The Samsung Q90R is an excellent 4k LED TV with impressive picture quality. It has a high native contrast ratio, great local dimming support, and excellent black uniformity that allow it to deliver deep blacks in a dark room. The TV can get very bright both in SDR and HDR and has a wide color gamut that allows it to deliver HDR content full of vivid colors and highlights that pop. Although the TV has a VA panel, the viewing angles are decent thanks to the 'Ultra Viewing Angle' technology. Motion handling is excellent and the image is crisp thanks to the very fast response time. The Q90R supports FreeSync for tear-free gaming and has a very low input lag that makes it very responsive.
The Samsung Q90R is an excellent TV for mixed usage. It will perform equally well in a dark room, for movies or HDR content, and in a bright room, for TV shows or sports. If you're a gamer, the Q90R is an excellent choice as it is very responsive and has some nice gaming goodies.See our Mixed Usage recommendations
The Samsung Q90 is a remarkable TV for watching movies. It can display deep uniform blacks in a dark room thanks to the high native contrast ratio and good local dimming. Motion is crisp and the TV can remove 24p judder no matter the signal source.See our Movies recommendations
This is an excellent TV for watching TV shows. It can get very bright and can handle the reflections of a bright room very well. The 'Ultra Viewing Angle' technology allows the image to remain accurate when viewed from the side, so you can move around the room while watching your favorite TV show without losing image accuracy.See our TV Shows recommendations
The Q90R is a remarkable TV for watching sports. It is suitable for any room as it can get very bright and can handle reflections well. The TV displays fast-moving content with just minimal blur trail, and the image remains accurate when viewed from the side so you can watch your favorite game in a wide room with a group of friends. Finally, the game field is displayed free from annoying dark shades, thanks to the decent gray uniformity.See our Sports recommendations
The Q90R is an outstanding TV for playing video games. It has a remarkably low input lag which makes it very responsive and a fast response time that delivers crisp motion. The TV also supports a few gaming goodies like FreeSync for tear-free gaming sessions and low input lag with motion interpolation for those older gaming consoles.See our Video Games recommendations
Watching HDR movies on the Q90R is an excellent experience. The TV displays deep uniform blacks in a dark room and has a wide color gamut and excellent HDR peak brightness. HDR content is vivid, full of rich colors and bright highlights that stand out.See our HDR Movies recommendations
This Samsung Q90 is a remarkable TV for playing HDR games. It is very responsive with a low input lag in HDR mode, and at the same time, it can display HDR content remarkably well. HDR content is full of rich colors and highlights that pop, thanks to the wide color gamut and the excellent HDR peak brightness.See our HDR Gaming recommendations
This is an excellent TV for use as a PC monitor. The Q90R has a very low input lag, can display properly chroma 4:4:4 and the edges look uniform with the rest of the screen even when you sit up close, thanks to the 'Ultra Viewing Angle' technology. The TV supports the most common formats and appears to be immune to temporary image retention or permanent burn-in.See our PC Monitor recommendations
The stand is metallic and very sturdy. It supports the TV well and does not allow much wobbling.
The footprint of the stand of the 65" model is: 11.2" x13.4"
Note: The reflection depicted on the above picture is the result of the 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer explained here.
The back of the TV is plain. It is made of plastic and has a similar textured finish like last year's models.
The Q90 has a One Connect box that sends all necessary signals (including power) through a single cable to the TV. The back of the TV and the stand have grooves that serve as cable management to guide the One Connect cable, as you can see here.
The Samsung Q90 is very thin and will not protrude much if you wall-mount it.
The Q90R doesn't get too warm as you can see in our thermal image, and thus you should have no issues with it.
The max temperature of the One Connect box is a little warm at 103F, but this shouldn't be an issue, either.
The build quality of the Samsung Q90R is excellent. It feels very robust and there are no gaps or loose ends. The metal stand adds to its solid feel. You should have no issues with it.
The native contrast ratio of the Q90R is great. The native contrast ratio is lower than most TVs with VA panels. This is because of the TV's 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer that improves the viewing angles at the expense of contrast ratio. This is very similar to what we observed with the Samsung Q900R or the Sony Z9F and the 'X-Wide Angle' technology. However, the native contrast ratio of the Q90R is by far the best when compared to the other TVs we've tested that supported similar viewing angle boosting technologies.
Unfortunately, just like the Q900R, the TV's local dimming can't be completely disabled using the normal settings menu. In order to measure the native contrast ratio, we had to disable PC Mode Dimming in the TV's service menu, and then activate PC Mode and Game Mode at the same time.
