Samsung Q900TS 8k QLED TV Review

Tested using Methodology v1.6
Reviewed Feb 05, 2021 at 10:05 am
Samsung Q900TS 8k QLED Picture
8.1
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: LG BX OLED
8.0
Movies
Value for price beaten by
: LG BX OLED
8.1
TV Shows
Value for price beaten by
: Samsung QN85A QLED
8.2
Sports
Value for price beaten by
: LG GX OLED
8.4
Video Games
Value for price beaten by
: LG BX OLED
7.9
HDR Movies
Value for price beaten by
: Sony A8H OLED
8.1
HDR Gaming
Value for price beaten by
: LG BX OLED
8.5
PC Monitor
Value for price beaten by
: Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED
This TV was replaced by the Samsung QN900A 8k QLED
Type LED
Sub-Type
VA
Resolution 8k

The Samsung Q900TS 8k QLED is one of three 8k TVs in Samsung's 2020 lineup. While 8k is still something of a novelty with very little native content, this is still a great all-around TV that performs well in both dark and well-lit rooms. It has a decent contrast ratio, lower than typical for a VA panel, but a good local dimming feature helps it produce deeper blacks. The lower contrast is a result of Samsung's 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer, which attempts to improve the viewing angles of VA panels. Unfortunately, that's not the case here, as the TV has disappointing viewing angles that make the image look washed out from the side. On the upside, it has an amazing response time and an optional Black Frame Insertion feature, making motion look smooth in fast-moving scenes. There's also FreeSync variable refresh rate (VRR) support, but it doesn't work fully. It includes an HDMI 2.1 port and can support a 4k @ 120Hz or 8k @ 60Hz signal, but neither of these works with 'Game' mode, which is unfortunate if you want to use this TV for next-gen consoles.

Our Verdict

8.1 Mixed Usage

The Samsung Q900TS is great for mixed usage. It's great for movies thanks to its good black uniformity and local dimming, which greatly improves its contrast ratio. It also performs well in sunny rooms since it gets bright enough to overcome glare. It also has no problem upscaling cable TV or Blu-ray movies. HDR content pops thanks to its wide color gamut and high peak brightness. Unfortunately, its viewing angles are disappointingly narrow, so it's not as well-suited to wide seating arrangements. That said, gamers should appreciate the fast response time, low input lag, and FreeSync support.

Pros
  • Gets very bright.
  • Excellent reflection handling.
  • Fast response time.
Cons
  • 'Ultra Viewing Angle' doesn't improve viewing angles.
  • Contrast ratio is only decent.
8.0 Movies

The Samsung Q900TS is great for watching movies. It performs well in dark rooms thanks to its full-array local dimming and black uniformity, but its contrast ratio is lower than expected. It has no problem upscaling 1080p content like Blu-rays, although it doesn't display 4k content perfectly. There's a fair bit of stuttering as a result of its fast response time, but it can remove 24p judder from any source.

Pros
  • Good local dimming.
  • Can upscale Blu-rays without issue.
  • Removes 24p judder from any source.
Cons
  • Contrast ratio is only decent.
  • Stuttering with low resolution content.
8.1 TV Shows

The Samsung Q900TS is great for watching TV shows during the day. It can get very bright and has excellent reflection handling, although the 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer creates a rainbow-tinted effect when there are bright lights directly facing the screen, which some may find distracting. Despite the addition of the 'Ultra Viewing Angle' technology, the TV has disappointingly narrow viewing angles.

Pros
  • Gets very bright.
  • Excellent reflection handling.
  • No issues upscaling lower resolution content like cable or DVD.
Cons
  • Rainbow-like effect when bright lights shine directly on screen.
  • 'Ultra Viewing Angle' doesn't improve viewing angles.
8.2 Sports

The Samsung Q900TS is great for watching sports. It has excellent reflection handling and high peak brightness, so it's well-suited to bright rooms. It also has an amazing response time, resulting in smooth motion, which is great for fast-moving sports. Unfortunately, it has narrow viewing angles, causing the image to look washed out from the side, so it's not well-suited to watching the game with a large group.

