One of the downsides about my job is that because I’m constantly writing about the best TVs, I’m reminded every day of what my existing TV doesn’t do. I imagine it’s rather like writing about Beyoncé all day every day and then being painfully reminded that you’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 didn’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.
If you buy a new TV your life will be better
I know that’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. I’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 it’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 doesn’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.
I’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 you’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. I’m bingeing on an old 90s favourite, NYPD Blue, which is only 720p and filmed in ridiculous shakycam, a real challenge for motion processors. I’ve never seen it look so good.
There are some downsides. I don’t like Samsung’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 Samsung’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 it’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 I’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 I’m just diverting the cash from outside to inside – and I think in the darker, more rainy months I’ll be glad I did.