The Samsung QN85A QLED is part of Samsung's Neo QLED series of TVs, which are a step up from regular QLEDs because they use Mini LED backlighting. It's an ADS panel, which is very similar to IPS, giving it a low native contrast ratio, but thankfully the local dimming greatly improves it in most picture modes. Unfortunately, glow from the panel and blooming may still be noticeable, especially when viewed off-center. On the upside, it has wide viewing angles, which makes it easy to watch with friends or family. It also has a great response time, resulting in smooth motion, and a low input lag that makes gaming feel responsive. Gamers should also be pleased that it has FreeSync variable refresh rate (VRR), an HDMI 2.1 port, and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM). The TV gets very bright and has exceptional reflection handling, so it's suitable for any lighting condition and glare shouldn't be an issue. Despite having a low low native contrast, it has incredible HDR brightness, so it's sure to make highlights in HDR content pop.
The Samsung QN85A is great for mixed usage. It performs very well in bright settings thanks to its high brightness and exceptional reflection handling. It's less suited to dark room viewing or gaming, because its ADS panel has a low native contrast ratio, although it's improved by local dimming. The fast response time results in clear motion in sports or video games, and the low input lag makes the TV feel responsive. HDR content looks great as well due to its wide color gamut and high HDR brightness that makes highlights pop.
The Samsung QN85A is good for watching movies. While its native contrast ratio is only okay, it looks better with actual content thanks to the local dimming. That said, there's still noticeable blooming, especially when viewed at an angle. On the upside, it has no issues upscaling lower resolution content, and it's judder-free with 24p movies.
The Samsung QN85A is amazing for watching TV shows. It performs exceptionally well in bright environments thanks to its high brightness and outstanding reflection handling. It also has wide viewing angles, which ensures that the image stays accurate when viewed from the side. Lower resolution content, like cable TV, is upscaled well without artifacts.
The Samsung QN85A is an excellent TV for watching sports. It has a fast response time that makes motion look clear, and it includes a motion interpolation feature to further improve motion clarity. It also gets very bright, with exceptional reflection handling, so glare shouldn't be an issue. Its wide viewing angles are also great for watching the game with a group. Unfortunately, there may be a bit of dirty screen effect, which can be distracting.
The Samsung QN85A is an impressive TV for gaming. It has a fast response time for smooth motion, and its input lag is low, making gaming feel responsive. It supports FreeSync VRR, but unfortunately, G-SYNC doesn't work. It also has an HDMI 2.1 port for advanced consoles. While the native contrast ratio is just okay, it's improved when the TV is in Game Mode, but since it's an ADS TV, you may still experience panel glow or blooming.
The Samsung QN85A is good for watching movies in HDR. It gets exceptionally bright in HDR, so highlights pop as they should, and the overall brightness of scenes is spot-on. Unfortunately, it has a low native contrast ratio, but the local dimming does a good job of making blacks look deeper. Thankfully, it has a wide color gamut for HDR, and it supports HDR10 and HDR10+, but like all Samsung TVs, it doesn't support Dolby Vision.
The Samsung QN85A is great for HDR gaming. It delivers on the gaming front thanks to its quick response time, low input lag, and FreeSync VRR support. It also gets bright enough to make highlights in HDR content truly pop, despite having a low native contrast ratio, which is significantly better with local dimming and in Game Mode. If you're gaming in a bright environment, glare shouldn't be an issue either, since it has exceptional reflection handling.
The Samsung QN85A is an amazing TV to use as a PC monitor. Its wide viewing angles ensure that content doesn't look too washed out at the edges, even when sitting up close or at an angle. It also displays proper chroma 4:4:4, which is important for text clarity, and it has an incredibly low input lag, making for a responsive desktop experience. Unfortunately, the backlight isn't flicker-free, which some people may be sensitive to, especially with long periods of use.
