The Samsung QN90A QLED is an excellent TV. It's Samsung's flagship 4k TV in their new Neo QLED lineup, which is an upgrade from their traditional QLED lineup because it uses Mini LED as its backlighting. This allows the TV to get extremely bright, enough to combat glare or bring out highlights in HDR content, and it provides more control over its full-array local dimming feature. The local dimming does a great job at improving the picture quality, but you may notice there's some blooming around bright objects. It's packed with gaming features like FreeSync variable refresh rate support (VRR) and G-SYNC compatibility. It also has HDMI 2.1 support, but some people may be disappointed that it's limited to one input. Despite having a VA panel, it has fairly wide viewing angles thanks to Samsung's 'Ultra Viewing Angle' technology, so it should be a good choice for fairly wide seating arrangements.
The Samsung QN90A is an excellent TV for any use. Its VA panel provides an excellent native contrast ratio and great local dimming to display deep blacks. It gets bright enough to combat glare and has fantastic reflection handling if you want to use it in a well-lit room. Also, gamers should enjoy its VRR support, low input lag, and quick response time for a responsive gaming experience.
The Samsung QN90A is excellent for watching movies. It has a VA panel with excellent native contrast and great local dimming to display deep blacks. It also upscales lower-resolution content well, like from Blu-rays, and automatically removes 24p judder from any source.
The Samsung QN90A is excellent for watching TV shows. It easily gets bright enough to combat glare in well-lit rooms and has fantastic reflection handling, so visibility shouldn't be an issue. It has fairly wide viewing angles, so the image remains accurate when viewing from the side. Lastly, it upscales lower-resolution content like cable TV without any issues.
The Samsung QN90A is excellent for watching sports. Fast-moving content looks smooth thanks to its very quick response time, and it has a Black Frame Insertion feature to help reduce motion blur. It's great for viewing in bright rooms thanks to its fantastic reflection handling and very high peak brightness. It also has fairly wide viewing angles if you want to watch the big game with a few friends.
The Samsung QN90A is amazing for gaming. It's packed with gaming features like HDMI 2.1 and VRR support. Its 120Hz panel has a very quick response time, resulting in smooth motion, and input lag is very low. It's great for dark room gaming thanks to its excellent native contrast ratio, even though local dimming is only decent in 'Game Mode'.
The Samsung QN90A is excellent for watching HDR movies. It displays a wide color gamut, and supports HDR10+, but not Dolby Vision. It gets bright enough to make highlights pop, has an excellent native contrast ratio, and its full-array local dimming feature helps it display deep blacks. It also has fantastic black uniformity, but there's still some blooming around bright objects.
The Samsung QN90A is amazing for HDR gaming. It's excellent for gaming thanks to its very quick response time and low input lag. It has native FreeSync support and G-SYNC compatibility. In terms of HDR, it displays a wide color gamut, and has incredible HDR brightness in 'Game Mode'. It also has an excellent native contrast ratio to provide a great dark room gaming experience, but its local dimming isn't as good in 'Game Mode'.
The Samsung QN90A is an excellent choice to use as a PC monitor. It has a very low input lag and quick response time to provide a responsive gaming experience. Thanks to its wide viewing angles, the image should remain mostly accurate at the edges if you sit too close. You also shouldn't have any issues in a well-lit room as it gets bright enough to combat glare and has fantastic reflection handling.
The Samsung QN90A is the flagship 4k LED model in Samsung's 2021 North American lineup, and it replaces the Samsung Q90/Q90T QLED. It sits above the Samsung QN85A QLED and below the 8k Samsung QN800A. However, in Europe, there's the Samsung QN95A above it, which features the One Connect box. We expect its main competitors to be the Sony X95J, LG QNED90, and the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2020.
The Samsung QN90A has a premium design that looks very similar to the Samsung Q90/Q90T QLED, except it's much thinner. It has a clean look with thin bezels that would look good in any setup. The center-mounted stand also elevates the TV enough off the table so that you can place a soundbar in front and not worry about blocking the screen. Overall, it's a very well-built high-end TV.
The screen is a bit wobbly on the metal stand, but it's not too noticeable.
Footprint of the 55 inch TV: 11.8" x 9.2".
The Samsung QN90A is an extremely thin TV, even with the inputs built-in. It should look great and sit flush against a wall when mounted.
The Samsung QN90A's build quality is fantastic. Although the entire TV, except for the stand, is made out of plastic, it feels very solid and well-put-together. The textured plastic feels premium. There aren't any obvious issues or loose parts, which is what you'd expect from a high-end model. It's a bit wobbly, but that's because the panel is so thin and easy to move, and it shouldn't be an issue during regular use.
