In 2022, a new variant of OLED hit the market thanks to Samsung Display. QD-OLED combines two of the most prominent TV display technologies, OLED and Quantum Dot, to improve the brightness and color reproduction of standard OLED screens. Only two QD-OLED TVs hit stores last year, but both received rave reviews from us.
Samsung was of course the first to throw its hat in the ring, with the S95B QD-OLED. It earned five stars from us, thanks to its excellent vibrancy and dynamics, as well as its extensive gaming support. Sony followed soon after with the A95K QD-OLED, which also took home a five-star review thanks to its bright, yet extremely natural and authentic picture and excellent sound performance.
Considering how much we love these two QD OLEDs, you can imagine how excited we were to learn more about Samsung’s and Sony’s replacement models for 2023, imaginatively titled S95C and A95L respectively. While neither has yet arrived in our test labs for extensive testing, we have hands-on experience with both models.
Consider this an early comparison based on what we’ve experienced so far, what we know from the previous generation of models, and information released by Samsung and Sony.
Samsung S95C vs Sony A95L: price
Samsung recently released pricing information for the S95C, and this unfortunately comes as a serious blow to customers in the UK and US. The 55-inch model costs £2700 / $2500, while the 65-inch model costs £3600 / $3300. There’s also a 77-inch model, which is a new addition to the roster this year. It costs £5100 / $4500.
As we mentioned, this is an increase over the previous generation model, which is frustrating but not unexpected given the current economic climate; For example, LG has also increased the price of its new G3 OLED. But how much more expensive is the S95C vs S95B? Good…
|Mate||Samsung S95B (2022)||Samsung S95C (2023)|
|55||£2399 / $2200 / AU$4079||£2699 / $2500 / AU$TBC|
|65||£3500 / $3000 / AU$5249||£3599 / $3300 / AU$TBC|
|77||No such model||£5099 / $4500 / AU$TBC|
Sony hasn’t revealed pricing for the A95L yet, so we only have last year’s pricing to go from. Sony’s QD-OLED was more expensive than Samsung’s offerings, coming in at £2699 / $3000 for the 55-inch model (which was not released in Australia) and £3499 / $4000 / AU$5995 for the 65-inch inch version. There’s also a 77-inch model of the A95L on the way, but we don’t have a point of reference on how much that might cost. It would be easy to assume that Sony, like Samsung and LG, will increase its prices this year, but with the A95K already one of the most expensive mainstream TVs of 2022, the company may not even want to make the A95 L more expensive .
It’s worth noting that while the A95L is Sony’s only new QD-OLED offering, the S95C isn’t Samsung’s only new QD-OLED. It has also unveiled the S90C, a slightly cheaper QD-OLED set that isn’t quite as bright, doesn’t have a One Connect box and has a less powerful sound system.
Samsung S95C vs Sony A95L: build
Both Sony and Samsung have the same second-generation QD OLED that comes in last year’s familiar 55 and 65-inch sizes, but the 77-inch variant for both models is a new addition. Samsung Display is clearly eager to take advantage of QD-OLED and push development forward, so introducing new format options to expand the range is a good start.
Both models also feature thin bezels and come with a stand in the box for easy placement on a media unit, though they can both be wall mounted if desired. Samsung opts for a mid-mounted, unobtrusive square base, while Sony has traded its incredibly heavy stand of the A95K for a pair of angled feet (as seen above). The A95K’s versatile stand will be missed, as it can be mounted two ways to sit flush against a wall or give the TV a floating look, but its deceptive bulk can be an issue.
Samsung’s TV has a remarkably thin design; in fact, the set itself is a uniform thickness of 1cm throughout. This is achieved through the use of Samsung’s One Connect box, an external hub that houses the guts of the TV as well as all the connections. This clever design keeps the TV itself free of clutter.
The Sony, on the other hand, is a bit thicker, partly because its internal components and connections are on the main body of the TV, but also because its innovative audio system includes actuators that vibrate the QD-OLED panel to generate sound. It’s a matter of function over form, although it must be said that the A95L, while thicker than most OLED TVs, handles it very stylishly.
Samsung S95C vs Sony A95L: Characteristics
As you’d hope for two 2023 flagship OLED TVs, both the S95C and A95L are absolutely packed with features. Starting with HDR support, Samsung and Sony both feature the standard HDR10 and HLG formats, but then Samsung adds HDR10+ while Sony opts for Dolby Vision. Samsung continues to choose HDR10+ over Dolby Vision, which is an ongoing frustration as more disc and streaming content from the likes of Netflix and Disney Plus support Dolby Vision.
