Samsung S95C OLED TV hands on — gamers will love this 77-inch QD-OLED

Can this second-gen QD-OLED steal the crown from LG?

The Samsung S95C OLED at a Samsung press event.
(Image: © Future)

Early Verdict

The Samsung S95C OLED is chock-filled with great gaming features like a new 144Hz and AMD’s FreeSync Premium Pro, but there seems to be little improvement to the actual picture quality of Samsung’s only OLED model year-on-year.

Pros

  • +

    New 77-inch model

  • +

    OneConnect Box

  • +

    New 144Hz refresh rate

Cons

  • -

    Not much new for Tizen

  • -

    Questionable performance increases

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The Samsung S95C OLED is the company’s second shot at QD-OLED. This time around, however, Samsung is going for a larger size (77 inches compared to the 65- and 55-inch models that we saw last year) and a faster refresh rate of 144Hz for PC gamers.

While Samsung hasn’t been super open about the changes made to the TV’s performance — we were told that there’ll be some uptick in brightness — the company is doubling down on design this time around. To wit, the Samsung S95C measures in at just 10mm front to back and will include Samsung’s proprietary OneConnect Box to help hide cables.

Update: The Samsung S95C OLED is one of our picks for our Best of CES 2023 Awards. See what else made the cut as we recognize the top products debuting at this year's show.

These innovations are interesting but, like some of the other TVs we’ve seen so far at CES 2023, the Samsung S95C seems to be suffering a bit of a sophomore slump in terms of innovation. That may not matter much if you’re just buying a QD-OLED for the first time — a situation most folks will likely be in — so take these criticisms with a grain of salt.

Price and release date predictions 

As of right now, there’s no set price or release date for the Samsung S95C OLED. However, based on previous years’ releases, it’s safe to assume that it will be out in the spring or early summer here in North America (April through June) for around the same price as last year’s Samsung S95B OLED

We’ll be able to confirm that later in the year when we get closer to the TV’s potential launch, but that should be a decent guess based on previous models. 

Design

The Samsung S95C OLED at a Samsung press event.

(Image credit: Future)

After speaking with a Samsung representative about the Samsung S95C at length, it sounds like the design is where the real innovation is happening in 2023. Not only is the TV getting slimmer this year (just 10mm) but it’ll also be available in a bigger screen size, too.

There's no denying that the demand for bigger TVs has been growing bigger every year, so this seems like a smart move for Samsung to make.

Another new piece to the puzzle is the integration of the OneConnect Box that allows you to connect all your devices in one spot instead of snaking them behind the TV. If you’re someone who cares about the look of your home entertainment center, this is a huge plus.

Performance

The Samsung S95C OLED at a Samsung press event.

(Image credit: Future)

When we saw the S95C OLED, it was placed in close proximity to the new Samsung QN95C. While it was easy to see that the QN95C was the brighter of the two, it was incredibly close in terms of overall performance.

In terms of clarity in the details of objects seen on the screen, both TVs did an excellent job producing crisp, clean and vibrant images. Picture processing plays a major role in this — which helps explain why the two TVs look so similar from afar — with both TVs using Samsung’s latest Neural Quantum Processor.

For gamers, however, the big news here is support for a 144Hz refresh rate when connected to a gaming PC. That’s the most common refresh rate seen on gaming monitors and a feature inherited from Samsung’s work in that area. Pair that refresh rate with AMD’s FreeSync Premium Pro and we could be looking at one of the best gaming TVs of the year.

The bad news here is that Samsung didn’t have a ton of new information to share about actual improvements made to the panel inside the S95C — only saying that it was brighter than last year’s model. That means that we’ll have to wait until we can get the OLED into our labs to see just how much brighter it is than last year’s Samsung S95B. 

Smart TV

The Samsung S95C OLED at a Samsung press event.

(Image credit: Future)

Another area where we’re not seeing a ton of improvement year-on-year is Samsung’s Tizen smart platform. The reason that Samsung isn’t making major changes, according to one rep we spoke to, is that it wants people to become familiar with the new look.

Here again you’ll see a few new improvements for gamers like GameBar 3.0 with MiniMap Sharing 3 and Virtual Aim Point. According to Samsung, “MiniMap Sharing enables players to see the minimap of their game at-a-glance on any display while Virtual Aim Point, designed for first-person shooters (FPS), allows players to view more noticeable crosshairs in any game so they can make the perfect shot”.

Those certainly sound like decent improvements, but until we can put them into practice ourselves, we can’t say too much about them one way or another.

Outlook

For gamers, the Samsung S95C looks to be a home run. Features like a new 144Hz refresh rate and AMD’s FreeSync Premium Pro will make it a tempting purchase for anyone with a gaming PC in their living room. However, for TV and movie lovers, there seems to be little improvement to the actual picture quality of Samsung’s only OLED model year-on-year. 

Is there any other good news? Sure, if you bought a Samsung S95B OLED last year, this year's model is unlikely to give you FOMO.

Nick Pino
Managing Editor, TV and AV

Nick Pino heads up the TV and AV verticals at Tom's Guide and covers everything from OLED TVs to the latest wireless headphones. He was formerly the Senior Editor, TV and AV at TechRadar (Tom's Guide's sister site) and has previously written for GamesRadar, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade. Not sure which TV you should buy? Drop him an email or tweet him on Twitter and he can help you out.