The local dimming on the Q90R is very good. It is very similar to the Q900R and just slightly better than the Q9FN. The local dimming algorithm allows very little blooming, which is great; however, it has the same trade-offs found on the Q900R:
When you look at the TV from the side, the good black level viewing angle prevents blooming from getting worse. This is significantly better behavior than most TVs with VA panels and explains why the local dimming video (which is shot at an angle) looks better than it actually is.
Unfortunately, just like all the latest Samsung TVs, you can't completely disable the local dimming on the TV. Even when set to 'Low' it can be distracting. If you watch movies with subtitles, this can be a problem.
Just like with the Q900R, Game Mode uses a slightly different local dimming algorithm which doesn't react as fast to changes in a scene and lingers longer. This can create visible blooming in some cases. We are not sure why this is the case. It is, however, less noticeable than on the Q900R.
We performed our testing with Local Dimming set to 'High'
Note: There is a 55" variant of the Q90R available only in Europe that is advertised as having a weaker local dimming feature, but we have not tested it and can't give further details.
Update 08/08/2019:We retested the real scene peak brightness, and it didn't change considerably.
Update 08/02/2019: We have retested the Q90R with the latest firmware, and the SDR peak brightness has increased a bit. We've updated our measurements and scores.
Excellent SDR peak brightness for the Q90R, in the same ballpark figure as last year's high-end QLED Samsungs. Smaller highlights in dark scenes are very bright as our 2%, and 10% windows show. However, brighter scenes are also quite bright. The TV can easily fight glare and will perform very well in a bright room.
We performed our measurements after calibration with picture mode set to ‘Movie,’ Local Dimming set to ‘High,’ Auto Motion Plus set to 'off,' and Backlight set to 'Max.' Different settings may produce a brighter picture.
The setting that controls the brightness of the backlight is called Backlight.
Update 08/08/2019:We retested the real scene peak brightness, and it didn't change considerably.
Update 08/02/2019: We have retested the Q90R with the latest firmware, and the HDR peak brightness has increased a bit. We've updated our measurements and scores.
The Samsung Q90 has excellent HDR peak brightness. This TV can deliver very bright highlights when displaying HDR content.
We performed our measurements without any calibration, picture mode set to ‘Movie,’ Local Dimming set to ‘High,’ and Auto Motion Plus set to 'off,' which are also our recommended settings. Some settings may produce a brighter image. For example, the 'Dynamic' picture mode can get brighter but has much worse picture accuracy.
The gray uniformity is decent. The image is slightly darker at the edges and at the corners of the screen but it is more uniform in the center, and this is good for sports fans. When the TV is displaying gray content, like older black and white movies, some people might notice a slight blue tint at the edges.
In much darker scenes, the uniformity is much better.
The viewing angle is decent. As you move off center, the image remains accurate for wider angles. The contrast stays relatively constant and this prevents the image from looking washed out.
This behavior is usually found on IPS panel TVs. The Q90R uses a VA panel, but it also has an optical layer that Samsung calls 'Ultra Viewing Angle.' This optical layer greatly improves the viewing angles at the expense of lower native contrast ratio, which in the case of the Q90R is not diminished as much as on the Q900R. The 'Ultra Viewing Angle' technology appears to work similarly to the 'X-Wide Angle' technology found on the Sony Z9F.
Unfortunately, the TV's local dimming can't be completely disabled using the normal settings menu. So in order to measure the lightness viewing angle we had to disable PC Mode Dimming in the TV's service menu, and then activate PC Mode and Game Mode at the same time, which finally allowed us to measure with local dimming 'off.' This is exactly the same as in the case of the Q900R.
The black uniformity is excellent. The little blooming that you can spot in our overexposed image is not really noticeable in normal content unless you watch a very dark scene in a dark room. Local dimming makes black uniformity nearly perfect in some very dark scenes.
Unfortunately, the TV's local dimming can't be completely disabled using the normal settings menu. Just like in other measurements, in order to measure the native black uniformity, we had to disable PC Mode Dimming in the TV's service menu, and then activate PC Mode and Game Mode at the same time, which allowed us to turn local dimming off.
Update 07/25/2019: Clarifying text.
The TV has excellent reflection handling, better than the Q900R. The glossy finish greatly diminishes direct reflections, and it offers the best reflection performance we've seen based on a side-by-side comparison. The scoring is lower than we expect, which may be due to the relatively high 'Indirect Reflections' as a result of the 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer which scatters light across its surface, producing rainbow reflections across the screen. We will revisit this scoring in the next test bench update.
The out of the box accuracy is decent. We obtained the best results using the 'Movie' Picture Mode. The White Balance dE and Color dE are low but some people might notice inaccuracies. When the color temperature is set to 'Warm 2' the color temperature is fairly warm and the image has a slight red-yellowish tint. Finally, the gamma follows the target reasonably well, thus the image has mostly the right brightness.
