One of the downsides about my job is that because I8217;m constantly writing about the best TVs, I8217;m reminded every day of what my existing TV doesn8217;t do. I imagine it8217;s rather like writing about Beyoncé all day every day and then being painfully reminded that you8217;re married to sofa-slob me. And because I was never entirely happy with my existing Samsung TV – it was an insurance company replacement for a smashed one, and it didn8217;t tick all the boxes my now-broken Samsung TV did – the more I read about the best TVs, the more I wanted to replace mine.
So I did, and I put my money where my mouth is by choosing one from our best 65-inch TVs guide. And now it feels like I have bionic eyes.
I know that8217;s a horrible consumerist thing to say, but the difference between my outgoing Samsung and my new one, also a Samsung, is night and day. I8217;ve moved up from 58 inches to 65 (the biggest I can fit in my flat) and from QLED to Neo QLED, which uses mini-LED instead of standard LED. And it8217;s absolutely spectacular.
The TV I went for is almost identical to one of our best TV recommendations, the Samsung Q95. My one is a Q94, which doesn8217;t have the One Connect box but does have a very similar specification, albeit with fewer HDMI 2.1 ports. It costs a lot less, and because I bought an open box refurb I got it for considerably less than the RRP.
I8217;m not saying that this is the TV you should buy, but if like me you were thinking that OLED was the only upgrade you would consider I think you8217;ll be amazed by how good mini-LED is. To say this TV is bright would be an understatement: watching the desert scenes in Better Call Saul feels like I should be slathering myself in Factor 50. And the upsampling is brilliant too. I8217;m bingeing on an old 90s favourite, NYPD Blue, which is only 720p and filmed in ridiculous shakycam, a real challenge for motion processors. I8217;ve never seen it look so good.
There are some downsides. I don8217;t like Samsung8217;s smart TV interface – I use an Apple TV 4K instead – and as with every Samsung, the first thing I did was go into the TV settings and get out of Samsung8217;s ridiculously over-processed presets in favour of Movie, a slightly more vivid take on Filmmaker mode that gets rid of the unreal Soap Opera Effect and the too-bright pictures of the defaults. But it8217;s hard to explain just how significant an upgrade this is. Previously, I had a TV. Now it feels like a proper home cinema.
Any new TV is a lot of money, I know, and in the current cost of living crisis it feels awfully extravagant to splash out – even on a refurb. But with everything getting more expensive I8217;m going out less and less each month, choosing instead to binge-watch For All Mankind and play games on my PS5 and Xbox Series X. So from that perspective I8217;m just diverting the cash from outside to inside – and I think in the darker, more rainy months I8217;ll be glad I did.