Although Samsung now also offers OLED models, it also remains strongly committed to Neo QLED. A Full Array Local Dimming backlight of miniLEDs, quantum dots, and an extremely slim and stylish design give this TV a lot of potential.
The back is finished completely flat with a fine horizontal stripe pattern, only the connections are slightly recessed. A few deep horizontal grooves can serve as very rudimentary cable guides, but there’s only room for three cables, and they shouldn’t be too thick.
The TV stands on a hexagonal, dark silver metal base. There is quite a bit of flex on the wide neck and connection to the screen, the device wobbles quite hard when you give it a push. However, the foot is very firmly on the furniture, letting the TV fall over seems very unlikely to us.
Samsung QE55QN90C – Connections
The TV has four very well-equipped HDMI 2.1 connections. In addition to the full 48Gbps bandwidth, they support eARC (on HDMI 3), ALLM, VRR and 4K120. Two USB ports, an optical digital output, Ethernet, WiFi and Bluetooth complete the list.
The connections are all directed to the side, so that it is possible to mount the TV tightly against the wall.
Samsung QE55QN90C – Ease of use and smart TV
Like the S95C, the QN90C uses the Tizen 7 Smart Hub. We largely adopt the text of that review. The changes compared to last year are small. Samsung has mainly ensured that the interface no longer continues to falter, so that your experience is now a lot smoother.
The structure of the Home screen is unchanged. You can adjust the row of apps in the center of the screen, both what it says and the order. Your HDMI sources and live TV also have a place there. On the left under the apps you will find the most recent source, in addition to channel recommendations from Samsung TV Plus. If you scroll further down, you will find recommendations from all kinds of streaming services. You can’t adjust any of that. We remain moderately enthusiastic about the layout, due to the lack of personalization.
In the fold-out section on the left side of the Home screen, there is now an icon that takes you directly to the quick settings, and one that shows the connected devices. That already saves a few clicks compared to last year, but we don’t think it’s ideal. Samsung would do well to think more carefully about how you group different functions and make them quickly and clearly accessible. You can also reach the quick settings by pressing the button at the top left of the remote.
Later in the year we will provide a new overview article of the Smart Hub.
The new remote is a lot smaller and thinner than its predecessor. The layout of the keys is largely unchanged. Only the hotkey for MultiView has disappeared at the top. The small remote uses a built-in rechargeable battery. Charging can be done with the photovoltaic panel at the back. And if you urgently need some extra charge, you can use the USB-C port.
The remote control is convenient to use. The keystroke is light and clear, and the layout and limited number of keys make it very simple. A button to select a different input would have been useful. And those who still zap a lot with the number of TV channels may miss a numeric keypad. Due to its small size, we see it disappear even more easily between the seat cushions.
The QN90C has a double TV tuner for digital TV (DVB-T2/C/S2) and one CI+ slot. Watching and recording another channel at the same time is only possible if one of the two channels is unencrypted. You can cast YouTube and Netflix to the TV via Google Cast, and for iOS users there is support for Airplay2. The media player is good, but it doesn’t handle the older Divx or Xvid and it doesn’t play DTS soundtracks. Subtitles and HDR were no problem, and the audio player is complete.
No shortage of features. There is of course the Ambient Mode with which you can give the TV a decorative function when you are not watching TV. There is Workspace where you can connect to a Samsung smartphone, Windows or Mac PC. With MultiView you can view multiple sources at the same time, including a USB camera or the camera of your smartphone. And with Google Meet you can video conference. The TV has a built-in Zigbee hub and supports Matter .
Samsung QE55QN90C – Image processing
We now know the Neural Quantum Processor 4K from its great all-round performance. The upscaling is excellent, with great detail. To give it some extra spice, you can increase ‘sharpness’ to five. The processor quickly and reliably detects the type of content, film or video, and learns excellent deinterlacing even in our most difficult test pattern. In this way, it very well prevents moiré effects or steps in almost horizontal lines.
