I went hands-on with the Samsung S95D OLED TV — reasons to buy and skip

Samsung S95D OLED TV
(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung S95D OLED TV sits towards the top of the list when it comes to the most anticipated TVs arriving in 2024. Featuring both a next-generation QD-OLED panel and a new anti-reflective technology that Samsung is calling 'Glare Free OLED,' the S95D looks like it could be one of the best TVs of the year.

Although we haven't conducted our full Samsung S95D OLED TV review yet, I was able to spend a few hours with the set to establish some impressions and even pull some preliminary test results. This gave me a good sense of how it compares to last year's Samsung S95C OLED TV that earned a rare 5/5 stars based on our scoring parameters. 

With the TV up for pre-order now,  you might be wondering whether it makes sense for you to buy it, should you be in the market for a new screen. Does it have the kind of qualities that matter most to you, or should you skip it and get a different TV instead? Here's what you need to know.

Samsung S95D OLED TV: Reasons to buy

Effective Glare-Free filter

Samsung has seriously raised the bar for self-emitting technology with the world's first glare-free OLED TV that doesn’t seem to come at the cost of picture quality —I'll show you some evidence in a moment. 

The reason manufacturers haven’t tried something like this before is because too thick of a glare-reducing filter could impact panel brightness, which is already often a setback for OLED. But on the S95D, the filter seriously works, dispersing what would be clear reflections of light from windows or nearby light fixtures into more muted shapes. It’s far from foolproof, but it is impressive. 

Promising picture quality

We had the chance to run some of our preliminary benchmark tests on the S95D, and the results are promising. I know peak HDR brightness is a defining standard for OLED TVs — this set measured nearly 1,800 nits in a 10% window. Last year’s S95C topped out around 1,400 nits, so that’s almost a 30% improvement year over year.

The S95D offered near-perfect coverage of the Rec 709 color spectrum and impressively low input lag. Low imput lag, alongside a 144Hz refresh rate, makes this OLED TV a solid pick for gamers.

Smart design

Build-wise, the S95D might not reinvent the wheel. In fact, it’s pretty identical to last year's model, right down to the thin 11-millimeter frame. But available in 55-, 65- and 77-inch sizes, it still has a smart design.

It uses Samsung’s One Connect box attachement for convenient cable management. This feature used to be reserved for the company’s top of the line Mini LED TVs, but it lends itself very well to OLED since it allows the panel to stay thin throughout. All the ports are offloaded into a separate box that can be stored inside a cabinet or somewhere else where it’s easy to access.

Samsung S95D OLED TV 65": $3,399 @ Best Buy

Samsung S95D OLED TV 65": <a href="https://shop-links.co/link?skuId=6576555&publisher_slug=future&exclusive=1&u1=hawk-custom-tracking&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bestbuy.com%2Fsite%2Fsamsung-77-class-s95d-series-oled-4k-smart-tizen-tv%2F6576555.p%3FskuId%3D6576555&article_name=hawk-article-name&article_url=hawk-article-url" data-link-merchant="bestbuy.com"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">$3,399 @ Best Buy
You'll get a free Samsung 65" Crystal UHD 4K TV when you preorder the S95D OLED TV now.

Samsung S95D OLED TV: Reasons to skip

No Dolby Vision

Like all Samsung TVs, the S95D doesn’t have Dolby Vision support, so there could possibly be a slight disconnect between the creator’s intent and the color of the picture that’s ultimately produced.

That’s only because Dolby Vision is quite popular in the film industry, though Samsung has never taken the leap to license it like most of its competitors. It’s not a major drawback if you’re someone who doesn’t really know the difference between HDR formats, but still important to know.

You might need a soundbar

If you’re getting a premium OLED TV, you should expect to package it with a soundbar for the best sound performance possible. Sound can be an afterthought for some shoppers, so know that for the S95D you’ll likely want to get one of the best soundbars since the built-in audio is just average. 

OLED TVs in general struggle with sound performance because the panels are so thin, so this isn’t a setback that’s specific to Samsung’s S95D. A matching Samsung soundbar is a good bet, but you can use one from third-party brands like Sonos or Bose just as well. 

Samsung S95D OLED TV: Buy or skip?

If your TV purchase can wait a few weeks, I'll have a rated review to reference with more definitive insights on the Samsung S95D OLED TV. But if you're hoping to take advantage of a Samsung pre-order deal, I think it's safe to say this set will be worth its price tag. 

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.