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Samsung Sero review: A TV for the TikTok generation

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,599
inc VAT

The appeal of the Samsung Sero lifestyle TV will depend on how you watch content, but there’s no denying it looks cool

Pros 
Striking design
Unique rotating function
Great sound quality
Cons 
No Dolby Vision or Atmos
Not ideal for gamers
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The Samsung Sero is the kind of bonkers lifestyle TV that crops up every now and then, and if you’re a social media obsessive who’s surgically attached to your phone, or addicted to TikTok, it might be right up your alley.

The Sero’s unique selling point is the ability to rotate its screen from horizontal to vertical and back again, but it’s also a solid TV, with good pictures and great sound thanks to a 4.1-channel system. The design is striking, and the build quality excellent, while the Tizen smart platform offers a comprehensive choice of streaming services and plenty of ways to integrate your smartphone.

There’s no Dolby Vision or Atmos support, and this TV isn’t ideal for next-gen gamers, but if you want to wow your friends, The Sero certainly fits the bill.

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Samsung Sero review: Key specifications

Screen sizes available:43in QE43LS05B
Panel type:IPS-type LCD
Resolution:4K/UHD (3,840 X 2,160)
Refresh rate:50Hz
HDR formats:HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
Audio enhancement:Object Tracking Sound Lite
HDMI inputs:3 x HDMI 2.0
Freeview Play compatibility:No
Tuners:Terrestrial, Cable, Satellite
Gaming features:HGiG ALLM, Game Bar
Wireless connectivity:Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.2, AirPlay 2
Smart assistants:Bixby built-in, works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
Smart platform:Tizen OS

Samsung Sero review: What you need to know

The Samsung Sero is a 4K (3,840 x 2,160) HDR smart TV, with an emphasis very much on lifestyle applications. There’s a single 43in screen size, which uses a QLED screen for an expanded colour gamut and brighter highlights, plus a Quantum 4K processor. There’s also a special matte filter that’s designed to eliminate reflections from the room caused by lighting and windows.

The Sero’s unique selling point is its ability to rotate its screen from the traditional horizontal landscape orientation to a vertical portrait aspect ratio that’s familiar to smartphone users. This is clearly The Sero’s target market, especially fans of TikTok videos which use portrait mode.

The Sero supports HDR10, HLG, and HDR10+, but not Dolby Vision, and includes a 4.1-channel sound system. It runs the latest version of Samsung’s Tizen-powered operating system, with all the major content streaming platforms present and correct. There’s also a host of features that better integrate the TV with modern smartphones – especially Samsung’s Galaxy models.

Samsung Sero review: Price and competition

The Samsung Sero comes in a single 43in screen size and currently retails for £1,599. Given its unique qualities, there isn’t a direct competitor, but if you’re not obsessed with social media or interested in a rotating screen, there are better and cheaper options.

In fact, at the time of writing, you can pick up the 55in Samsung QN95B Neo QLED - the company's flagship 4K TV this year - for just £1,189. The QN95B delivers superb picture quality, supports onboard Dolby Atmos decoding, includes Object Tracking Sound Plus tech, the One Connect box, and a host of cutting-edge gaming features including support for 4K/120Hz.

Samsung Sero review: Design, connections and control

The Samsung Sero is certainly eye-catching, with a feature that puts a literal spin on TV design. The panel can rotate at the touch of a button, going from landscape to portrait, and back again. It takes about three seconds to change orientation and definitely looks cool, but unless you’re addicted to TikTok, the TV screen will primarily remain in landscape mode.

Since The Sero is a lifestyle TV, it sports a fetching navy blue finish and uses an easel-style stand that adds a slight lean to the panel. The build quality is excellent, there’s an anti-glare filter, and an impressive 4.1-channel sound system in the base of the stand. For obvious reasons The Sero can’t be wall mounted, and it measures 565 x 327 x 1200mm (WDH), weighing in at 32.2kg.

