Every TV in Samsung's 2021 TV lineup explained: Neo QLED vs Crystal UHD vs QLED

Credit: Samsung

Back In January, Samsung showed off their latest MicroLED and NeoQLED TVs at this year’s all-digital CES. Now, they’re bringing their high-end home display technology to Australian consumers.

This time around, Samsung’s 2021 TV lineup consists of a total of 45 different TVs. These are available in multiple sizes that start at around 32-inches and go as wide as 85-inches. The solitary FHD model (the 32-inch Samsung T5300) aside, the cheapest option here is the 32-inch Frame TV, while the most expensive is sure to be Samsung's 85-inch, 8K capable and Infinity Display-equipped QN900A. 

While Samsung uses a mix of technologies across its product portfolio, you can expect to find NeoQLED and 8K at the more expensive end of the range. At the same time, cheaper models opt for the Crystal UHD formula introduced in 2020.

According to Hass Mahdi, Head of Audio Visual for Samsung Australia, “Neo QLED technology is a game-changer for big-screen TVs in Australia, we’ve re-engineered how the picture comes to life. We know Australians are buying bigger TVs and that picture quality is the number one consideration for many customers when upgrading, Neo QLED will offer incredible contrast, colour and brightness to deliver an unparalleled viewing experience.”

If 2020 saw Samsung bring to market a roster of home entertainment options that were just a little bit more affordable and value-focused, 2021 looks to see them offer something that’s just a little bit better.

Introducing: Neo QLED 

The big headline addition to Samsung’s formula this time around is Neo QLED. Framed as something of a mid-step between QLED and Micro-LED, Neo QLED builds on what regular QLED TVs can deliver by swapping out the regular LED bulbs found in last year’s QLED range in favour of Mini-LEDs. 

Samsung QN900ACredit: Samsung
Samsung QN900A

As the name suggests, Mini-LEDs are significantly smaller than traditional LEDs. For consumers, this downsizing translates into improved contrast ratios, reduced response time and slimmer form-factors compared to regular LCD LED TVs. As we noted in our comparison of Mini-LED and MicroLED, they don’t quite match OLED in these categories, but they’re definitely a step in that direction. 

Alongside the miniaturised backlighting tech, Samsung says their Neo QLED TVs also come equipped with an enhanced Black Detail Boost option, 120Hz refresh rates, Nvidia G-Sync, AMD FreeSync Premium Pro and the new “Neo Quantum” image processor. 

In 2021, Samsung is bringing four Neo QLED TVs to Australia. These are available in several sizes, with just shy of half of them supporting 8K playback. A full breakdown of the recommended retail pricing for the range is as follows:

  • Samsung QN900ACredit: Samsung
    Samsung QN900A
    Samsung QN900A Neo QLED 8K TV (85-inches) = AU$13,999

  • Samsung QN900A Neo QLED 8K TV (75-inches) = AU$10,499

  • Samsung QN900A Neo QLED 8K TV (65-inches) = AU$7,579

  • Samsung QN800A Neo QLED 8K TV (85-inches) = AU$10,499

  • Samsung QN800A Neo QLED 8K TV (75-inches) = AU$7,579

  • Samsung QN800A Neo QLED 8K TV (65-inches) = AU$5,599

  • Samsung QN90A Neo QLED 4K TV (75-inches) = AU$6,399

  • Samsung QN90A Neo QLED 4K TV (65-inches) = AU$4,899

  • Samsung QN90A Neo QLED 4K TV (55-inches) = AU$3,849

  • Samsung QN90A Neo QLED 4K TV (50-inches) = AU$2,899

  • Samsung QN85A Neo QLED 4K TV (85-inches) = AU$7,579

  • Samsung QN85A Neo QLED 4K TV (75-inches) = AU$5,249

  • Samsung QN85A Neo QLED 4K TV (65-inches) = AU$4,429

  • Samsung QN85A Neo QLED 4K TV (55-inches) = AU$3,379

If you’re looking for a shorthand way to tell whether you should spend more here, the devil is in the details. The Samsung QN900A Neo QLED 8K sports a higher peak brightness, a better sound system and an almost bezel-free Infinity Display design. 

The other caveat worth noting here is that only the 8K models come armed with Samsung’s new Slim One Connect Box. The entire 4K range opts for a more conventional rear-mounted HDMI port configuration instead. Where the 8K model gives you a whopping six HDMI 2.1 ports to play with, the QN90 only has two, and QN85 has just one. 

The Return of Crystal UHD

Samsung AU8000 4K TVCredit: Samsung
Samsung AU8000 4K TV

This year’s Crystal UHD TVs crop is a little cheaper but not all that different from the range introduced in 2020. 

Powered by Samsung’s Crystal 4K image progressor,  the short version of the story is that Samsung's Crystal UHD TVs are basically QLEDs minus the quantum dots. In other words, if you're looking at buying one, you're looking at buying a fairly standard 4K TV. The design, performance and pricing here reflect this exclusion. 