The accuracy is excellent after calibration. The White Balance dE is almost perfect and the Color dE is so low that even enthusiasts will need a colorimeter to spot any remaining inaccuracies. The gamma tracks the curve almost perfectly and the color temperature is closer to the target of 6500K. There is an auto-calibration function, but this still requires a colorimeter and specialized software.
You can see our recommended settings here.
Older, 480p digital content looks good, with no obvious upscaling artifacts or oversharpening.
Upscaling of 720p content such as cable TV or older game consoles looks good.
Upscaling of 1080p content such as Blu-rays or game consoles looks good. The image is sharp and there are no obvious issues.
The Q90R has a wide color gamut. Very similar to the Q900R and the Q6FN and a bit less than the Q9FN and Q8FN. It is possible that the TV's 'Ultra Viewing Angle' optical layer is reducing its color gamut.
The 'Movie' EOTF is a little brighter than the input stimulus until it starts to roll off near the TV's peak brightness. If you find HDR too dim, you can raise the PQ curve by setting Brightness to '5,' and, Contrast Enhancer to 'High.' This will produce this PQ curve.
This is the PQ curve for Game Mode.
Update: 04/23/2019 In the review of the Q9FN we observed that for lower brightness HDR infoframes (such as 1000 nits) the TV produces scenes which are brighter than intended. You can read more about it here. We have not measured the 1000 nits infoframe for this TV but we expect it to be similar ro the Q9FN.
The Samsung Q90R has very good color volume with a good coverage of the DCI P3 color space. Unfortunately, the coverage of the wider Rec 2020 is just okay.
Like most LED TVs, it can produce bright and dark colors across most of its gamut, but can't produce very bright blues.
This performance is close, but not as good as last year's high-end QLEDs, as you can see here and here. This is most likelly the result of the not so wide color gamut when compared to last year's Q9FN and Q8FN.
The gradient of the Q90R is great. There is very little banding visible in the darker grays and in the medium greens. Setting the Digital Clean View to 'Auto' can effectively remove most of the banding but can lead to a loss of fine detail.
Unfortunately, during testing, the TV's local dimming (that can't be disabled) interfered with our gradient test, tampering with the data and making it score a bit worse than it should. However while not perfectly accurate, the score is still within the same ballpark as our subjective impression. We had the same issue with the Q900R.
We also compared the Q90R (top) with the Q9FN (bottom) and confirmed this.
There is no temporary image retention on the Samsung Q90.
We don't expect VA panels to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.
The Q90 has an extremely fast response time. There is only a very small blur trail behind fast-moving objects and the only transition with significant overshoot is the 0-20% transition, which corresponds to very dark shades.
The Q90R uses PWM dimming to dim the backlight. Flicker is always present but becomes more severe at lower brightness. However, since the flicker frequency is 960Hz most people won't see it.
We tested the TV in 'Movie' mode with Auto Motion Plus disabled. There are, however, many instances where the flicker rate changes to 120Hz. For example, in 'Movie' mode the flicker changes to 120Hz if you set Auto Motion Plus to 'Custom' or 'Auto.' In 'Standard' and in 'Game' modes the flicker is always at 120Hz, similar to the Q900R.
The Q90R has an excellent black frame insertion feature that helps make the image crisper. Just setting Auto Motion Plus to 'Custom' changes the flicker to 120Hz, as explained in the Flicker-Free box. If you do not want to add any soap opera effect you should set Blur Reduction and Judder Reduction to '0.' If you enable LED Clear Motion, the flicker changes to 60Hz.
In 'Game' mode, the flicker frequency is always 120Hz, and enabling LED Clear Motion in Game Motion Plus changes the flicker frequency to 60Hz.
The Q90 can interpolate content up to 120fps. To enable motion interpolation you must set Auto Motion Plus to 'Custom.' The Blur Reduction slider affects only high frame rate content (ex. 60 fps). The Judder Reduction slider affects low frame rate content (ex. 30 fps). To obtain the best possible results you should adjust those sliders to your liking. For our test, we kept both at max. Motion interpolation looks okay although some artifacts can be noticed at times. When the action becomes too intense the TV stops interpolating.
In 'Game' mode, there is a Game Motion Plus option, which, however, doesn't look as good, but adds far less input lag. You can read more about it in the Input Lag box.
Note: When Auto Motion Plus is enabled, the TV's flicker changes to 120Hz, as explained in the Flicker-Free box.
Due to the very fast response time of the Q90, low frame rate content is held on screen for longer periods of time, which can cause the image to appear to stutter. If you find this stutter bothersome, you can reduce it by enabling motion interpolation or the optional black frame insertion feature.
The Samsung Q90R can remove judder from any source. To remove judder set Auto Motion Plus to 'Custom,' and Blur Reduction and Judder Reduction to '0' (if you don't want motion interpolation).