The Sero doesn’t use Samsung’s One Connect box but has three HDMI inputs, two USB 2.0 ports, and twin tuners for terrestrial and satellite broadcasts. There’s no Ethernet port, but in terms of wireless connections, there's Wi-Fi 5, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 5.2, and AirPlay 2.

The HDMI 3 connector supports eARC, and all the HDMI ports can handle 4K/60Hz, HDR10, HLG, HDR10+, and ALLM. Unsurprisingly for a Samsung TV, there’s no support for Dolby Vision, but The Sero also can’t handle 4K/120Hz or VRR, so it’s not ideal for next-gen gamers.

One practical note is to make sure you have sufficient give in your cables to allow for the rotating screen because the orientation of the inputs will change from side-facing in landscape mode to downward-facing in portrait mode.

The Sero ships with a white SolarCell remote control that recharges its batteries using solar energy, and offers a stripped-down set of keys that include basic navigation controls, volume and channel up/down, plus direct access buttons for Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, and TV Plus.

READ NEXT: Samsung TV model numbers explained

Samsung Sero review: Smart TV platform

The Samsung Sero runs the latest version of the Tizen-powered smart system, which offers a comprehensive selection of video streaming apps, including all the main services available such as Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV+, Disney+, Now, Rakuten, YouTube, plus all the UK catch-up services, and Samsung’s own TV Plus platform.

There’s also the SmartThings app, which makes setup simple, along with built-in Bixby, plus the ability to work with Google Assistant or Alexa, as well as Siri via Apple’s AirPlay 2. The emphasis is primarily on integration with smartphones, including mobile mirroring, and Tap View, which allows compatible Samsung Galaxy smartphones to automatically connect with The Sero.

Other smart features include Ambient Mode+, which is optimised for either landscape or portrait orientation, a web browser, media home feature, Universal Browse and Play, Samsung Health, multi-view for up to two videos, and video communication using Google Meet and an optional camera. There’s also support for 360 video player, app casting, Wireless Dex and Microsoft 365.

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Samsung Sero review: Image quality

The Samsung Sero delivers a solid SDR performance in the Filmmaker Mode, where an accurate greyscale produces an average DeltaE error below two. The gamma is also excellent, and the colour performance is equally impressive, with an average DeltaE that’s also below two.

As a result, SDR images are very watchable, with reasonable blacks and a wider viewing angle thanks to the IPS panel, decent shadow detail, well-rendered pictures due to Samsung’s cutting-edge image processing, and plenty of colour depth via the use of quantum dot filters.

The Sero uses a QLED panel, rather than the newer Neo QLED models with their Mini LED backlights and multiple dimming zones. Instead, you get a single LED backlight with global dimming, but the results are good thanks to Samsung’s prowess in this area.

Picture processing is another area where the brand is strong, with the 4K Quantum Processor bringing out all details in an image, and giving it extra impact. The upscaling and image processing is good, as is its ability to reformat content for the different screen orientations.

The motion handling is also good, with Auto Motion Plus proving useful for watching video-based content and fast-paced sports, while film-based content looks free of any unwanted artefacts. The 50Hz panel didn’t appear to reveal any issues when showing 24p or 60Hz content.

The matte filter is highly effective at rejecting ambient light, which makes you wonder why Samsung doesn’t use it on more of its TVs. Ultimately, whether you’re watching traditional TV or online material, the Sero does a good job of displaying content in the best possible quality.

Samsung Sero review: HDR performance

The Samsung Sero is a similar performer when it comes to HDR, producing an HDR experience that’s good rather than spectacular. The TV can hit just under 500cd/m2 on a 10% window, and also handles full-field patterns with a similar level of performance.

In the more accurate Filmmaker Mode, the greyscale measurements are very good, tracking red, green, and blue closely, and the EOTF maps the PQ target with precision. This ensures the creator’s original intent is maintained, regardless of how the content is graded.

