QN90A Samsung Neo QLED 4k Smart TV Review: Among those we’ve tested are the Neo QLEDS from Samsung’s line up; the QN85A and the QN90A. In this article, we will be focusing on the QN90A, but we can’t help to make some comparisons to the QN85A as they are both from the same TV lineup. Samsung is now using a Mini-LED backlight to improve contrast on their newest models. These are the first Samsung TVs to utilize mini-LED, and we found this TV, in particular, to perform really well across the board. Let’s get started! Hi, I’m Rihan, here we help you find the best product for your needs.
First, we’ll look at the design, inputs and Smart features of the QN90A and then move on to the picture quality. Afterwards, we’ll look at the motion handling, briefly go over sound quality before finishing with our verdict. We tested the 55 inch Samsung QN90A variant, and for the most part, we expect our review to be valid for the 65 inch, 75 inch, and 85-inch variants available in North America. The 50-inch model seems to have an IPS panel, so we expect it to perform differently.
In Europe, the Samsung QN90A may perform slightly differently because Samsung’s European lineup is slightly different. If you’d like to skip straight to our test results, then see the links in the description below. Let’s take a look at the design of this TV.Like the QN85A, the QN90A is pretty thin, even considering it has a full array backlight built into it. You’ll see it’s much thinner than last years Q90T. It has a very minimalistic design to it, allowing your eyes to just focus right on the screen itself and nothing else. The stand is centre-mounted, which is ideal for placing the TV on a multitude of different furniture sizes.
The Tv is also propped up nicely giving you room to place a soundbar right in the nook of the stand. It looks and feels premium. It has a simple plastic backing which is pretty sleek and comes with some cable management cutouts. you can mount it via a VESA 200x200wall mount. There’s a cut-out for the ports and some cable management routes along the back, so the TV can mount flush against the wall while still hiding all the cables. Next, let’s check out the smart features and interface. We were impressed with the snappiness of the OS this year, as it feels even smoother and quicker than previous models. The app store also contains a large collection of apps, and they run smoothly as well.
QN90A Samsung Neo QLED 4k Smart TV Review
Unfortunately, there are some ads that can’t be disabled, and this is fairly common with most TV manufacturers today. The remote is similar to what we’ve seen before with other high-end Samsung TVs. It has shortcut buttons to popular streaming services, and there’s a built-in voice assistant, which uses Bixby. Bixby can change inputs and picture settings, and it can search youtube, but not other apps like Netflix. You can also change the voice assistant by going into the settings menu and choosing between Alexa, Bixby or even Google Assistant. For our purposes, we test the smart features by using the default Bixby voice assistant.
What’s new, is that this remote doesn’t use disposable batteries, instead, it has a USB-C port that you can use to recharge the built-in battery inside. It also has a solar panel that helps recharge the battery, which is pretty cool! Alright, now we’ll move on to the picture quality section. We’ll be comparing to currently available TVs but competing models may change as new TVs are released throughout the year. For an updated comparison with new models as we buy and test them, see the review page on our website which is linked below. Unlike the QN85A, the QN90A is using a VA panel. Like most VA panels, the contrast ratio here that we tested was excellent. What you’ll get is nice dark blacks, not inky though like you would get on an OLED.
So we test 2 types of contrast, native and contrast with local dimming on. The native contrast scored 3510to 1, which is lower than that of other VA panels we have tested like the Sony X900H for example. This is mainly because Samsung is using an “Ultra Wide Angle” layer to help with viewing angles. When we measure native contrast on all TVs, we measure while local dimming is disabled. In the special case of Samsung, we can only turn local dimming off by going into the service menu and manually disabling it. Samsung doesn’t have an option to turn off local dimming on the user-facing side of the settings menu.
Most of you will only be experiencing it with local dimming on as intended by the manufacturer. Samsung is pretty confident in the performance of their local dimming. We do have to give them credit though because with local dimming on the contrast ratio is very high, 26534to 1 based on our testing on our specific checkboard pattern. It’s important to note that we measured this contrast ratio with the TV in Movie mode. Alright, let’s dive deeper into the local dimming performance. Local dimming is a way for LED TVs to improve the contrast ratio in dark scenes by dimming backlight zones. This makes blacks appear deeper than they normally are without the feature, improving the overall picture quality.
This is especially important during HDR content because it helps boost the highlights and make them brighter.Overall, the local dimming is great, and head-on it does a convincing job. There is some black crush in scenes like a starfield, and there is noticeable blooming around small bright objects, along with subtitles. Black crush is when a dark scene becomes overwhelming darker and you begin to lose finer details within those dark scenes. An example of this would be a night sky full of stars, where some Tvs like OLEDs will show a full array of stars in the sky while other Tv’s like the QN90A here may showcase a smaller fraction of the overall stars in the same scene. Blooming is when you get that halo-like effect around bright objects in dark scenes.
