I’ve been anticipating comparing the LG G3 OLED to the Samsung Q95C for months now.
More recently, though, that’s become nervous anticipation. And that’s actually great news for you: Both of these TVs are stellar. They are gorgeous. Each is so good, it is hard for me to imagine anyone buying either of these TVs and being anything other than absolutely ecstatic. So, that’s it, right? Job done? Go in peace and buy either one! You’ll be stoked either way. Flip a coin! Make it fun!
Except that’s not how this goes. Some of you out there are considering purchasing one of these TVs. They are expensive. You want to get the right one. You’re worried about FOMO: the fear of missing out. You might be worried about FOBR: Fear of Buyers’ Remorse. That may not be a real acronym, but it certainly is a real experience. And for some of you — if you are being totally honest with yourself — you kind of just want to know, with absolute certainty, that you have the absolute best. That’s because you’re sick and tired of that one annoying friend who’s always getting the cool toys, and you don’t want to hear it from them on this one. You want to rub their face in your new, absolutely-no-question-the-best TV. That is a thing, no sense in denying it.
And that, my friends, is why I’m a little nervous going into this comparison. Because even though I know some things are subjective, and even though I know I am not personally responsible for your happiness, I do feel a responsibility to give the best advice that I can. And to break this all down in a way that is helpful to you and your individual needs, which are vast and varied.
Not to mention the fact that there are multiple multihour videos on YouTube comparing these two TVs in excruciating detail. So, I feel like I need to go in the other direction and keep this one tight. I’ll do my best, folks, OK? That’s all I can promise.
So, with that off my chest, let’s do this. Let’s compare the LG G3 and the Samsung S95C.
The big picture
Table of Contents
Because I’ve covered a lot of this stuff in my individual reviews of the LG G3 and the S95C, I’m going to move through this fairly quickly. From a design perspective, both TVs are gorgeous, bezel-less wonders. Both will look outstanding on a wall. And to that end, the LG G3’s advantage is that its no-gap wall mount is in the box with the TV. It doesn’t come with a stand — it comes with a wall mount, and a great one at that. The S95C’s advantage is that while it doesn’t come with a wall mount, it does come with a One Connect box, which makes getting a clean look on the wall much, much easier since all of your stuff will connect to this box. And then the only thing running to the TV is one cable, which is easy enough to fish through the wall, and far less of an eyesore if you just let it dangle down. Don’t do the dangle, though. You deserve better.
As for stand-mounting, the S95C wins with a solid pedestal stand that is a bit much to assemble. But does its job well and with class. The for the G3 is not my favorite — it wobbles because it is designed to rotate, and is generally not up to the same premium standard as the TV.
The remotes are quite different. You will touch this every day, so you’d best like it, right? The Samsung remote is small, minimalist, charges itself with solar cells on the back or via USB-C, and generally works just fine.
The LG Magic Motion remote still does the Wii thing, which I’m so over at this point, and otherwise offers more buttons.
The smart TV interfaces look different, but are functionally very similar, and frankly, I don’t care for either of them — not when Google TV, Apple TV, and even Roku exist. The TVs do offer a lot of smart home integration features, multi-window features, and other fun tricks like auto device recognition and elaborate gaming dashboards.
Both offer very low input lag for gaming, along with four HDMI 2.1 ports, one with eARC support. Both will support Dolby Atmos passthrough, but the Samsung will not support DTS passthrough. The Samsung also does not support Dolby Vision, but I’m getting to that.
Neither TV sounds as good as I would like considering how expensive they are. This is extra disappointing considering how many transducers are on the back of the Samsung, However, both TVs offer some unique audio integration with the soundbars made by their respective brands. So, if you pair a Samsung soundbar with the S95C, you can take advantage of Q-Symphony. And an LG soundbar paired with the G3 will enable LG Sound Sync.
Now, let’s talk about some picture-quality differences. I’m going to start by painting some broad strokes, but we’ll dive into some of the details.
Let’s begin with brightness, because with the addition of MLA – or, micro lens array – the LG G3 has become one of the brightest OLED TVs to hit the market. MLA is seen by me and others as a very speedy retort to QD-OLED after that technology became the darling of the TV enthusiast community in 2022.
And, as I said in my LG G3 review, MLA works — actually, I think I said it’s “The Truth,” and I stand by that. MLA does a remarkable job of capturing what was once just lost, scattered light, and porting it out to the viewer. The result is a very bright overall picture with a lot of punch. It will dazzle you. But, if we dig slightly deeper into how the LG G3 gets so bright, it’s going to come down to the fact that it has a white subpixel that acts as a sort of brightness booster. That’s always been the case with LG OLEDs, but with MLA added, it is now more effective.
