Note: This feature was first published on 7 Apr 2021.
Home is where the heart is and that saying is even more true with the pandemic. Although it looks like we could be approaching the light at the end of the tunnel, widespread travel is not likely to resume at least until the second half of this year. Therefore, it makes sense to invest in the best electronic devices and gadgets for your home. Imagine being stuck at home with a crummy TV and patchy Wi-Fi. Nobody wants that.
Luckily for you, for Tech Awards 2021, we have gathered and tested all the major devices you'd need to make your home a comfortable living space.
Read on and find out who the winners are in each category! For this segment, we begin with the centrepiece of all living rooms – TVs.
4K TVs are a dime a dozen these days and it's no longer a spec or feature you would necessarily be chasing. These days, you can get a fairly usable 4K TV for just S$700 (or less). So what makes a great TV these days?
A TV with a great UI, excellent support for the latest HDR standards, a screen that can express millions of colours vibrantly and brightly (and not dumb things down), offer a wide viewing angle that all your family members can enjoy the screen anywhere in the room, use AI processing to improve and enhance any content type you can throw at it, support high refresh rates synced to the source output for tear-free and super smooth gaming with high-performance PCs and the latest game consoles, smart home integration, voice recognition, a capable audio subsystem, and a first-rate cabinet design that will dazzle your visitors (and yourself).
All of the above necessitates the very best TVs in the market that would support the HDMI 2.1 feature set to support high frame rate (HFR) in 8K and 4K content, Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) to better support gaming needs, enhanced HDMI Audio Return Channel (eARC) to support higher bandwidth uncompressed audio formats and newer object-based audio positioning to tackle Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and more. These are usually reserved for top-tier TV models that are usually supported by the latest TV processors used, but aside from supporting the latest features, the ability to translate all the digital video and audio signals to evoke a reaction from the human senses, the way you interact with the TV and how it responds in its visual presence, be it in design or aurally, is what sets apart basic and good TVs from the very best in the market.
While this year's award segment was really to find the Best TV launched in 2020, in our process of testing and gathering relevant comparison details, screen sizes and their respective prices played out an interesting twist for recommendations where 4K models were better suited up to certain screen sizes (and technically, it made sense too), while 8K models were a much better fit for larger screen sizes. As such, without further ado, let us tell you the best TV models you can buy right now for the two most upgraded screen sizes as far as premium TVs are concerned - the Best 65-inch TV and the Best 75-inch TV.
Side note: Though 2021 TV models are just about trickling down to the market, it's unfortunate that we can't yet qualify 2021 TVs because not all the options are available yet for our testing at the point of concluding Tech Awards, while many models have yet to be released until later this year.
|Size||LG CX OLED (4K)||Sony A8H OLED (4K)||Samsung
(88", Signature ZX 8K)
LG continues to keep their OLED TV offerings fairly straightforward as you'll get all the important features in both their mainstream CX OLED and the more refined Gallery GX OLED lineup. As such, it's only to be expected that most buyers would opt for the more affordable CX OLED offering, which is what we've qualified in our assessment.
We found the LG CX 4K OLED TV offered great picture quality, with deep blacks, excellent contrast, pleasing colours and very wide viewing angles — just like all the LG OLED TVs that came before it and you won't be disappointed. The CX also supports Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, HDMI 2.1, NVIDIA G-Sync, FreeSync VRR and HGiG, as well as LG ThinQ AI smarts like smart home/IoT control and voice recognition — again, features that are all found on the higher-end Gallery GX model.
At the 65-inch size bracket, you have a lot of contenders and considerations to tackle. From a value perspective, the LG CX OLED is the cheapest option and given its stellar performance, it looks like the best option if you don't necessarily need a TV to be used in a very bright room. Sony's A8H and LG's CX are neck and neck in terms of picture quality and price but the A8H is hampered (if you’re a gamer) by its lack of HDMI 2.1 and associated features such as VRR and ALLM, even if it has better audio placement thanks to its Acoustic Surface Audio system. However, audio is subjective and in that sense, LG seems to be better placed where ticking the core checkboxes are concerned. Besides, Sony's TV interface and remote look a little dated.