If you’re sensitive to blooming, then you will most likely encounter it here. At least there is the full array backlight along with its multitude of local dimming zones to help minimize blooming. We accounted for 576 zones during our testing and they transition quickly, so there’s a minimal light trail behind moving objects and this shouldn’t be too distracting for you. There are some slight weaknesses to this, as we noticed when viewing content off-angle the blooming becomes more apparent.”Sticking with local dimming, let’s see how this Tv performed while in-game mode!
What we noticed is that the screen itself seems to be a bit brighter with local dimming on.There is less black crush while in-game mode because the zones look larger as it is averaging out over a larger area. You’ll notice a slight greyness to the screen rather than a deep black. Blooming is more prominent in-game mode and can be more noticeable vs out of game mode. While gaming, fast-moving objects tend to move slower between each of the local dimming zones, which in turn can become distracting to some. Okay, next up on our list is SDR Brightness. We were able to measure a real scene peak brightness of over 1400nits, with other screen sizes hitting around 1200 to 1400 nits.
QN90A Samsung Neo QLED 4k Smart TV Review
This TV is exceptionally bright and should easily combat glare in most environments. We can say that the comparison between the peak brightness of last year’s Q90/90T is night and day. Do take note that the AutomaticBrightness Limiter does act pretty aggressive on the QN90A, which can result in large areas of a sports game that have really bright colors to appear slightly dimmer. For those who don’t know, TVs use algorithms to limit how bright the screen gets, especially with large areas, like in our 100% peak window test. This is done to prevent the entire screen from getting too bright and damaging internal electronics. What this means is those small areas get brighter than large areas, and we want to know just how much difference there is between the two.
This built-in feature is called the Automatic Brightness Limiter, or ABL for short. Once again, the QN90A crushes it in terms of peak brightness in HDR. We noticed that with our real scene test, we calculated an even higher peak brightness than that of our test slides and patterns. This means you should expect a phenomenal real scene or real content experience at home. Do take note that just like in SDR, the tv succumbs to its aggressive ABL so large color areas of bright content on the panel may seem a bit dimmer than the rest. Our real scene highlight reached a value of 1800 nits, just for comparison, the Samsung Q90T reached a value of 1151 nits within our real scene test.
This is a really nice boost in brightness compared to last years models. As many of you had requested, we have started testing HDR brightness while in-game mode. This Tv actually scored higher in Game Mode, achieving a Real Scene Highlight of 1862 nits. What you can expect to see is similar results while outside of game mode, but blooming becomes a bit more apparent and the large areas are once again dim. This is slightly more apparent due to the local dimming algorithm while in-game mode. As for grey uniformity, it’s only decent.There’s vignetting in the corners and some slight dirty screen effect throughout, so it may be distracting when watching sports or other content with large uniform colors.
Although it should be fine for most people. The QN90A outperforms the QN85A in terms of black uniformity. It does an amazing job at handling the dark scene and bright crosshair as seen in our Native Black Uniformity picture. The backlight bleeds on our panel is pretty much noticeable to the naked eye. You can see very minimal blooming around the crosshair. With local Dimming turned on, the black uniformity looks even better. This should be to no one surprise though, as most of the local dimming zones are turned off with our test pattern.This is one of the only areas where the QN85A slightly outperformed the QN90A. Our QN90A has decent viewing angles thanks to Samsung’s” Ultra-Wide Viewing Angle” technology.
The image stays pretty constant when viewing from the side, but you might notice the screen looks a bit darker. We expected this though as it is a VA panel in the end. It’s still a decent choice for wider seating arrangements. While discussing viewing angles, let’s also look at the reflection handling. Samsung is using an extra layer that disperses light better to help with the viewing angle, as I mentioned before. This extra layer seems to also give off a weird rainbow reflection effect, which you can see in our example over here. some can find this more distracting while others may not mind it. Overall though, the reflection handling is superb and it will do an amazing job at combating glare.”Moving onto color reproduction, we found the QN90A to be extremely accurate out of the box.
Against our SDR target, colors are very accurate and it tracks our 2.2 gamma curve very well. Color accuracy can vary unit to unit, but since this is among the highest-scoring TV for pre-calibration we’ve come across, it bodes well for other units. If you’d like to see our post-calibration settings, then be sure to check out the full settings page here. Now let’s look at the color gamut, which is the range of colors a TV can display. A wide gamut is important for HDR content, so you can see all the vivid colors and hues that are often used with HDR. The QN90Ahas a very wide gamut, covering almost 95% of the DCI P3 color space. This is great for HDR, so you can have a saturated image that really pops.For gradient handling, the TV does a pretty good job.
