While I will be the first to admit that I have seen Pioneer sets look a bit soft in some stores, I happened yesterday to be in a store where a Samsung and Pioneer Elite were next to each other in a well light controled setting. At first glance, the Samsung looked better balanced since the Pioneer had the normal, for stores, oversaturated colors. They may "pop" but are just not natural. No grass is THAT green!!
Upon further examination, I noticed a characteristic on the Samsung that is different than your observation, a lack of detail in terms of surface texture. The scene, in D*TV hidef was a closeup of a man's finger. It was night and day difference, not at all subtle. The pores and skin wrinkles that provide realistic texture were all present on the Pioneer but many were absent on the Samsung. While some of this could be calibration, I attribute this primarily to differences in the video processing or perhaps drive electronics, not necessarily the glass, component of the respective sets.
To be fair, it was the Elite version of the Pioneer. The regular line was not present. Otherwise, I thought the PQ of the Samsung quite good. I certainly appreciate Samsung's styling and think their prices are outstanding, however, I suspect they still have some catching up to do in the quality department. But they seem to be catching up fast.