The Samsung QN85A QLED is the mid-tier 4k model from Samsung's flagship Neo QLED lineup, which is new in 2021. Neo QLEDs differ from standard QLEDs because they use Mini LED backlighting. It sits just below the Samsung QN90A QLED, and it differs from previous Samsung flagship TVs because it uses an ADS panel, which is a very similar technology to IPS. Its main competitors are LG's Mini LED QNED TVs, like the LG QNED90, and Sony's 2021 4k TVs. To learn more about the broader 2021 TV market, see here.
The Samsung QN85A looks sleek. The stand looks a little basic, but the TV has thin bezels and should look good in any room. It has a very thin profile, which is great if you want to wall-mount it.
The stand is a mix of plastic and metal. It's centered and not too wide, so you can place it on a smaller table to save space. There’s a bit of wobble, but overall it supports the TV well.
Footprint of the stand: 15.4" x 10.4"
The back is plastic with a textured brushed metal finish. There are grooves along the back and a hole in the stand that serve as cable management.
The Samsung QN85A has a very thin profile, thinner than most TVs. It shouldn't stick out when wall-mounted.
The QN85A feels well-built overall. It’s mostly plastic, aside from parts of the stand and the borders, which are metal. There’s some flex to the back panel, especially near the inputs and the center, but it shouldn’t be an issue with normal use.
The native contrast ratio on the Samsung QN85A is okay, but this can vary between units. It’s much worse than previous QLEDs because it uses an ADS panel instead of a VA panel. When using our recommended settings in the 'Movie' Picture Mode, contrast is significantly worse than in other picture modes. For instance, in 'Dynamic', we measured a contrast of 9243:1, 9409:1 in 'PC' mode, and 20,019:1 with Game Mode enabled. It also looks better with actual content than it does with our test pattern because the local dimming works well in real scenes to hide the fact that it’s an ADS panel.
The 85 inch variant of this TV likely uses a VA panel, so we expect it to have a higher native contrast ratio. If you want a similar TV with a VA panel, then check out the Samsung QN90A QLED.
The TV gets exceptionally bright in SDR. It’s more than enough to overcome glare in most lighting conditions, although it varies a bit depending on the content.
We measured SDR brightness after calibration in the 'Movie' Picture Mode with Brightness set to max, Local Dimming on 'High', and the Color Tone set to 'Warm2'.
Update 04/15/2021: We confirmed the number of dimming zones.
The Samsung QN85A has a decent local dimming feature. Thanks to its Mini LED backlighting, it has 576 dimming zones. Compared with 2020's Samsung Q90/Q90T QLED, it pushes blacker blacks, resulting in a lot of small details being crushed. There's noticeable blooming around bright objects and subtitles, and our unit has some backlight bleed near the bottom of the screen. Unfortunately, the blooming gets worse the more you move off-center. Haloing is tighter around bright objects but more pronounced on the than it is on the Q90T. This is because it has smaller dimming zones, while the Q90T has larger zones that are less bright and fade out more quickly. Transitions between zones, however, are quick with no visible light trail behind moving objects. If you want a TV with no visible signs of blooming, check out the Sony A80J OLED.
In Game Mode, local dimming scores about the same, although for different reasons. There's no significant black crush as there is when Game Mode is disabled, but uniformity issues are more noticeable and transitions between lighting zones are much slower, with a visible blooming trail behind bright moving objects.
HDR brightness is exceptional. The overall brightness of scenes is spot on, as bright as intended, and very bright highlights pop. It's quite consistent across different content as well, but it tends to dim scenes with large bright areas.
We measured the HDR brightness before calibration in the 'Movie HDR' Picture Mode with Brightness and Contrast at max, Local Dimming set to 'High', and Color Tone set to 'Warm2'. All additional picture processing settings were disabled.
If you want to make HDR even brighter, as seen in this EOTF, then set Contrast Enhancer to 'High' and ST.2084 to max.
