Samsung has taken the wraps off of its 2021 lineup, giving us the first good look at the latest Samsung TVs since they were announced at CES 2021.
Among the lineup are the first jaw-dropping MicroLED TVs, new premium 8K models, impressive looking Neo QLED sets with mini-LED backlighting, a number of newly announced Lifestyle TV designs and upgrades, and even a few budget-friendly 4K QLED and Crystal UHD models.
Needless to say, we’re excited.
Samsung Smart TVs keep getting smarter
Samsung Smart TVs are smarter than ever before, with new features that push the interactive and connected aspects of the TV to new levels. Among these are features for home fitness, video chat, and even sharing big screen TV with other family members.
The first of these features is Smart Health, which pairs the TV with a third-party webcam to provide feedback for workouts right in your living room. The feature was initially introduced in 2020, but the latest iteration includes a personal trainer function that not only guides you through a workout, but can check your form and count your reps, providing feedback and tracking your progress automatically.
It also pairs with other Samsung devices, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra smartphone or Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, to track your progress and collect workout data from across the Samsung family of apps and devices. All of this is then available for review on the TV through the Samsung Health app, which includes a dashboard for monitoring your progress over time.
Another smart change is the addition of Google Duo video chat. With a third-party webcam, you can use Google’s video chat app to stay connected even as lockdown stretches into its twelfth month.
For easier sharing with the family members you live with, Samsung has also introduced QuadView and Multi View, which let you use larger TV screens as multiple displays side by side, complete with support for separate inputs or streaming apps.
All of this is in addition to Samsung’s excellent video processing and upscaling using the Quantum 4K and Neo Quantum processors. And let’s not forget its slick audio capabilities, too — including Samsung’s Object Tracking Sound and Q-Symphony features.
The former gives you audio that tracks along with on-screen objects and actors, while the latter lets you use a Samsung soundbar with your Samsung TV and use all of the speakers in concert, providing a wider and taller soundstage with better support for Dolby Atmos and simulated surround sound.
But the announcements go way beyond individual features and new apps. Samsung’s 2021 slate is packed with premium 8K and 4K sets, from the superb Neo QLED line to the groundbreaking MicroLED TV line, with models that range from affordable to premium to jaw-droppingly expensive.
Let’s look at all of the sets coming from Samsung in 2021.
Samsung MicroLED TVs
Of all the exciting TVs coming from Samsung this year, the Samsung MicroLED TV takes the cake.
It’s an ultra-premium 4K TV that showcases Samsung’s biggest display innovation yet — MicroLED display technology, which uses micron-scale LED pixels to deliver 4K picture with precision lighting and unbeatable color.
It’s the first real competitor to OLED technology, offering many of the same benefits, like true blacks and pixel-level lighting, while promising even better color and longevity. (Find out more in Micro-LED vs. OLED TV: Which TV tech will win?)
Samsung has announced that four different sizes of MicroLED TV will be available in 2021, starting with a 110-inch model this April. It will be followed by a 99-inch MicroLED TV in April or early May, with an 88-inch model this fall and a newly announced 76-inch model in late 2021 or early 2022.
Among the many smart capabilities already offered on Samsung Smart TVs, the giant screen sizes of the MicroLED TV make it ideal for new features such as Samsung Quad View split screen viewing, and the unique design is matched with Samsung’s best audio features.
Pricing has not yet been announced, but we have speculated on the cost of the upcoming 110-inch model. Based on the South Korean pre-order price of 170 million won — $152,000 U.S. dollars — the Samsung MicroLED TV will be one of the most premium TVs on the market, to be sure.
|Screen size||Price||Release date|
|110-inch||not yet announced||April 2021|
|99-inch||not yet announced||April or May 2021|
|88-inch||not yet announced||Fall of 2021|
|76-inch||not yet announced||TBD|
Find out more about the Samsung MicroLED TV in our recent coverage of Samsung’s MicroLED TV announcements, from CES 2021 and the recent Samsung Unbox & Discover event.
Samsung Neo QLED 8K TVs
Aside from the insanely expensive MicroLED TVs, Samsung’s top models are its premium 8K Neo QLED TVs, which upgrade last year’s 8K models with the addition of mini-LED backlighting.
