A Review of Samsung’s Most Affordable 2019 QLED, The Q60R
Stephan Jukic – April 28, 2019
Samsung’s new 2019 QLED TV, the Q60 (Q60R) model is very similar to 2018’s lower-end QLED, the Q6F in terms of design. It also delivers somewhat similar performance on several key specs. However, in most ways, the overall performance quality of the Q60R is slightly or in some ways very inferior to that of its predecessor and even its physical build leaves more to be desired.
That said, the Q60R is generally a very good 4K HDR LCD TV that particularly excels in certain key things like color delivery and gaming responsiveness. In other specs, its performance is surprisingly weak but the overall balance of this TV’s quality definitely tends toward decent quality and good picture delivery. Now we’ll get down to the details of what we like, don’t like and following that, what we can say about its specific performance metrics.
• Great motion handling and gaming performance
• Very good color rendering for normal and HDR content
• Strong, responsive motion handling, especially for gaming
• Good contrast
• Excellent content upscaling for all resolutions
• Not nearly as bright as we expected
• No local dimming at all
• Weak viewing angles
• No Dolby Vision support
• Native Audio could be better
Samsung’s Q60 2019 QLED TV is a very good model by itself but it definitely disappoints in a few key ways when compared to what is basically its predecessor, the 2018 Q6FN QLED edition. It also performs worse than several other key mid-range 2018 4K HDR TVs we’ve reviewed (linked to below this). We don’t know exactly why Samsung let display performance quality slide for the newer TV but it was a bad move. Nonetheless, if you take the comparison with the older WLED TV aside, the Q60R is a good television by most measures and it offers plenty of excellent HDR color and gaming performance in particular, despite its defects.
What We Liked about the Q60R
Despite the disappointments that we noted above about the Samsung Q60 4K HDR LCD TV, we do like this television model and consider it a good performer in most ways. In certain key aspects of its design and performance, it is in fact a superb 4K HDR TV and gamers or action sportscast fans in particular are going to love its responsiveness and motion handling specs. Now, here are the key specs and features of the Q60R 4K HDR TV from Samsung that we most appreciated.
The Samsung Q60R QLED TV delivers the kind of excellent overall color performance that we’ve come to expect from Samsung’s ultra HD TVs in the QLED lineups from 2017, 2018 and 2019 now. It doesn’t quite deliver the same wide color gamut (WCG) performance as Samsung’s 2018 QLEDs or even the cheapest among them, it’s predecessor the Q6FN but the difference in performance quality between the Q60 and the Q6FN is pretty small, small enough that most viewers wouldn’t notice anything amiss unless they had this 2019 QLED compared side by side right before their eyes with a 2018 QLED model. Most importantly, the Q60R delivers great WCG DCI-P3 spectrum coverage for strong, varied and vibrant colors, and it offers smooth 10-bit color gradation too. Its performance at delivering colors during very bright and very dark scenery is also pretty good. In any case, since this TV doesn’t get exceptionally luminous, color performance during bright scenes isn’t much of a problem anyhow.
4K Resolution AND Superb upscaling
As usual, Samsung has created a 4K UHD TV with superb upscaling power in its internal processor. The Q60R delivers excellent rendering of non-4K content across the board and while 1080p Blu-ray disc quality or high quality streamed 1080p movies will upscale at their absolute best on the Q60’s 4K HDR display, even regular 720p and even 480p SD resolution broadcast and DVD content will look positively superb unless you’re watching something that was just badly formatted or has delivery interruption problems. The Q60R even lets non-HDR non-4K content feeds benefit a bit from its high dynamic range specs. SDR movies or TV shows will play back with great general brightness while the Q60R’s overall high quality color delivery makes sure that even video sources without HDR color mastering look vibrant and nicely accurate. In other words, you don’t need purely 4K HDR video sources to get the most from an HDR TV like the Q60R.
