Good picture quality
Plenty of features
No HDMI 2.1 features
Only 60Hz refresh rate
Of course, being one of the more affordable options in this year’s Samsung QLED lineup doesn’t mean it’s affordable on the whole. Even the 43-inch version of this TV costs $600 right now; put into perspective, you could get a really solid 4K/HDR TV in a larger size for that kind of money.
However, performance isn’t all you’re paying for with the Q60A. Its handsome design is peerless in this price bracket, and Samsung’s expertise with quantum dots make it delightfully colorful. If you want good picture quality without sacrificing design or snappy processing, the Q60A is a great choice as long as you know why you’re paying more. And if the price is giving you cold feet, you could keep an eye out for a price drop later in the year.
About the Samsung Q60A QLED TV series
Samsung’s Q60A TV series is available in a full range of sizes, a whopping eight in all:
- 32-inch (Samsung QN32Q60A), MSRP $499.99
- 43-inch (Samsung QN43Q60A), MSRP $599.99
- 50-inch (Samsung QN50Q60A), MSRP $699.99
- 55-inch (Samsung QN55Q60A), MSRP $849.99
- 60-inch (Samsung QN60Q60A), MSRP $999.99
- 65-inch (Samsung QN65Q60A), MSRP $1,099.99
- 70-inch (Samsung QN70Q60A), MSRP $1,349.99
- 75-inch (Samsung QN75Q60A), MSRP $1,499.99
- 85-inch (Samsung QN85Q60A), MSRP $2,799.99
Despite the huge range of sizes (and price points), you’re getting the same basic hardware and software experience across the whole TV series. Here are the key specs at a glance:
- Resolution: 4K (3,840 x 2,160)
- Display type: QLED (quantum dot + dual-LED backlight)
- Dimming technology: Supreme UHD Dimming
- HDR support: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
- eARC support: Yes
- Native refresh rate: 60Hz
- Smart platform: Tizen Smart TV
- Color: DCI-P3 color space/10-bit chroma resolution
- Processor: Quantum Processor 4K Lite
- HDMI 2.1-compatible: No
- Other features: AirSlim design, Q-Symphony, Bluetooth audio, Bixby, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Ambient Mode, Accessibility Features
Some things to note about the Q60A TVs is that you’re losing a few high-end performance features off of the flagship Q90A series. You’re not getting 120Hz refresh rates with the Q60A series (important primarily for fast content like gaming, and sometimes sports), nor are you getting Samsung’s new mini-LED backlight. However, you’re still getting 4K resolution, quantum dot color, and a whole bunch of other cool stuff.
We test TVs in a light-controlled lab at our HQ in Cambridge, MA, but beforehand, we assemble it and run a moving test pattern on the screen for a minimum of 24 hours, which gives it time to warm up and settle into continuous operation.
The performance data below is gathered during our suite of test procedures, most of which rely on objective lab data gathered via light-measuring meters aimed at the screen during test patterns. Currently, we use different meters to measure luminance (black/white data) and color, but both utilize the QuantumData 780a signal generator to provide 4K test patterns to the TV. We use SpectraCal’s CalMan Ultimate software to tabulate test patterns and perform measurement sweeps.
For the Samsung Q60A, we took SDR and HDR measurements in the “Movie” picture mode. Here are the key takeaways from the testing process:
- HDR checkerboard contrast (reference black level/brightness): 0.078 / 414.90 nits
- SDR checkerboard contrast (reference black level/brightness): 0.044 / 238.90 nits
- HDR peak brightness (sustained): 424.10 nits
- HDR (DCI-P3) color gamut coverage: 89.4%
- SDR (rec.709) color gamut coverage: 99.5%
We tested a 55-inch version of the Q60A, purchased from Amazon.
The Q60A series is one of the more affordable 2021 QLED series, so it doesn’t deliver quite the range of connectivity options as the high-end Neo QLED models, but you’re still getting plenty of connectivity here:
- 3 x HDMI 2.0 (eARC/CEC compatible)
- 2 x USB 2.0
- Ethernet (LAN) input
- RF in (for cable/satellite)
- Digital audio out (optical)
What we like
A handsome centerpiece
In my opinion, where a TV like the Q60A stands out (in this price range) is that it looks just about as good as much more expensive TVs. Obviously the picture quality is the most important aspect, but there’s no denying that this is a handsome TV, too.
Despite the Dual LED backlight—more on that below—the Q60A strikes a thin side profile and is dressed in Samsung’s usual array of thin bezels, smoothly brushed plastic, and sharp angles. Like most Samsung’s TVs for the last few years, assembly requires no screwdrivers: you just snap the wide-set feet right into the stand. You’ll find all the ports in a cutout on the back of the TV, smartly arranged in a vertical line.
The included remote is quite fine, as well. You’re getting Samsung’s new eco-friendly Solar Cell remote with the Q60A TVs. It works as well as old battery-powered Sammy remotes, but has none (batteries, that is). Instead, it charges via indoor or outdoor light, or over USB.
All in all, the full package here is sleek and efficient, if not downright good-lookin’. You might be able to get similar performance from a TCL or Vizio model for less money, but you won’t get this kind of attention to design.
