With both 4K and 8K options, Samsung‘s latest Neo QLED TVs are perfect for cinephiles not so worried about OLED technology. The 2022 Neo QLED series is a direct follow-up to last year’s range, which included the excellent Samsung QN95A, so have big shoes to fill.
We already learned the stats, the features and the on-paper figures when Samsung announced the new TV line-up at CES back in January. But how do they stack up in the real world? We got some hands-on time at the firm’s recent UK Tech Summit to find out.
4K vs 8K: which Neo QLEDs hold up?
4K was always a given (it’s 2022, not 2002) but all the cool kids want 8K models now. Naturally the 8K set is a little pricier, but you’re getting four times the pixel count. We were were first in line to see if the higher resolution makes all the difference.
Samsung demoed 4K vs 8K on a 77in Neo-QLED, where you can pick out slightly more detail on the 8K set from a typical viewing distance. Get up close and you’ll also be able to spot the lack of grain in native 8K images compared to upscaled 4K.
One of the firm’s experts (just off the plane from South Korea) was on hand to explain how as screen size jumps and pixel density falls, 4K images become a little stretched. 8K scoots around this problem, looking just as clear but with even more detail. Step back down to a smaller panel, though, and 8K is much less noticeable. A lot of this comes down to vision and how much attention you pay, so for many, 4K is plenty. Right now, you should only worry about 8K if you’re going for a 75in set or bigger.
Next, in an experience akin to a Willy Wonka guided tour of Richer Sounds, Samsung an HDR demo comparing the 2022 Neo QLED to a competitor TV. Between the two was a reference monitor that industry experts use to grade HDR content. While it was rather small and looks a bit like an old CRT TV set, it’ll set you back over $1000 per inch.
The goal was to get as close to the reference monitor as possible, and we’ve got to say Samsung’s done a rather good job – it was clearly much closer to the reference than the rival. It handles the light better, you can see more colour, and the blacks aren’t washed out. Both TVs were set to the standard Filmmaker Mode out-of-the-box (we checked), so this is the real deal.
Samsung has also improved contrast across the board for its 2022 Neo QLED sets. The new panels have 14-bit contrast mapping, displaying four times the level of tones and colours as last year. The differences were blatant when the 2022 TV was set up next to an older model, with greater contrast giving the impression of more visual detail in scenes with variable lighting.
Based on our short demo time, it seems this comes at the detriment of outright black levels. For the deepest blacks, there’s still replacement for OLED – but Samsung finally has one of those this year, so you at least have the choice without having to head to a rival brand.
It’s pretty clear that Samsung’s 2022 Neo QLEDs can hold their own, and they’re living up to the lofty expectations set by last year’s models. We’re hoping to get at least a few models in for a full review soon.
The range starts from £740 for a 43in 4K set, with the 8K models starting at £2799 for a 55-incher. You can order directly from Samsung, or most big box retailers.