Samsung Class 55 inch Serif QLED TV review


Samsung’s flagship TVs like the QN90B and S95B stand out from a purely technical standpoint because of their panel technology and the resulting picture quality. However, these aren’t Samsung’s only TVs; the company offers an entire category of large screens that are designed more to fit a venue or sense of style than to show the best possible picture. Samsung’s lifestyle TVs include The Terrace, suitable for the outdoors, and The Frame, ready for the gallery wall. But The Serif ($1,499.99 for the 55-inch model we tested) is the most cutting-edge of the three, with a striking design and floor standing that makes it the centerpiece of any entertainment room. However, it doesn’t get very bright and displays poor contrast, which means it’s still expensive compared to more technical TVs such as the Hisense U8G and TCL Google TV 4K 6-Series (both models 55 inches). costs $949.99).

A form of its own

The Serif makes more of a design statement than other TVs. It’s instantly identifiable due to its beam-like profile, floor stand, and flat top, which combine unique style and utilitarian appeal. The center of the beam is quite wide at around 2.8 inches and the bottom surface flares out at almost 9 inches. The top of the TV doubles as a shelf and provides a nearly 4-inch-deep platform that’s stable enough for decorations, small devices like a Nintendo Switch dock, or just the remote.

Samsung The Serif TV stand

(Photo: Will Greenwald)

Unlike most TVs, The Serif isn’t designed for wall mounts at all. Instead, it rests on the floor on two pairs of angled, tube-like metal legs. With that in mind, it does not support VESA mounts.

The power cable connects to a port on the left side of the TV’s rear panel, while all other connections face right from a recess on the right side. They include four HDMI ports (one eARC), two USB ports, an optical audio output, a 3.5mm EX-LINK port, and a cable/antenna connector. A small joystick that doubles as a power button sits in the lower right corner on the back of the TV. A large plastic cover conceals all ports and a cutout makes room for the control stick. Holes on the rear half of the bottom beam flare allow you to route cables from the two recesses; you can attach pipe-like guides to the back legs to keep the wires from hanging down.

Top edge of Samsung The Serif TV

(Photo: Will Greenwald)

The Serif comes with the Samsung OneRemote, a simple white wand with a circular navigation pad near the top. The Multi-View, Power, Settings and Voice buttons sit above the pad, with a pinhole microphone between them to allow voice control. The back, home, and play/pause buttons sit directly below the pad. Volume and channel rockers are below these, along with dedicated service buttons for Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Netflix and Samsung TV Plus. It’s a simple and functional remote, but it relies on standard AAA batteries. We prefer the Eco Remote that comes with the QN90B and S95B; it uses a built-in rechargeable battery with a USB-C port and also supports solar power.

Tizen Smart TV Frustrations

The Serif uses Samsung’s Tizen-powered smart TV platform, which is feature-rich but boring in practice. It offers most major video streaming services, including Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix and YouTube, as well as support for Apple AirPlay 2. It also lets you use Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Samsung’s Bixby. voice assistant by speaking into the remote control. It doesn’t have the far-field microphone of the QN90B or S95B, so you can’t use those voice assistants hands-free.

Samsung The Serif TV Smart TV UI

(Photo: Will Greenwald)

Unfortunately, the menu layout on the interface is very intrusive. Pressing the settings button on the remote can bring up a quick bar of simple toggles and mode changes, but accessing individual settings requires navigating some unintuitive menus and diving at least a layer or two deeper. than most other televisions. It’s just plain frustrating, especially without a dedicated input button on the remote to quickly switch between sources. Curiously, there’s a button for Multi-View split-screen instead.

Poor contrast, strong color

The Serif is a 4K LED-backlit LCD TV with a 60Hz refresh rate. It supports high dynamic range (HDR) content in HDR and HDR10+. It does not support Dolby Vision or the new ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard.

