This is the most surprising OLED TV I tested in 2023 — and it got a perfect score

Samsung S95C OLED TV
(Image credit: Future)

I checked out a lot of TVs in 2023. From jaw-dropping OLED TVs to bright-as-can-be QLED TVs, more than one set looked good enough for me to consider my own money on. But there was one in particular that, more than all the others, stood out by surprising me. 

When I say the word "surprising," your mind might go to the LG StandByMe Go, the battery-powered TV that pops out of a suitcase. While I was certainly caught off guard by the contraption when I saw it in person (in an amusing way, I should clarify) I wouldn't say it was the TV that surprised me most.

No, that honor goes to the Samsung S95C OLED TV, which earned the rare 5/5 star rating in the review I conducted based on our benchmark testing and my anecdotal viewing experience. 

When Samsung crashed LG and Sony's OLED TV party in 2022 with the reveal of the Samsung S95B TV — the company's first set to feature QD-OLED technology — I had hesitations. For starters, it's hard to get a product totally right the first time. But my real concern was how Samsung would manage to out-perform its competitors, or least justify charging just as much at them for the units.

In our rated review of the S95B, the black levels didn't deliver the wow-factor we expect from a premium OLED TVs. While the brightness impressed, demonstrating the benefit of adding quantum dots to an OLED panel, it didn't convince us that it's worth buying compared to other sets we tested.

In other words, I didn't have the highest expectations for the S95C when it landed on our bench. And perhaps that ultimately worked to the TV's advantage.

Samsung created a clearer distinction between its OLED TVs and Neo QLED TVs in 2023. For example, the convenient cable-managing One Connect box moved to the OLED TV. The S95C also came in a new 77-inch size, and it sported an exciting 144Hz refresh rate.  

Specs aside, our testing was where the set really impressed. The Samsung S95C OLED TV tested a Delta-E accuracy score of 1.4 (with closer to 0 being best) in Filmmaker mode, which typically provides the most accurate picture out-of-the-box. 

But HDR brightness is where we found one of the biggest improvements between the Samsung S95B OLED vs. S95C OLED. Samsung had said the S95C was brighter when I first checked it out at CES 2023, but didn’t specify how much. We recorded a 30% improvement, from 1,010 nits to nearly 1,370 nits in the same 10% in standard mode with HDR content. That’s nothing short of fantastic for an OLED TV.

Pair those scores with blacks look perfectly nuanced in HDR with minimal crushing, solving one of our top concerns with the previous version. At least, that's what I witnessed while watching movies like Dune and James Bond: No Time to Die on the set in 4K

While we might not have named it the best TV overall of the year, it proved to me that Samsung takes OLED seriously. It also gives me every reason to believe the brand's innovations in the OLED space will put the competition on notice, if they aren't already.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef. 

  • systemBuilder_49
    admin said:
    The Samsung S95C OLED TV was the TV that surprised me most out of all the ones we tested in 2023. Here's why.

    This is the most surprising OLED TV I tested in 2023 — and it got a perfect score : Read more
    I have seen the S95B in stores and it looks just amazing, the high-color gamut plus amazing black levels really impressed me, the S95C is a small improvement on that! However, there are downsides if you aren't watching a movie - text does not fare very well on the triangular pixel layout of the S95B, with lots of purple fringing or other artifacts from the Samsung Display.

    LG continues to hate on Quantum dots and staunchly refuses to EVER use them in ANY of their TV's !!

    Instead, LG has released the G3 MLA (released March 2023) which has a special honeycomb filter (hundreds of dots per pixel) which redirects internally wasted light from the organic matrix outwards from the display, creating a similarly HUGE increase in brightness without quantum dots ( Also, because it's OLED-WRGB, there is a theory that the LG TV may have less of a burn-in problem than a samsung TV because it has the 4th white pixels. Both of these ideas should reduce burn-in. I hope to compare both of these TVs very soon in a viewing room !!