Pros
  • Gets very bright.
  • Excellent reflection handling.
  • Fast response time.
Cons
  • 'Ultra Viewing Angle' doesn't improve viewing angles.
  • Noticeable 'dirty screen effect.'
8.4 Video Games

The Samsung Q900TS is an excellent TV for playing video games. Its amazing response time makes motion look clear and it has an incredibly low input lag, so gaming feels responsive. Its contrast ratio is only decent, so it's not as well-suited to dark room gaming. It has native FreeSync support, but it's not compatible with G-SYNC and the VRR doesn't work with 1440p resolution. Unfortunately, 'Game' mode doesn't work with 4k @ 120Hz or 8k @ 60Hz.

Pros
  • Fast response time.
  • Supports FreeSync.
  • Incredibly low input lag.
Cons
  • VRR doesn't work in 1440p.
  • Doesn't support 4k @ 120Hz or 8k @ 60Hz in 'Game' mode.
7.9 HDR Movies

The Samsung Q900TS is very good for watching movies in HDR. It gets bright enough to make highlights in HDR content pop and it has a wide color gamut. However, its native contrast ratio is only decent, lower than a typical VA panel. Thankfully, it has good local dimming that greatly improves dark room performance. While it supports HDR10+, it doesn't support Dolby Vision.

Pros
  • Good local dimming.
  • Bright enough for HDR.
  • Wide color gamut.
Cons
  • Contrast ratio is only decent.
  • Doesn't support Dolby Vision.
8.1 HDR Gaming

The Samsung Q900TS is excellent for HDR gaming. It has an incredibly low input lag in HDR, making for a responsive gaming experience. It also has a fast response time and supports FreeSync VRR, although the VRR doesn't work in 1440p. Also, 'Game' mode doesn't work in 4k @ 120Hz or 8k @ 60Hz. Still, games look as they should in HDR thanks to the TV's wide color gamut and high peak brightness, although the contrast ratio is lower than expected.

Pros
  • Fast response time.
  • Bright enough for HDR.
  • Incredibly low input lag.
Cons
  • VRR doesn't work in 1440p.
  • Doesn't support 4k @ 120Hz or 8k @ 60Hz in 'Game' mode.
8.5 PC Monitor

The Samsung Q900TS is an impressive TV for use as a PC monitor. It has an incredibly low input lag, creating a responsive desktop experience, and a fast response time. It also supports chroma 4:4:4. which is important for displaying text properly. Unfortunately, it has disappointing viewing angles, despite the 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer, so the edges of the screen may look washed out when sitting up close.

Pros
  • Excellent reflection handling.
  • Displays proper chroma 4:4:4.
  • Incredibly low input lag.
Cons
  • 'Ultra Viewing Angle' doesn't improve viewing angles.
  • 8.1 Mixed Usage
  • 8.0 Movies
  • 8.1 TV Shows
  • 8.2 Sports
  • 8.4 Video Games
  • 7.9 HDR Movies
  • 8.1 HDR Gaming
  • 8.5 PC Monitor
  1. Updated Mar 05, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.6.
  2. Updated Feb 08, 2021: Updated 'Gray Uniformity' to explain uniformity issues caused by backlight.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The Samsung Q900TS is one of three 8k TVs in Samsung's 2020 lineup. It sits above the Samsung Q800T QLED and just below the Samsung Q950TS, which appears to be similar except that it comes with Samsung's One Connect box. There still aren't many 8k TVs on the market, so the Q900TS competes with other high-end 8k TVs like the LG NANO99 8k and the Sony Z8H.

Design
Design
Style
Curved No

The Samsung Q900TS has a virtually borderless design with extremely thin bezels to make it look as if it's floating in the air. The stand is centered, and the TV is designed to sit at a slight backward angle. Overall, it's a very sleekly-designed TV that should look fantastic in any living room.

Design
Stand

The stand supports the TV well but there's some slight wobble front to back. Its made of plastic, which feels a bit cheaper than the metal stand on the Samsung Q800T QLED.