Neo QLED refines Samsung’s quantum-dot-enhanced displays with Quantum Matrix technology, which is Samsung’s catch-all term for mini-LED backlight and its related features. That includes not only mini-LED backlights, but also the proprietary diffuser lenses applied to each light, and processing tweaks that allow the TV to leverage the tighter backlight control that mini-LED allows for better contrast and improved HDR performance.
The Neo QLED 8K smart TVs feature Samsung’s new Neo Quantum Processor, which offers AI-driven upscaling and video processing to optimize the different elements of picture quality, with separate processing for brightness, focus, object and motion, plus additional processing for audio and dialogue.
Samsung’s best 8K set is the new QN900A Neo QLED 8K Smart TV, but Samsung also has two other models of 8K TV coming, the QN800A and the QN700A — both 8K Neo QLED sets, but offering slightly different collections of features to separate them into good, better and best options.
From the information currently available, it looks like the primary differences come down to the bezel and the inclusion of Samsung’s One Connect box.
On the bezel front, the QN900A features Samsung’s Infinity Screen, while the QN800A and QN700A have minimal (but more prominent) surrounds.
The One Connect box, meanwhile, is a separate box for the internal components and port selection, making it easier to integrate the TV into different installations. From what we can gather, the One Connect box is available for the QN900A and the QN800A, but we suspect it may be absent on the QN700A.
Samsung QN900A Neo QLED 8K Smart TV (2021)
For the cream of the 8K crop, Samsung has pulled out all the stops. The Samsung QN900A Neo QLED 8K Smart TV gets every top option in Samsung’s TV arsenal, from the 0.8-millimeter thick Infinity Screen bezels to a super-slim metal chassis that doubles as the speaker grilles for an array of frame-mounted speakers.
Paired with Samsung’s Object Tracking Sound Pro technology, it allows the TV’s audio to track with the position of actors and objects on screen, providing a more immersive experience.
Samsung also has an option to adjust the sound to match the room it’s in with SpaceFit Sound. The AI optimization tool adjusts the sound based on whether you’ve got the TV on a stand or mounted on the wall, and will compensate for sound-reflecting surfaces and the size of the room.
Samsung also outfits the QN900A with Quantum HDR 64x, a tone-mapping technology that is used to boost the HDR performance of formats like HDR10+ for ultra-rich color and deeper contrast.
|Screen size||Model number||Price|
Samsung QN800A Neo QLED 8K Smart TV (2021)
The nest step down is the Samsung QN800A Neo QLED 8K Smart TV, which is still every inch a premium 8K TV, but drops a couple of features in order to come in at a more affordable price.
The big differences? Samsung uses a very thin (but more visible) bezel around the 8K panel, steps down to Object Tracking Sound+ instead of Pro and uses Quantum HDR 32x. This still uses dynamic tone-mapping for improved HDR performance, but not at the same level as you’d see on the more expensive QN900A Neo QLED sets.
|Screen size||Model number||Price|
Samsung QN700A Neo QLED 8K Smart TV
While Samsung hasn’t formally announced this third 8K Neo QLED line yet, we have seen enough to confirm that there will be a QN700A Neo QLED 8K smart TV model line later this year.
We suspect that it may not have all of the premium features of its more expensive 8K companions, such as the Infinity Screen micro-bezel or even the One Connect box. Then again, if the 2020 Samsung QLED series is any indicator, we expect significant price differences from the more expensive QN900A and QN800A models, with the Samsung QN700A offering one of the most affordable 8K TVs of 2021.
Samsung Neo QLED 4K TVs
Samsung may be pushing 8K as the leading TV technology, but 4K is still far and away the more popular resolution for in-home entertainment.
For those homes, Samsung has the Neo QLED 4K smart TV line, which weds 3840 x 2160 resolution and QLED enhancement with Samsung’s new mini-LED backlighting and the latest processing tech.
So far, Samsung has announced two models in the 4K Neo QLED line — the Samsung QN90A Neo QLED 4K Smart TV and the QN85A Neo QLED 4K Smart TV.
