If you’re in the market for a new TV upgrade with a very good smart TV platform and advanced gaming capability that won’t break the bank, Samsung’s 2023 Q80C 4K QLED Full Array LED-LCD TV with local dimming, is worth checking out.

This series is just below the excellent performance characteristics we found so appealing in the company’s 2023 4K Quantum-OLED TVs and its 8K and 4K NEO QLED Mini-LED TVs, but it still provides good bang for the buck with bright SDR and HDR images from the 4K full-array LED-LCD backlight system and Samsung’s excellent image processing.

This series doesn’t have as many LED-dimming zones as those NEO QLED mini-LED TVs we mentioned, but it still manages to produce a bright enough picture with nice wide natural-appearing colors, thanks to the set’s quantum dot (a.k.a. QLED) color filter film layer in the LCD panel stack. This is the same color technology used in those higher Samsung TV classes this year.

The Samsung 65Q80C test model isn’t the cheapest 65-inch 4K direct full-array LED backlit QLED TV on the market in even in this price class, but it’s a solid performer for the money. Importantly, it brings an excellent smart TV platform, excellent image processing/upscaling, advanced video gaming support (both from external consoles and internal stream apps) and an attractive thin-bezel frame design.

The trade off from one of Samsung’s more expensive step-up technology series (like its NEO QLED mini-LED TVs or stellar 4K Quantum-OLED sets) is you get a little less spectacular peak brightness and contrast performance, slightly lower DCI-P3 wide color gamut coverage, narrower viewing angles with screen glare and noticeable blooming/haloing around bright objects on black backgrounds under certain conditions, attributable to the set’s fewer LED dimming zones.

The 65Q80C also lacks support for Dolby Vision dynamic high dynamic range (HDR), though it handles HDR10+ dynamic metadata HDR (with both adaptive and gaming adjustment), HDR10 static metadata and HLG live broadcast HDR quite well. For those Dolby Vision titles out there, the set will default to HDR10, which produces an excellent picture.

The television is very good for advanced gamers and sports and movie enthusiasts, alike. It performs competently in either lit or darkened viewing rooms, though we think most people will find the set is better viewed with the lights kept very dim.

If you think you can live with these few trade offs, we think you’ll love this upper-mid-range television.

We tested Samsung’s 65-inch version in the 65Q80C ($1,397.99 street retail at time of posting), but you will also find versions in 50- ($947.99 retail), 55- ($1,097.99), 75- ($1,997.99), 85- ($2,797.99) and 98-inches, ($9,999.99) perform similarly well.


The 65Q80C 4K QLED TV offers a nice textured gun-metal gray thin-bezel trim styling design around the screen. The matching three-piece center-mounted pedestal-type stand offers stable support and flexible placement on table tops and credenzas of varying widths. You’ll have approximately 2.5-inches of clearance beneath the screen to place a soundbar without intruding on visible screen area.

The depth of the Samsung 65Q80C TV at its thickest point is a nicely thin 2.16 inches, for an acceptably snug fit on a wall mount.

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Smart TV

The Samsung 65Q80C TV is based on Samsung’s own Tizen smart platform, which has really advanced over the years. We think this is one of the best smart TV platforms available and integrates beautifully with Android and iOS mobile devices from the past couple of years. The on-screen menus provides a large library of all the popular streaming apps, and Samsung includes its own “TV Plus” section of curated free ad-supported streaming channels with a number of original content options as well to up the ante.


To control the television’s app selections and picture/sound adjustments, Samsung includes its diminutive slim solar-powered hand unit that’s easy to use, and doesn’t even require changing batteries. The solar panel on the back will recharge the remote from sun or room light, and if you haven’t turned it over in a while, a USB-C input is included for a fast boost from a mobile device charger.

Quick access buttons are available on the remote for Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, and Samsung TV Plus apps. For those who prefer, the remote’s built-in mic will take voice commands through Samsung’s Bixby AI voice control system. The set will also work with popular voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.


Video game enthusiasts will love the Q80C’s Game Mode with support the Samsung Gaming Hub. This provides fast access to a number of popular cloud-gaming services, including Amazon’s Luna, Xbox and others. The TV also includes Game Motion Plus picture processing, and Game Bar 3.0 with fast access to on-screen game settings adjustment. Features include high frame rate (HFR) 4K/120Hz gaming from consoles or PCs through any the TV’s four HDMI 2.1 inputs, superwide aspect ratio game viewing, support for Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), variable refresh rate (VRR).

When in Game Mode we measured a very low lag time of 9.2 ms for a Full HD 1080p input signal.

Sound quality

The on-board sound on the Samsung Q80C TV was clear and full coming from the 40-watt 2.2-channel speaker package with Active Voice Amplifer that analyzes ambient room sound to enhance clarity. Just the same, we recommend buying a good quality soundbar or connecting to a multi-channel speaker system for the most immersive cinematic experience. The television includes an “Object Tracking Lite” Sound system that helps to make sounds appear to be coming from specific visual areas of the screen, with virtual-surround sound effects.

The set is also compatible with certain of Samsung’s soundbars that support the company’s “Q-Symphony” mode. This will combine and synchronize the sound from the TV’s internal speakers with those of the soundbar to create a big multi-channel surround sound impact.

Image quality

If you’ve got a recent Samsung Galaxy S phone or iPhone, Samsung offers a slick auto-calibration tool in the picture settings to help automatically calibrate the set’s color and brightness controls to the ambient room lighting conditions. This was intuitively friendly to use after scanning an on-screen QR code with our Galaxy S22Ultra Phone and following the step-by-step on-screen guide.

