Samsung Q90/Q90T QLED TV Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Reviewed May 27, 2020 at 08:19 am
Samsung Q90/Q90T QLED Picture
8.5
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: LG B9 OLED
8.4
Movies
8.5
TV Shows
8.4
Sports
8.8
Video Games
8.3
HDR Movies
8.6
HDR Gaming
8.7
PC Monitor
Type LED
Sub-Type
VA
Resolution 4k

The Samsung Q90T QLED is an overall excellent TV that comes with nearly every imaginable feature to deliver a stunning picture quality and viewing experience. Its simple and elegant design fits easily into any room, and the TV performs equally well in dark or bright environments. Motion handling is superb thanks to its incredibly fast response time, and gamers should be pleased with its exceptionally low input lag and FreeSync support. HDR content is delivered with vibrant colors and bright highlights, and it also runs on the great Tizen OS. Some minor uniformity issues may disappoint sports fans, but as a whole, it's a TV that should satisfy most, regardless of the content that you watch.

Our Verdict

8.5 Mixed Usage

The Q90T is an excellent TV for most uses. Nearly every type of content looks good on this TV, whether it's a low-resolution cable TV show or a 4k HDR movie. It has a fast response time and low input lag, and it also comes with FreeSync support to reduce screen tearing when gaming. However, there's a bit of dirty screen effect, which can be somewhat distracting when watching sports.

Pros
  • Outstanding HDR peak brightness.
  • Exceptional motion handling.
  • Low input lag and FreeSync support.
Cons
  • Vignetting and dirty screen effect.
8.4 Movies

The Q90T is a great TV for watching movies. It has a high contrast ratio due to its VA panel, and it has full-array local dimming to make it even better. Black uniformity is good too, making this TV a fantastic choice for dark room viewing. The TV can remove judder from all sources, but lower frame rate content can stutter a bit.

8.5 TV Shows

The Q90T is an excellent TV for watching TV shows. It can upscale lower-resolution content from cable TV well without any obvious artifacts. The TV is well-suited for dark and bright rooms, as it has a high contrast ratio and it gets extremely bright. Viewing angles are decent, so you should be able to walk around while watching without losing much image accuracy.

8.4 Sports

The Q90T is an excellent TV for watching sports. The TV has an amazingly fast response time and an optional black frame insertion feature, so there's very little blur in fast-moving scenes. It can get very bright to combat glare, it has exceptional reflection handling, and its decent viewing angles are great for watching a game with friends and family. Unfortunately, there's some dirty screen effect, which is rather disappointing.

8.8 Video Games

The Q90T is an exceptional TV for playing video games. It has an incredibly fast response time that results in clear images with minimal motion blur, and it has a low input lag and FreeSync support. There's also an 'Automatic Low Latency Mode', making it easier to jump right into the game without having to change picture mode each time, which can be rather tedious. The TV's VA panel can produce deep and inky blacks, which is great for those who like to game in the dark.

8.3 HDR Movies

The Q90T is a great TV for watching movies in HDR. The TV can produce vibrant and vivid colors, and its excellent HDR peak brightness makes highlights pop. Its VA panel has a high contrast ratio and is further enhanced by its full-array local dimming. Its response time is exceptional and motion blur is minimal, but it can also cause lower frame rate content to stutter at times.

8.6 HDR Gaming

The Q90T is an outstanding TV for gaming in HDR. On top of having an exceptional response time and low input lag, this TV can deliver an excellent HDR experience with its wide color gamut and high peak brightness. It's a great choice for dark room gaming, as it has a high contrast ratio that's boosted by full-array local dimming, and its black uniformity is good too, albeit with some minor blooming here and there.

8.7 PC Monitor

The Q90T is an exceptional TV for use as a PC monitor. It has an amazingly low input lag to provide a responsive desktop experience and it has a fast response time. Chroma 4:4:4 is displayed properly, which is great for text clarity, and there's no risk of permanent burn-in with static content such as a desktop user interface.

