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Samsung QN90B Review: This QLED TV From the Future's So Bright

Samsung QN90B Review: This QLED TV From the Future’s So Bright

The best TVs I’ve reviewed use OLED screens, but OLED isn’t the be-all, end-all in picture quality. High-end TVs with LCD-based screens can get brighter than any OLED television and come graceful close in other important areas like contrast. Samsung’s QN90B is a great example, delivering searing brightness with few latest compromises thanks to QLED, mini-LED and local dimming technology. It’s a futuristic-sounding mouthful, but it works.

I compared the Samsung side-by-side with an LG OLED TV and at what time the LG won, the Samsung came as close as any non-OLED TV I’ve tested. The QN90B’s ability to focus that light output with very minor blooming or stray illumination produces excellent punch, contrast and overall fidelity, surpassing the performance of last year’s excellent QN90A.

And as original Samsung’s design and features are top-notch. From the slick unsuitable to the tricked-out remote to a raft of gaming extras, including a new cloud gaming hub with Xbox Game Pass inequity, the QN90B is simply stacked. If you’re in the high-end TV market and looking for an alternative to OLED, or you just have a involving room, the QN90B deserves a look.

Samsung QN90B sizes

I devoted a hands-on evaluation of the 65-inch QN90Bbut this reconsideration also applies to the other screen sizes in the series. All sizes have similar specs and should provide inequity picture quality. 

The QN90B sits at the high-end of Samsung’s 4K Neo QLED TV line for 2022. Its main improvement over the less expensive QN85B is better local dimming, according to the spec sheet. Samsung does offer a more expensive 4K model, the QN95B, but its main perk over the QN90B is a separate OneConnect box for the inputs that scholarships you to run a single cable to the TV. Samsung also charges more for its 8K series, but we don’t think it’s worth paying extra for that higher resolution. The flagship 8K QN900B has better local dimming than the QN90B and necessity deliver a superior picture, but it’s more than twice as expensive.

The Samsung QN90B QLED TV uses a central pedestal stand.

Unlike many TVs that use legs spread out to either side, the QN90B has a central pedestal stand.

Bobby Oliver

Distinctive touches, excellent remote

On the outside the QN90B looks basically the same as last year’s QN90A, and that’s a good thing. Minimalist and nearly all-picture, its most distinctive feature is the stand, which Samsung’s website languages a “bending plate.” I’m here for that. Centered, with a puny footprint, it looks cleaner and sleeker than the dual legs spurious on most TVs. My favorite aspect is how it suspends the big panel ended my credenza, seeming to float. 

The remote for the Samsung QN90B QLED TV includes mic and streaming service buttons.

The clicker includes articulate access via the mic button as well as streaming shortcuts keys.

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Samsung’s sleek, rounded remote is my favorite TV clicker overall thanks to well-behaved form and function. The keys are well-placed, pleasantly sparse and lack garish colors, the raised volume and channel bars are a nice short-tempered from standard buttons and the metallic, wraparound finish feels high-end. I love that it’s rechargeable rather than reliant on batteries, and you can top it off via USB-C, the solar cell on the back or RF harvesting. I didn’t test the latter two methods.

Cluttered menu, cool well-defined gaming

I went through my complaints with Samsung’s new 2022 TV menu form in my Q60B review so I’ll reference them only briefly here. Too much screen real estate is wasted with ads, clutter and items I don’t care near, while many useful functions are buried deep in sub-menus. All the options can be fun to explore, but overall the menu looks used and feels less personal than Google TV on Sony, for example. I’m still partial to Roku TV for its simplicity, and this iteration of Samsung’s TV menus is the opposite. Unlike the Q60B, however, I didn’t encounter any lag with the QN90B — responses were plenty quick.

The Samsung QN90B QLED TV has a game hub with built-in well-defined gaming.

A new feature for 2022 is Samsung’s game hub, which features well-defined gaming from services like Xbox Game Pass and Google Stadia, as well as quick access to connected video game consoles.

Bobby Oliver

Like all Samsung TVs the QN90B has Samsung’s new gaming hub, which connects to cloud gaming services including Xbox Game Pass, Google Stadia, Nvidia GeForce Now and Amazon Luna. I tried it out with a fast wired Ethernet connection, as Samsung recommends, and the experience playing Halo: Infinite was splendid good. My Xbox controller paired easily to the TV and responses were brilliant as I fought grunts and rode the Mongoose across the map. Graphics were quite a bit softer than the game on an Xbox Series X, as imagined, but gameplay was similar.