Footprint of the stand: 10.4" x 12.6"

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 400x300

The back of the TV is textured plastic. There are tracks along the back and down the stand for cable management.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.04" (0.1 cm)

The Samsung Q900TS has extremely thin borders. Viewed from a distance, the TV gives the impression of having a completely borderless screen.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 0.98" (2.5 cm)

The TV is very thin and sits at an angle by design.

9.0
Design
Build Quality

The Samsung Q900TS feels remarkably well-built. It's made of solid plastic and feels sturdy, with little flex and no obvious gaps or issues. There's some slight wobble back and forth, but it shouldn't be an issue.

Picture Quality
7.4
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
1594 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
14248 : 1

The Samsung Q900TS has a decent contrast ratio. Its native contrast is much lower than expected from a VA panel, as a result of the added 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer meant to improve viewing angles at the expense of contrast. Thankfully, the local dimming feature improves the contrast immensely, so it can still produce deep blacks.

8.5
Picture Quality
SDR Brightness
Real Scene Peak Brightness
575 cd/m²
Peak 2% Window
821 cd/m²
Peak 10% Window
1003 cd/m²
Peak 25% Window
861 cd/m²
Peak 50% Window
541 cd/m²
Peak 100% Window
315 cd/m²
Sustained 2% Window
789 cd/m²
Sustained 10% Window
954 cd/m²
Sustained 25% Window
826 cd/m²
Sustained 50% Window
538 cd/m²
Sustained 100% Window
310 cd/m²
Automatic Brightness Limiting (ABL)
0.062

SDR brightness is excellent, although it varies quite a bit with content. It's exceptionally bright with small highlights and gets dimmer with larger areas. It should perform well in bright rooms.

We measured the peak brightness after calibration using the 'Movie' Picture Mode with the Color Tone set to 'Warm2', Brightness set to 'Max', and Local Dimming set to 'High'.

If you want the brightest image possible, we achieved 1323 cd/m² using the 'Dynamic' Picture Mode with default settings and Local Dimming set to 'High'.

7.5
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
Yes
Backlight
Full-Array

The Samsung Q900TS uses a full-array local dimming feature. The local dimming is good but has some issues. Most notably, there's quite a bit of black crush, as small details like stars are almost completely crushed and then gradually pop back in. That said, there's not too much blooming around bright objects and subtitles look okay for the most part. However, there's a noticeable ripple as the dimming zones turn on around subtitles. As with the Samsung Q800T QLED, transitions between zones are very visible, creating a 'golf ball effect' that's noticeable with the small circle spinning in our test pattern. That said, these issues are much less noticeable with real content.

We tested local dimming on High.

6.0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming In Game Mode
Local Dimming
Yes
Backlight
Full-Array
8.8
Picture Quality
HDR Brightness
Real Scene Highlight
1377 cd/m²
Peak 2% Window
1093 cd/m²
Peak 10% Window
1218 cd/m²
Peak 25% Window
839 cd/m²
Peak 50% Window
540 cd/m²
Peak 100% Window
341 cd/m²
Sustained 2% Window
1022 cd/m²
Sustained 10% Window
1133 cd/m²
Sustained 25% Window
815 cd/m²
Sustained 50% Window
534 cd/m²
Sustained 100% Window
333 cd/m²
Automatic Brightness Limiting (ABL)
0.069

HDR brightness is amazing. It gets bright enough for highlights in HDR content to pop. As with SDR, there's some variation in brightness across content.

We measured the HDR peak brightness before calibration using the 'Movie' Picture Mode with Local Dimming set to ‘High’, Brightness at ‘Max’, Contrast at ‘Max’, and Picture Clarity set to ‘Off’.

If you want the brightest image possible, use 'Dynamic' Picture Mode with default settings and Local Dimming set to 'High'. We were able to get 2740 cd/m² in the 10% window using these settings.

