Samsung QN90A Neo QLED TV: Brighter than OLED, but is it better?
Tv & Audio
Hey guys, this is Samsung's best 4K TV for 2021.
The QN 90 a series.
This TV has Neo Q LED technology that allows it to look almost as good as Led in my tests and that's high praise.
How does Samsung do it?
Let's take a look
So the key here is mini LED.
The LEDs behind the TV screen here are 40 times smaller Samsung says than a standard LED and that means they can pack more of them in there and get a more precise illumination.
We'll get to the benefits of all that in the picture quality section soon, but I'll just leave you with this.
This is the first time Samsung has used mini led in its TVs and wow, you can really tell the difference.
I'm going to start with design however this is a typically very sleek looking Samsung television.
This TV is a 65 inch size.
There's also a 5055 75 and whopping 85 inch in the series and they do cost Couple $100 less than Lead, but really in the same ballpark if you're in this high end of the market.
So the design, this TV has a super slick bezel around the edge.
The picture goes right up to that edge as a tiny little Samsung logo.
But the biggest thing I like is the stand So this is a nice small footprint kind of centralized and the way that it's designed, it sort of floats the panel above my credenza here so it has that nice sort of floaty look that again kind of suspends the panel.
So really cool.
You look at it from the side, you can see that it's sort of a cup shape, a C shape seen from the side again to hold this panel up.
Another cool thing about the back of this TV, there are these Channels you can run along the back to hide the wires and kinda keep a nice clean look.
Overall Of course, a lot of people in this price bracket are gonna wall mount so that actually helps there too.
Of course seeing from the side this TV isn't gonna be as thin as an OLED television those are really, really thin.
This TV has a full array local dimming backlight.
So, a little bit thicker, but hey, we watch TV from the side anyway, right?
You can also connect an optional Logitech webcam for features like video chat and yes fitness tracking.
Seeing here when I first demo Samsung's new TVs for CES.
So what else is new for 2021?
Well, Samsung put a solar panel on the remote you flip it over, you can actually charge this thing Samsung cells using standard indoor lighting or sunlight of course I really didn't test that I'll be honest with you.
The remote had plenty of juice for the you know a couple of weeks that I've had it to test but you can also plug in a USB see right in here if you want to top off the battery, of course the main benefit to this remote It's rechargeable so you don't need to replace the batteries constantly which again helps the environment in the hand I really liked the feel this remote, really slick design, typical Samsung again really simplistic controls easy to use.
I also like that the shortcuts to Netflix, Amazon Video and even Samsung zone two TV plus system are nice and discreet, not those garish colors with the logos you see on a lot of other remotes.
So let's pop into the menu system here.
Again, not much has changed at this time.
You see along the bottom here, you have Samsung's standard menu system that pops up when you hit the Home key.
The apps are arranged nicely you can rearrange them how you want.
You can see also that I've put some connected devices here toward the front so my Roku, my Xbox, easy to get to, can scroll over here you get into more advanced features.
For example That's Samsung's App Store.
You can search from here access Samsung SmartThings, which is their smart home feature, jump right to a different input.
And of course Go to Advanced Settings, which includes picture settings.
Again, you can just pop right up, play with those really easily.
It's nice to have this kind of design right here and have it all running in the foreground while you have whatever you're watching in the background.
I prefer that to menu systems that take up the entire screen.
Now one thing that is missing from this TV, it doesn't have Dolby Vision.
So that HDR format is available on a lot of the competition, Samsung still doesn't include it.
So when you go into apps where you connect a device, you won't have Dolby Vision as an option.
I don't consider that a huge deal breaker however, because this TV performs really well without needing that HDR format still works fine with HDR 10 and HDR 10 plus.
Another extra built into this TV is voice assistance.
Yes, you get the choice of three Samsung zoned Bixby, or Amazon Alexa, or Google assistant.
You can use those just from pressing the mic button on the remote or new for this year, you can use a wake word.
Alexa, and there she is, comes right up without having to touch the remote.
You can turn that always on, always listening feature off if you like to.
Another new addition for 2021 is something Samsung's calling the game bar.
So gamers out there who want to get access to instant stats will appreciate just holding down on the play key.
We'll get this game bar to pop up on the bottom it'll show you frames per second.
In real time, which is pretty cool.
Variable refresh rate status and even where the [UNKNOWN] the right input lag connection.
Also, the TV has an ability to jump right into the game menu from there and play around with deeper setting.
Samsung's game mode isn't quite as extensive as the one found on LG OLED, but it's still pretty cool and again, having that instant access to those stats really nice.
Course on the Q 98.
You do get top notch gaming features including 4k 120 hertz input.
As well as variable refresh rate, which includes free sync from AMD, and auto game mode, so plug in a game console, it'll flip right to the game mode worked really well in my testing with an Xbox series x.
So speaking of gaming, one of my comparisons was using an Xbox to feed this Samsung next to an LG OLED and a Vizio television.
Results are really good.
The Samsung had excellent picture quality in game mode didn't have quite the contrast that and theatricality that I saw on the OLED TV.
The game mode here favoured bringing up the details in the shadows a little bit more, but the brightness was there.
The extra picture brightness especially with gaming and HDR really pops on this TV compared to an old lead model.
And that extra brightness is the story as well with standard video, not just games.
Let's talk about how that works now.
In a nutshell, this Samsung is the best non OLED TV I've ever tested and in a lot of ways it's actually better than an OLED TV.
Let's start with brightness.
In my measurements.
This thing measured about 1600 nits in its most accurate picture mode that's about twice as much as I got out of the brightest Television I've ever tested from OLED.
That's LG's G1, which I compare this TV directly to in those comparisons that brightness really showed up especially in areas that were brighter.
Overall, for example, a white area or some Skies things like that really allowed, the technology of the mini LED to shine through and overcome the brightness of the OLED.
So lots of TVs can get brighter than Led but the key to the Q and 90 A's performance was its excellent black levels that weren't really affected that much by blooming at all.
So blooming is where you can get straight illumination that plagues full array local dimming TVs I've seen from other manufacturers.
This one, however, really didn't have that issue.
That black stayed nice and deep even in the darkest areas.
Now compared to Lead Yes, it did look slightly more washed out in mixed scenes because this thing can't perfectly control that blooming because this is not a pixel level dimming like LED, but it gets really, really close and again you have that extra impact and brightness of the higher light levels.
This TV is superb in a bright room, much brighter than oled and again, if you have a lot of light streaming in your environment, you're really going to get a lot of mileage out of the queue and 90 a.
And a couple other areas though oleds continue to win, for example, off angle viewing when I sat far to the side, the image did wash out relatively quickly on the Samsung compared to the oled which remained Pretty perfect again off angle very good for an LCD but can't compete with OLED.
I also noticed a little bit more uniformity issues on the Samsung brighter areas in some areas of the screen but again, super subtle.
Another TV I use my comparisons was a Vizio PX it actually measured brighter than the Samsung, but it didn't have the same kind of contrast and pop It had a little bit more blooming and the black levels were raised again, it's blacklight wasn't quite as precise as on the Samsung.
So the Samsung QN98 is a similar price to OLED TVs a little bit less expensive, but they're in the same ballpark.
So the question is, which one would I rather watch?
I had to pick one, I still go with O lead, it's extra contrast, puts it over the edge and the off angle icing on the cake.
However, if I had a brighter room, the Q and 98 would be my pick.
This TV again shines so bright, that great HDR impact, still very solid.
And if for some reason, you don't want an LED TV, this is really as close as you're gonna get That's a quick look at Samsung's Q and 90 a.
I'm David katzmaier from CNET.
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