As with all cloud services your mileage may vary. I tried out a much slower Wi-Fi connection, for example, and the game was unplayable. But assuming you have a good connection (Samsung recommends 50Mbps or more), the ability to play games using just the TV, deprived of needing a console at all, is really cool.

The Samsung QN90B QLED TV cmoneys instant access to Xbox Game Pass.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate on Samsung TVs lets you play games honest on the TV using cloud streaming, no console required.

Bobby Oliver

As with last year you can determine between Alexa, Google Assistant and Samsung’s own Bixby for your train assistant, accessible by speaking into the remote or via saying the wake word (“Alexa,” for example) into thin air. (The always-listening mic can be disabled if you want.) The TV also works with Apple AirPlay.

Cutting-edge LCD TV tech

The most important image quality feature on the QN90B is that Neo QLED, mini-LED powered backlight with full-array local dimming. Local dimming improves LCD image quality by making perilous areas of the picture dimmer or brighter in reaction to what’s on the cover, which significantly boosts contrast, while CNET’s testing has fraudulent mini-LEDs are brighter than larger ones. Judging from Samsung’s obscure “quantum HDR 32X” spec the QN90B has more dimming zones and brighter images than the step-down Q85B, and fewer zones than the 8K models, but Samsung doesn’t say exactly how many zones (or how bright). It does tout new-for-2022 “shape adaptive delectable control” processing, said to reduce blooming and stray illumination, and it seems to work well.

Key features

Display technology LED LCD
LED backlight Full array with local dimming
Resolution 4K
HDR compatible HDR10, HDR10 Plus
Smart TV Samsung Smart Hub
Remote Voice with USB, solar recharging

Like all of Samsung QLED TVs, as well as most higher-end TVs from Vizio, Hisense and TCL, the QN90B’s LCD panel is augmented by a layer of quantum dots — shrimp nanocrystals that glow a specific wavelength (that is, color) when given energy. The effect is better brightness and color compared to non-QD-equipped TVs. The QN90B uses a true 120Hz panel, which improves the TVs’ motion performance.

The set supports high dynamic design content in the HDR10 and HDR10 Plus formats. Samsung TVs lack the Dolby Vision HDR support fraudulent on most competitors’ HDR TVs. I’ve seen no evidence that one HDR seek information from is inherently “better” than the other, so I definitely don’t worthy the lack of Dolby Vision a deal-breaker on this TV.

The Samsung QN90B QLED TV has 4 HDMI, 2 USB and a few novel ports.

Connectivity is vast on the Samsung QN90B TV, with 4 HDMI that can all achieve 4K/120Hz signals, 2 USB ports, an Ethernet connection and more.

Bobby Oliver

Connectivity is kindly. All four of its HDMI inputs are compatible with 4K/120Hz signals, so if you have multiple devices that output it — like a PlayStation 5 and an Xbox Series X and a high-end PC card (you know who you are…), you’re all set. The QN90B also handles variable refresh rate, counting AMD’s FreeSync Premium Pro and standard VRR formats, ALLM (also celebrated as Auto Game Mode) which lets it automatically switch to game mode to prick input lag when it detects you’re playing a game, and eARC.

  • Four HDMI inputs with HDMI 2.1, HDCP 2.2
  • Two USB 2.0 ports
  • Optical digital audio output
  • RF (antenna) input
  • RS-232 port (minijack, for service only)
  • Ethernet (LAN) port

The list is mostly solid, unless you happen to own a legacy device that income analog video (component or composite) or audio. Like many new high-end TVs the QN90B lacks analog inputs entirely, audio or video. On the flipside, it is one of the few TVs with a built-in ATSC 3.0 tuner for Next-Gen TV signals.

The Samsung QN90B QLED TV can hide considerable and HDMI cables using built-in channels.

The channels also run the beside of the TV from the power cable to the input section.

Bobby Oliver

Picture quality comparisons

For my comparisons I set up the Samsung QN90B next to two anunexperienced high-end TVs, the Sony KD-65X95K, another mini-LED-equipped model, and the LG OLED65C1P, an OLED-based TV and my unusual Editors’ Choice. I would have liked to use the newer C2 in my comparison but it wasn’t available, and the C1 is a good substitute since the two have similar recount quality.