6.2
Picture Quality
HDR Brightness In Game Mode
Real Scene Highlight
362 cd/m²
Peak 2% Window
631 cd/m²
Peak 10% Window
1008 cd/m²
Peak 25% Window
595 cd/m²
Peak 50% Window
445 cd/m²
Peak 100% Window
354 cd/m²
Sustained 2% Window
613 cd/m²
Sustained 10% Window
355 cd/m²
Sustained 25% Window
589 cd/m²
Sustained 50% Window
445 cd/m²
Sustained 100% Window
353 cd/m²
Automatic Brightness Limiting (ABL)
0.038
7.7
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
2.669 %
50% DSE
0.186 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.530 %
5% DSE
0.071 %

The Samsung Q900TS has good gray uniformity, but this can vary between units. The screen is noticeably darker around the corners, and there's some slight dirty screen effect, which may be noticeable during sports games with large bright areas taking up the screen. Uniformity is much better with darker images.

We experienced a bug while testing, where the backlight bled through noticeably if left on a static screen, most notably on a 5% gray slide but sometimes with actual content as well. You can see that here.

Note: We also experienced an issue with the backlight in the same area we noticed the backlight bleed, where a section of the backlight turned off and left black spots on the screen. This went away on its own, though, and we weren't able to recreate the issue after it happened the first time.

Additionally, note that the backlight on this TV is always visible, similar to the Samsung Q800T QLED, which causes uniformity issues that aren't reflected in our scoring. In particular, the dirty screen effect in real usage looks worse than it appears in our test photo. You can see a photo here that has been edited to replicate the effect as it appears in real life.

7.6
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
1.332 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
0.566 %

Black uniformity is good, although this can vary between units. There's some visible clouding throughout the screen with Local Dimming disabled. When enabled, the black uniformity is significantly improved, though there's still some noticeable blooming around bright objects.

5.7
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Washout
26 °
Color Shift
25 °
Brightness Loss
47 °
Black Level Raise
23 °
Gamma Shift
14 °

The viewing angles are disappointing, especially considering it has the added 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer. The color quickly begins to wash out as you move off-center, so it's not suggested for wide seating arrangements. We tested the viewing angle twice, once with Local Dimming set to 'Low' to test for color, and again with Local Dimming disabled to test for lightness, black level, and gamma.

8.9
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Glossy
Total Reflections
2.2 %
Indirect Reflections
1.5 %
Calculated Direct Reflections
0.8 %

The Samsung Q900TS has excellent reflection handling. The glossy coating does a good job of diffusing direct light reflections, although the 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer causes intense lighting to scatter and create a rainbow-colored ripple effect.

8.3
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
White Balance dE
2.48
Color dE
2.01
Gamma
2.13
Color Temperature
6404 K
Picture Mode
Movie
Color Temp Setting
Warm 2
Gamma Setting
2.2

Before calibration, the accuracy is impressive. There are very few noticeable inaccuracies with colors and shades of gray, but the gamma doesn't really follow the curve, so scenes appear brighter than they should. The color temperature is slightly warmer than the 6,500K target, but it's still very close. Note that out-of-the-box accuracy may vary between units.

9.2
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
White Balance dE
1.03
Color dE
1.06
Gamma
2.21
Color Temperature
6322 K
White Balance Calibration
20 point
Color Calibration
Yes

After calibration, accuracy is fantastic. The color temperature is slightly warmer, so there may be a bit of red/yellow tint, but colors and shades of gray have improved. Gamma follows the target much more closely. Any remaining accuracies shouldn't be noticeable without a colorimeter.

You can see our recommended settings here.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

The Samsung Q900TS upscales 480p content, like DVDs, without any issues.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

The TV upscales 720p content, like from cable boxes, well.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

The Samsung Q900TS displays 1080p content, like Blu-rays, without issues.

9.5
Picture Quality
4k Input

There's some cross-hatching with 4k content, meaning you can see the mesh-like pattern of the pixels, but it's hard to notice.

9.5
Picture Quality
8k Input

The Samsung Q900TS shows a bit of dithering with 8k content, most visible in shadows, but it shouldn't be noticeable unless you're sitting really close.