The Samsung S95C also is an impressively bright TV, but it achieves its brightness in a different way. The S95C is bright because it doesn’t use a color filter and because its color brightness is higher.
So which one is the brightest? Well, that depends entirely on what’s on the screen at the moment. Here’s the most meaningful thing I can say about the brightness between these two TVs: The LG G3 has more sparkle and gleam to it. Scenes with a lot of bright lights and reflections dazzle you. The G3 appeals to our love of shiny, sparkly things.
The S95C, on the other hand, has a richness and depth to it that is also deeply satisfying, but in a different way. It’s the sizzle you get from the flames of a fire, the intensity of the green in a field of grass, or the pops of color you get from a field of wildflowers. Woods, surprisingly, have a deeper, more burnished tone to them than they do on the LG G3.
Here’s a hackneyed metaphor for you: The LG G3 is a gin and tonic with a spritz of lime. It’s sparkling, effervescent, and refreshing, but also has some complexity, with hints of herb and floral accents. The Samsung S95C feels more like an Old Fashioned to me, with deep richness, complexity, and a pop of citrus and cherry. In the end, both will get you drunk on awesomeness — they just do it in different ways.
I’ve touched on color brightness a bit already, but I want to get a little more specific and bring in elements like color saturation and color accuracy.
Outside of using measuring tools, which only tell part of the story, getting a read on “accuracy” in color is very difficult unless you have a reference display, like a Sony BVM monitor that Hollywood content creators use as sort of “the absolute truth.” If we had one of those, then we could point to it and say: “That right there is absolutely correct.” And knowing that, we could look at the other two TVs and figure out which one was closest to “correct.”
I don’t have a reference monitor, so I can’t do that. Do you have a $30,000 reference monitor kicking around in your garage? Most of you do not. Those of you saying yes, give me a ring. I’d like to borrow it.
Anyway, gauging accuracy is important. But just as important is what you like. I think I know what I like. At least, I did until yesterday. But my own mind was playing tricks on me.
I watched a scene from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children on both TVs. First, I viewed it on the G3 — and I loved it. It looked fantastic. The titular Miss Peregrine’s (Eva Green) skin tone looked accurate — maybe a little pale, but not wildly off. A child’s red hair looked natural and pleasing. A garden scene had a red brick facade amid verdant greens that looked awesome. I loved everything I saw.
But then, I looked at the same stuff on the S95C.
Green’s face, for example. On the Samsung S95C, I observed more blush in her skin. The texture of the skin looked a little more realistic to me. Now, we look at the child actor’s (Lauren McCrostie) red hair — wow, it stands out a little more. The red seems a bit more intense to me based on my recollection. Moreover, I liked how that struck me. I feel like I just know her hair color is fiery red. Then I looked at the garden scene. This also looks good. The brick really pops, as does the greenery. I enjoyed this a lot.
Finally, I compared the two side by side to see what happened.
When I looked at the S95C, Green’s skin on the LG G3 almost seems pale in comparison. And the child’s red hair almost looked faded on the G3 compared to the S95C. And the colors in this scene were a BIT more intense on the S95C too.
Wow, now my impression has changed. When I watched the LG G3, I didn’t think Green’s face looked pale at all. It looked about right to me. What happened? I’ll tell you what happened. My viewpoint was skewed because my perspective was forced to shift. When I watch the LG G3, it looks fantastic. But if I have the S95C doing its thing and I’m comparing, all I can see are the differences. I can’t really see the forest for the trees. I’m not sure that’s helpful.
Now, at this point, you might be thinking that I prefer the S95C, and in some cases, I do. But there are also some concerns. Sometimes the reds on the S95C just seem overcooked. I don’t know if that’s because the TV can just be more intense than I’m used to seeing, or if they really are overcooked a bit. I also don’t know what is “correct,” either. So, ultimately, I just have to decide which I like best.
And I’m telling you, I am not sure. I like so much about both that deciding on just one is going to take a lot more time. I’m suffering from analysis paralysis here, and I don’t think that’s good. I don’t want you to do the same. It’s not worth it! And besides, I have the luxury of sitting with these TVs for a couple of more days, while most shoppers don’t! You could always spend hours at the store and possibly annoy the sales associates — you gotta do what you gotta do, right?
But, back to the comparison: We’ve covered brightness, color, and kind of by default, contrast, because both offer perfect black levels. What else can we scrutinize?
Hold your horses, please, I’m getting to the Dolby Vision thing.
Let’s talk about motion resolution and upscaling. Motion resolution because we want a pleasant experience watching both fast and slow-paced action on the screen, and upscaling because we don’t always get to watch 4K HDR high bit-depth content, so we need to know what everyday cable or satellite TV, or YouTube TV, might look like.