Note: When Auto Motion Plus is enabled, the TV's flicker changes to 120Hz, as explained in the Flicker-Free box.
Update 11/28/2019: Although not officially supported by NVIDIA, the Q90R works with NVIDIA's new G-SYNC compatible mode when connected to a recent NVIDIA graphics card. Unlike officially supported TVs, like the LG C9, this must be manually enabled from the NVIDIA Control Center.
Update 08/02/2019:4k @ 120Hz is now working properly in 'Game' mode; the TV is no longer skipping frames. We still can't test the 4k VRR range properly though, as our FreeSync PC doesn't support 4k @ 120Hz.
The Q90R supports FreeSync, which is great for those gamers with compatible hardware or an Xbox One. The TV does not have a DisplayPort and this does not allow FreeSync to work with current NVIDIA drivers.
We tested the TV on 'Game' mode, and we used FreeSync set to 'Ultimate' to obtain the widest possible range.
Update 08/02/2019: We've retested the TV with the latest firmware, and the input lag has decreased slightly across the board. We were also able to test the 4k @ 120Hz input lag. 4k @ 120Hz is now working properly in 'Game' mode; the TV is no longer skipping frames. We've updated our numbers and scores.
Excellent low input lag, lower than last year's high-end QLEDS. The Q90R reacts almost immediately to your actions and this is great if you're a gamer. To get the lowest input lag you must set the TV to 'Game Mode,' even when you are in 'PC Mode.' Chroma 4:4:4 is properly shown only when in 'PC Mode.'
Just like the Q900R and the premium 2018 models from the Samsung lineup, the Q90R has low input lag with motion interpolation in Game Motion Plus. When the Blur Reduction slider is increased, the TV interpolates up to 60 fps, and the input lag increases a bit, but is still excellent. If the Blur Reduction slider is increased, the TV interpolates up to 120 fps and the input lag increases slightly to 22.7 ms, which is still a good value.
Update 08/02/2019: We've retested the TV with the latest firmware, and it is now able to display 4k @ 120Hz on HDMI 4 without skipping frames.
The Q90R supports most common resolutions and refresh rates. Most high bandwidth signals require Input Signal Plus to be enabled for the port in use. Input Signal Plus is the new name for HDMI UHD Color.
The TV can display chroma 4:4:4 or RGB content properly in all supported resolutions except in 1440p @ 120Hz. To properly display chroma 4:4:4 you must set the input label to 'PC.'
We could not test for HDMI 2.1 as we have no way to send a 4k @ 120Hz @ 4:4:4 signal. We will retest once an HDMI 2.1 source is available for us to buy.
Just like the Q900R and 2018 Samsung TVs, the Q90R does not support DTS, nor does it support eARC. It likely does support lossy Atmos passthrough from Dolby Digital Plus sources, including the native Netflix app.
The frequency response of the Samsung Q90R is decent. Low-frequency extension (LFE) is about 76Hz which is okay. This means that the TV has a good amount of body and punch to its but lacks thump or rumble. The response above the TV's LFE is well-balanced and can deliver clear dialogs. Also, the Q90R can get reasonably loud, but may not be loud enough for large and noisy environments.
We tested the TV with Samsung's room correction feature called 'Adaptive Sound' enabled. However, we left the 'Adaptive Volume' and 'Auto Volume' features disabled, as 'Auto Volume' drastically limits the max volume. This feature can be useful if you find that commercials play at a higher volume than the content you are watching.
The Q90R has decent distortion performance. The overall amount of harmonic distortion produced is within decent limits. Also, there is not a big jump in THD under heavier loads either, which is good.
The Samsung Q90R runs the latest version of Samsung Tizen smart interface, which is very easy and intuitive to use.
We noticed that sometimes when you change the input from 'PC' to something else the edges of the screen are cut off due to overscan. Just navigating into the Picture Size setting fixes the issue, even if you don't change anything.
Unfortunately, the Q90R comes with ads and suggested content, and you do not have the option to opt out. There is a small ad on the home bar (see pic above) and a large one in the app store similar to the one we depicted in the photo of the Apps and features box of the RU7100.
Samsung's app store has an abundance of apps to choose from. The apps run well on the Q90R, although they are not always very smooth.
The remote control that comes along the Q90R is very similar to the remote that is included with the other premium Samsung QLEDs. The remote integrates well with Bixby and allows you to control some TV settings with your voice, like changing the backlight. You can also ask the TV to answer basic questions like what the weather is like, and you can even launch apps with your voice. Unfortunately, it is not obvious which apps support voice search. 'Search Netflix for Marco Polo' did not work, but 'Search YouTube for Marco Polo' worked. Samsung's OneRemote feature allows the remote to control other devices, even if they don't support HDMI CEC.