The Samsung AU8000 is available in six sizes, with prices listed below:

  • Samsung AU8000 Crystal UHD 4K TV 85-inch = $3,389

  • Samsung AU8000 Crystal UHD 4K TV 75-inch = $2,259

  • Samsung AU8000 Crystal UHD 4K TV 65-inch = $1,689

  • Samsung AU8000 Crystal UHD 4K TV 55-inch = $1,349

  • Samsung AU8000 Crystal UHD 4K TV 50-inch = $1,129

  • Samsung AU8000 Crystal UHD 4K TV 43-inch = $1,017

The Frame, The Serif and The Sero

Samsung’s updated Lifestyle TV lineup might actually be the best value proposition of their entire 2021 offering. 

The easiest place to start here is The Frame. As with previous versions of this product, Art Mode remains a big focus (you can even search for specific pieces using your voice) and the latest Frame TV comes enhanced by the same kind of quantum dots you'll find in Samsung's premium Q-series TVs. It also features more onboard storage, a 50% slimmer design and a better processor. 

Once again, consumers get their choice of one of three different bezel options, but the Frame is now available in more and larger sizes. See a full breakdown of the recommended retail pricing for The Frame below:

Samsung's Frame TVCredit: Samsung
Samsung's Frame TV
  • Samsung The Frame 4K TV (75-inch) = AU$4,079

  • Samsung The Frame 4K TV (65-inch) = AU$2,899

  • Samsung The Frame 4K TV (55-inch) = AU$2,329

  • Samsung The Frame 4K TV (50-inch) = AU$1,979

  • Samsung The Frame 4K TV (43-inch) = AU$1,629

  • Samsung The Frame 4K TV (32-inch) = AU$919

The Samsung Serif and Sero are also back in the mix. 

If you missed its debut last year, the Serif is pitched as a boutique centrepiece for your living room akin to something like Bang & Olufsen's DesignVision TVs (but a little more affordable). It features a unique design with a built-in stand that leaves the Serif looming tall over more conventional big-screen TVs.

Available in two sizes, the new Samsung Serif TV also features additional Smart Home integration previously found in last year's Q-Series TVs. Local pricing for the Samsung Serif TV is as follows:

  • Samsung Serif Smart TV (55-inch) = AU$2,099

  • Samsung Serif Smart TV (43-inch) = AU$1,499

Then there’s the TikTok-friendly Sero TV. It has a 43-inch display, 4K resolution, quantum dots, plus a built-in 4.1-channel 60-watt speaker system.

Credit: Samsung

In addition to being used like any other Samsung TV, the Sero can connect with mobile devices via Samsung’s Smart View app. Then, when it detects content that’d be better seen in a vertical format (for instance, TikTok or Instagram Stories), the screen will rotate to suit. 

“As the lifestyles, viewing habits, and home entertainment demands of Australians evolve, so to do the features and technology across our Samsung TV lineup. With near-endless options for customisation, Samsung’s lifestyle TV portfolio continues to redefine the category, how a TV can be used and incorporated beautifully into a home,” says Mahdi.

In Australia, the 2020 Samsung Sero TV is available in a single size - 43-inches - at a recommended price of AU$2,329. 

The Q-Series Returns

The once-flagship Q-series has taken on a diminished role this time around. Wedged between the new Neo QLED models and the entry-level Crystal UHD lineup, the Q-Series is now something of a mid-step for those unwilling to pay the premium associated with Neo QLED. 

Samsung Q70ACredit: Samsung
Samsung Q70A

There are three Q-Series models on offer here, each in a variety of sizes. Check out the breakdown of the pricing below:

  • Samsung Q80A QLED 4K TV (65-inch) = AU$3,489

  • Samsung Q80A QLED 4K TV (55-inch) = AU$2,679

  • Samsung Q70A QLED 4K TV (85-inch) = AU$5,829

  • Samsung Q70A QLED 4K TV (75-inch) = AU$3,499

  • Samsung Q70A QLED 4K TV (65-inch) = AU$2,799

  • Samsung Q70A QLED 4K TV (55-inch) = AU$2,209

  • Samsung Q60A QLED 4K TV (85-inch) = AU$4,619

  • Samsung Q60A QLED 4K TV (75-inch) = AU$2,889

  • Samsung Q60A QLED 4K TV (65-inch) = AU$2,189

  • Samsung Q60A QLED 4K TV (55-inch) = AU$1,729

Regarding the differences you need to know about, the Samsung Q60A is distinguished from the other options by the hardware inside it. It features a Quantum Lite processor rather than the standard Quantum one found in the Q70A and Q80A. 

Bumping up the Q80A gets you a bevy of other small technical improvements like support for AMD FreeSync Premium Pro and wider viewing angles. Finally, choosing to buy the pricey Q90A gets you direct full-array backlighting. 

What about MicroLED?

Samsung QN85ACredit: Samsung
Samsung QN85A

While Samsung has promised to begin selling MicroLED to consumers in other markets, the next-generation display technology doesn’t appear to be on the cards for Australia. Better luck next year, I guess. 

In the past, Samsung has sold some MicroLED TVs in Australia but only in a single size and only to business customers. For more on MicroLED, check out this guide.

Samsung 2021 TVs are on-sale via Australian retailers from this week.

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