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In the eternal competition to be crowned the best TV, you usually find three contenders: Sony, LG and Samsung. Samsung has thrown down the gauntlet to other TV makers in 2023; the S95C OLED 4K Smart TV is the TV to beat when it comes to picture quality, design and features.

Building on last year’s impressive S95B, this year’s model delivers even more brightness and color. It has the latest tech and features, and the design will impress your friends and neighbors.

You don’t get the best on the cheap, and at $3,300 for the 65-inch model I tested, the S95C is definitely an example of paying for the privilege. But if you appreciate superior picture quality, or just enjoy having the best of things, the S95C is the TV for you.

Incredible picture quality with a refined design

Samsung raises the bar for TVs with the S95C, delivering impressive colors and contrast with more than enough brightness for any setting. It’s incredibly slim, putting the brains and the ports in a separate unit that you can hide away. It comes at a steep cost, but you get what you pay for.

What we liked about it

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A bright and beautiful picture

I don’t think I’ve seen a better image on a TV than the one the S95C produces. Not only are reds, blues and greens vibrant, but you can also see subtle differences in shades of those colors across the spectrum. The blue and red seats during the intro to “Ted Lasso” practically jumped off the screen. In one scene, a woman in a bright red dress stood next to a maroon building and the colors were very distinct — lesser screens make it harder to tell those shades apart.

The S95C employs quantum-dot OLED technology, which takes the best of OLED — vivid colors and deep blacks — and ups the brightness to a level that competes with the best LCD TVs. The result is a picture that can almost defeat the trend of overly dark scenes in movies and TV shows. While the TV doesn’t support Dolby Vision, it interprets HDR10+ well for impressive contrast. When the Harkonnens attack the Atreides in Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune,” I could see a lot more detail in the darkness on the S95C than on my LG C9 OLED TV, though it was still very dark.

In addition to great color and contrast, the S95C’s picture is very sharp and detailed, even when you’re watching video that isn’t in 4K, thanks to its upscaling tech. During the Formula 1 race in Miami, the cars zipped by the aqua and yellow backgrounds without blurring. And the picture still looks great if you’re watching from off-center. It checks all the boxes for picture quality.

Sleek design

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Fans of minimalism will appreciate the S95C’s slim design. The panel is just 0.4 inches thick, consistently from top to bottom — sure to get some oohs and ahhs from visitors.

It achieves this feat by moving the processor, power and ports of the TV to a separate box, which you could hide in a cabinet if you want. The 14.2-by-13-by-1.3-inch OneConnect unit resembles a cable box and includes four HDMI ports that support the latest standards. The OneConnect box connects to the TV via one cable (hence the name, I assume).

If you really want to show off the thinness of the TV, mount it to the wall instead of going with the included stand — the stand’s 10.5-inch width sort of defeats the purpose of having a TV this thin.

Wide and clear sound

While I’ve yet to hear built-in speakers on a TV that compete with the best soundbars, the sound that comes out of the S95C almost got me to reconsider my stance. With support for Dolby Atmos and enough speakers in the TV to take advantage of the surround sound technology, the S95C produces a wide sound and makes it easy to hear voices.

What it lacks is bass; that’s why you’ll want to get a soundbar to deliver audio quality that matches the picture. You can pair the TV with Samsung’s Q Series soundbars to take advantage of the speakers built into the TV while improving the overall sound and adding bass; you can also bypass those internal speakers if you choose another soundbar.

Quick interface

The Neural Quantum Processor 4K that powers the TV makes interacting with the TV’s Tizen operating system smooth. Unlike the Samsung QN90B, which was sluggish when launching apps, the S95C felt zippy. The processor also speeds up cloud gaming through Samsung Game Hub, including Xbox Cloud Gaming. However, while games on Xbox Cloud Gaming loaded quickly, the graphics couldn’t compare to the detail achieved when connecting an Xbox Series X directly to the TV.

What we didn’t like about it

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It costs a lot

There’s no doubt that $3,300 is a lot to pay for a 65-inch TV these days. You can get a very good TV for a third of that, such as a 65-inch Hisense U8H for about $900. Even compared to more upscale TVs like the $2,500 65-inch Samsung QN90C or $2,500 LG C3, the S95C’s price stands out.

If you want a similar picture to the S95C for less and you can do without the OneConnect box, you can get the 65-inch Samsung S90C for $2,600.

You have to work to get the best picture

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Out of the box, I found the picture to be too bright and bold with the system’s Intelligent Mode engaged. It’s supposed to adjust the picture to the surroundings and what’s playing on the screen, but Samsung’s idea of optimized and mine are different.

Luckily, there are plenty of other picture modes — I preferred Movie or Filmmaker Mode for most movies and shows — and you can further tweak the picture in Advanced Settings. It’s worth the effort to get the picture that’s most pleasing to your eyes.

How it compares

Size options

55, 65, 77 inches

42, 48, 55, 65, 77, 83 inches

55, 65, 75 inches

Dimensions (65-inch model)

56.8 x 32.7 x 0.4 inches

56.7 x 32.5 x 1.8 inches

57.2 x 33.1 x 3.0 inches

Panel type

Quantum-Dot OLED




4 HDMI (all support HDMI 2.1, one eARC), 3 USB, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, coaxial antenna, optical audio, Bluetooth

4 HDMI 2.1 with eARC, 3 USB, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, coaxial antenna, optical audio, Bluetooth

4 HDMI (two with HDMI 2.1, one eARC), 2 USB, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, coaxial antenna, optical audio, Bluetooth



Dolby Vision/HDR10/HLG

Dolby Vision/HDR10/HDR10+/HLG

Price $3,300 $2,500 $900

Bottom line

Most of the people I talked to about the S95C couldn’t get past the price — a valid concern. But if you live in a price-is-no-object world and you prize an impressive viewing experience, the S95C is the TV to put at the center of your entertainment. With its incredibly vivid colors and great detail, your eyes will thank you.

The S95C’s improved brightness means you don’t need to choose between the deeper color of OLED and the brightness of LCD. Its fast processor delivers interaction that matches or exceeds that of the best streaming device. There is no perfect TV, but the S95C is probably as close as we’ll get this year — though LG and Sony will try to unseat it with its 2023 flagship TVs.

Since you’re already spending a small fortune, you might as well splurge for the 77-inch model — new this year — available for just $4,500. As a friend likes to say, “It only costs a nickel more to go first class.”