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Samsung QN90D 4K Neo QLED Review: Looking Good From (Almost) Every Angle

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QN90D Samsung Neo QLED 4K TV

This midrange TV has some great contrast and solid gaming features, but don’t expect AI to do all the hard work.

The QN90D isn’t as headline-grabbing as some other TVs in 2024, but you won’t be disappointed by its display quality, excellent contrast, and solid brightness. It still doesn’t support Dolby Vision, and some of its UI can be annoying, but it also sports some great gaming features and better local dimming that make it worth the buy, even though it costs more than last year’s QN90C.
Starting at $1,500 for 43-inch (Reviewed at $4,800 for 85-inch)

Pros

Great contrast and better local dimming than QN90C

Bright display

Sports some great options for gamers

Cons

AI doesn’t add much to the viewing experience

UI can be annoying on main menus

There’s a whole slew of quality TVs out there calling for the world’s attention. Out of Samsung’s full slate of premium 2024 TVs, the new 4K Neo QLED is certainly one of the most approachable, both from its upper-midrange base $1,500 price point and its just being a solid viewing experience. It does everything you want, looks fairly good doing it, and it’s bright enough that you don’t feel let down finally watching Oppenheimer, even if it’s not the full-scale IMAX movie theater experience Christopher Nolan keeps trying to tell us is the only good way to experience his films.

But then the next question becomes, “Is approachable also boring?” In some ways, yes. The QN90D boasts a whole lot of AI scaling upgrades packaged into its NQ4 AI Gen2 processor, but honestly, it doesn’t really change how you watch non-4K content. The quantum dots on the newest QLED boost the mini-LED TV’s colors. Still, it’s not going to exactly feel magical if you’ve ever had the experience of sitting in front of a QD-OLED screen or, hell, other OLEDs from Samsung or its contemporaries. It’s not promising as much crazy driver technology as Sony’s newest Bravia 9 mini-LED, but at the very least, you’re paying far less of a premium for Samsung’s new 4K TV.

Even if there’s nothing about the new TV that will truly knock your socks off in features or price, there’s no denying the picture quality on Samsung’s screen is fine looking, bright, and with good contrast for its price. If you were thinking of getting one because of all the promised AI enhancements, you may want to do a bit more shopping. While Samsung promises great AI upscaling tech to make non-4K content look better on the big screen, it won’t make Cheers look as good as Hulu’s Shogun. The motion-tracking AI may make sports look a bit more clear, but most viewers probably couldn’t tell the difference.

The best thing about the QN90D and Samsung’s other TVs is their connectivity and Game Mode, which, combined, make for an excellent experience when plugging in your PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, or—perhaps—your desktop PC. If you’re trying to get the most out of your gaming gear, the QN90D is as solid as they come.

Samsung QN90D 4K Neo QLED Build Quality

Still Sturdy with Small Bezels

Photo: Kyle Barr / Gizmodo

For our review, we opted for the second-largest, 85-inch television, which is just a step down from the truly enormous 98-inch. The stand is a flat pane with an acute L-shaped stand held together by a few screws. The stand seems solid and well-balanced when it’s on the table, though it can sway when you nudge it too hard. After giving it a bit of rough treatment, nothing felt like it was about to come loose.

The TV itself is pretty thin at 1.1 inches, so you shouldn’t have any problems mounting it on the wall. Of course, you can get it in seven sizes ranging from 43 inches all the way up to 98. I’ve experienced both a 65- and an 85-inch version, and to be honest, I would prefer smaller models that are more manageable and still look great no matter if you’re close or far away from the screen, but everybody’s living room is going to be different. Also, it’s important to note the 98-inch TV caps out at a 120 Hz refresh rate, so you honestly would be better served with something smaller, especially if you plan to play games from a PC. You won’t be disappointed by the overall picture quality at an average of five to six feet from the screen.

There are four HDMI 2.1 ports on the back of the TV punched into the right of the screen in addition to two USB-A and a LAN port for ethernet connection. If you can get a wired internet connection, you probably should, as the TV still only supports WiFi 5 speeds. While good enough for most services like streaming 4K shows or gaming content, it’d be nice to see TVs move up with the times.

There’s really nothing wrong with the QN90D, judging by its exterior. There’s practically no bezel, it’s sturdy enough, and you have plenty of ports for pretty much all your devices.

Samsung QN90D 4K Neo QLED Menus and Options

Gaming Hub is the Best Thing About Samsung TVs

Image for article titled Samsung QN90D 4K Neo QLED Review: Looking Good From (Almost) Every Angle

Photo: Kyle Barr / Gizmodo

Samsung’s TVs are working on the latest update to Tizen OS. As much as some of my coworkers say they dislike Samsung’s menus, I have no problem navigating through the different options with a few button presses. The newly redesigned home screen includes an algorithmically generated “For You” tab, some live broadcast content from Samsung TV Plus or through an antenna, or the Apps tab. I could completely ignore the first two I found in favor of my favored streaming services. I wish non-smart TVs would stop funneling content to me like this, as Frank Herbert wrote: “If wishes were fishes, we’d all cast nets.”