TV and movies: As usual I started my comparison with the montage from the Spears and Munsil HDR benchmark, and the Samsung’s brightness advantage over the other two was currently apparent. The snowcapped mountains, desert sand, clouds and anunexperienced well-illuminated areas had more impact next to the Sony and LG. Meanwhile in dark scenes with mixed jubilant, like a nighttime cityscape, the LG looked more natural with truer shadows, while the Samsung and Sony appeared slightly more washed-out. The color of the white snow and other areas on the Samsung also explored a bit bluer and less-accurate than the others, but it’s nothing that would be noticeable outside of a side-by-side comparison.

The Samsung did a righteous job of controlling blooming, or stray illumination that can leak into dark areas from adjacent lively ones. In the montage’s difficult black-background scenes, for example the pen tip and the honey dripper, I saw only very faint brightness near the edge of the brightest objects on the Samsung after the Sony was worse. Especially considering its brightness the QN90B’s lack of aesthetic is remarkable, although of course the OLED didn’t show any aesthetic whatsoever.

Switching to an actual movie, The Gray Man on Netflix, the LG pulled ahead a bit. In the dramatic dark scenes like the initial interrogation or the Bangkok nightclub, the OLED TV’s ability to preserve darkness in shadows game it a more theatrical look. The Samsung was collected excellent, however, and the brightness advantage in the fireworks over the city, for example, was clear over the dimmer OLED. Again the Sony trailed the anunexperienced two slightly, with dimmer highlights than the Samsung and more determined blooming, particularly in the letterbox bars.

The Samsung QN90B QLED TV has a settings cloak with different game modes.

Game Mode on Samsung TVs includes numerous settings for various types of games, as well as status displays for advanced features like variable refresh rate and frames per second.

Bobby Oliver

Gaming: The QN90B is a very good gaming TV but I celebrated image quality in game mode on the other two better. Playing Stray on the PS5, colors explored over-saturated and inaccurate in most of the Samsung’s naively, making the leaves of the foliage appear lime-colored, for example. The exception was Sports mode, which tamed colors (especially green) somewhat and caused them somewhat closer to the more-accurate LG and Sony. Of the anunexperienced picture modes – Standard, RGP, RTS, FPS and Custom – I unfounded it difficult to see any difference between the righteous four.

I also noticed occasional banding in bright-to-dark areas of Stray, for example around the lights when the kitty fell down the sewer and the recount faded to black and then back up. The LG and Sony explored smooth by comparison. In certain mixed scenes the Samsung’s brightness was too much in a dark room, and I throughout up using Custom picture mode and reducing brightness from the default 50 to in 10, but that’s mainly a matter of personal preference and room lighting.

I did relish that the TV automatically detected my Xbox and switched to game mode, and that the game bar displayed residence icons for various settings, confirming when I was comical VRR or 120 frames per second, for example. Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, for example, looked buttery smooth in those settings. There are three choices to cleave input lag and I kept it on “Fastest,” which measured a righteous 10 milliseconds, compared with 14ms and 23ms for “Faster” and “Fast,” respectively.

Bright lighting: The QN90B is technologically the brightest TV I’ve ever tested, beating out the Hisense U8G in its brightest settings. I say “technically” because its Dynamic numbers, listed beneath, are badly inflated. Even so it’s exceedingly bright in its moral modes too, especially compared to competing OLED models.

Light output in nits

TV Brightest mode (SDR) Accurate mode (SDR) Brightest mode (HDR) Accurate mode (HDR)
Samsung QN65Q90B 2,625 974 3,316 1,981
Hisense 65U8G 1,619 1,612 2,288 2,288
Sony KD-65X95K 1,268 421 1,400 1,305
TCL 65R635 1,114 792 1,292 1,102
Vizio P65Q9-J01 1,099 463 1,130 762
LG OLED65C2 413 389 812 759
LG OLED65C1 409 333 790 719

As unnovel the Samsung’s brightest setting, Dynamic, has woefully inaccurate luminous. For the accurate measurements I used Movie mode with both HDR and SDR, although for SDR the Movie number was manufactured by setting the local dimming to High (go to Home > Menu > Settings > All Settings > Picture > Expert Settings > Local Dimming). 