The overall HDR colour performance is also very good, with the DCI-P3 coverage measuring 94%, and the BT.2020 coverage hitting 72%. Crucially, the colour tracking of DCI-P3 within BT.2020 is very accurate, producing HDR images that have pop but also look natural.

The Sero supports high dynamic range in the form of HDR10, HLG (hybrid log-gamma), and HDR10+ Adaptive. Samsung still refuses to support Dolby Vision, but given the intended target audience of this TV, that’s probably not a huge loss.

Overall, the HDR performance retains plenty of impact, with bright highlights and some decent blacks given the limitations of LCD technology. Shadows also retain some nice latitude, while the 4K panel successfully renders all the detail in higher resolution content.

To test the Samsung Sero we used Portrait Displays Calman colour calibration software.

Samsung Sero review: Gaming

The Samsung Sero isn’t a great choice for gamers, especially if you’re rocking a next-gen console like the Xbox X Series or PlayStation 5.

First the good news, The Sero does support 4K gaming up to 60Hz, along with HDR10, HDR10+ and HGiG. It also includes Automatic Low Latency Mode (ALLM), which detects a console and selects the Game Mode, with the latter producing a super-fast input lag of 10ms. There’s also Dynamic Black EQ, Super Ultra Wide Game View, Mini Map Zoom, and Game Motion Plus.

The Sero includes Samsung’s Game Bar, a hub that brings together all the game-related information and features in one convenient location. It will pop up automatically when a games console is detected, but can also be selected by simply holding down the play/pause button. It includes key information, as well as the main gaming picture adjustments.

Where The Sero falls down is in terms of higher-frame-rate gaming, because the panel is limited to 50Hz. As a result, there’s no support for 4K at 120Hz and 144Hz (obviously), nor are there features like VRR (variable refresh rate) to reduce tearing, AMD Freesync Premium Pro or the Motion Xcelerator Turbo Pro technology found on other Samsung TVs.

READ NEXT: The best TVs for gaming 

Samsung Sero review: Sound quality

The Samsung Sero is a great-sounding TV, thanks to a powerful 4.1-channel system that’s built into the stand. Since Samsung didn’t have to worry about squeezing speakers into a super-slim panel, the brand went to town when it came to designing the Sero’s sound system.

As a result, you get a fully-formed 4.1-channel speaker system that uses decent-sized drivers powered by 60W of amplification. The Sero supports Object Tracking Sound (OTS) Lite, which basically applies processing to give the audio a greater three-dimensional presence.

Speaking of 3D acoustics, the Sero doesn’t support Dolby Atmos but does include proprietary audio technology such as Adaptive Sound+, and Active Voice Amplifier. There’s no Q Symphony support, which synchronises the sound of compatible Samsung TVs and soundbars, but arguably The Sero doesn’t need the added boost of an outboard soundbar.

The sound quality is genuinely good, with clear vocals, some nice width and a clean overall delivery. The audio can go loud without distorting, and the built-in woofer goes surprisingly deep for a TV. The result is an overall performance that delivers, regardless of what you’re watching.

Buy now from John Lewis


Samsung Sero review: Verdict

The Samsung Sero is a televisual curate’s egg that appears to be the result of a highly imaginative brainstorming session. The design is certainly eye-catching, and the rotating screen makes The Sero unique in the lifestyle TV market, but whether it appeals or not will really depend on how much content you watch from your phone and how important it is to impress your friends.

As a TV, The Sero is a solid performer that delivers good images whether you’re watching SDR or HDR content. The image processing is excellent, and the sound quality is great, while the smart system offers plenty of choice and extensive smartphone integration. There’s no Dolby Vision or Atmos support, and this TV isn’t ideal for next-gen gamers, but otherwise, it’s a feature-packed offering.

The Sero is fairly pricy for a 43in TV, due to an obvious premium for its spinning charms. The reality is that you can pick up a better performer for less, but if TikTok is your main source of entertainment and you’re looking for a lifestyle TV that looks cool but also delivers a decent picture, then the Samsung Sero might turn a few heads.

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