A new Daily+ menu lets you access some content that Samsung is trying to promote, such as some workout videos. Samsung stuck its option to use the TV as a remote TV in this menu, which, if you were looking for it, was a pretty odd place to put it.

The Gaming Hub menu is where you’ll find everything related to your gaming experience, and it’s quite a bit. It includes services like Game Pass and GeForce Now front and center and a few lesser-known services like Blacknut. You can add accessories, such as controllers, from this menu without going through settings. It’s also where you’ll find your game console pop-up when it’s plugged into the HDMI. Then, the in-game Game Bar includes several more settings depending on your game type. If you want to add a bit more brightness to your mini-map when playing Baldur’s Gate III, there’s an option for that. It’s all very subtle, but there are a number of quality-of-life features for those with a gamer bent that make console gaming easy and enjoyable.

It’s something when a TV can excite me with its menu options, but the latest Samsung TVs are great for gaming simply because they do your hard work. If you plug in a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X, the QN90D will automatically adjust its settings and change into Game Mode.

You won’t get Dolby Vision on the Samsung TVs. Instead, you’re restricted to Samsung’s own HDR blend called HDR10+. As much as you might want it, and as much as most media supports it, we’re stuck with what platforms currently support it, including YouTube, Prime Video, and Hulu. One day, we might be able to get the best of both worlds, but that day is not today.

Samsung QN90D 4K Neo QLED Viewing Experience

Great Contrast Though AI is Overblown

Image for article titled Samsung QN90D 4K Neo QLED Review: Looking Good From (Almost) Every Angle

Photo: Kyle Barr / Gizmodo

I can sit anywhere in front of the QN90D and have a good viewing experience. Samsung promised and delivered on its promises to have good viewing angles of up to 55 degrees to the screen. It’s a little worse than last year’s QN90C viewing angles, but the new TV also gets a bump in color contrast. I personally would choose better quality over viewing angle, and if that’s really your concern, and you don’t care about how much you spend, you would probably be looking at OLED anyway.

As expected from a Samsung min-LED, our tests showed the QN90D was plenty bright. We found a peak HDR brightness of 639 nits on standard settings at a full window. There’s enough local dimming that everything looked sharp at all the recommended viewing angles. I didn’t see much or any light bleed or blurry image, even when looking at the TV sidelong.

It certainly looked great in our office space, but know it still won’t be absolutely picture-perfect under all lighting conditions. The QN90D does have an anti-glare coating, but under fluorescent lights, there’s certainly some reflection and a small amount of glare, even if it’s relatively minimized. In the context of your average living room, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem so long as you keep your lights from shining directly on the screen (a near-impossibility in an office setting like ours).

With all the talk of AI upscaling, the tricky thing is trying to gauge whether you’ll get more quality out of your non-4K content. Samsung promoted that you’ll have a far better time watching older shows like Seinfeld on your big, expensive TV than you would normally. While it’s certainly a more enjoyable experience watching classic shows on the QN90D than other screens, it’s not going to blow you away.

In many ways, the AI upscaling is so subtle. If you told me it was not there, I’d believe you. I tried watching a 4K Blu-Ray of John Wick: Chapter 4 and comparing it to the non-4K version found in the same box. The 4K version was far more crisp than the non-4K version to a noticeable degree, even with the supposed upscaling going on under the hood. I could not spot much of a resolution difference when I tried the same disc on a far older Sony TV.

The sound is going to be different depending on which model you get. My 85-inch model comes with a 60 W, 4.2.2 Channel system, but a 50-inch will have a 40 W 2.2 Channel, and the 43-inch will only have a 20 W 2 Channel. For what it’s worth, the large TV’s sound was good and could get pretty loud. No matter what, it won’t beat out a full sound bar or full surround setup. It supports up to two wireless headphones at once, which is fair enough on a TV of this scale, though it does support 360 audio on supporting headphones.

The QN90D Ticks Most of the Boxes

You won’t be disappointed with QN90D Neo QLED 4K unless you’re banking everything on Dolby Vision support. The color contrast looks great and bright enough for all your viewing. What it gets wrong is trying to up the ante with AI, and in so doing makes me extra critical about what are really subtle enhancements over last year’s QN90C. But make no mistake, what’s here is good quality, and if you’re a gamer, you’ll especially enjoy the enhancements to its gaming modes. If the worst I can say about a TV is that there’s not a lot of fanfare, then that’s pretty damn good for a TV in my book.



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