There’s nothing quite like working on a few entry-level TV reviews to renew my admiration for Samsung’s QLED picture quality. Even the first rung Q60A QLED reviewed here is a breath of fresh air by comparison. Being edge-lit, the Q60A doesn’t offer the same contrast or black levels as the company’s more expensive array-lit and mini-LED QLEDs, but it’s still a big step forward in terms of color and bright details.
Design and functionality
The core display technology inside the Q60A has changed only slightly from my last look at the series, the one in 2019. Q60R. The $ 850 55-inch class unit reviewed here features the same basic 10-bit, 60Hz, 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) panel, though this one sports the company’s dual-LED technology introduced with the T series from last year, for a warmer color palette.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best smart TVs, where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, as well as a buyer’s guide on the features to consider when purchasing this type of product.
As mentioned, edge lighting is used which means there is no local area dimming. Color is enhanced with quantum dots (it’s a QLED), and there’s a decent amount of usable peak brightness at around 450 nits. The test unit weighed in at around 38 pounds, and new for this year, features height-adjustable feet that don’t require screws, a godsend for quick and easy installation. The VESA mount point is 200 x 200mm.
The Q60A is also available in 43, 50, 60, 70, 75-inch and 85-inch versions, which range in price from $ 600 to $ 2,800.
The network of ports is sufficient for most modern homes, but you will need an HDMI adapter for legacy composite / component / audio equipment. On board are three HDMI inputs (one supporting eARC), two USB ports supporting both mass media for playback and peripherals, a coaxial socket for cable and antenna use, Optical SP / DIF and Ethernet.
Samsung supports HDR10 and HDR10 +, as well as HLG high dynamic range video, but not Dolby Vision. Dolby Digital Plus audio is supported, but Atmos is not. Support for this object-based spatial surround sound codec begins with the Q70A. There is a low latency game mode, and wide format gaming is also possible through Super Ultrawide GameView. I normally avoid salespeople talk, but this one made me laugh.
Alexa, Google Assistant, and Samsung’s own Bixby digital assistants are supported, and the company provides its own curated content in the form of Samsung TV Plus. Unique Samsung features are also on board, such as Ambient Mode, where the screen mimics your wall via a photo you upload, and the SmartThings IoT environment.
Remote control and interface
Samsung’s SmartHub interface is clean, attractive, and generally easy to navigate; However, it’s very inefficient and requires a lot more clicks than any other competing product (Android TV, Roku, Vizio, WebOS) to get to where you need to go. He also tends to forget things like the home line shortcut for the NAS box I’m streaming movies from. On the flip side, all the major streaming services are out there, and there’s a decent channel guide for cable, live, and Samsung-curated content.
All the right UI elements are there, including the most popular streaming services, channel guide, and more. It just doesn’t live up to a Roku or Vizio level of sophistication when it comes to finding it.
From an industrial design standpoint, Samsung’s remotes are by far the most attractive on the market, and I love the volume rocker and channel select buttons. This latest version of the TM2180E forgoes disposable batteries for an internal lithium-ion battery which is charged via the small solar panel on the backplate of the unit. Remember to set the remote control face down as often as possible or use the Type-C charging port at the bottom.
It only remains for Samsung to make the fusion of the interface and the remote control less greedy in clicks. I would be happy to sit down with them for a chat, although the competition review should tell the company everything it needs to know.
The image quality of the Q60A is from the Samsung era; which means it’s as good as it gets for the technology involved. There is enough usable brightness for HDR, the detail is excellent, the color is fair (and a bit warmer than the previous generation, thanks to the Dual-LED lighting discussed previously), and the contrast and blacks are … As good as you might expect with no direct backlighting or zone dimming. Better backlighting adorns the QLEDs from the next stage, the Q70A.
The processing is very good. There is effective motion compensation (at 60Hz), minimal shimmer and moiré, and in general it’s just a pretty good picture. Note that with a lot of hardware, I’ve found that reducing the brightness on Samsung TVs results in a better overall picture and eliminates the “video-turned” effect that occurs with some hardware.
Good for the money
Samsung’s QLED picture quality has spawned legions of fans, and the Q60A shows you why. It’s arguably the best in its class, even with on-board lighting. That said, the extra clicks required by Samsung’s remote and interface exhausted me to the point of accepting a slightly inferior image quality in the name of ease of use; namely, Roku.
If you’re a QLED fan, I can’t help but think that you might want to upgrade to the Q70A where you’ll get the brightness and much better contrast. At the price of the Q60A, compare it to the Hisense U8G, the Sony X900H and the TCL series 6.