We continue to regret that Samsung gives you very little control over the noise reduction. The only choice is off or auto. With the latter you therefore fully rely on Samsung’s choices. But they are generally very good. Random noise disappears well, and the processor also handles compression noise (blocking) very well. The approach never seemed too aggressive to us, so you don’t lose any detail in the image. Color bands in soft color gradients sometimes remain a problem. If they are not too pronounced, the processor will eliminate them. But clear color bands, especially in dark scenes such as the Game of Thrones test scene, remain a stumbling block.
The sharpness of motion is particularly good. There’s a very faint double border visible at the trailing edge of a moving object, but that didn’t really bother us. The motion interpolation intervenes very quickly and correctly, film pans are smooth, without stutter and with minimal artifacts. If you want as much image detail as possible, activate “Led Clear Motion”, a Black Frame Insertion (what is BFI ) at 60 Hz. However, the resulting flicker in the image didn’t seem worth that little bit of extra detail and sharpness to us.
|Image Sharpness Setting
|Picture mode: Filmmaker mode
Picture format settings: 16:9 standard
Fit to screen size: On
Local Dimming: Standard
Contrast Enhancement: Off
Film Mode: Auto Color
Tone: Warm 2
Gamma: BT.1886 / 0
Shadow Detail: 0
Color Space: Auto
|Auto or Customized:
Blur Reduction : 10
Noise Reduction: Auto or Off
Samsung QE55QN90C – Picture quality
The QN90C is equipped with a mini LED Full Array backlight with local dimming . The panel is of the VA type, with an anti-reflection film.
The backlight is divided into 36×14 zones (504 zones, on the 65” there are 720). So there is no improvement in that area, but perhaps there is no need to. With Local Dimming in the lowest setting (cannot be switched off via the menus), the panel delivers an ANSI contrast of 3,675:1 and with Local Dimming in the ‘default’ setting (which is used in Filmmaker Mode) we already measure 18,685: 1. With a more relaxed test pattern, the contrast goes up quite a bit. The dimming is also very responsive, there’s a slightly dark side on the leading side of a fast-moving subject, and at very strong contrasts (especially in HDR) a faint halo is still visible when the background is really black. In practical tests, however, this worked very well. For example, subtitles in SDR caused no visible problems.
The only moments that you do see a compromise is with very extreme bright small objects against a black background. They remain slightly darker than they should be. Stars are a good example. But Samsung almost completely avoids seeing zones turn on or off, while it does show very deep black. The screen also had very good uniformity. On the dark, even test pattern, some clouding was very faintly visible, but with normal images it is completely invisible.
For the most accurate image, switch to Filmmaker Mode. In that mode, the QN90C has an excellent neutral gray scale and particularly accurate color reproduction. The colorful scenes from House Of Flying Daggers and Hero jump off the screen, but keep very natural skin tones.
Dark scenes such as the Harry Potter test, Gravity or Revenant are also perfectly reflected with a lot of shadow nuances. In the standard settings you already have a very clear image, but you can set Filmmaker mode with the maximum brightness even above 700 nits, so that you can watch TV without any problems even on a sunny day. Then use the light sensor so that you are not overwhelmed by the image in the evening.
Samsung QE55QN90C – HDR
Samsung still does not support Dolby Vision, but it does support HDR10 + Adaptive. That loss remains a pity, but we soon see that the QN90C can also convince us in HDR. On the 10% window we measured a peak of 2181 nits, on the completely white field we still had 723 nits left. We already knew that the local dimming somewhat weakens bright accents, but the TV still has 1670 nits on the 1% window.
The color range is slightly better than what we saw on the QN95B last year. With 92% P3 and 70% Rec.2020, it has enough color gamut to really make HDR sparkle. Due to the high brightness, we also see an enormous color volume. Even in very bright images, the colors therefore remain very intense.