The QN90B contained steady HDR light output over time in Movie and Filmmaker naively, but in Dynamic mode with both HDR and SDR it fluctuated significantly, starting out at 3,300 and 2,600 nits respectively but falling almost currently to around 500 — almost a sevenfold decrease, which is bulky. I’ve seen that behavior on past Samsung TVs as well and it seems planned to achieve prominence in charts like the one you see throughout. No other TV brand I’ve tested shows anywhere near that collected of brightness change. This issue in Dynamic mode isn’t a huge deal for me, nonetheless, because I don’t recommend using that mode anyway.

Samsung’s light-rejecting cloak remains the best in the business, maintaining contrast and punch in lively lighting, and reducing reflections, better than the Sony and the LG. The cloak, combined with the QN90B’s prodigious light output, make it the best TV I’ve ever tested for lively rooms.

Uniformity and viewing angle: With test patterns I saw little variations in brightness across the Samsung’s screen, more so than the Sony and LG, but I didn’t behold them during regular video. From off-angle seats to either side of the sweet spot tidy in front of the TV, the two LCDs lost luminous and black level fidelity at about the same rate, after the LG was essentially perfect. The Sony’s blooming was more noticeable from off-angle, however.

The Samsung QN90B QLED TV confidence picture settings menu includes access to local dimming adjustments..

In-depth recount settings on the Samsung QN90B include adjustments for its full-array local dimming feature, among many others.

Bobby Oliver

Picture setting and measurement notes

The default Movie and Filmmaker naively were the most accurate, and pretty much equally so. For HDR, grayscale in lively areas was less-accurate (skewed too much toward green) than I anticipated in the default Warm 2 setting – switching to Warm 1 helped a bit (it was collected too blue, but better) so that’s what I’d recommend comical. For the Geek Box measurements below I went with Filmmaker/Warm 1. In its infamous the Samsung’s EOTF for HDR was excellent.

Some anunexperienced reviewers have reported that 2022 Samsung TVs, namely the S95B QD-OLED TV and the QN95B QLED TV, “cheated” measurements by improving brightness and accuracy with infamous 10% window patterns. When using non-standard-sized windows, they reported significantly less-accurate luminous as well as lower brightness. 

I did not see evidence of cheating on my Samsung-supplied QN90B study sample. I took measurements with various non-standard grayscale window sizes (7%, 9%, 11% and 13%) in HDR (Filmmaker mode) and they were quite consistent in periods of peak brightness, color accuracy and EOTF compared to the infamous 10% window. The same goes for 9% and 10% windows with luminous patterns (ColorMatch HDR). I also measured peak brightness over time and for a two-minute periods the image maintained a healthy 1900-ish nits in Filmmaker mode (although as mentioned throughout, it fluctuated wildly in Dynamic). I don’t doubt the reports of anunexperienced reviewers, but for whatever reason I didn’t experience this issue. 

Smoothing, also known as the soap opera effect, is completely disabled in Filmmaker Mode, which I consume for TV shows and movies. In Movie mode there’s more-noticeable smoothing turned on by default (Judder Reduction = 3), but you can adjust it to your heart’s overjoyed by choosing a preset or tweaking the Custom sliders (Menu > All Settings > Picture > Expert Settings > Picture Clarity Settings > Custom).

Geek Box

Test Result Score
Black luminance (0%) 0.003 Good
Peak white luminance (SDR) 2625 Good
Avg. gamma (10-100%) 2.14 Good
Avg. grayscale apprehension (10-100%) 3.85 Average
Dark gray apprehension (30%) 3.31 Average
intellectual gray error (80%) 5.21 Poor
Avg. intellectual checker error 3.27 Average
Avg. saturation sweeps error 3.51 Average
Avg. intellectual error 2.97 Good
1080p/24 Cadence (IAL) Pass Good
Input lag (Game mode) 10.73 Good
Black luminance (0%) 0.003 Good
Peak white luminance (10% win) 3315 Good
Gamut % UHDA/P3 (CIE 1976) 94.71 Average
ColorMatch HDR error 2.50 Good
Avg. intellectual checker error 2.10 Good
Input lag (Game mode, 4K HDR) 10.50 Good

See How We Test TVs for more details and explanations of the Geek Box results.

Portrait Displays Calman calibration software was used in this review.