In Game Mode, HDR brightness is not as good as outside of Game Mode, but it's still excellent. That said, there's a lot more variation across different content, as it dims scenes with very small and very large areas of brightness. Highlights still pop, but dark areas of scenes appear a bit brighter than they should.
We took our measurements in the 'Game' Picture Mode, using the 'Warm2' Color Tone, with Brightness at max, Sharpness set to '0', and Local Dimming set to 'High'. We also turned off Motion Interpolation settings, set Color Gamut to 'Auto' and left Dynamic Black Equalizer at '2'.
Gray uniformity is decent, though this can vary between units. The edges and corners of the screen appear a bit darker, and there's a bit of dirty screen effect, but it shouldn't be especially noticeable. The uniformity is better in dark scenes.
The Samsung QN85A's black uniformity is mediocre, much worse than previous QLEDs due to its ADS panel. There's a lot of glow in the corners and edges and clouding throughout. With local dimming enabled, it's much better and you can see how it improves the contrast, but there's still noticeable blooming around bright objects. Note that black uniformity may vary between units. If you want a TV with no visible blooming and near-perfect black uniformity, check out the LG C1 OLED.
The Samsung QN85A has very good viewing angles, but this is typical of ADS and IPS panels. There's not too much color and gamma shift as you move off-center, which is great for wider seating arrangements when you want the image to be as accurate as possible from the side. The 85 inch version comes with Samsung's 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer and likely uses a VA panel, so it's expected to perform differently.
The Samsung QN85A has exceptional out-of-the-box color accuracy, although this can vary between units. Still, it's among the most accurate we've tested, which is great if you don't plan on calibrating your TV. Most colors are very close to perfect and white balance is fantastic. Gamma follows the target fairly well, though darker scenes are a bit too dark and lighter scenes are a bit too bright. The color temperature is a bit on the warmer side, but it's still close to our target.
After calibration, accuracy is remarkable. Any remaining inaccuracies shouldn't be noticeable without a colorimeter. Gamma follows the target very well, although dark scenes are still slightly darker than they should be. The color temperature is closer to our target but is now on the cooler side.
You can see our recommended settings here.
720p content like cable TV is upscaled well, with no signs of upscaling artifacts.
The Samsung QN85A uses an ADS panel, like the Sony X800H, which is similar to IPS, but technically different.
The Samsung QN85A has a great color gamut. It's wide enough for HDR content, with fantastic coverage of the commonly-used DCI P3 color space and decent coverage of the wider Rec. 2020.
Color volume is good, but it doesn't reproduce dark, saturated colors too well due to its lower contrast ratio.
Gradient handling is great. There's some visible banding, especially in the reds, blues, and greens. If banding bothers you, set Noise Reduction to 'Auto', which should smooth out gradients, but may cause some loss of fine detail.
There are no signs of temporary image retention, but this may vary between units.
Although some IPS and related panels can suffer from temporary image retention, this doesn't appear to be permanent as seen in our long-term test.
Update 03/25/2021: We replaced the response time graphs to include the flicker.
The Samsung QN85A has a great response time, with minimal blur trail behind fast-moving objects. There's some overshoot in the 0-20% transition, so you may notice some motion artifacts in darker scenes.
Update 06/18/2021: We retested the backlight in Game Mode, with variable refresh rate enabled. With VRR enabled, the backlight flicker changes from 120Hz to 960Hz.
The Samsung QN85A uses Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) to dim its backlight, but since it flickers at such a high frequency, it shouldn't be noticeable to most people. In 'Movie' mode, it flickers at 960Hz, but it drops to 120Hz when you have Picture Clarity enabled, or in the 'Dynamic,' 'Standard,' 'Natural,' or 'Game' picture modes.
The Samsung QN85A has an optional Black Frame Insertion (BFI) feature to help reduce motion blur. On Samsung TVs, this is called LED Clear Motion, which can be enabled in the Picture Clarity menu. To use it for 120fps content, enable Picture Clarity but set Judder and Blur to '0'. In Game Mode, the backlight always flickers at 120Hz, but for 60fps games, simply enable LED Clear Motion in the Game Mode Settings menu, which lowers the flicker frequency to 60Hz. Note that our scoring only reflects the range of flicker frequency and not how well the BFI actually performs.
