends. And at that distance, except for some very marginal jaggedness when presenting vivid arced edges, I didn’t really feel conscious of pixel construction distractions in any respect.
What I did really feel conscious of was how sharp and detailed the 98Q80C’s photos are. It feels extra just like the display screen’s enormity helps to get extra worth out of the sharpness and detailing of excellent high quality 4K decision sources than prefer it’s stretching 4K to some extent the place you begin to really feel strongly conscious of its non-8K limitations.
Having examined one or two excessive finish 85-inch 8K TVs I might say these can ship a denser, barely extra three-dimensional-looking picture – particularly with native 8K content material should you’re capable of finding any. Anyone worrying, although, {that a} 98-inch 4K TV may by some means look mushy or ‘gritty’ with 4K content material is fretting over nothing supplied they watch from a wise viewing distance.
The Standard preset which, for causes mentioned already, I discovered myself drawn to on the 98Q80C barely over-sharpens photos in its default setting, inflicting some glowing double edging round high-contrast edges. You can resolve this, although, simply by nudging the sharpness setting down just a few notches.Front view of the Samsung 98Q80C.Photo: Samsung
With native 4K nonetheless disappointingly uncommon within the broadcast world, it’s nice to search out the AI-driven upscaling system the 98Q80C applies to HD sources exceeding expectations, remapping HD content material to the display screen’s a lot larger pixel rely with out the outcomes wanting mushy, noisy or off shade. The high quality ‘hole’ between upscaled HD and native 4K is a bit more noticeable at this type of scale than it’s on 55 and 65-inch TVs, however the distinction is way much less excessive than anticipated.
Standard definition broadcasts look a bit mushy when blown as much as 98 inches, however that is just about inevitable actually – and I’d prefer to assume that most individuals spending 1000’s of kilos on a large TV just like the 98Q80C will probably be arrange with a great roster of HD and, ideally, 4K sources.
The hugeness of the 98Q80C’s display screen does imply there’s no hiding place for issues that is perhaps baked right into a supply. For occasion, whereas I’ve seen earlier than on different TVs some unusual speckling noise over the roof of the church behind Mike as he describes the hearth wherein he misplaced his dad and mom in It, I hadn’t beforehand seen till I noticed it on the 98Q80C that there’s additionally some fizzing noise in Stanley’s white socks because the digital camera tracks in in direction of Mike.
It’s hardly truthful in charge the 98Q80C for exposing the failings of others, although! The 98Q80C is simply brutal about revealing what’s in a supply – which for essentially the most half is precisely what AV followers need from a TV.
The good sharpness and readability of the 98Q80C’s photos holds up properly when a supply incorporates digital camera pans or shifting objects. Provided, anyway, that you simply ensure you flip off the Auto mode for the TV’s Picture Clarity settings, which causes an excessive amount of ‘cleaning soap opera impact’ and routinely throws up a lot of distracting, undesirable processing results. Instead I’d recommend selecting Custom and setting the judder and blur discount methods to round their three or 4 power ranges.
Provided you’re (very a lot!) not the type of gamer who likes gaming on small screens so you possibly can take the entire picture in barely quicker, the 98Q80C delivers a principally sensational gaming expertise. The brightness, color, and readability related to good sport graphics nowadays are all completely suited to the 98Q80C’s aggressive image strategy – with the appreciable added bonus that you simply really feel such as you’re gaming at life measurement! If you’re a fan of immersive exploration-based video games particularly, you’ll go gaga for the 98Q80C.The Samsung 98Q80C helps gaming graphics as much as 4K/120Hz.Photo: Samsung
The solely draw back to gaming on such a excessive decision large display screen apart from the slight human sight response time level talked about earlier is that judder will be fairly jarring with titles that battle to rise up to 60Hz. So if a sport presents a alternative between larger decision graphics and better body charges, I’d strongly advocate (regardless that it maybe sounds counter-intuitive) that you simply select the excessive body fee choice for essentially the most immersive outcomes.
It’s price noting on this regard, too, that the particular Game Bar menu you possibly can entry when the 98Q80C detects that it’s receiving a sport supply contains an choice to sacrifice a little bit enter lag (the time the display screen takes to render picture knowledge) pace in return for some mild judder-reducing processing – a useful choice for role-playing or exploration-based video games quite than video games based mostly on twitch response speeds. To put some numbers on this, in its quickest response Game mode the 98Q80C takes 10.7ms to render 60Hz photographs, and this will increase to 27.1ms with the Game Motion Plus judder discount setting in play.
The 98Q80C’s HDMI ports are able to dealing with 4K graphics at as much as 120Hz, with variable refresh charges and auto low latency mode switching. The solely innovative gaming function lacking is Dolby Vision help.
Sound high quality
The 98Q80C’s sound doesn’t obtain the identical scale as its photos. It can’t get as cinematically loud as I’d ideally like with such an enormous TV, and the sound doesn’t escape far past the confines of the TV’s bodywork, both sideways or forwards. Occasionally a critically deep bass sound may cause the TV’s bodywork to buzz a bit, too.
On the upside, the audio system don’t distort simply, trebles even at excessive volumes infrequently turn out to be harsh, and there’s an affordable quantity of bass to underpin proceedings. Dialogue seems fairly properly locked to the display screen, too, quite than sounding as if it’s coming from beneath the image – particularly in case your seating place is barely decrease than the display screen’s centre.
While the 98Q80C’s sound doesn’t have the headroom or uncooked quantity to maneuver by as many gears with rising motion scenes as the very best sounding TVs, it additionally doesn’t collapse in on itself below extreme strain. And lastly within the plus column, placement particulars in a film combine (particularly with Dolby Atmos tracks) sound fairly exactly positioned on and even simply off the display screen.
The 98Q80C is a actually large shock – in all the proper methods. While I’d lengthy been intrigued by the thought of a mid-range and due to this fact comparatively inexpensive 98-inch TV from a model as achieved as Samsung, I’d truthfully had my doubts that such a mannequin might actually ship the efficiency items. It seems,, although, after a little bit wonderful tuning and experimentation, that the 98Q80C exceeds my expectations in nearly each approach – particularly, most significantly, relating to its distinction and native dimming efficiency.
While the 98Q80C is unusually inexpensive for a 98-100in TV, there’s no getting spherical the truth that it’s greater than twice as costly because the 85-inch mannequin in the identical Q80C vary. So you’ll most likely have to be a critically devoted dwelling cinephile to be ready to cough up a lot extra for that further 13 inches. If that sounds such as you, although, you possibly can relaxation assured that the 98Q80C is a much better TV than it arguably has any proper to be. And in being so, it breaks new floor in our ongoing and ever-growing obsession with equipping our houses with greater and greater sTVs.
Final rating: 9/10

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