Hands-on review: Samsung QN90B QLED 4K Smart TV
The QN90B is Samsung’s flagship 4K television for 2022 and is the successor to last year’s popular QN90A. If you’re familiar with the 2021 model, then you might not be surprised to learn that it performs superbly and sets an incredibly high standard for Samsung’s competitors.
The particular model we tested was the mid-sized 65” (available for under $4,000), although it can also be purchased in a range of sizes - from 43” to 85”.
First impressions and setup
Setting up any TV of this size is by no means a one-person job, but connecting the stand to the screen was straightforward and didn’t take too long at all. The stand is heavy and feels solid. However, the TV did feel slightly wobbly once everything was set up, although that’s just down to the size of the TV, coupled with the relatively small footprint of the base. The preference, for me at least, would be to use a bracket to place it on a wall.
If you’re familiar with modern Samsung TVs, you’ll find the setup simple – once you’ve logged into your Samsung account, you just follow the steps on the screen, and you’re ready to go. The sleek-looking remote used to do this came fully charged, but it can also be topped up via USB-C or even solar energy should you run low.
It was great to see the new (and free) Samsung TV Plus available straight out of the box on the QN90B - this was an ad-supported service introduced by Samsung earlier this year. Although the ads are too frequent when watching, it’s a good platform to have for free should you not want to pay for another streaming service.
The TV is stunning to look at and is incredibly thin when you look at it side-on. Like on the QN90A, the Samsung badge remains on the right-hand side of the screen rather than in the centre. There is barely any sign of a bezel around the outside of the screen, which only improves the overall aesthetic. As you’d expect from a TV with an RRP of over $4,000, the materials used all feel premium and nice to touch. It looks great from all angles.
The QN90B, unfortunately, doesn’t take advantage of Samsung’s innovative OneConnect ‘control centre’, but there is a nice cable management solution on the back of the QN90B to accommodate your cables and keep things tidy. There are four HDMI 2.1 ports available for your devices – which are just what you want to get the most out of the current generation of gaming systems.
How does it perform?
The brightness of the QN90B is by far its biggest strength, and it’s somehow managed to surpass its predecessor. No matter the time of day, the picture is crisp, clear, and vivid. Reflections are almost non-existent, and Quantum HDR 32x allows for great contrast across all viewing conditions.
The TV was located in a spot facing directly West in my flat in Auckland, which gets incredibly bright on a sunny day – so much so, in fact, that we had to install blackout blinds a few months ago due to the glare on our older Samsung Q60T. With Samsung’s new TV, the blinds could stay up all day, and it would still provide a great and uninterrupted viewing experience.
Local dimming is done via what Samsung calls Quantum Matrix Technology and ensures an optimum picture at all times, with all your 4K content looking particularly good in darker environments. The QN90B performs well when showcasing films, making dark blacks more intense. There was some minor stuttering at times, but nothing too bad – the 120hz native refresh rate means fast action scenes look better than ever. The quantum processor with deep learning creates a precise and adaptive experience, and the 4K upscaling means you always benefit from a 4K picture.
The refresh rate is great for sports, too, and the QN90B does a great job of displaying a range of sport. Motorsport looked especially good, as did fast-paced sports like rugby and football.
Unlike a lot of big TVs, the QN90B feels like it was built with gaming in mind. There is very little blurring in fast-moving games, and there’s also a great pixel response time – essential for online FPS games and sports games alike. Long-press the play/pause button to open the Game Mode menu, which allows you to customise your gaming settings. The AMD FreeSync Premium Pro core technology will enable you to experience reduced stutter and screen tearing. It also guarantees smooth gaming (even at peak performance), exceptional high dynamic range visuals, and low latency for optimum performance.
If you’re spending this amount of money on Samsung’s latest flagship TV, you’ll probably want a soundbar to do it justice. However, the built-in speakers perform well enough across a range of different pre-sets. In addition, the new top channel speakers provide a Dolby Atmos experience to immerse the viewer.
Samsung’s Smart Hub user interface probably isn’t the best on the market, and I find it laggy to use at times. I also found some of the menus difficult to navigate, especially when trying to locate different settings for things like Apple AirPlay. Tiles can be customised to show the different offerings from your streaming services, and there is a navigation bar down the side of the screen. Amazon Alexa or Bixby can also be used as voice assistants to navigate your way around the TV.
The Samsung QN90B is a worthy successor to the QN90A and is probably the brightest TV I’ve ever used – perfect for a room that sees a lot of sun.
It exceeded my expectations in almost all aspects. Whether you’re watching a TV series, films, or sport, the picture adapts to give you the best viewing experience possible, no matter how dark or bright the room is. If you plan on using it for gaming, then the QN90B is also a winner.