The Samsung QN85A can interpolate lower frame rate content up to 120Hz, a feature commonly known as the 'Soap Opera Effect.' For the most part, it works well, but there are some artifacts in very fast-moving scenes. To enable interpolation, set Picture Clarity to 'Custom' and set Blur Reduction to '10' for content that's 60fps or higher, and Judder Reduction to '10' for 30fps content.
Because of the TV's fast response time, lower frame rate content can appear to stutter as each frame is held on for longer. If it bothers you, Picture Clarity settings can help.
The Samsung QN85A can remove judder from any source without having to enable additional settings. If you do notice judder in 24p content like movies, you can try adjusting the Judder Reduction slider.
Update 04/27/2021: We updated the TV's firmware and updated our NVIDIA drivers to retest the G-SYNC compatibility. It now works without any screen tearing throughout the entire VRR range, even though it's not officially advertised to support G-SYNC.
The Samsung QN85A supports FreeSync VRR to reduce screen tearing. With Game Mode on, FreeSync is automatically enabled, and it works well and has a very wide VRR range.
The Samsung QN85A has an extremely low input lag, but it gets significantly higher outside of Game Mode. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get input lag measurements with VRR enabled. It's unclear if it's an issue with our testing or the TV's firmware, but we're looking into it and will update the review accordingly once the issue has been resolved. To get a low input lag in 'PC' mode, you have to enable Game Mode as well.
The Samsung QN85A supports most common resolutions and it displays proper chroma 4:4:4 in every resolution except 1440p. To get full bandwidth signals, Input Signal Plus must be enabled. For 4:4:4, the TV must be in 'PC' mode with Input Signal Plus enabled.
The Samsung QN85A supports most resolutions for the latest gaming consoles. The TV has an Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) as well, which is activated by setting Game Mode to 'Auto' or 'On', or enabling 'CEC'.
The Samsung QN85A supports eARC, allowing it to pass uncompressed high-quality audio over an HDMI connection. To use it, set HDMI eARC to 'Auto' and Digital Output Audio to 'Passthrough'.
The Samsung QN85A has an okay frequency response. It has a digital room correction feature that can tune the sound according to your room's acoustics. The mid-range sounds good, with clear dialogue, and the TV gets quite loud, albeit with some pumping at higher volume levels. The bass, however, is pretty bad with almost no punch to it.
The distortion on the Samsung QN85A is disappointing. While it's okay at moderate listening levels, it starts to get especially noticeable at mid-level and higher. Distortion depends on the content, though, and not everyone can hear it.
Samsung's Tizen OS is very smooth and easy to use. This version feels even quicker and smoother than on models from previous years.
While we weren't able to get a photo of ads during testing, Samsung's interface has ads and suggested content on the home page and in the app store. Unfortunately, they can't be disabled.
The app store has a large selection of apps available to download. Apps run smoothly for the most part.
The remote is similar to the one found on high-end QLEDs like the Samsung Q900TS 8k QLED. It has shortcut buttons to streaming apps and a voice command button, which enables the Bixby voice assistant. It can change inputs and settings and search YouTube, but it can't search within apps like Netflix. Unlike most other remotes, it doesn't use disposable batteries, and instead, it can be charged through USB-C or the solar panel on the back.
The controls are beneath the Samsung branding on the bottom right side of the TV. There's a single button that lets you power the TV on/off and change channels, volume, and inputs.
We tested the 55 inch QN85A (QN55QN85AAFXZA), which is also available in 65, 75, and 85 inch sizes. We expect our results to be valid for the 65 and 75 inch models as well, as we received confirmation from other owners that their 65 and 75 inch models use the same panel technology. However, the 85 inch likely uses a VA panel, since there are no 85 inch IPS panels on the market, and it's the only version to implement Samsung's 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer, so we expect it to behave differently than the QN85A that we tested. Note also that Samsung's European models tend to be a bit different, so we don't know if the QN85A is the same in Europe.