Motion handling and Gaming Excellence
One of the single strongest features of the 2019 Samsung Q60 QLED television is its excellence for gaming via console or even from a PC. This TV offers up an excellent, low input lag almost entirely across the board for gaming in 4K, with HDR, without HDR, in 1080p resolution with HDR or in different color sampling modes. All are nicely covered and all work exceptionally well as long as the Q60 is set to its gaming mode. Furthermore, the Q60R’s very good motion handling specs, particularly its excellent pixel response time for control of motion blur, also help during rapid, action-packed gaming sequences. The Q60’s motion handling specs are something we’ll cover in further technical detail down below but they are very good in almost all ways for movies, TV viewing and for interpolation of content that runs at lower sub-60Hz frame rates or above, closer to 120Hz. On a finishing note, the Q60’s gaming performance and motion handling are some of the few specs in this TV that deliver better performance than what the 2018 Q6F QLED can do.
The Q60R is a well-built 4K TV though we think the 2018 Q6F was better looking and slightly sturdier. In terms of physical shape, this TV is extremely similar to the Q6FN except that instead of a silvery metallic body with metal supporting legs, it’s made entirely out of plastic and comes with polished plastic leg supports. That said, the Q60 is very sturdy, feels solid and holds itself up just fine. Connectivity ports are all along the back of the television and no external One Connect or One Connect mini box is included with the Q60 QLED edition (the 2018 Q6FN did indeed have a One Connect mini box though). The bezels along the edge of the Q60’s screen are fairly thin and because they’re also black, watching the TV in a dimly lit or unlit room creates the nice visual effect of making the edge design seem invisible.
What We Didn’t Like
There are a number of things about the Samsung Q60R QLED TV that we simply didn’t like. In fact, we disliked slightly more aspects of this TV than we normally do for one of Samsung’s premium models, and this is simply because the Q60 falls a bit flat on an above-average number of specs and features, reducing its overall value per dollar spent. Here are the things we think are most noteworthy for being crappy or mediocre.
Brightness Issues (Especially in HDR mode)
The Samsung Q60 QLED TVs just don’t get nearly as bright as we expected them to as the 2019 successors to this brand’s excellent 2018 QLED TVs. The difference between this year’s Q60 and the 2018 Q6F that was more or less its predecessor is huge in fact, with the 2019 TV we’re reviewing here being capable of outputting roughly three times less overall luminosity in HDR mode than what the 2018 Q6FN can easily do! The Q60R gets fairly decent brightness for normal non-HDR content but when it comes to HDR brightness levels, it performs no better than an older-model budget 4K TV, and that’s damn disappointing. By contrast, the Q6F from last year and many other similarly mid-range 2018 4K HDR LCD TVs like the TCL 6-Series, Vizio’s P-Series and even Samsung’s NU8000 non-QLED TVs from 2018 all offer MUCH better HDR brightness, they also offer better SDR (non-HDR) display brightness.
This is our single biggest disappointment in the overall quality and performance of the Samsung Q60R.
Black level and dimming weaknesses
Unlike even the cheapest of the 2018 QLED TVs, the Q6F, the Q60R, as the cheapest 2019 QLED to be released, doesn’t include local dimming technology of any kind. Granted, the 2018 Q6F offered only mediocre local dimming precision with its version of this feature but the technology did help it create excellent black levels and overall black uniformity. In the Q60F both are absent. This TV offers only moderately decent black uniformity, with some clouding unavoidably being visible, its overall black levels are also less than perfect. On the other hand, despite having fairly weak peak brightness and modest black depth, the Q60R still manages fairly decent contrast, which is surprising and impressive.
Moderate HDR problems
If we combine the low peak HDR brightness levels, weak black levels and slightly lower-than-expected wide color gamut color saturation measurements we got from the Q60R, the overall HDR performance of this TV emerges pretty weakly. HDR is there; this TV supports full HDR color delivery and also offers support for both HDR10 and its more refined HDR10+ version but because of the limitations we mention above in how well it renders bright highlights and extremely rich colors, HDR content shows up on the screen without the serious kick you’d expect it to get from a QLED TV display. Also, like all Samsung ultra HD HDR TVs, the Q60 doesn’t support Dolby Vision high dynamic range.
Weak viewing angles
This is a minor defect of the Q60R and one that’s universal to nearly all LCD TVs with VA display technology (the vast majority of LCD 4K HDR TVs produced today). Simply put, the ideal viewing angles available for the Q60 are narrow. If the screen is viewed from more than about 20 degrees off to one side from dead center, its contrast, color and brightness outputs all visibly decrease. The tradeoff here is that you get the benefit of high quality contrast and deeper black levels as compensating factors but since black levels are not exactly great in the Q60 to begin with, this TV’s weak viewing angles have a stronger impact on its overall rating.