With that high peak brightness, the TV does not have to tonemap very strongly. We also use Filmmaker mode here for its excellent calibration. In the settings you will find “HDR tone mapping. It is a new setting that determines whether or not the TV shows HDR10 without its own dynamic tone mapping. We recommend leaving them on static. We then see all white detail, except for 4000 nits of mastered content where a little bit of clipping occurs, and a minimum of black detail is missing in very dark scenes. Switching “HDR Tone Mapping” to active fixes that, but almost all scenes will be brighter, and that takes away some contrast and in some cases even some color. The image therefore clearly deviates from the intention.
The Samsung performs particularly well in HDR, and only in scenes with an (almost) pitch black background, it is sometimes possible that you see a vague dimming zone. We reviewed a large chunk of Aquaman on the QN90C and the colors come out fantastically, and both contrast and peak brightness give it strong points.
Samsung QE55QN90C – Gaming, Reflections and viewing angles
The QN90C is equipped with an anti-reflection film and improved viewing angle, just like the previous years. Reflections therefore become slightly wider, and can cause a rainbow effect. The viewing angle is very good, colors and contrast are preserved for a long time, but keep in mind that you may see zone boundaries from an angle, especially in HDR.
Gamers can count on quite a few features. With four HDMI 2.1 connections, you can easily connect multiple gaming sources, and possibly use a soundbar. Of course you can use 4K120, and the VRR support (48-120Hz) includes HDMI VRR, AMD Freesync and although not mentioned, the TV is also NVIDIA G-Sync Compatible. The input lag is low, 7.3ms in 2K120 and 13.9ms in 4K60. In game mode you can also adjust Motion plus settings to reveal more detail, at the expense of some extra input lag. In game mode, long press the play/pause button to display the Game Bar. There you not only get an overview of the most important image properties such as fps and VRR, but you can also adjust the image mode or play games in 21:9 (for PC)
Samsung QE55QN90C – Sound quality
The weak point of this TV is undoubtedly the audio quality. The 60 watt 4.2.2 channel configuration with Dolby Atmos support seems sufficient on paper, but cannot convince in practice. There is almost no real bass sound, so don’t expect thunderous explosions. The volume is decent, but the processor compresses the sound if you ask for a lot of volume and you can hear that of course. The surround experience is very limited, even with Atmos soundtracks. For your normal portion of daily TV, the performance is sufficient, with clear, crisp dialogue. But for music and film, we would rather supplement the handsome image with the sound of a great soundbar.
Samsung QE55QN90C – Conclusion
The Samsung QE55QN90C is very similar to the 2022 QN95B/QN90B. One of the main downsides has been eliminated, Tizen works a lot smoother on this model. Although we remain only moderately enthusiastic about its layout. Samsung TVs have to do without Dolby Vision, but on this model, with a lot of brightness, that is not a big loss. The audio performance, on the other hand, is disappointing, film fans provide quite a budget for a good soundbar.
The Neo QLED screen of the QN90C proves to be very versatile. Not only do the 504 zones provide excellent contrast and an impressive peak brightness, but Samsung also controls the local dimming very well. In very high-contrast HDR images, you may still see a blurred zone, and intense small light accents lose some power on a dark background. That certainly didn’t bother us while watching. The Filmmaker Mode is very well calibrated, and the accurate colors and sharp contrasts will have you immersed in the story in no time. The Samsung has more than enough peak brightness to deliver a good image even on a sunny day. The excellent motion sharpness also makes it suitable for everything, from film to sports and yes, games too. The four HDMI 2. 1 connections deliver the required functionality and low input lag for high-end gaming enjoyment. Tizen guarantees an extensive range of apps and a lot of extra functions. We are only moderately satisfied with the price. The QN90B is certainly a good alternative, and currently a lot cheaper. You then have to do without the smoother Tizen, and the Zigbee hub is also missing.
- Very high peak brightness
- Excellent contrast (504 dimming zones)
- Very good image processing
- Good viewing angle
- Tizen smart TV provides a lot of functionality
- Built-in Zigbee hub and Matter support
- Beautiful HDR display
- HDMI 2.1 connection and gaming features
- No Dolby Vision
- Very mediocre audio performance