  • 8.5 Mixed Usage
  • 8.4 Movies
  • 8.5 TV Shows
  • 8.4 Sports
  • 8.8 Video Games
  • 8.3 HDR Movies
  • 8.6 HDR Gaming
  • 8.7 PC Monitor
  1. Update 9/18/2020: Remeasured input lag outside of game mode.
  2. Update 8/19/2020: Update to HDMI Forum VRR support.
  3. Update 5/27/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.5.

Video

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The Q90T is Samsung's flagship TV for their 2020 lineup of 4k QLED TVs. Since Samsung has shifted their lineup, this is a replacement of the Samsung Q80/Q80R QLED and not the Samsung Q90/Q90R QLED. There's a Q95T that's closer to the Q90R, as it still has the One Connect Box, but it's only available in Europe. We expect the Q90T's main competitors to be the LG BX OLED, Sony's A8H OLED, and the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2020.

Design
9.5
Design
Style
Curved No

The Samsung Q90T has an exceptional design. It's clean, modern, and simple. The bezels are thin on all sides and the stand is center-mounted, similar to the Samsung Q90/Q90R QLED. The biggest change is the loss of the One Connect Box, as this TV is more of a replacement of the Samsung Q80/Q80R QLED. There's a Q95T model that still has the One Connect Box, but it seems to be available only in Europe at this time.

If you're in North America and you want a TV that has the One Connect Box and supports the no-gap wall-mount, check out the Samsung The Frame 2020.

Design
Stand

The stand is a heavy piece of metal that feels solid. There's a bit of wobble, mainly due to the stand being center-mounted.

Footprint of the 55" stand: 11.9" x 9.3"

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 200x200

The back of the TV is plastic and it has a fine texture etched into it horizontally, giving it a brushed look. The inputs are side-facing, making it easy to access when wall-mounted, and there are grooves that guide all the cables towards the stand, where there are also grooves that serve as cable management.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.35" (0.9 cm)

The bezels on the Q90T are very thin and shouldn't be distracting.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 1.54" (3.9 cm)

The TV has a slightly boxier profile than the Q90R, but it's still very thin and shouldn't stick out much when wall-mounted. Sadly, it isn't compatible with Samsung's no-gap wall mount.

9.0
Design
Build Quality

The build quality is outstanding. The TV feels very well-built, and although there's a bit of wobble, it's mainly due to the stand being center-mounted. It's not as good as the Q90R, as the right side of the back panel has some flex and the plastic used for cable management feels cheap.

Picture Quality
8.6
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
4004 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
10528 : 1

Like most VA panels, the Q90T has an excellent native contrast ratio. It's significantly better with local dimming enabled, displaying inky blacks.

8.0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
Yes
Backlight
Full-Array

The Q90T has a great local dimming feature. Samsung's new algorithm seems to activate the backlight in more zones around bright objects. This makes blooming less intense but has the side effect of making a larger section of the screen look a bit grayish. There's still blooming in some content and highlights can appear dimmer; however, it's difficult to tell whether it's due to the implementation of the local dimming or the mastering of the content itself. Subtitles are handled well, as they're not as blinding in dark scenes and cause less blooming when compared to the Q90R.

8.8
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
610 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
1162 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
1402 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
929 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
733 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
541 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
1111 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
1361 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
925 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
730 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
538 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.048

The Q90T has an excellent SDR peak brightness. It's good enough to overcome glare even in very bright rooms; however, brightness varies quite a bit when displaying different content, with the 100% window being the dimmest.

We measured the SDR peak brightness after calibration, using the 'Movie' mode. The backlight was set to maximum, Color Temperature set to 'Warm 2', and Local Dimming was set to 'High.'

8.9
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
1151 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
1069 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
1407 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
1002 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
784 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
612 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
1026 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
1355 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
994 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
782 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
609 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.040

Outstanding HDR peak brightness. The Q90T can get very bright, enough to deliver a fantastic HDR experience.