Price and Value
The Samsung Q60R isn’t an extremely expensive 4K HDR TV but it’s certainly not a budget model either and even its current retail price is a bit high in our estimation. For the specs and overall performance that Samsung gave the Q60, they could have priced it more cheaply, that or simply have built a slightly better TV. The 2018 Q6FN now costs a bit less than the Q60R but delivers much better quality on key metrics of performance.
Value for Price & Bottom Line
We do like the Samsung Q60 4K HDR TV and think it’s generally a very decent model for delivering a high quality home theater experience. However, it could have been so much better and we expected more. To cap these defects off, this model’s prices don’t quite justify buying it, since several different alternative UHDR HDR TV options exist among both 2018 and 2019 4K TVs with both better performance and lower price tags.
Key Samsung Q60R Specs
• Screen sizes: 43 inch QN43Q60R, 49 inch QN49Q60R, 55 inch QN55Q60R, 65 inch QN65Q60R, 75 inch QN75Q60R, 82 inch QN82Q60R (TV being reviewed is 65 inches)
• Smart TV: Tizen 2019 Edition
• HEVC (H.265) Included: Yes
• VP9 Included. Yes
• HD to UHD to 4K upscaling: Yes
• HDCP 2.2 Compliance: Yes
• HDR Support: Yes, HDR10, HDR10+, Hybrid Log Gamma
• Refresh Rate: 120Hz native refresh rate (60Hz in 43 and 49 inch models)
• Screen Lighting: LCD Display with full-array backlighting & local dimming
• Resolution: 3840 × 2160 pixels 4K UHD
• Wireless Connectivity: Yes, includes both built-in WiFi and Ethernet port
• Remotes: Samsung smart OneRemote with voice control
• Connectivity: 4 HDMI ports (all of them 2.0a and with HDCP 2.2), 2 USB ports, 1 Ethernet port, 1 Digital Audio Out, all also located in external One Connect box
• Contrast Ratio: 6300:1 (native, real contrast)
• Absolute Maximum Peak Brightness: 381 nits (cd/m2)
• 3D Technology: N/A
• Processor: Quantum Processor 4K
Display Performance Metrics
Now we get down to the most crucial performance metrics that make or break any 4K ultra HD TV’s reputation. These are what really define overall performance and picture quality and they consist of measurements for: color reproduction, brightness, black levels, contrast, local dimming and motion handling because these are the things that really dictate how well a TV displays the content you want to watch on it. These specs may vary slightly from unit to unit so they should not be taken as absolutes. However, they should maintain a generally high level of similarity in all TV models of all sizes, making them good enough to be highly reliable indicators of quality.
It’s important for us to note here that different TV display sizes in a single model can make some of the specs detailed below vary slightly. This applies particularly to edge-lit UHD TVs due to the wider space covered by the LEDs along one or more edges of these TVs. The Samsung Q60 is an edge-lit model so its black levels and peak brightness specs can actually vary a bit between different sizes of TV display.
There might also be minor specific performance variation from unit to unit, so what our review metrics showed us might not perfectly correspond to what another buyers TV delivers.
The metrics for screen performance that we’re about to focus on disregard all the marketing and labeling fluff that manufacturers like to pile up around their 4K TVs for the sake of making them seem more exceptional than they really might be. Here we ignore empty labels, fake color brilliance branding and disingenuous terminology of the kind that you’ll often find on the manufacturers promotional materials. Instead, we measure what the Samsung QNQ60R QLED TV can actually deliver in a household setting.
Black Level, uniformity, Local Dimming and Contrast:
Some of the most crucial display specs for any television (and especially for any HDR 4K TV) are its levels for black depth, black uniformity, local dimming and contrast range. Done right, they strongly enhance the overall perception of color richness and picture quality in the rest of what’s being presented onscreen. Furthermore, for HDR content, deep blacks and high contrast are crucial specs. Because they also interplay with each other as far as display performance goes, they need to be covered together.
The Samsung Q60 delivers all of the above fairly well but not exceptionally. Its black levels are decent but because there is no local dimming in this 4K HDR TV, some clouding shows itself in darker rooms across a fully darkened screen. For the same reason, bright, specific content (like white letters) displayed in a dark background can also have a slight halo of light around it.