We test TVs using a Klein K-80 colorimeter(Opens in a new window)a Murideo SIX-G signal generator(Opens in a new window)and Calman software from Portrait Displays(Opens in a new window). As one of Samsung’s lifestyle TVs, The Serif doesn’t reach the same heights of picture quality as some of Samsung’s flagship TVs. In fact, its performance is quite modest and its contrasting results are poor.

With an SDR signal, The Serif showed peak brightness of 305 nits with a full-screen white field. Results with 18% white field were not significantly different. It also showed a black level of 0.09 nits, revealing that it lacked the QN90B’s superlative mini LED backlight system with dimming zones. An HDR signal only marginally improved brightness and black level; here it peaked at 379 nits with a full-screen white field and a low black level of 0.075 nits for a contrast ratio of 5,055:1.

Samsung The Serif TC Color Profile Results

The graphs above show the color levels of The Serif in Film mode with an SDR signal against Rec.709 broadcast standards and with an HDR signal against DCI-P3 digital cinema standards. SDR colors are near ideal, which is always nice to see, but has become increasingly common on TVs lately. HDR colors are also strong; they don’t cover the full DCI-P3 color space, but display precise balance without significant tilt. For reference, the QN90B displays a similar color gamut (although it gets much brighter and almost perfectly dark thanks to its mini LED backlight).

Plant greens in BBC’s Planet Earth II appear well saturated and varied, although not as rich and vivid as on Samsung’s quantum dot-equipped TVs like the QN90B. Bark and fur look crisp and detailed in both direct sunlight and shade, so this model is capable of a surprisingly sharp image despite its modest brightness and contrast.

Side view of Samsung The Serif TV

(Photo: Will Greenwald)

The red of Deadpool’s costume in the opening scene covered in dead Pool looks vibrant (but not oversaturated) and stands out well in cool lighting. In the scorching lab fight, the fire looks bright and rich, though the yellow centers of the flickering flames lose some texture. Shadow details in the scene also appear slightly muddy at times.

The problem of high black levels swallowing up fine detail in the dark is apparent in party scenes from Gatsby the magnificent. Here, the outlines and cutouts of the black suits tend to disappear next to the stark whites of the balloons and lights in the same frame. Skin tones look natural, and any splashes of color in the otherwise almost monochromatic shots particularly stand out.

Low lag, but few gaming features

Although Samsung’s Smart TV platform offers the Game Bar useful for displaying currently used features while you play, The Serif has fewer gaming features than other Samsung TV models. Specifically, it doesn’t have any form of variable refresh rate (VRR), which helps keep graphics smooth and stutter-free. Despite this, the TV is quite responsive in terms of input lag.

We couldn’t test the latency of the TV with our usual HDFury Diva HDMI matrix(Opens in a new window), but we measured it using a Leo Bodnar 1080p video signal input lag test, which tends to show higher numbers than the Diva. The Serif showed a lag of just 9.7 milliseconds in Game mode, just below the 10ms threshold we use to determine if a TV is good for gaming.

Samsung The Serif rear panel view

(Photo: Will Greenwald)

High design with limited performance

The Serif is an eye-catching TV that can be a centerpiece in your living room on its own, and we love its utilitarian design touches. It’s quite expensive considering its average contrast, but it displays excellent colors and its smart TV platform supports the best apps and features even if it’s difficult to use. But we prioritize image quality over aesthetics, so the TCL Google TV 4K 6 Series and Hisense U8G remain stronger options with higher brightness, wider colors and more features. useful such as hands-free voice control. And, if you can spend more, the LG C2 ($1,799.99 for the 55-inch model) is our high-end Editors’ Choice winner thanks to its superlative colors, endless contrast, and impossibly thin design that can be blend into your decor. If aesthetics are important to you, however, few other TVs make such a statement as The Serif.

Samsung 55 inch Class The Serif QLED TV

The essential

Samsung’s The Serif lifestyle TV is eye-catching and unique, even if its screen isn’t all that special.

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