The inclusion of the QN85 is a bit of a departure from Samsung’s past naming conventions, which usually number 90, 80, 70 and 60, but it makes some sense given that only these more premium models get the mini-LED treatment.
Samsung QN90A Neo QLED 4K Smart TV (2021)
The Samsung QN90A boasts a handful of premium features you won’t see on other 4K Samsung sets, such as Quantum HDR 32x dynamic tone mapping and Object Tracking Sound.
|Screen size||Model number||Price|
Samsung QN85A Neo QLED 4K Smart TV (2021)
The slightly less premium Samsung QN85A Neo QLED 4K Smart TV takes a half-step down from the QN90A, substituting Object Tracking Sound with upfiring speakers instead of a more immersive all-around speaker array. You also get Quantum HDR 24x, which still provides scene by scene optimization for HDR, but not at the same 32x level offered on the QN90A.
It also has a slightly bulkier stand, but with neither 4K Neo QLED model using Samsung’s One Connect box, it’s a small distinction between two otherwise very similar designs.
While we’ll need to wait until we can test the two models for measurable performance differences, it’s hard to say what the real differences will be in terms of the viewing experience. I suspect that the performance will be similar enough between the two models that the QN85A will actually be the more popular Neo QLED 4K set, thanks largely to the $4-500 price difference between them.
|Screen size||Model number||Price|
Samsung QLED 4K TVs
Samsung’s standard 4K QLED TVs are also back for 2021, with three models to choose from: The Q80A, the mid-range Q70A, and the entry-level Q60A.
Unfortunately, it looks like Samsung is carrying forward the decision from 2020 to outfit the Q70 and Q60 models with less capable dual-LED backlighting, which isn’t as capable as the full-array, local dimming option found on the Q80A. We had hoped for a better solution using standard LED backlighting with local dimming, but no such luck.
In any event, all three models promise to provide quality 4K performance along with Samsung’s excellent smart TV capabilities, including options such as Samsung Health and MultiView, plus gamer-friendly features like HDMI 2.1 support and Samsung Game Bar.
Samsung Q80A QLED 4K Smart TV (2021)
The Samsung Q80A is the best of this mid-range bunch of 4K sets, thanks largely to a full array backlight with dimming zones that allow for the same level of backlight control offered on the previous year’s best Samsung TVs. It also gets additional optimization, thanks to Samsung’s Quantum HDR 12x dynamic tone-mapping, which adjusts HDR output based on the scene.
Object Tracking Sound (OTS) provides a measure of screen tracking audio, with upfiring speakers for a more vertical soundstage than regular stereo sound, along with SpaceFit Sound, which adjusts the audio to the room using AI-powered output controls.
It also has Q-Symphony, which lets you use the TV speakers in conjunction with a Samsung soundbar for a fuller sound experience than the TV or soundbar could offer alone.
Samsung Q70A QLED 4K Smart TV (2021)
The next step down is the Q70A, which abandons full array backlight for Samsung’s dual-LED option. It’s better than standard edge-lit backlighting, but it’s noticeably less capable than the full-array, local dimming option used in the Q80A.
Other changes include Object Tracking Sound Lite (OTS Lite), which has no upward facing speakers, and Quantum HDR, which appears to be the most basic version of Samsung’s tone mapping technology.
That said, it’s still a full-featured smart TV, with several new features for 2021, including Samsung Health and Multi View for sharing the screen. There’s also a new productivity option called PC on TV, which offers easy screen casting from a laptop to the TV.
|Screen size||Model number`||Price|
Q60A QLED 4K Smart TV 2021
Rounding out the QLED 4K models is the entry-level Q60A, which offers more screen sizes than the Q70A or Q80a, and comes in at $2-300 cheaper for most sizes.
Like the Q70A, it’s outfitted with Samsung’s dual-LED backlight, basic HDR support with Quantum HDR, and Object Tracking Sound Lite (OTS Lite). It also boasts the same feature set for smart functions and apps, including Samsung Health, the full Samsung app store, and screen sharing from mobile and PC.
Samsung Lifestyle TVs
Samsung’s Lifestyle TVs are an assortment of design-focused models that offer more than your basic TV.
