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Review: Samsung QE65Q90R (Q90R series) Ultra HD QLED TV

Samsung QE65Q90R QLED TV
Review Samsung QE65Q90R QLED TV: Samsung continues to tinker with its QLED technology. The new Ultra Wide Viewing Angle is the revelation of the year.
4.6/5 - (254 votes)

A new year, a new Samsung QLED top model. Just like last year, this model is equipped with a Full Array background lighting with local dimming, Invisible Connect cable and One Connect box. But the most important improvement? Samsung claims to have solved the problem of viewing angle with LCD TVs. A boud statement, but after a few impressive demos we are very curious. We are testing the 65-inch Samsung QE65Q90R QLED TV.

Samsung QE65Q90R QLED TV- specifications

  • What: Ultra HD Full Array LED LCD TV with local dimming (30 × 16 segments)
  • Screen size: 65 inch (165 cm), flat
  • Connections: One connect box: 4x HDMI (1xARC, 4x v2.0a), 3x USB, 1x digital optical audio out, 3x antenna, network connection, Bluetooth
  • Extras: HDR10, HDR10 +, HLG, WiFi (802.11 ac) built-in, Tizen Smart Hub, USB / DLNA media player, dual DVB-T2 / C / S2, 1x CI + slot, Smart Controller, voice control, One Connect Box, Invisible Connection, Ambient Mode
  • Dimensions: 1,450 x 921 x 285 mm (incl. base)
  • Weight: 34.7 kg (incl. base)
  • Consumption: 209 / 0.5 watts (Energy rating B)
  • Recommended price: 3,699 euros

Samsung QE65Q90R QLED TV – design

The QE65Q90R (Q90R series) largely inherits its design from the 2018 Q9FN series. The screen has a metal-colored frame that especially catches the eye when viewed from the side. The frame there is approximately 25mm wide, the thicker profile is a result of the full array background lighting. Viewed from the front, it is hardly noticeable, it is about 5 mm wide, and nicely bevelled. The back is finished with a stripe pattern.

The most striking change is the choice of a new type of foot. The solid metal curved plate (good for almost 7 kg!) Gives the 65-inch TV a solid base. It also looks very handsome and, despite the sturdy dimensions of the TV, ensures a light-hearted appearance. We think it is a very nice choice. Moreover, the base is also fairly shallow, which makes placing things a little easier.

Review: Samsung QE65Q90R QLED TV

Just like last year, we do not detect any connections at the rear of the QE65Q90R, either for power supply or external sources. Only the connector of the Invisible Connection is visible, and the thin cable can be tucked away neatly along the foot.

Connections

The One Connect box is largely unchanged from last year. We find four HDMI connections, which according to Samsung use HDMI 2.1 . They are not only ready for Ultra HD HDR, but also for High Frame Rate (HFR, 120fps) in both 4K and Full HD. For gamers there is support for VRR and ALLM and after a future firmware upgrade also eARC will be available. Three times USB, three antenna connections and the wired network connection make the list complete. There is of course WiFi and Bluetooth is available for those who want to use wireless headphones.

The cable between the One Connect box and television is very thin (3.4 mm) and partly transparent. He not only takes care of all data transport but also supplies power to the television. The supplied cable is five meters long, and an optional fifteen meters long version is available.

Samsung QE65Q90R QLED TV

The One Connect box and the special cable remain a unique solution that provides great flexibility during installation. Wall mounting or an arrangement on a piece of furniture where all peripheral devices and ugly cables are kept out of sight, it is very simple.

Samsung QE65Q90R QLED TV – ease of use

For the installation of the QE65Q90R you can still choose between the traditional way, with using the remote control or you use the SmartThings app on your smartphone. In both cases, the installation was simple and quick. However, the added value from using the app is limited: it is easier to register the device on your Samsung account and for those rare cases that you have to type something in (PIN code, zip code). The SmartThings app then also works as a remote.