I’ll start with upscaling first because, for me, that’s easy. They are identical in how they handled the hour or so of Tubi TV content I watched. I kept hoping something would leap out and be notably different, and it never happened.
As for motion, they are both excellent. The only difference I saw — and I really had to look for it, whether it was a slow pan in 24 frames-per-second cinematic content or fast-moving sports action — was with one element that I’ve mentioned in my reviews in the past. Sometimes slow-moving bright objects can create a strobing or flashing effect due to the instant pixel response time that OLED has. It comes from a bit of frame stutter that is present with all TVs, but the instant response of the pixel means that it brightens up immediately, and because it does, you can see what seems like a flicker or sorts. This is slightly more pronounced on the LG G3 because its white brightness tends to be a little more intense.
Folks, I’m reaching here. The difference is not at all dramatic. And I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but it doesn’t push me in one direction or another when making a decision on these TVs.
Dolby Vision deal breaker?
Next — and this is a big, unavoidable factor that I think many of you knew was coming — there’s Dolby Vision. The LG G3 supports it, and the S95C does not (no Samsung TV supports Dolby Vision). For some of you, that’s a deal breaker. For others of you, you’re wondering if it should be a deal breaker.
I’m going to be very frank here: I have not decided for myself if it is a deal breaker.
The answer to that question is one I’m going to have to dive into deeply and present in another article. However, for this comparison, what I can tell you is that I watched several titles in Dolby Vision on the LG G3 while watching the same title at the same time in HDR 10 on the Samsung S95C.
Why not HDR 10+ you ask? True, it would be more fair to compare HDR 10+ to Dolby Vision, since they both offer static metadata (that is, it doesn’t change based on what’s on the screen during a given scene). But as near as I can tell, there are precious few scenarios in which you would even have a choice between HDR 10+ and Dolby Vision. There are a handful of exceptions. There are a few 4K Blu-ray titles that offer both. And on Amazon Prime Video, there are a couple of titles that offer both.
From what I watched, the differences I saw were not deal-breaker-level differences for me.
Most of the time, it’s an HDR10-versus-Dolby Vision question. And I watched several titles this way. What I can tell you is that the differences I saw were not deal-breaker-level differences for me. And besides, I think what I experienced in terms of picture quality discrepancies has more to do with how the TV handles the information it is getting than it does with the quality and depth of the information it is getting. SDR to SDR, HDR to HDR, the comparison ends up being about the same differences in character between the TVs, not the supposed superiority of what Dolby Vision is bringing to the table, which, again, we’ll debate in a separate post.
If you think that not having Dolby Vision as an option is going to bug you, no matter what practical difference it does or does not make — if you just want the insurance that you’re getting everything you can and the assurance that nothing is left on the table — well, you have two options. You can either go with the LG W-OLED with Dolby Vision, or you can wait for the Sony A95L, which is the only TV that offers both QD-OLED technology and Dolby Vision.
But I’ll also say that I would not personally pass on the S95C because it doesn’t offer Dolby Vision. I’ve not seen anything that convinces me that Dolby Vision is bringing enough to the G3 to lure me to that side. So, if you’re wondering if not having Dolby Vision is a concern enough not to buy the S95C? My answer is no. It’s not something that I would let impact my personal decision.
One more thing we have to toss in here: burn-in risk. Look, I think if you are someone who watches the type of content with static image elements for really long periods of time every day most days of the year, then an OLED TV is not right for you. But if we’re talking about overall burn-in risk, there is some evidence that points to the G3 as being the more resilient of the two in this comparison. Otherwise, I have a whole series of burn-in videos I encourage you to watch to learn more.
This is the hardest comparison I’ve ever done. And I still haven’t decided which TV I would personally put in my room. I do know this, though: No matter which I picked, I’d be delighted to have it in my home. I’d definitely want to have the TV calibrated to get the best color. Specifically, Samsung’s reds are just a bit much for me in the out-of-box Filmmaker modes. But I’d be thrilled to have either one.
I like the One Connect box. I like the Samsung remote. I like the richness of color on the S95C.
But I also like the zing of the LG G3, I like that it comes with a no-gap wall mount in the box, and I like that it supports almost everything there is to support.
This may not be the takeaway you wanted, but I think this is the takeaway you need: These are both stellar TVs. There’s no winner or loser in the competition for me. Which TV you get is going to be a very personal decision, and I would urge you to make your delight the priority. In the end, very few of us are video professionals who scrutinize a display’s performance extremely hard and need something very specific. But take it from someone who has made a living out of evaluating TVs for 13 years now: They are both so good, that if I were forced to make a decision right now, right in this very moment, I might just have to flip a coin. It’s a tough call, and I wish you the absolute best when making your decision.