Review: Samsung S95D sets a new OLED standard with brilliant anti-glare technology

Review: Samsung S95D sets a new OLED standard with brilliant anti-glare technology
Photo credit: supplied/Samsung

In recent years image quality on home televisions has come leaps and bounds, meaning we're now spoiled with how amazing films, TV shows and gaming can look at home.

Samsung, the most popular TV seller in the world, has arguably mastered the OLED format along with LG, Sony and Panasonic, to varying degrees.

So, what do you do when you've mastered image quality? You start attacking the other issues.

Samsung's new S95D 4K OLED has been released in New Zealand and is a game-changer due to one new feature: its anti-glare technology.

For people who can't escape light interference, or for those who simply enjoy using their TVs on sunny days with the curtains open, this new feature is incredible.

But these TVs don't come cheap. The lowest price you'll get one for is sitting at nearly $5400 for the 55-inch at the time of writing, so is it worth all that money? I've been using one for the past couple of weeks and here are my thoughts.

The S95D is an update on last year's fantastic Samsung flagship quantum dot OLED with two major upgrades: higher brightness as well as the new anti-glare technology. 

I have some Nanoleaf LED strips set up in my lounge and while most are covered, some are occasionally exposed if the furniture has been moved. On my usual TV, this means big, bright, glaring eyesores on whatever it is I'm trying to watch - and a few swearwords before I get up and correct it all.

The S95D simply eliminates that glare; it disappears like magic.

Review: Samsung S95D sets a new OLED standard with brilliant anti-glare technology
Photo credit: supplied/Samsung

Holding a lamp in front of the TV, you can certainly see a reflection of the light on the screen, but it's nothing like the unwatchable glare you get on almost any other TV. Yes, no one actually watches TV with a lamp blasting light at it from an inch away, but it's fun to put new features like this to the test.

As for the higher brightness, this not only helps with using the TV in brighter rooms, but also means a greater dynamic range and colour volume and therefore - so it's another bump up for image quality. Compared to last year's S95C, however, the jump in image quality is not very perceptible, with the anti-glare technology much more pronounced.

Of course, most people will be upgrading to this from something older and much more inferior than the S95C. The incredible detail along with the wildly vibrant and rich colours will blow away anyone, but especially viewers who haven't kept up with the TV advances of the past few years.

If you're spending this much on a TV, you probably care more about image quality than most folks. If you don't, you could save a couple of grand on a cheaper TV that is "fine". But to get the maximum value does require a bit of tinkering in the expert settings.

Review: Samsung S95D sets a new OLED standard with brilliant anti-glare technology
Photo credit: supplied/Samsung

You can pay more to get a professional over to calibrate it for you, but I'd recommend spending a bit of time on Reddit or various tech websites that advise on the best settings for fine-tuning the image to ensure it's looking as amazing as possible for your various needs.

The default modes are really good, it's worth noting - they're just not as good as you can get it.

In terms of other factors, the design, wide variety of features and gaming performance are just as great as they were in the S95C, which was about as good as it's ever gotten (along with the LG G3).

Room for improvement?

Samsung's anti-glare tech gives this OLED an advantage over other manufacturers, on top of its amazing image fidelity, but there are still ways to improve upon the S95D.

The main one is in the user interface (UI). There's quite a lot of unused space on the main home-screen and it defaults to emphasising Samsung TV Plus instead of a streaming service you'll actually want to use.

Sony and LG do their home-screens better. With the S95D, I generally set it to open on my Amazon Fire Stick upon start-up, which has a better home-screen than the TV itself does. This is a relatively minor issue, but it's just one area Samsung could do better at, and I'd love to not need to use another device like the Fire Stick.

The sound quality of the TV's onboard speakers is also not too impressive. Sure, you're kind of expected to buy a soundbar along with a new TV like this and if you get a Samsung soundbar to go with your Samsung TV, the two devices will work together superbly - but that won't sit right with everyone.

Review: Samsung S95D sets a new OLED standard with brilliant anti-glare technology
Photo credit: supplied/Samsung

Just like how Apple will reward you for investing in a suite of Apple items - and it's great when you're reaping the benefits of that - it can seem like you're missing out if you don't, so ultimately, it doesn't feel like you have geunine choice.

In other words, you don't want to feel forced to buy a Samsung soundbar to go with your Samsung TV, and it is starting to feel that way. This isn't a Samsung-only problem - most TV manufacturers also do soundbars which will work best with their own TV models.

One other thing to consider is that S95D doesn't support Dolby Vision, as some alternatives do.

The verdict

Samsung's S95D takes what was already arguably the best-in-class OLED TV and makes it even better with new anti-glare technology that will make everyone else in the business envious.

The Korean tech company is pushing the upscaling ability of its latest 8K QLED unit as its premiere television experience of 2024, but I would advise anyone wanting to invest in the best TV on the market this year to check out this OLED instead.

If you want your movies, TV shows and games to look as good as possible and you can afford the high price (and especially if you have light interference issues), this is the premium TV to get.

Slowly but surely, the issues that have plagued the OLED format are being defeated. The anti-glare technology Samsung has debuted in the S95D is sure to be mimicked and hopefully made cheaper in years to come, but for now, it has set a new standard.

Newshub was supplied a Samsung S95D for this review.