The menus for all settings and the Smart Hub work very smoothly, which is a strong asset for Samsung in addition to the ease of use. If you look into the menus, you will notice that most image and sound settings are hidden in the “expert settings” of the respective menu. For some settings you also need to be in the “General” menu, for example, this is the case for all game-related settings.

Remote control

The Smart controller is virtually unchanged from last year. The only change is the addition of three shortcuts below for Netflix, Prime Video and Rakuten TV. The slim, light remote is made of light metal. It not only looks luxurious, but also feels very pleasant. The keys are easy to operate and you can even find them by touch. The remote works perfectly with the Smart Hub so that you rarely experience the lack of keys as a loss.

Samsung QE65Q90R QLED TV remote

You can still use the Smart Controller as a universal remote for your peripherals. Open the Smart Hub, go to Resources and scroll to the right, to “Universal remote control setup.” You go through a very simple installation procedure per connected device and you’re done. We were able to operate our set-top box for digital TV (Telenet digicorder) and Blu-ray player with the Smart Controller. Make sure that the One Connect Box is not covered up in a hidden position in relation to the devices to be operated. After all, it sends out IR signals for operation.

Samsung QE65Q90R QLED TV – features

Smart TV platform

The Smart Hub is certainly one of our favorite smart TV platforms. For a complete overview of the options, please refer to our background article about the Samsung Smart Hub .

Smart functions

One of the most important additions to the apps is Apple iTunes Movies and TV Shows (name still subject to change), and support for Airplay 2 . Both functions should become available in a short time (last feedback from Samsung: in May). The Q90R is equipped with a double tuner for all digital TV options (ether, cable and satellite) but no double CI + slot. You can record to a USB hard drive and watch another channel at the same time, but only if one of the two channels is not encrypted.

Last year, support for older Divx and xVid formats was removed from the media player. The Samsung does not play DTS soundtracks either. That’s a shame, because apart from those two flaws, the media player from Samsung is very complete (HEVC, HDR, and subtitles). The audio player also reads FLAC and ALAC.

The Smart remote is equipped with a microphone, and with it you can give a lot of commands or record searches. For the time being there is unfortunately no support for Dutch, although you can use Bixby in English, but that was only moderately successful. Bixby was also unintentionally activated during our tests while we were watching a film. To turn that off, click on the microphone, select “Explore Bixby.” In the next screen, select the settings at the top right, choose “Voice Wake up” and turn it off.

Ambient Mode

Ambient Mode gives the QE65Q90R television a function if you are not watching TV. This way you avoid a large black area in the living room. Ambient Mode received a substantial expansion this year.

There are more different patterns that you can display, and you can match the colors of a number of patterns to your living room. Use the TV as a fantastic photo frame, info frame or art installation, plenty of options. The SmartThings app is a handy way to experiment with the different possibilities.

Samsung QE65Q90R QLED TV – Image quality

Quantum dots are still Samsung’s chosen technology for the top models. The QE65Q90R, like the other Q90R series models, uses the same backlight unit as the Q9FN last year, according to Samsung. That means a subdivision into 30 × 16 segments, and that was confirmed during the counting. The big innovation must come from two things: the new Quantum Processor 4K and a new approach to improve the viewing angle (Ultra Wide Viewing Angle). We immediately notice the presence of the latter technology when photographing the panel structure. It is impossible to get a clear picture of it (with our equipment).

Main settings

The best choice starts from the film mode.

Film Mode Expert settings Expert settings
Image format setting: 16: 9 standard
Fit to screen: On
Backlight: 26
Brightness: 0
Contrast: 45
Sharpness: 0
Color: 25
Tint (G / R): 0
Clean Digital View: Low *
Auto Motion Plus: *
Local Dimming: Standard
Contrast enhancement: Off
Color tone: Warm 2
Gamma: BT.1886 / 0
RGB mode : Off
Color space: Auto

Explanation of most important settings;

  • The backlight in Film mode is 26. That brightness is fine and you can go much higher, even if you activate the light sensor, too find under General, Eco-solution, Detection of ambient light.
  • Clean Digital View contains all noise techniques. It is advisable to activate this if you are viewing a DVD or other low quality image. The “Auto” mode also works well with color bands, the “low” mode works a little less hard.
  • Auto Motion Plus: this is as always a matter of taste. Auto is a good all-round solution. If you want more control, choose Custom and set Blur Reduction to 10 and vibrate reduction somewhere between 6 and 8. We do not recommend LED Clear Motion, the flicker in the image is visible.