There's also a variant at Costco and Sam's Club, sold as the Samsung QN85D. Costco advertises that it has four HDMI 2.1 ports, but we didn't test that variant, so we can't confirm if that's accurate.
|Size||Panel||US Model||Canada Model||EU Model||Notes|
|85"||VA||QN85QN85AAFXZA||QN85QN85AAFXZC||QE85QN85A||Ultra Viewing Angle|
If you come across a Samsung QN85A with a different panel type, or if it doesn't correspond to our review, let us know in the discussions and we'll update our review.
Our unit was manufactured in February 2021 and you can see the label here.
The Samsung QN85A is a great overall TV that makes use of the new Mini LED technology that's increasingly being implemented in 2021. Unlike most other Samsung models and competitors, the QN85A (barring the 85 inch version) uses an ADS panel, which is very similar to IPS panels. While the local dimming significantly improves black levels in normal usage, its native contrast ratio is much lower than other 4k LED TVs in this range.
The Samsung QN90A QLED sits higher up in the lineup than the Samsung QN85A QLED, so it has better overall performance, but they use different panels. The QN90A uses a VA panel, providing a much higher contrast ratio to display deeper blacks. The QN90A also gets a bit brighter and has a slightly quicker response time, but neither should be too noticeable. On the other hand, the QN85A uses an ADS panel, so it has wider viewing angles, making it a better choice for wide seating arrangements.
The Samsung QN85A QLED is better overall than the Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED. The QN85A sits higher up in the lineup and uses Mini LED as its backlighting, which the Q80A doesn't. Even though they each use the same ADS panel type, the QN85A is better for dark room viewing because it has a better local dimming feature that improves the contrast. The QN85A also gets much brighter, especially in HDR, and it has better reflection handling, so it's a better choice for use in a well-lit room.
The Sony X90J and the Samsung QN85A QLED are both great TVs, but they're also very different. The Sony uses a VA panel with a much higher contrast ratio, which means it can display deeper blacks for a better dark room viewing experience but has narrow viewing angles. On the other hand, the Samsung uses an IPS-like panel with wide viewing angles but has a low contrast ratio that makes blacks appear gray in the dark. If you plan on watching TV in a very well-lit room, the Samsung is a better choice because it has significantly better reflection handling and gets a lot brighter. Its high brightness also means that you get a better HDR experience. The Samsung has a lower input lag and VRR support. The Sony is advertised to have VRR support, but it hasn't been implemented yet.
The Samsung QN85A QLED and the Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED are both great QLEDs but they differ in significant ways. The QN85A is a Neo QLED with Mini LED backlighting, and the 55 inch that we tested uses an IPS panel with a low native contrast ratio and wider viewing angles. The Q80T, on the other hand, uses a VA panel, so it has a much higher contrast ratio and produces deeper blacks with less blooming. The Q80T also has a faster response time. That said, the Q80T has issues with local dimming in 'Game' mode, whereas the QN85A doesn't and its contrast is better than the native contrast suggests thanks to local dimming with actual content. The QN85A also gets much brighter in both SDR and HDR, so it may be a better option if you watch a lot of content in HDR, since it can really make highlights pop.
The LG C1 OLED and the Samsung QN85A QLED are high-end TVs, each with strengths and weaknesses due to their different technologies. The LG has an OLED panel, so it can turn off each pixel for a near-infinite contrast ratio and perfect black uniformity. Even though the Samsung has an IPS-type panel, the LG still has wider viewing angles. They each have similar gaming features, but the LG has a near-instant response time. However, the Samsung has Mini LED backlighting, allowing it to get much brighter, and it doesn't have the risk of burn-in like the LG.