We measured the HDR peak brightness before calibration, using the 'Movie HDR' mode, with local dimming set to 'High', and Contrast Enhancer disabled. Brightness and Contrast were set to maximum.

7.1
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
3.839 %
50% DSE
0.208 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.360 %
5% DSE
0.092 %

Decent gray uniformity. The edges of the screen appear darker and there's some dirty screen effect throughout the screen, which can be distracting when watching sports or large areas of uniform color. However, uniformity is much better in dark scenes.

7.3
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Washout
38 °
Color Shift
50 °
Brightness Loss
45 °
Black Level Raise
70 °
Gamma Shift
22 °

For a VA panel, the Q90T's viewing angles are decent; suitable for a moderately large room. It has Samsung's 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer, which greatly improves viewing angles at the expense of a lower contrast ratio.

Two separate runs were performed to take our measurements. The first run was done with local dimming disabled to measure gamma, black level, and lightness. The second was with local dimming set to 'Low', allowing us to measure color.

The TV's local dimming can't be disabled through the normal settings menu. To turn it off, you must first disable PC Mode Dimming within the TV's service menu, and then activate PC Mode.

7.5
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
1.021 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
1.019 %

Black uniformity is good. Without local dimming, there's a bit of clouding throughout the screen as well as some blooming around the test cross. With local dimming enabled, the clouding is less visible, but blooming around the test cross is more intense.

9.4
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Glossy
Total Reflections
1.3 %
Indirect Reflections
0.8 %
Calculated Direct Reflections
0.5 %

Outstanding reflection handling. It performs exactly like the Q80T and you shouldn't have any issues using this TV in a very bright room.

7.4
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
White Balance dE
3.91
Color dE
1.95
Gamma
2.22
Color Temperature
5920 K
Picture Mode
Movie
Color Temp Setting
Warm 2
Gamma Setting
2.2

Out of the box, the Q90T has decent color accuracy. Most colors are fairly accurate, but white balance is quite off and the preset 'Warm 2' Color Temperature is much warmer than our target of 6500k, giving the image a reddish tint. Gamma doesn't follow the target all that well, with most scenes appearing darker than they should.

9.5
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
White Balance dE
0.34
Color dE
1.08
Gamma
2.21
Color Temperature
6529 K
White Balance Calibration
20 point
Color Calibration
Yes

After calibration, color accuracy is outstanding. The remaining inaccuracies shouldn't be noticeable to the naked eye and the color temperature is close to our 6500K target, although still a bit on the warm side. Gamma follows the target well, but bright scenes look slightly darker than they should.

You can see our recommended settings here.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

480p content like DVDs are upscaled without any issues.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

The Q90T upscales 720p content like cable TV well and it looks almost identical to its predecessor, the Q90R.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

1080p content looks good and there are no signs of artifacts.

10
Picture Quality
4k Input

Native 4k content is displayed perfectly and looks almost identical to the Q70T and Q80T.

0
Picture Quality
8k Input

The Q90T can't display an 8k signal.

Picture Quality
Pixels

The pixels are a little blurry due to the TV's 'Ultra Viewing Angle' filter. It's a different implementation of the technology than what we had observed on the Q90R, allowing us to see the pixels much more clearly. You can also see the wide viewing angle filter in this photo.

8.1
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
89.13 %
DCI P3 uv
93.18 %
Rec 2020 xy
67.24 %
Rec 2020 uv
75.08 %

Great HDR color gamut. Coverage of the DCI P3 is excellent, which is used in most HDR content, and coverage of the wider Rec 2020 is decent. In 'Movie' mode, the EOTF is a bit brighter than the input stimulus until the roll-off.

In 'Game' mode, there's a Black Equalizer feature that is set to '2' by default, causing the EOTF to be less accurate. With it set to '0', the 'Game' mode EOTF is much closer to the target, resulting in this EOTF.