General image properties and image processing

The Quantum Processor 4K Samsung may have a futuristic name that has nothing to do with quantum computing, the results are nevertheless excellent. Upscaling and noise reduction do an excellent job. We are particularly surprised by how well the new processor has removed compression noise (blocking) and how well it eliminates annoying color bands in soft gradients. Leave “Clean Digital View” in the lowest position, although “Auto” also gave very good results to our taste, and that position is required if you really want to avoid color banding. Of course the “off” position remains recommended for purists. In the film mode, ‘Sharpness’ is set to zero, you can safely raise it to somewhere between 5 and 10 if you want a little more detail in your image, and leave the noise reduction activated.

The screen appears us lose something in motion sharpness compared to last year. A very light halo is often visible and that takes some detail in fast-moving scenes. “Auto motion Plus” still has a limited number of options. The “Auto” mode is good for beautiful, smooth images with maximum detail, but creates slightly too many image errors, especially with low-quality images. ‘Adjusted’ is therefore often the better choice, with ‘Blurry reduction’ on 8-10, and ‘Vibration reduction’ between 6 and 8. Avoid ‘Led Clear Motion’, the flickering image is too high a price for some extra detail. [19659016] Samsung QE65Q90R QLED TV

The full array backlight of the Q90R we already know from last year in the Q9FN. With improved control thanks to the new processor, the result has been improved in a number of critical places. For example, there is better shadow detail, to the extent that we no longer find it necessary to tinker with the institutions. Extreme examples such as the film “Gravity” remain a tricky affair, stars are a little too dark against the pitch black of the sky, but overall the performances are very good. The screen has its own ANSI contrast of approximately 3,000: 1 (depending on the test, we arrived at 2,500: 1 to 3,500 or even 7,000: 1). This increases even further with our other contrast measurements. The pumping of the background lighting is clearly reduced. Only in very extreme cases (earth-dark scenes with subtitles) do you still notice it very lightly. In HDR images, however, subtitles can still have a visible effect and make the image pump softly. This slightly overexposed photo shows that the Samsung very well hides its segment boundaries.

We noticed that the screen occasionally gave its white shades a pink or green glow. A good example is this resolution screen, where you have vertical lines of 1 pixel wide (white / black) on the right, 2 pixels wide in the middle, and 4 pixels on the left. The right block has a green hue, and the middle block a pink hue (more difficult to see). This is probably due to a form of sub-pixel rendering that Samsung uses, but because the viewing angle filter makes it impossible to take clear pictures, we cannot confirm that.

We mainly saw this in test images, but the effect cannot be excluded in real content. After having watched two films, we did not notice it, so it is likely that this will not occur often on normal content.

The “Film” mode provides excellent results. Deep contrast combined with excellent black detail and a neutral gray scale ensure very natural images with great depth and detail. The color reproduction is top. Watching television is a pleasure.

HDR

Samsung still keeps its hands off Dolby Vision. It is one of the few things that we really regret. The TV supports HDR10, HLG and HDR10 +. But the HDR performance doesn’t lie. The Q90R achieves a peak brightness of 1660 nits and on a completely white screen still a generous 579 nits. HDR is therefore a particularly lively experience. Remarkable is the color range that has clearly decreased compared to the 2018 Q9FN, now 88% DCI-P3 and 65% Rec 2020 (vs 97 and 73% respectively on the Q9FN). That seems a fairly big difference, but the impact is limited, especially green seems to have to sacrifice some intensity. This decrease is probably due to the Wide Angle Film.