Gamers should feel right at home on one of these TVs, as they offer 4K/120Hz support through their HDMI 2.1 ports. While Samsung uses its own internal chip, which has four of these HDMI 2.1 ports, Sony uses the latest MediaTek Pentonic 1000, which only has two (the other two HDMIs are of the older 2.0 specification). Making matters worse is that one of these HDMI 2.1 connections is also for eARC, so if you need it for an AVR soundbar, you’re left with just one HDMI 2.1 connection. That’s not ideal if you’re a serious gamer who owns multiple consoles. Back to the positive game features, both sets support VRR and ALLM.
Moving on from picture to sound, both TVs support Dolby Atmos through their own speakers and can output it through the HDMI eARC connection.
Finally, as you’d expect, both TVs have smart functionality, although both use different systems. Samsung uses the Tizen operating system found on many more of its earlier TVs. Here you’ll find all the streaming apps you’d expect, such as Netflix, Disney Plus, Apple TV, and Amazon Prime Video, as well as some Samsung-specific features like Samsung TV Plus and Xbox game streaming.
On the Sony side you’ll find Google TV, the same as on the A95K. Google TV can be found on other TVs, as well as on the Google Chromecast with Google TV. It’s a useful and intuitive smart platform with wide app compatibility, so we have no complaints about the return on the A95L. It also means you can use Google Assistant to navigate the smart system via voice command.
Samsung S95C vs Sony A95L: Photo
While we’d like to reiterate that we haven’t tested these TVs in the same way as we did for a full review, we’ve had first-hand experience with both models at various events and hands-on sessions.
Starting with the Samsung S95C, we were immediately struck by the improved brightness and vibrancy of this new TV, thanks to its second generation QD OLED panel. During a short demo of No time to die’While chasing action-packed cars through the streets of Matera, we noticed the S95C’s delivery was stronger, alongside added subtlety and nuance that last year’s S95B seemed to occasionally lack.
In addition to a traditional OLED, the S95C QD OLED produced a more authentic orange glow in a sunset scene from The Matrix Resurrections, although we found the traditional OLED (the LG G2 in this case) managed to reveal more detail throughout the scene.
Moving on to the Sony A95L, we were only shown a brief demo showing a prototype model in Vivid Picture mode. It was flanked by last year’s Sony A95K and Samsung S95B. The A95L looked fantastic, with a much brighter and more dynamic presentation compared to the A95K. While not entirely cinematically authentic, the image didn’t look insanely unnatural, even with the increased brightness of the Vivid preset.
The A95L also seems to offer sharper detail and sharper defined edges in addition to the aforementioned improved punch and dynamics, all in all creating a deeper, more three-dimensional image. That said, our time with the A95L was fleeting, and the prototype unit may not be indicative of how this TV really performs, so take this hands-on experience with a grain of salt.
Samsung S95C vs Sony A95L: sound
This is where it gets a little tricky to compare, as our experience with these TVs had no audio element. What we do know is the specs of these TVs’ speakers, which include a unique 2.2-channel system consisting of two actuators that vibrate the Sony’s screen. This is supported by two regular woofers for bass. Sony has now used this screen vibration-based system with great success in many of its OLED TVs, so we’re pleased to see it return on the A95L.
Samsung upgrades the speaker setup for the S95C, with a 70W 4.2.2 sound system on board. That’s an upgrade over the S95B’s 60W 2.2.2 system, which we weren’t particularly fond of in the first place. It’s more than “bigger numbers equals better performance” here, though, as Samsung has also apparently changed the design for better speaker placement. Only time will tell if this sound system is a significant improvement, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed.
Samsung S95C vs Sony A95L: Early Verdict
These QD OLEDs still seem too closely matched to call a winner, so we’ll have to compare both fully before we can come to an accurate judgement. That said, we’re expecting two top performers from Samsung and Sony respectively, and we’re eager to put both sets to the test to see which QD-OLED is the model to go for.
It’s also worth noting that QD-OLED isn’t the only new OLED variant on the block, as LG Display has introduced its new OLED panels with Micro-Lens Array (MLA) technology, which boosts OLED brightness to levels that even these should match. new QD-OLED sets. We’ll need a QD-OLED and an MLA-equipped OLED side-by-side to draw any conclusions, so keep an eye on this space.
The MLA OLED option: Read our full LG G3 review
Read our hands-on of the Samsung S95C QD-OLED
As well as ours Sony A95L QD OLED hands on
Check out our picks for the best tvs
And also the best TV deals