Samsung’s QN90B Neo QLED TV series is the second-tier 4K option in the company’s QLED lineup, positioning itself among the top sets of the QN95B and QN85B series. And while we don’t consider the QN90B series to be cost-effective, it is priced significantly lower than the QN95B sets, offering many of the same features and technological innovations the company has introduced for 2022.
Chief among these is something Samsung calls the Shape Adaptive Light Control System — basically a fancy name for processing that modulates the intensity of specific local dimming zones in the device’s mini-LED backlight to minimize “bloom” artifacts. And while the QN90B series must make do with just having a 4K Neo Quantum processor with “deep learning” instead of the “neural networks” found on the flagship, it does have Samsung’s new Real Depth Enhancer, a feature designed to provide a Enhanced sense of 3D Visual Space.
More importantly from a practical point of view, the QN90B series sets feature an Anti-Glare display with Ultra Viewing Angle. While the screen glare reduction technology doesn’t quite match what you’ll get with the company’s new The Frame TVs, it works very effectively to reduce glare in rooms with overhead lighting. The Ultra Viewing Angle also manages to widen the viewing “sweet spot” to accommodate viewers in off-center seats.
We performed our hands-on test of a 65-inch QN90B during a full-day visit to Samsung’s northern New Jersey facility, where we were secluded to put the TV on the doorbell. In addition to performing a full set of video measurements, we were able to spend a lot of time viewing reference Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs using an Oppo UDP-103 player.
price and availability
The 65-inch QN90B we reviewed is part of Samsung’s 2022 lineup of TVs. This series is offered in a wider range of sizes than the company’s other Neo QLED models, with screens ranging from 43 inches to a whopping 98 inches (the 98-inch model only available in the US at the moment). Not surprisingly, the larger QN90B’s price tag is $10,000 higher than its 85-inch sibling – a variation that suggests buying a projector/screen combo to achieve that image size would be a much better choice from a standpoint. of value.
Current prices for Samsung’s QN90B TVs are listed below. All models are now available.
- The 43-inch QN90B is priced at $1,199 / £1,399 / AU$1,795
- The 50-inch QN90B is priced at $1,599 / £1,499 / AU$2,295
- The 55-inch QN90B is priced at $1,899 / £1,999 / AU$2,695
- The 65-inch QN90B is priced at $2,599 / £2,799 / AU$3,595
- The 75-inch QN90B is priced at $3,499 / £3,699 / AU$4,795
- The 85-inch QN90B is priced at $4,999 / £5,499 / AU$6,495
- The 98-inch QN90B is $14,999
Design and features
Although the QN90B series TVs do not have the “Infinity Screen” design of the higher-end QN95 models, the black panel around the screen is thin enough to disappear while viewing. Samsung calls the QN90B’s design NeoSlim, and the device’s thin, slightly curved back panel bears that label. An included iMac-like fold-plate desktop stand provides firm support, allowing enough space to fit a medium-thin-format soundbar below the display.
Another way the QN90B series differs from Samsung’s QN95 models is the presence of built-in video connections instead of an external One Connect box for A/V connections. All four HDMI ports support high frame rate video up to 4K/144Hz and other advanced features such as ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode), HDMI eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel), Fast Switching and Freesync Premium Pro are included. supported. For those who want to enjoy free over-the-air broadcasts, the device has an integrated ATSC 3.0 digital TV tuner.
As you would expect from a Samsung TV with a “QLED” tag, the LCD panel used by the QN90B series features a quantum dot layer for expanded color. The measurements we made on site confirmed 99.9% coverage of the Rec. 709 (HDTV) color gamut in Dynamic mode and 92% in Filmmaker mode. DCI-P3 coverage (the range used for digital cinema and Ultra Blu-ray Disc releases) in Filmmaker mode reached a somewhat disappointing 91.5%. Given the time constraints of our test, we didn’t have the opportunity to count the local dimming zones used by the handset’s Mini-LED backlight, but as you’ll read in the Performance section, the amount is enough to provide mostly seamless black. -to-white transitions in images.
As stated above, the QN90B series features Samsung’s Neo Quantum 4K processor. It supports HDR10, HLG, and HDR10+ high dynamic range formats along with HGiG (HDR Gaming Interest Group), but like Samsung’s previous handsets, Dolby Vision HDR was left out.
Samsung’s Tizen smart TV interface tends to be hammered (see our full QN95B review), but to me the QN90B’s home screen didn’t feel much more congested than you’ll find on its competition. What really bothered me was the need to create a Samsung account to download any apps – something most other TVs don’t force you to do.