Samsung QE65Q90R QLED TV

Unfortunately, Samsung has still not learned to neatly follow the required brightness curve, but it continues to make the images much clearer. In Film mode, the brightness over a large part of the curve is more than 50% too high. So yes, the images are very clear, but that is not necessary. You can reduce the contrast to 40 (coming from 50) for a much better result. The Q90R does show neatly all white detail, even up to 10,000 nits.

We noticed that Samsung also performs dynamic tonemapping (and therefore adjusts the image based on the general and / or peak brightness that is visible), but offers no option to disable this. In short, the images are impressive, and again, a pleasure to look at, but those looking for studio-accurate images for HDR should have a calibrator on.

Reflections and viewing angles

We have the new technology that Samsung uses to improve viewing angle already explained in detail in a previous article . Now it’s time to check whether Samsung could confirm that good impression. And the answer is: Absolutely! Even up to a viewing angle of 60 ° the screen retains its contrast very well and there is little color shift. Black may still be a bit brighter, so that segment boundaries become more visible in extreme cases, but for the vast majority of our tests, the result is impressive, and here and there it comes close to the performance of OLED. That is impressive.

Reflections are also considerably less annoying. They are spread out more widely but lose a lot of intensity, so that they are much less disturbing.

Gaming

In the film image mode of the QE65Q90R we measure a lag of 79.7 ms. That is of course way too much for a good gaming experience. With the game mode active the lag drops to 16.2 ms and that is a top result. You activate the game mode in the settings, under “General, Manage external devices, Game mode”. Samsung has also added Motion Plus settings there so that you can now also tinker with the sharpness of motion in game mode, although the lag goes towards 40ms (still good).

Samsung offers support for VRR ( Variable Refresh Rate), under the name Freesycnc (such as AMD technology of the same name). By activating “improve games”, the TV illuminates black detail to a limited extent so that you can see better in the shadows and adjusts the sound.

Samsung QE65Q90R QLED TV – Audio quality

The good audio performance is a great addition to the image quality. The sound is firm, with a good portion of bass. That in turn invites you to increase the volume, but then you hear the bass disappear. The Samsung is not a boombox for your party, but it does put a nice soundtrack under the film.

The TV can, using the Intelligent mode, adjust the sound to the room. This requires a very short test (to be carried out in the menu of intelligent mode: “Check capacity of TV”). The result is audible, but will undoubtedly depend on your attitude. Definitely try it out, you can easily turn it off if desired.

No Dolby Atmos on this Samsung QE65Q90R, a feature that we find on many competitors. But the Samsung can pass Dolby Atmos to a soundbar or AV receiver via its HDMI-ARC connection (which will also deliver eARC with a future firmware upgrade). If you wish to use this, you must activate it in the settings.

Samsung QE65Q90R QLED TV – Conclusion

Samsung continues to tinker with its QLED technology and you notice that. The new Ultra Wide Viewing Angle is the revelation of the year. An LCD with a viewing angle that can almost stand next to OLED. The special film does have a cost: the HDR color range is slightly reduced, although you will not notice it in practice. We especially regret the lack of Dolby Vision and Atmos on this set and Samsung continues to make the image unnecessarily clear in HDR. We also note that Samsung is marketing the QE65Q90R considerably cheaper: the Q90FN started at 4,299 last year, the Q90R now starts at 3,699. That is of course expensive, but you also get the best LCD TV at home.

The new processor delivers improved dimming of the backlight, and with its 480 zones, the Samsung offers excellent contrast, with beautiful black detail. The color reproduction is excellent and image processing in general is particularly good. This Samsung leaves a very good HDR impression and also gamers are spoiled extensively. Moreover, the many lifestyle features such as the One Connect box, Invisible cable, Ambient Mode and an extensive Smart Hub are all real added value.

 

Cons

  • None Dolby Vision / Atmos
  • Less large HDR color range than last year
  • Still too brightly calibrated in HDR

Plus points

  • Excellent local dimming (Contrast and black value)
  • Unseen viewing angle for an LCD
  • Invisible Connection and One Connect box
  • Color rendering
  • Good sharpness of motion
  • Very bright HDR display

 

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