This brings us to the next point where you would have to consider your viewing habits such as watching a lot of HDR content and bright room usage needs because these are areas where Samsung QLED TVs generally excel. Besides the inky blacks of OLED and G-Sync support, the newest QLED TVs perform just as well as the LG CX. The overly expensive Samsung Q950T even has the 8K resolution advantage, but it may not be obvious on a 65-inch screen to justify the premium even if its official price point bundles in a powerful S$2,599 Samsung HW-Q950T soundbar.
Samsung also has other high-end TV variants like the Q95T, a premium 4K TV at half the price of the Q950T and is a credible alternative to the LG CX. The Samsung Q95T offers better design (than the LG) and has useful audio features like object tracking sound for 3D sound even from stereo tracks, active voice amplification and more that are also present on the Q950T. Additionally, Samsung's One Invisible Connection and One Connect Box are thoughtful features for the modern home that we don't see elsewhere. There's also the Q800T model, which is a QLED 8K TV but with less design finesse and fewer frills. This will also net you a powerful soundbar as part of the official recommended retail price so that you can enjoy Atmos and Samsung's Q-Symphony feature. If you factor in the cost of the soundbar alone, the price of the Q800T is pretty close to LG's price point. In short, the Samsung QLEDs are every bit a consideration at the 65-inch size and you can't go wrong with either brand.
In the end, the LG CX OLED just happens to make the choice easier with a lower price tag, packs in all the essential features needed and offers great overall performance — a very easy winning combo that gets our nod for the Best 65-inch TV. On a related note, LG CX OLED also comes in sizes as small as a 48-incher which is perfect as the ultimate bedroom TV or an oversized desktop monitor for work and games.
If you decide to go bigger, OLED screens tend to be expensive compared to LED-backlit based options. For instance, the 77-inch 4K CX retails for S$18K and that's several grand more than the 75-inch 4K Q95T. At this sticker price, you can opt to get the Q950T, which remember, is an 8K TV. Basically, at 75-inch sizes and above, Samsung typically offers more options that are more attractively priced and pack extras to tip the value scale further in their favour.
At this size, Samsung's top-end Q950T model finally allows you to experience 8K TV resolution goodness in all its glory and you can truly start to appreciate the extra resolution that Samsung can pump out. Like last year, the TV's greatest strength is it can go really bright, which means the picture will look good whether you’re using it in a bright or dark room. And if you enjoy watching HDR content, the increased brightness comes in handy to enhance realism. Coupled with an Ultra Viewing Angle tech that solves past viewing angle problems, this TV can produce pretty convincing blacks and well defined bright objects without blooming. Of course OLEDs can still trump black levels (and thus contrast), there's so much more to the Samsung flagship TV than just its display.
A fantastic Infinity Screen design that has 'deleted' all bezels and defies TV manufacturing, zero-gap wall mounting, Samsung's One Invisible Connection and One Connect box to help you easily manage connectivity options flexibly and without the cable mess, convincing Object Tracking Sound with audio content that's not explicitly coded such, a 4.2.2 multi-channel audio system, Q-Symphony feature to take advantage of speakers on the TV and selected Samsung soundbars collectively, Real Game Enhancer+ takes care of everything a gamer needs (minus official G-Sync support) and other convenience features like Tap View to cast your phone's screen effortlessly, or indulge in Multi-View to enjoy various screen inputs simultaneously, as well as Google Assistant Support.
The list is dizzyingly long and unique to Samsung's top-end TV models and if you can appreciate these creature comforts, along with the 8K resolution upsize bonanza, Samsung's Q950T QLED 8K TV is an ideal companion if you're looking to get the best overall experience with a really large screen TV. Best of all, you're not paying more than what the competition commands and Samsung is actually bundling in their top-end soundbar for you to enjoy Dolby Atmos and Samsung's Q-Symphony feature for a powerful audio experience.
All said and done, the Samsung Q950T QLED 8K TV is our pick for the Best 75-inch TV in the market.
What if you plan to go even bigger? Samsung has an 85-inch model at S$30k, while LG offers their Signature ZX, an 8K OLED TV that’s only available in 88-inch screen size for an eye tearing price of S$60k. So in some sense, the bigger you go, Samsung's QLED TV options offer more value.
|Criteria/Model||LG CX 4K OLED||Samsung Q950T 8K QLED||Sony A8H 4K OLED|