Picture Quality
Pixels

The Samsung Q900TS uses a BGR subpixel layout, which can affect the way text is rendered when using the TV as a PC monitor. You can read more about it here. The pixels look blurry due to the extra 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer.

8.2
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
91.55 %
DCI P3 uv
94.35 %
Rec 2020 xy
67.61 %
Rec 2020 uv
73.62 %

The Samsung Q900TS has a great color gamut that's wide enough for HDR content. It has nearly full coverage of the DCI P3 color space used in most HDR content and decent coverage of the wider Rec. 2020 color space.

The EOTF is a bit higher than the target, causing scenes to appear brighter than they should, until it rolls off near the TV's max brightness. In 'Game' mode, the EOTF is slightly farther off the target and rolls off quicker. If you find HDR too dim, set Contrast Enhancer to 'High', ST.2084 to ‘Max’, and Shadow Details to 'Max', which results in a noticeably brighter image, as you can see in this EOTF.

7.7
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
87.8 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
53.1 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
65.6 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
39.8 %

The color volume on the Samsung Q900TS is good. It can display dark colors well, but like many LED TVs, it struggles with bright blues.

7.7
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
0.123 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
0.107 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
0.110 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
0.123 dE

The TV has good gradient handling. There's some banding in reds and greens and a little in grays as well, but it's not especially noticeable. Setting Noise Reduction to 'Auto' seems to help smooth out the gradients.

10
Picture Quality
Temporary Image Retention
IR after 0 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 2 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 4 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 6 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 8 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 10 min recovery
0.00 %

There are no signs of temporary image retention on the TV we tested, although this can vary between individual units.

10
Picture Quality
Permanent Burn-In Risk
Permanent Burn-In Risk
No

We don't expect VA panels to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.

Motion
8.7
Motion
Response Time
80% Response Time
3.0 ms
100% Response Time
8.8 ms

The Samsung Q900TS has an excellent response time, though there's some overshoot in the 0-20% transition, causing some motion smearing in dark scenes. Overall, there isn't much blur trail behind moving objects, and motion looks smooth.

9.9
Motion
Flicker-Free
Flicker-Free
No
PWM Dimming Frequency
960 Hz

This TV uses Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) to dim its backlight. In 'Movie' mode, it flickers at 960Hz, which shouldn't be noticeable. In all other picture modes, or if you enable Picture Clarity settings, it flickers at 120Hz.

10
Motion
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Optional BFI
Yes
Min Flicker For 60 fps
60 Hz
60Hz For 60 fps
Yes
120Hz For 120 fps
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps in Game Mode
60 Hz

The Samsung Q900TS has a Black Frame Insertion feature to help reduce motion blur. To reduce the flicker to 60Hz, set LED Clear Motion to 'On', and for 120Hz, set Picture Clarity to 'On'. In 'Game' mode, enabling LED Clear Motion with Game Motion Plus reduces the flicker from 120Hz to 60Hz. Note that the BFI score is based on what flicker it's capable of, and not how well it actually performs.

Motion
Motion Interpolation
Motion Interpolation (30 fps)
Yes
Motion Interpolation (60 fps)
Yes

The Samsung Q900TS can interpolate lower frame rate content up to 120fps. To enable motion interpolation (also known as the 'Soap Opera Effect'), you can adjust the Blur Reduction and Judder Reduction settings.

6.5
Motion
Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
32.9 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
7.9 ms

Due to the TV's fast response time, there's some noticeable stuttering with 24fps content, but less so with 60fps content.

10
Motion
24p Judder
Judder-Free 24p
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60p
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60i
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via Native Apps
Yes

The Samsung Q900TS can remove 24p judder from any source, as long as Picture Clarity is set to 'Custom' with sliders set to '0'.

8.2
Motion
Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
120 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
Yes
HDMI Forum VRR
Unknown
FreeSync
Yes
G-SYNC Compatible
No
4k VRR Maximum
60 Hz
4k VRR Minimum
48 Hz
1080p VRR Maximum