The Samsung QN85A QLED and the LG CX OLED are very different TVs that use different panel technologies. The LG is an OLED with self-illuminating pixels, which results in an infinite contrast ratio and a near-instantaneous response time. The Samsung, on the other hand, has an IPS panel with a low native contrast ratio, and while it's improved by local dimming, there's still some noticeable blooming and IPS glow. While the Samsung has a lot to offer, with very high brightness levels that can make HDR content pop, it's simply hard to beat an OLED when it comes to picture quality.
The Samsung QN85A QLED is better overall than the Samsung Q70/Q70A QLED, but they have different panel types with advantages and disadvantages. It has an IPS-like panel with wide viewing angles, and the Q70A has a VA panel with better native contrast. However, the QN85A has a local dimming feature, which the Q70A doesn't have, to improve the picture quality in dark scenes. The QN85A also has better reflection handling, and it gets brighter, especially in HDR, making it the better choice for watching HDR content.
The Samsung QN85A QLED and the Samsung Q90/Q90T QLED are both great TVs overall, but they use different panel types with different advantages and disadvantages. The 55 inch QN85A uses an IPS panel, so it has a low native contrast ratio but has wider viewing angles. While local dimming helps improve the contrast in actual content, there's still some noticeable blooming and IPS glow, so it may not be the best choice if you watch a lot of movies in the dark. The Q90T, on the other hand, is more consistent across different uses. It has a VA panel with a high contrast ratio and good black uniformity, and thanks to the 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer, it has decent viewing angles. It also has a slightly faster response time than the QN85A. While it doesn't get as bright as the QN85A, its high contrast gives it a slight edge with HDR content.
The Samsung QN85A QLED and the Sony X95J use different panel types, each with strengths and weaknesses. The Samsung has better viewing angles and higher peak brightness, so it's a better choice for a bright room or a wide seating area. The Sony looks much better in a dark room, as it has a much better local dimming feature and better contrast.
The Hisense U8G is a bit better than the Samsung QN85A QLED, but as they use different panel technologies, which is better depends on your viewing conditions. The Hisense has much better contrast, better black uniformity, and a better local dimming feature, so it looks much better in a dark room. On the other hand, the Samsung has significantly better viewing angles, so it might be a better choice for a wide seating arrangement.
The Samsung QN85A QLED is a bit better than the LG QNED90 for most uses. The Samsung has much better reflection handling and higher peak brightness, so it's better for a bright room with lots of natural light. On the other hand, the LG has much better contrast with local dimming, so it's a better choice for dark rooms.
The Samsung QN85A QLED uses a different panel type than the Sony X900H, but they're great TVs overall. The 55 inch version of the Samsung uses an IPS panel with a low native contrast ratio and wider viewing angles, while the Sony uses a VA panel with a high contrast ratio and poor viewing angles. The Samsung is better suited to wider seating arrangements, and it has a wider VRR range if that's important to you. The Samsung also gets much brighter and can make HDR highlights pop, which the Sony may struggle with.
The Samsung QN85A QLED and the TCL 6 Series/R646 2021 QLED are both great TVs with different panel types. The TCL has a VA panel that lets it display deeper blacks, while the Samsung has an IPS-like panel with wide viewing angles instead. The Samsung still displays deep blacks thanks to its decent Mini LED local dimming feature, but there's blooming around bright objects. The Samsung also gets brighter and has improved reflection handling, so it's a better choice for well-lit rooms. It doesn't have any issues upscaling lower-resolution content from DVDs either, which the TCL has problems with.
The Samsung QN85A QLED and the LG GX OLED are both high-end 4k TVs but use different panel technologies, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The LG is an OLED, so it can produce perfect blacks and has a near-instantaneous response time. The Samsung, on the other hand, is an LCD TV that uses Mini LED backlighting, which allows it to get very bright. The Samsung uses an IPS panel, so its native contrast ratio is low and it has issues with blooming. For that reason, the LG is a better option if you care about picture quality.