In essence, black levels and uniformity are not exactly perfect or uniform due to the lack of local dimming in the Q60 edition. Black levels and black uniformity are generally much better in 4K QLED TVs with local dimming (such as all of the 2018 QLED editions). That said, the Q60 does deliver the contrast and deeper black level needed at 0.019 nits to display pretty decent HDR quality in high dynamic range content and to offer an overall high picture quality for regular movie and TV media.
In terms of contrast, the Samsung Q60R is a very decent but not exceptional performer. Its maximum native real contrast ratio sits at around 6,300:1, which isn’t incredible but definitely is very good. This is more than enough for high picture quality and for appreciating strong, crisp variations between colorful, vibrant bright scenes in content and shadowy parts. However, some of Samsung’s mid-range 4K TVs from last year such as the Q7F, Q6F and even the non-QLED NU8000 all outperform even the best contrast performance that the Q60 can do.
4K TV screen brightness is basically measured based on how luminous the TV can get in both SDR (normal content) mode and how bright it can get when set to view HDR content. The main measurements under each are for peak possible brightness, average general screen brightness and for highest sustained brightness. Peak brightness is the maximum possible spot HDR or SDR luminosity of a complete 4K TV display or differently sized sections of its screen as measured in units of brightness called nits (or cd/m2, which is the same thing). Sustained brightness is the highest possible sustained HDR or SDR brightness that the TV screen can manage across its entire screen or parts of it for a prolonged period of time (a few minutes or more). In other words, Peak brightness consists of how luminous sudden bright spots can become and sustained brightness measures prolonged luminosity in content in general on the display.
The Samsung QNQ60R 4K HDR QLED TV shows its absolute weakest performance when it comes to its measurements for display luminosity and we’re not sure why Samsung had to screw one of its 2019 QLED TVs over so badly on something so important. In terms of how bright this TV can get, it performs no better than Samsung’s CHEAPEST 2018 mid-range and budget 4K TVs and that’s bad when you consider what even the cheapest 2018 QLEDs like the Q6N could all manage.
In fact, the Q60 is a dimmer overall 4K HDR TV than any mid-range HDR competitor we reviewed in 2018 and definitely dimmer than any other 4K or 8K TV we’ve reviewed so far in 2019. It especially falls flat at HDR settings, in which even non-QLED Samsung TVs like the NU8000 from 2018 beat it
In basic terms, the above means that while the Q60R doesn’t do a bad job at being bright enough for normal non-HDR content of all kinds, as an HDR TV it isn’t all that great in terms of brightness (though its color performance, contrast, black levels and other HDR features are pretty good). None of these things mean that the Q60R will offer bad picture quality, but they do mean that compared to most other similarly priced or even cheaper 4K HDR TVs from competitors, or even most of Samsung’s own similarly priced 2018 HDR TVs, the Q60 delivers noticeably dimmer picture performance during crucial moments of brightness.
Below are all of the main display brightness specs of the Q60 as measured in nits for different areas of display space, under both HDR and SDR settings and under both peak and sustained conditions:
Samsung Q60R SDR Brightness
- Overall SDR peak brightness for normal content: 345 nits
- Peak 2% display area display SDR brightness: 220 nits
- Peak 10% display area SDR brightness: 375 nits
- Peak 100% display area SDR brightness: 375 nits
- Sustained 10% SDR brightness: 376 nits
- Sustained 100% SDR brightness: 374 nits
Samsung Q60 QLED TV HDR Brightness
- Overall HDR peak brightness for normal content: 361 nits
- Peak 2% display area display HDR brightness: 198 nits
- Peak 10% display area HDR brightness: 380 nits
- Peak 100% display area HDR brightness: 380 nits
- Sustained 10% HDR brightness: 380 nits
- Sustained 100% HDR brightness: 381 nits
For a QLED TV, the Q60R doesn’t quite reach the color vibrancy and coverage of Wide Color Gamut color space (DC-P3 percentage) that we expected. It actually underperforms Samsung’s own 2018 QLED TVs by a few points. However, the difference is small and it’s still an incredibly vibrant color performer. It also comes with excellent out-of-the-box color calibration, with plenty of accuracy. In fact, you’d only notice that it underperforms certain 4K HDR TVs such as Samsung’s QLED models or TCL and Vizio’s HDR models at HDR color if you were to put the Q60 next to them in a side-by-side comparison.