If you find HDR content too dim, you can make it brighter by setting Contrast Enhancer to 'High' and set ST.2084 to maximum. These settings will result in a much brighter image, as you can see in this EOTF.

7.8
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
85.2 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
51.6 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
70.2 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
41.9 %

Good color volume. The TV is able to display dark and saturated colors well due to its high contrast ratio, but like most LED TVs, it can't reproduce bright blues all that well. This is slightly inferior to the Q90R.

8.5
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
0.101 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
0.107 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
0.104 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
0.066 dE

Excellent gradient performance. There's still some visible banding when displaying reds and greens, and a little bit in grays as well. If banding bothers you, enabling Noise Reduction can help, but it may cause the loss of fine details in some scenes.

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 %

As is the case with most VA panels, the Q90T doesn't show any signs of temporary image retention.

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

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

Motion
8.4
Motion
Response Time
80% Response Time
3.5 ms
100% Response Time
10.6 ms

The Q90T's response time is exceptional. There's very little blur trail in fast-moving scenes; however, there's also a significant amount of overshoot in the 0-20% transition, resulting in the appearance of some artifacts.

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

The backlight is not flicker-free, but since it flickers at such a high frequency, it shouldn't be noticeable for most people. That said, the flickering drops to 120Hz when in 'Dynamic', 'Standard', 'Natural', or 'Game' mode. In addition, the flickering is also at 120Hz when Picture Clarity is enabled.

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

The Q90T has an optional black frame insertion feature that can help improve motion clarity. To use it in 60fps content, enable LED Clear Motion in the Picture Clarity settings menu. For 120fps content, simply enable the Picture Clarity setting without adjusting any of the sliders.

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

The Q90T can interpolate lower frame rate content up to 120Hz, commonly known as the 'Soap Opera Effect'. Generally speaking, this feature does a fairly good job and the picture looks good. We did notice some artifacts when interpolating 60fps content up to 120fps; however, it seems to be an issue that only happens with our test pattern and is unlikely to be noticeable in real content.

To use motion interpolation, set Picture Clarity to 'Custom', and adjust the Judder Reduction slider to '10' for 30fps content, or adjust the Blur Reduction to '10' for 60fps content.

If you want to use motion interpolation when gaming, it's essentially the same steps, but within the Game Motion Plus settings menu. Start by enabling Game Motion Plus, then set the Judder Reduction slider to '10' for games that run at 30fps natively, or set the Blur Reduction slider to '10' for games that normally run at 60fps.

6.9
Motion
Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
31.1 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
6.1 ms

Due to the Q90T's fast response time, lower frame rate content can appear to stutter, as each frame is held on for longer. If the stuttering bothers you, enabling Picture Clarity or LED Clear Motion can help.

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 Q90T can remove judder from all sources. It plays most content without judder even when Picture Clarity is disabled, but it isn't always perfect. Enabling Picture Clarity removes any remaining judder that may occur.

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
120 Hz
1080p VRR Minimum
< 20 Hz
1440p VRR Maximum
120 Hz
1440p VRR Minimum
< 20 Hz
VRR Supported Connectors
HDMI

Update 08/19/2020: We changed HDMI Forum VRR to 'Unknown' because we currently don't have an accurate way to test for HDMI Forum VRR compatibility. Once we do, we'll test for it and update the review.

The Q90T supports FreeSync to reduce screen tearing when gaming. Like other 2020 Samsung TVs that support VRR, there's no setting for it. It now turns on automatically when a game is launched from a device that has VRR enabled. Sadly, it doesn't support G-SYNC.

Inputs
9.2
Inputs
Input Lag
1080p @ 60 Hz
10.5 ms
1080p @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
90.2 ms
1440p @ 60 Hz
10.2 ms
4k @ 60 Hz
10.4 ms
4k @ 60 Hz + 10 bit HDR