Gradient handling is how finely different colors that are similar can be displayed. If a TV performs poorly with graduation, you’ll notice banding in scenes with gradients, such as a sunset. With the QN90A, there is some banding in the reds, greens, and blues. Although not enough to be distracting to most people. If you want to improve gradients, you can set Noise Reduction to Auto in the menu, but this runs the risk of possibly losing fine detail. Before we touch Motion, if you aren’t already, now that we’ve looked at the picture quality of the TV, let’s move onto its motion handling and gaming performance, starting with response time.
Response time is how quickly one color can change to the next, and a slow response time will result in a blur trail behind fast-moving objects, known as ghosting. Overall the response time is excellent. You shouldn’t notice much ghosting in motion, but we did measure overshoot in the 0-20 transition, so you may see some duplication or blur in dark, fast-moving scenes. If you want to further improve motion clarity, you can enable Black Frame Insertion or Motion Interpolation. Black Frame Insertion turns the backlight off between frames, which reduces persistence blur. You can learn more about how it works here.
The QN90A calls this feature LED clear motion, and it works for both 60Hz and120Hz. But using BFI, especially at a lower frequency, can cause eye strain issues with some people, so it’s not for everyone. By the way, if you want to know how to change these settings after you’ve finished watching this video you can check out our Picture settings video for the QN85A and QN90A. In that video, I go into more details about our suggested settings.You can click the link right over here. You can also try motion interpolation, which Samsung calls Picture Clarity in the menus. The QN90A can interpolate up to 120Hz with low framerate content, and you can learn more about how that works in the descriptions below.
QN90A Samsung Neo QLED 4k Smart TV Review
This does create what many refer to as the soap opera effect, so again, it’s not for everyone. The Samsung QN90A supports FreeSync VRR, or variable refresh rate, natively to reduce screen tearing and makes for a seamless gaming experience. It works without any issues at its full refresh rate range. Unlike the SamsungQ90T QLED, this TV isn’t officially advertised to support G-SYNC. However, we found it was enabled when connected to a PC with an RTX 3070 graphics card; there was screen tearing with our pendulum video test, but it was tear-free in Destiny 2. If you notice the same thing with your QN90A, please let us know in the comments below. In the port cutout, you’ll find 4 HDMI ports, with port number 4 being HDMI2.1 and the others being HDMI 2.0. Port 3 supports ARC and eARC, so you can still pass audio to a sound system while reserving the 2.1 port for gaming consoles.
For audio pass-through, it supports Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital, but not DTS or DTS:X. As for the rest of the ports, there’s 2 USBs, an optical audio out, a TV Tuner, and an ethernet port. The QN90A also features HDR10+, but still, Samsung has decided to not opt for Dolby Vision compatibility. Just a heads up, we expect there may be an issue with our input lag test. For Samsung TVs in specific, the older TVs work fine and we’re able to acquire accurate results, but the newer ones seem to be causing us issues. The number being recorded through our VRR lag tests is impossibly low and obviously incorrect. We are currently investigating this issue. Once we’ve figured it out, we will be sure to revisit this and we will advise you all via an update.
For you gamers out there, we’re happy to say this TV has phenomenal input lag. In-game mode, it’s around 10ms at 60Hz and5ms at 120Hz. So gaming on this TV will feel smooth and responsive. The TV also supports a wide range of resolutions, being 1080p, 1440p, and 4k. So no matter if you’re hooked to a console or pc, you should have no trouble displaying the image correctly. Although, do take note that it can’t display a 1440p @120hz image with proper 4:4:4 chroma subsampling, but you should be fine at 60hz.Speaking of consoles, we’ve recently introduced an advanced console compatibility box, that checks to see how well the TV plays nicely with a PS5 or Xbox Series X.
As you can see, this TV again has no trouble supporting all the features of the new consoles, although it does lack Dolby Vision, which Xbox SeriesX games will support in the future. Samsung TVs do support HDR10+ which is a competing HDR format to Dolby Vision, but HDR10+ content is somewhat limited by comparison. Briefly, I’d like to mention the sound quality of the built-in speakers on the QN90A. For a Tv of this calibre, there are better options out there. Most audio enthusiasts or those who would be affected by the sound quality will most likely be investing in a soundbar or speaker system.
So that’s all of it. Overall the SamsungQN90A is a great TV that excels in a lot of areas. The Mini-LED backlight does do a good job at increasing perceived contrast, but unfortunately, it has some noticeable blooming in dark scenes. Luckily the screen can get really bright to combat glare and also bring out the great picture quality of the panel. Compared to last years Q80T and Q90T, theQN90A does stride ahead of that pack. It’s a great TV for watching Sports and Shows, along with movies in a dark room, thanks to wide viewing angles and high peak brightness and its great local dimming feature.
The QN90A is an improvement over last years models but they’re all good TVs, so it really depends on your budget. So that’s it! What do you think of the SamsungQN90A? Is the QN90A going to be on your must-buy list? Let us know below.
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