On the other hand, the Samsung QNQ60R nonetheless offers HDR-level high wide color gamut coverage of the DCI-P3 space at 92.5%. Furthermore, it’s 10-bit color support (for 1.07 billion colors) is smooth and finely gradated, and this TV just delivers excellent rich color for content in general even when it’s not being used to display HDR movies.
How well color accuracy renders during both very shadowy and extremely bright scenes is also reasonably good in this TV model and it’s definitely superior to what we saw in many of the 2017 and even some 2018 4K HDR TVs made by Samsung or other brands. In shadowy content sequences in particular, very decent color volume is maintained across the entire wide color gamut DCI-P3 space and that’s pretty good considering just how tricky it used to be for a TV display to pull this off in older 4K models. The Samsung Q60R’s ability to deliver vibrant colors in high brightness is a bit weak though and this affects blue colors in particular. That said, since this TV doesn’t get exceptionally bright anyhow, this is a minor problem.
The Q60 QLED however does offer truly great color calibration accuracy right out of the box and without any preliminary calibration: White balance delta E, color delta E and Gamma in this 4K HDR LCD TV sit at very good levels of 1.75, 2.10 and 2.08 respectively before you do any color calibration refinements at all. These are wonderful, accurate specs. Adjusting the Q60’s picture settings through manual calibration produces even better, simply superb results, with these same levels being aligned even further to sit at 0.29, 1.2 and 2.19 respectively for the model we reviewed. Again, these are some great color accuracy settings by any measure, especially if you bear in mind that the lower these numbers are, the better.
Motion Handling & Upscaling:
Samsung’s 4K and other TVs have a consistent reputation for good to great motion handling and an even better reputation for the quality of their gaming performance. We’ve noticed the same thing in almost all of our reviews of this brand’s models and it applies especially to the mid-range and premium televisions. The Q60 keeps to this trend wonderfully. Motion in content is very smoothly and effectively handled with minimal blur, flicker or distortion even if the content is being played back at frame rates that are lower than the native refresh rate of 120Hz that this TV’s screen is set to (except for the 43 inch and 49 inch models, with native refresh rates of just 60Hz.
Specifically, the Q60’s motion blur control is simply outstanding at a refresh rate of 3.5 milliseconds of pixel color shift delay and this spec means that fast movement blurs minimally during playback, making the TV good for things like sportscasts or action movies and games. Even at its very slowest response time, which occurs no more than 20% of the time for motion across the onscreen pixels, the Q60 never does worse than 9.9 milliseconds, which is still excellent. In terms of response time in other words, this TV beats its predecessor the Q6F hands down.
The Q60 4K HDR TV also has excellent motion interpolation capacity in its screen for adding frames during slower content to further diminish blur, but this can produce a slight soap opera effect when used for movies that play at different frame rates, though Samsung has made the effect less noticeable with each passing year in its newer TV models like this one. Black frame insertion in this TV also works perfectly, which further helps improve the crispness of picture quality
The Q60’s motion interpolation capability is also downright superb for all normal content frame rates (24p movies, 30-50fps TV content, high frame rate streamed video and games) the Samsung Q60 manages all of these very well on its native 120Hz display panel. It can interpolate content up to 120fps and offers this for content that natively plays back at 30fps and at 60fps. 24p Blu-ray discs, DVDs, cable TV and broadcast TV sources as well as streaming media from both native apps and apps inside external streaming media devices can all be played judder-free as well. (and the smaller 43 and 49 inch models perform equally well on all of the above within the limits of their native 60Hz display capabilities)
Finally, the upscaling capability of the Samsung QNQ60 QLED TV is as good as any we’ve seen in any of Samsung’s recent 4K TVs of all types. This television does a superbly good job of sharpening 1080p content from any source with minimal to non-existent artifact creation and it pulls off nearly as high a level of upscaling performance for 720p and even 480p SD content sources from TV broadcasts, DVDs and other media sources, as long as the source material has been mastered well. Color and contrast are also conserved well in most high quality media sources though the Q60 will only apply HDR color to native high dynamic range video with HDR10 or HLG mastering.
