The Samsung smart tv (QN90A QLED) is a flagship 4k LED TV. It is part of Samsung’s 2021 Neo QLED series, which combines a mini-LED backlight with a quantum dot layer to display various colors at different luminance levels. The mini-LED backlight helps the TV display deeper blacks by giving it better control over its local dimming function, and it also gets very bright, enough to combat glare or highlight highlights. The TV features the Tizen innovative platform, which is easy to use and has a variety of apps available for download, and the new remote has a solar panel on the back so it can be charged with sunlight.
The new remote features a solar panel on the back so it can be charged with sunlight. It has several gaming features like variable refresh rate (VRR) support and HDMI cables 2.1 bandwidth, but only on one port, which is disappointing since you can’t take full advantage of two next-gen consoles at once. Although a newer model will soon overtake it, the Samsung QN90A Neo QLED TV is still one of the best TVs you can buy right now.
It’s incredibly bright, stunningly thin, packed with clever “smart” features, and more reliable than any of the company’s devices have ever been. With a proprietary mini-LED panel called Neo QLED, the QN90A promises to outperform its established OLED competitors and the increasingly compelling mid-range QLED manufacturers. And while the QN90A Neo QLED is the highest-quality of all 4K Samsung TVs, it’s even less expensive than its excellent Q90T predecessor.
The QE50QN90A looks and feels like a premium TV. Its casing is super thin, both around the screen and at the back enough to make you wonder for a moment if Samsung has quietly switched to OLED technology instead of sticking to its LCD beat. The QE50QN90A is still a “normal” LCD TV, though – albeit one that finds room in its slim form for a high-quality LED direct lighting system, with the LEDs sitting directly behind the screen, as well as a built-in “Object Tracking Sound” (OTS) audio system.
Despite the slim back, the build quality is sturdy and is underlined by an extremely stable, centrally placed table stand. The dark gray finish is crisp and clean, and Samsung’s Ambient Mode lets you display a digitized painting or photo on the screen in a special power-saving mode if you don’t want to be left with a 50-inch black hole when you’re not seriously using the TV.
Only one of the inputs on this TV is HDMI 2.1, which you might not notice if you look at the most popular deals for the screen. Samsung’s website doesn’t even mention this, and Best Buy and Amazon only note the number of inputs, not 2.1 support. For such an expensive TV, we expect at least two HDMI 2.1 ports, and only having one is really disappointing – especially if you plan to use this TV as both a PC monitor and a gaming display, or even if you have both an Xbox and a PlayStation.
As a Samsung TV, the QNA90A QLED TV connects to your Samsung SmartThings smart home system. SmartThings is one of the best smart home hubs and provides a control dashboard for all of the best smart home devices compatible with the Samsung platform. From the 5th generation Eco bee smart thermostat to Samsung’s own Family Hub refrigerators, you can use your TV to quickly make or adjust settings.
Samsung has also teamed up with Logitech to make the Samsung QN90A Neo QLED TV compatible with webcams. With one of the best webcams, you can use your device to video chat with up to 12 other people via Google Duo. This could be useful for those who still work from home or are trying to keep in touch with their relatives, but we think most people are tired of video calls these days.
As you would expect, the sound quality is not particularly good despite some nifty audio quality technologies. The bass is hollow and weak, so it can get loud, but the audio quality is poor. Music in particular, feels empty, as this display simply cannot produce the deep bass that makes for an immersive audio experience. Samsung has a nifty 3D audio system that, when activated, makes a noticeable difference.
The default audio is pretty bad, but it sounds much better once the Object Tracking Sound+ (OTS+) is enabled. It’s uncanny how much wider and fuller the audio quality becomes, which is saying something for such a thin TV. Many people may be happy with this level of audio quality, but I still think that, as with any TV these days, buyers should purchase a sound bar or some sort of external audio system if they plan to use this screen without headphones.
Mini-LEDs use thousands of tiny LEDs to backlight the screen. The technology is approaching OLED performance in terms of blacks without the limitations imposed by OLEDs’ Achilles heel: brightness. LED TVs can get brighter than OLEDs, which makes them better suited for bold colors and bright rooms.
Imagine moving your phone’s screen from a bright room to a dark room; it needs a lot more backlighting to look good in sunlight. This is important because not everyone has the luxury of their home theater. Brightness has a noticeable impact, especially when the contrast advantage of the OLED screen is minimized.
The 50-inch Samsung QN90 screen tested here has a list price of $1,299 but is currently available at a very reasonable £999. The 55-inch model costs £1,399, the 65-inch model costs $1,999, and the 75-inch version costs $2,799. Competitors include LG’s QNED91 range, which also uses Quantum Dot and Mini LED, but is only available in 65- and 75-inch screen sizes.
These models have list prices of $2,500 and $3,700, respectively but were heavily discounted at the time of writing. Alternatively, Sony’s X94J doesn’t use a mini-LED but has the exact screen sizes as the QN90. Prices start at £1,249 for the 50-inch model and end at £2,599 for the 75-inch version.
Just as Samsung QN90A QLED was getting into its stride with QLED and keeping up with the capabilities of its OLED rivals, it revamped the heart of its product with an all-new panel – a panel that showed improvements in our test. It also reminded the QLED alternatives that it’s still the company to beat. When it comes to the landscape of next-generation TVs, Neo QLED makes greater strides than OLED Evo by committing to comprehensive improvements in a more affordable package.