As TV performance goes, the Samsung Q60A isn’t breaking any records, but that’s only because the mainstream wave of HDR TVs like this one are generally so good. With a 4K/HDR TV in this category, we’re looking for good contrast, high brightness, and expanded color coverage to cover the basics, and that’s more or less exactly what you’re getting here.
Testing revealed that during SDR (non-HDR, standard dynamic range) content, the Q60A produces average black levels for an LED/LCD TV with a VA panel, decent brightness, and, thanks to its quantum dots, ample color. You’re getting crisp 4K resolution and decent motion performance here too, including Samsung’s suite of MEMC (motion estimation/motion compensation) controls.
For HDR content, the Q60A TVs are perfectly fine, but they won’t blow you away like the high-end models might. Brightness peaked a little over 400 nits, which is certainly better than a non-HDR TV but is nowhere near the sets equipped with mini-LED backlights this year.
Speaking of backlights, Samsung’s 2021 QLED TVs feature “Dual LED” backlights this year, which allegedly use both “warm” and “cool” LEDs (in terms of color temperature, or white balance) to “optimize colors and dramatically enhance contrast,” according to Samsung.
While the company might be onto something where color is concerned (the Q60A boasts truly fine color for its price range), the brightness and black levels you’re getting aren’t in any way dramatically enhanced. They’re more than satisfactory, but they’re about what we’d expect for this price and pedigree. Ultimately, though, the total package is a TV that leaves most kinds of content looking plenty bright, richly colorful, and fully detailed.
Stuffed with features
If the Q60A TVs cost a little more than the average bear, that’s because on top of their sleek designs and full-bodied performance, you’re also getting good quality processing and lots of features. In a way, the Q60A TVs are very much a “diet” version of the Q90A flagship we tested previously. They have a slightly downgraded processor and slightly fewer features, but they still get the job done.
Besides the full-featured Tizen Smart Platform and the myriad apps and smart functions therein, one of the coolest new features for gamers is Game Bar, a software menu that puts all of the gaming-centric information and features in one place together. At a glance, you can check out input lag, connected devices, refresh rate, and so on.
It’s worth noting that this feature is less useful than on the pricier QLEDs because the Q60A only has a 60Hz refresh rate and doesn’t support HDMI 2.1 (more on that in the next section).
You’re getting quite a few features you can take full advantage of, though: the Samsung Health ecosystem is included by default; SmartThings will allow you to integrate the Q60A with smart home products; Auto Low Latency Mode; and Bixby, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant built right in.
The Quantum Processor 4K Lite handles all of this with aplomb, of course, really lending a snappy, premium feel to the Q60A line of TVs.
What we don’t like
Not exactly next-gen ready
If you’ve been waffling between the Q60A and a higher-end QLED or Neo QLED model, it’s worth noting that you’ll get HDMI 2.1 compatibility on the slightly fancier models, so if you’re interested in features like Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) or 120fps support, you may want to consider spending a bit more (or shopping our favorite TVs from other brands entirely).
However, if you don’t know what any of those features mean, aren’t planning on doing any advanced gaming, and/or aren't a stickler for 24fps playback (which doesn’t play 100% smoothly on 60Hz TVs), you won’t have any problems here.
You’re not only paying for performance
I mentioned above that the Q60A wasn’t a knockout choice for HDR, and I’d like to elaborate. With sustained peaks above 400 nits brightness and DCI-P3 (HDR color space) coverage around 90%, the Q60A is no slouch, but it's clearly marked up for its sleek design and premium features as opposed to performance specs.
Just take a look at something like Vizio’s 2020 M-Series Quantum series. This TV also gives you HDR peak brightness over 400 nits and even slightly more color saturation per our lab tests, and it’s much more affordable (you can get a 65-inch M-Series Quantum for about the same price as the 43-inch Q60A).
Should you buy it?
Yes—if you want a premium feel without a premium price
All told, the Q60A offers a discounted version of the good life: you’re getting a taste of the design flourishes, eco-friendly solutions, filigreed software, and quantum-dot powered performance of Samsung’s flagship QN90A for a lot less money.
The wide range of sizes here—from a modest 43-inch up to a whopping 85-inch screen—gives the Q60A a ton of generalist appeal. But I’d again stress that I don’t think videophiles or serious gamers will be happy with these 60Hz TVs, even if they deliver enough color saturation and contrast to work wonderfully where mainstream content is concerned. If you're in those categories, check out the TCL 6-Series.
As stated, you can get some seriously good TVs for the $1,000 you might spend on the 65-inch Q60A. We expect the price to drop later this year. But if you can’t wait, you can at least rest easy knowing you’re getting one of the year’s best-looking, most premium-feeling models in this particular performance bracket.
Meet the tester
Editor, Home Theater@Koanshark
Lee has been Reviewed's point person for most television and home theater products since 2012. Lee received Level II certification in TV calibration from the Imaging Science Foundation in 2013. As Editor of the Home Theater vertical, Lee oversees reviews of TVs, monitors, soundbars, and Bluetooth speakers. He also reviews headphones, and has a background in music performance.
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