HDR10 peak brightness across window patters in “HDR Calibrated Movie” mode, measured in Portrait Display’s Calman HDR Toolkit Evaluation Workflow. The 10% window reading was 758 nits.
HDR10 Peak Luminance In HDR Dynamic Picture Mode (uncalibrated) measured in Portrait Display’s Calman software

However, when we took a reading of the automatically calibrated picture through Portrait Display’s Calman calibration software (using a SpectraCal C6-HDR colorimeter and Murideo Six-G test pattern generator), we found the SDR D65 white level needed a little tweaking to dial in the most accurate Delta E color error levels. After that, all brightness points averaged under 3 ( which is very good), where any errors under 5 are considered imperceptible.

Post 709 Calibration View in ISF Workflow of Portrait Display’s Calman calibration software showing Delta E Errors all under 3.

By our count, the 65Q80C had fewer than 95 LED dimming zones, which tended to limit the set’s ability to handle blooming/haloing as well as peak HDR brightness.

HDR Black Level measured in Portrait Display’s Calman software.

For High Dynamic Range (HDR10) we measured the set’s D65 peak brightness level at 868.1 nits in “Dynamic” picture mode, which is below the industry accepted “Premium TV” performance threshold of 1000 nits for best-performing LCD-based TVs. This is also not the best picture mode for movie viewing. In the auto-calibrated “HDR Movie” mode, the peak brightness topped out at 758 nits. Measured black level was .00967 nits, which is within the UHDA’s Premium LCD TV performance threshold of 0.05 nits. Most of the time, the screen presented inky blacks in areas of the screen without adjacent bright white objects. This was what we would expect from a solid mid-range 4K Full-Array LED-LCD TV.

Some clouding around bright moving star field patterns from the Spears & Munsil UHD Benchmark Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc was present.

Viewing real world test pattern material we picked up some shadow detail crushing and, as mentioned, blooming around white object patterns against black test pattern backgrounds, with the local dimming on standard. When local dimming was turned up high, however, blooming around moving HDR10 star field patterns on the Spears & Munsil UHD Benchmark disc was significantly reduced. Some of the stars visible on brighter TVs and most OLEDs in the opening credits of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray version of “The Martian” were crushed into the black of space surrounding them.

P3 Wide Color Gamut Coverage measured in the P3 HDR Toolkit Workflow in Portrait Display’s Calman software.

As for color, the 65Q80C had nice natural looking colors with what appeared to be full 100% color volume in real-world content. In “calibrated HDR” mode we measured P3 wide color gamut coverage in Portrait Display’s Calman HDR tools at 89.74% of the 1976 uv P3 space and 85.78% of the 1931 xy space. This was just below UHDA Premium UHD LCD TV threshold of 90% of DCI-P3, but allowing for possible meter error, it was good enough for us to qualify as a Premium P3 LCD TV. Real world HDR color reproduction, such as the brilliant coral reef fish sequences from the BBC’s Blue Planet II 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc looked rich and vibrant, with nice natural flesh tones.

Off-axis viewing presented a some issues, however. When viewing the screen square on center from a seated position, blacks appeared pure and inky, but contrast immediately weakened with the appearance of a milky haze across the screen when standing up or moving to the left or right of center axis. The difference is quite stark compared to Samsung’s excellent QD-OLED or NEO QLED Mini-LED TVs, but those cost considerable more. We also found some distracting screen reflections during dark scenes.

Image processing is handled by Samsung’s Quantum 4K processor with artificial intelligence, which also drives the up scaling of lower resolution signal sources. Combined with the built-in ambient light sensor, the processor adjusts image characteristics according to available ambient light.

We found the set did an admirable job of upconverting even standard definition black-&-white content, including our DVD collection of the original 1960’s “The Outer Limits” sci-fi television series, very well. Original period film-grain was kept intact and stretching distortion from the 4:3 aspect ratio converted to the full 16:9 frame was minimal.

Similarly, standard Blu-ray Disc content, such as deep sea sequences from the original BBC Planet Earth 1080p nature collection were clear, and natural with fine shadow visible in most areas of the frame. But viewing Ultra HD Blu-ray content with HDR (especially HDR10+ graded material) was strikingly good.

Viewing live sporting events was also very enjoyable, with the set’s motion smoothing circuitry swiched on. But to avoid the soap opera effect, it’s a good idea to turn it off again when viewing film-based movies, or better yet, place the set in Filmmaker Mode, and let the set to that for you.


Samsung Q80C rear input panel.

All four HDMI inputs on the 65Q80C support v2.1 features and process 4K/120Hz input signals with ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode). In game mode, the TV is equipped to support the Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync Premium Pro VRR flavors for PC gamers. One of the HDMI ports (no. 3) supports ARC/eARC to pass through advanced surround sound signals to external soundbars home theater AV receivers and decoders.

Other connection points include: two USB ports, a digital optical audio input, an Ethernet connection, and a cable and (ATSC 1.0) over-the-air antenna input. Wireless connections are support Wi-Fi5 and Bluetooth BT5.2.


If you can’t swing the extra change for one of Samsung’s excellent new QD-OLED or 4K NEO QLED Mini-LED TV (like the Q95C) the Samsung Q80C is a very good next choice. The nice colors handling and excellent smart TV system with advanced gaming will keep you buzzing for years to come. At this price, getting high frame rate gaming with the latest bundle of cloud-gaming apps like Luna, keeps you right in the competitive groove.

We therefore award the Samsung 65Q80C 4 out of 5 hearts.

The Samsung 65Q80C 4K Full Array LED-LCD TV used for this review was a company loan.

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By Greg Tarr

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