Input Performance for Gaming and PC:
When it comes to gaming functionality and responsiveness for both PC and console devices, the Samsung Q60 QLED is downright superb. This is this particular 4K HDR TV’s single greatest strength in terms of both visual performance and in how well it responds to playback of games from consoles or PCs at all sorts of different refresh rates, frame rates, color settings, resolutions and combinations of all of these. Additionally, the Q60R, like all of Samsung’s 2018 and 2019 QLED TVs, comes with FreeSync variable refresh rate synchronization technology, allowing it to smoothly mesh the onscreen refresh rate with that being outputted by the GPU inside a gaming platform that the TV is connected to. The input lag for console or PC gaming on this TV across several resolution, HDR, color and frame rate combinations is downright excellent, as the numbers below clearly show:
Here are some of the key specific specs for its gaming performance in different console setups:
- 4k @ 60Hz: 14.4 ms
- 1080p @ 60Hz: 14.9 ms
- 1080p @ 120Hz: 8.3 ms
- 4k @ 60Hz + HDR: 14.2 ms
- 1080p @ 60Hz + HDR: 4.1 ms
- 4k @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode : 62 ms
- 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4: 14.1 ms
- 4K @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4 + HDR: 14.4 ms
- 1440p @ 120Hz: 9.5 ms
- 4K with interpolation activated: 35.4 ms
The Samsung Q60 comes with all of its connectivity ports built into the back left of the TV inside a recessed panel. Unlike some other Samsung QLED TV models or the company’s 2019 8K TV, the Q60 QLED does not come with an external One Connect box. That said, it’s capable management is pretty well designed and easy to set up even though this TV doesn’t have a smoothly flat back panel for the specialized flushed mounting to walls that Samsung’s design allows for certain higher-end QLED TVs.
Like virtually all newer 4K HDR TVs, the Q60 QLED comes with today’s now standardized and essential advanced connectivity specs. Thus, this 2018 model comes equipped with four HDMI 2.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 USB ports and other crucial connectivity slots. Samsung has also given the Q60 full HDMI 2.0 HDR supported bandwidth in all four HDMI ports. On the other hand, unlike Samsung’s Q900 8K QLED and possibly other pricier 2019 4K QLED TVs, the Q60R does not have one of those new HDMI 2.1 ports that would allow for 4K gaming or content playback at a true native 120Hz. This is a shame but for virtually all sources of 4K UHD content, it’s perfectly fine. Additionally, and also disappointingly, the Q60R does not have any USB 3.0 ports and unlike certain pricier QLED TVs it comes with only 2 USB ports that both come with USB 2.0.
The following are the Samsung QLED QNQ60R’s ports and their specifications:
- HDMI : 4 (HDCP 2.2 & full HDMI 2.0a capacity)
- USB : 3 (USB 2.0 x 3)
- Digital Optical Audio Out : 1
- Analog Audio Out 3.5 mm : 1
- Tuner (Cable/Ant) : 1
- Ethernet : 1
- HDR10 support: Yes
- HDR10+ support: Yes
- Dolby Vision HDR support: No
- Hybrid Log Gamma HDR support: Yes
- Dolby Vision HDR: Yes
The Samsung QLED Q60R TV models also offer audio connectivity in the following types.
- 1 Passthrough ARC Dolby Digital
- 1 Passthrough Optical Dolby Digital
- 1 Passthrough eARC support
Samsung has released the QNQ60R 4K ultra HD HDR LCD Smart TV models in several different sizes. Thus, you have the choice of a 43 inch, 49 inch, 55 inch, 65 inch or 75 inch model, and a huge 82 inch version that would be just awesome for gamers and home theater fans who want a deeply immersive experience. These several editions are otherwise identical in pretty much all essential specs except that the 43 inch and 49 inch versions offer only 60Hz refresh rates on their screens while all of the larger editions offer 120Hz. Other than that, very minor screen performance variations such as those we described in our visual specs intro section above may be possible between different screen sizes and even individual units.
The models all sell for the following prices, found in the link below at the time of this writing. Bear in mind that these are subject to sometimes frequent downward change and it’s a good idea to click the following Amazon links for real-time pricing and all available discounts on this model.