A big boost for Samsung in its 2022 handsets is the Samsung TV Plus app, which curates an extensive list of free content to stream. While I can’t argue with the free one, I found the control button that takes you straight into the world of TV Plus to be annoyingly placed directly below the Home button on the Samsung remote. While reviewing the QN90B, I regularly found myself pressing the TV Plus button instead of the Home button. This often caused a 90s rap or grunge music video to appear on the screen, and I had to struggle to remove it.
Starting to visualize test patterns through a 4K signal generator and the Spears & Munsil UHD HDR Reference disk, a default 100% white at full screen, and a low-level gray showed a small amount of color cast and non-uniform brightness, although I can’t say I noticed the same problem when watching regular shows. Better news: The QN90B was able to maintain brightness and color vibrancy at viewing positions up to 45 degrees from the center, proving the effectiveness of the Ultra Viewing Angle feature. I was also impressed by how well the photos looked with the overhead lights on – that anti-glare screen in action – although I did most of my assessment with the room lights off.
While we performed measurements with the TV in Filmmaker (and Dynamic) mode, Movie mode turned out to be a better place to start tweaking. Colors in Filmmaker mode were more accurate, but there was a high level of black “crush” that obscured detail in the shadows. This was a minor issue in Film mode, which produced equally accurate colors, although I still had to increase the Gamma setting of the BT.1886 standard set. and increase the Shadow Detail setting to remove any shadowy dark details.
The QN90B’s maximum image brightness measured in a 10% white window in Dynamic mode was in the 2,000 nit range – far more than enough to deliver the products with most HDR content. Further measurements have shown that the input lag with a 4K test signal generator is excellent at 9.8ms (milliseconds) and 12ms with a 1080p source, both in Game mode.
Returning to the QN90B’s friendlier movie-picture mode, I watched a few segments of the 2021 James Bond movie No Time to Die. This disc was almost breathtaking on Samsung, with sunny scenes filmed in Italy revealing a wide range of accent details and subtle colors. The set also excelled in the darker scenes taking place in Havana, Cuba, with shadows turning to true black but with lots of visible shadow detail.
Color and heavy CGI movies like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. two also appeared pleasantly on the Samsung screen. The sequence that takes place on Ego’s planet, for example, showed a vivid range of greens and reds, and in other scenes Yondu’s skin appeared a deep, satisfying blue. I saw a slight degree of backlight-related brightness in the black bars of the movie mailbox; this led me to check further on some torture test clips from the Spears and Munsil disk, where I noticed blooming in some cases. For the most part, however, I wasn’t bothered by their (very) occasional intrusion during my QN90B preview session.
Encouraged by what I saw in the Havana sequences of no time to dieI watched then Dune and was… disappointed. Black bars in the film’s darkest scenes remained solid black, but the image didn’t have the overall visual impact I’d come to expect from a 4K/HDR presentation, even a relatively dark one like Dune. Changing the TV’s local dimming preset from High to Medium helped a little here, but not much. More bothersome was a relatively high degree of noise, even after I switched to Filmmaker, an imaging mode that turns off most types of image processing.
To check myself, I rotated another dark looking 4K/HDR movie, the Batman. Deep blacks also showed up well on this record, but there was much of the same flat, noisy quality with raised shadows that I had witnessed with Dune. Interestingly, both films were shot digitally (by the same cinematographer, Greig Fraser), transferred to film, and then transferred back to digital for a unique look. Was this post-production sorcery the root of the problem? If I had more time to explore the QN90B and compare it to a different TV, I probably would have come to a more satisfying conclusion, but for now I’ll just say that both Dune and the Batman didn’t look so good on Samsung.
With most of my time spent with the QN90B devoted to video, I haven’t had a chance to fiddle around with its audio capabilities too much. Even so, I had the volume relatively loud and didn’t notice cut-off dialogue or undue tension from loud movie sound effects. The set has a number of Samsung-specific audio features such as Object Tracking Sound, Q-Symphony (allows the integrated 2-channel, 40-watt audio system to work in conjunction with one of the company’s soundbars), and Active Voice Amplifier. And along with its eARC HDMI connection, it has a Bluetooth audio output for a wireless link to a soundbar or headphones.
At $2,599 (and £2,799 / AU$3,595), Samsung’s 65-inch QN90B is hardly a casual purchase and faces a lot of competition from OLED sets and other Mini-LED-backlit LCDs. But at $800 less than the company’s same-sized QN95B model, the QN90B strikes us as a relatively good deal in the rarefied realm of high-end Samsung TVs.
Although our hands-on test of the QN90B was quicker than we would have liked, we ended up being impressed. Its picture is bright, its colors vivid, and the local dimming performance of the Mini-LED backlight is very much what you’d expect from a high-end TV. The QN90B struggled a bit with darker movies, and that’s something we hope to investigate in a future full review of Samsung’s upcoming Neo QLED 4K TV offering.
- Looking for something different? Check out our guide to the best TVs available now.