They include designs that mimic framed art, offer outdoor viewing, rotate for enhanced viewing of mobile content and more. It’s Samsung’s funkiest collection of TVs, but it also features some of the most innovative options on the market.
So far, Samsung has announced or confirmed all of the model lines listed below, with more detail available in our recent news coverage from Samsung’s Unbox & Discover event.
The Frame is Samsung’s art-inspired model, designed to be hung on the wall and to display artwork when you’re not watching shows or playing games.
The 2021 version of The Frame gets a slimmer 24.9-millimeter-thick design, more customization options with five snap-on frame bezels, and even a matching shelving unit called My Shelf.
The new models are upgraded from 2020 with more memory — 6GB, enough to store 1,200 images at 4K resolution — and more art, including new selections from Etsy and NAVA Contemporary alongside the traditional museum options offered in the Samsung Art Store.
It’s also a full-featured smart TV, complete with all of your favorite apps and functions, from Netflix and HBO Max to Google Duo and others.
The Frame starts at $999 with a 43-inch model, scaling up to a 75-inch version that sells for $2,999. And, to make The Frame a little more like the artwork it displays, the wall-hanging TV will support both horizontal and vertical display modes so you can hang it in portrait orientation.
The Frame is the only Lifestyle TV currently offered for pre-order.
The next most distinctive member of the Lifestyle lineup is The Sero, a rotating 43-inch TV that’s made for the mobile-first generation. The swivelling screen rotates automatically when paired with a smartphone, letting you enjoy vertical video as well as the horizontal fare that’s common on TVs.
With the addition of Apple AirPlay2 support, the 2021 sets will also work with iPhones, a big improvement over last year’s Samsung and Android-only version.
The Sero comes with a built-in easel stand that has a 60-watt 4.1-channel sound system. It’s also slated to be the first Samsung TV to get the new TikTok smart TV app, which will eventually make its way to other Samsung TVs.
That said, the rotating screen makes the Sero well-suited to the vertical format used by TikTok anyway, and a perfect fit for the smartphone-obsessed.
Samsung is bringing back The Terrace outdoor TV, which was introduced in 2020 with several models designed for partial shade viewing.
New for 2021 is a 75-inch model that ramps up the brightness for full-sun visibility, making it a great option for those outdoor installations that don’t include a roof or canopy.
Joining the Lifestyle TV line is the Premiere projector, a short-throw laser projector that lets you get a giant 130-inch picture on any wall or screen that’s big enough.
It offers 4K resolution and full smart TV capability, and even has a full 4.2-channel, 40-watt sound system built-in, letting it serve as its own soundbar.
Samsung’s original art-inspired Lifestyle TV, the sculptured Serif TV, will also be back for 2021. Samsung has not yet released details about the new set, but has confirmed that the product line will continue this year.
Samsung Crystal UHD 4K TV
It may not be as exciting as MicroLED or Neo QLED, but Samsung’s LCD model line — Crystal UHD — is back for 2021.
With 4K resolution and HDR support, Samsung Crystal UHD TVs are significantly more affordable than Samsung’s more premium QLED and Neo QLED 4K sets, and still offer most of the same rich selection of smart capabilities and features.
Obviously, the Crystal UHD models won’t have the quantum-dot enhancements and resulting color and contrast improvements we’ve seen on QLED sets from Samsung (or similar sets from TCL, Hisense and Vizio), but the overall quality isn’t bad for a budget TV.
Samsung hasn’t formally announced any of the 2021 Crystal UHD models, but in a conversation with Samsung representatives, we were able to confirm that the AU8000 model will be this year’s Crystal UHD model.
Speaking to Mike Kadish, Director of Product Marketing for Samsung TVs, he said, “One of the things I’m most excited about is, in addition to all of these smart feature and functionality enhancements[…] is the slim design of this new TV.
“When consumers go shopping and they’re going to look for a TV and they walk into their local retailer and they see the design of our AU8000 relative to some of the competition, they will be amazed at how thin that TV is, just 25 millimeters thick, and how beautiful the design looks on our our step-up Crystal UHD TV.”
Pricing and availability for the new Samsung Crystal UHD AU8000 models have not been made public, but we will update this story as that information becomes available.
- More: Check out our full list of the best TVs you can buy today