The Samsung QN90A has an excellent contrast ratio. Although its native contrast is lower than most VA panel TVs due to the 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer, its local dimming feature helps it display very deep blacks. Keep in mind that contrast may vary a bit between units. If you want a TV with a near-infinite contrast ratio, consider the Sony A90J OLED.
The Samsung QN90A has outstanding SDR brightness and it gets much brighter than the Samsung Q90/Q90T QLED. It easily gets bright enough to combat glare, but it has an aggressive Automatic Brightness Limiter (ABL) that causes large areas of bright colors, like in a hockey or basketball broadcast, to be more dim.
We tested SDR brightness after calibration in the 'Movie' Picture Mode with Color Tone set to 'Warm2', Brightness to its max, and Local Dimming on 'High'.
If you want the brightest image possible and don't mind losing some image accuracy, set the Picture Mode to 'Dynamic' with Color Tone on 'Standard'. We reached 1,789 cd/m² in the 10% window using these settings.
The Mini LED full-array local dimming feature is great. It greatly improves the contrast ratio, making blacks appear deep when viewed in the dark. There's a bit of blooming around bright objects that you may notice if you're sensitive to blooming, but overall, it's not that distracting. It also doesn't cause the rest of the screen to light up as everything else remains black. However, the blooming becomes more obvious when viewing off-angle. The screen is uniform and for the most part, there aren't any issues with black bars, but you may notice some light from subtitles and sources may bloom into them. There's a bit of black crush, but it's only really noticeable with background highlights, like the far-away stars in a night sky; large, bright objects are recognized by the TV well and it makes them pop. Subtitles look alright, but once again, you may notice just a bit of blooming around letters. Fast-moving objects transition between zones fairly well in real content, but it's more noticeable in our test pattern. They also move quickly between the zones, and even though it's not distracting, you may notice how the zones are just a tad slow to turn on and off. We tested it with Local Dimming on 'High', and overall, the full-array local dimming feature provides a nice viewing experience.
The local dimming feature in Game Mode is decent. It looks similar to outside of Game Mode, except the dimming zones look bigger and cause the entire screen to look more gray than black. Blooming is a bit more aggressive than outside of Game Mode, and it could be more noticeable, but it's still good overall. There's less black crush, but that's because the whole screen is just a bit over-brightened. Fast objects move between zones just a bit slower than outside of Game Mode, which could be more distracting. We experienced a strange issue where text in the center of the screen causes the entire top half of the screen to turn on all of the dimming zones. If you notice the same thing, let us know.
The Samsung QN90A has remarkable HDR brightness. Small highlights stand out the way they should, but like in SDR, large areas are less bright due to the aggressive ABL. Surprisingly, real content gets even brighter than our test slides.
We tested it in the 'Movie HDR' Picture Mode with Local Dimming on 'High', and Brightness and Contrast at their max, with all other image processing disabled.
The EOTF follows the target PQ curve fairly well, but the overall image looks brighter than it should be. If you still find it too dim, then set Contrast Enhancer to 'High' and ST.2084 to its max. This results in a noticeably brighter image, as you can see in this EOTF.
The HDR brightness in Game Mode is incredible. It gets slightly brighter overall than outside of Game Mode, except small highlights are more dim, and once again, large areas are also dim. However, because of the worse local dimming in Game Mode, HDR content doesn't look as good and blooming is more aggressive.
We tested it with Game Mode enabled, Local Dimming on 'High', Brightness and Contrast at their max, Color Tone set to 'Warm2', Sharpness at '0', and Color Gamut on 'Auto'. There's a new Game HDR setting that you can enable in the 'Game Mode Settings' page, and this is meant to optimize the brightness according to the content. It resulted in a less bright image than we originally tested, but feel free to enable it if you find it looks better with your game.
The EOTF follows the target better than outside of Game Mode, but some bright scenes are still over-brightened. You can make it brighter by using the same settings as outside of Game Mode.
The Samsung QN90A has decent gray uniformity, but this may vary between units. The edges of the screen are slightly darker, and there's a bit of dirty screen effect in the center, which could get distracting during sports. Uniformity is much improved in near-dark scenes.
The black uniformity is fantastic. It displays deep blacks, and there's only minimal blooming around the center cross with local dimming enabled. However, without it, the screen looks blue-ish, and there's a bit of clouding.
The Samsung QN90A has decent viewing angles thanks to Samsung's 'Ultra Viewing Angle' technology. The image remains accurate when viewing from the side, but you may notice the screen looks darker. Still, it's a good choice for fairly wide seating arrangements.
The Samsung QN90A has fantastic reflection handling. It handles external light sources well, but the way that the light scatters across the screen and creates a rainbow effect can be distracting.
The Samsung QN90A has exceptional out-of-the-box accuracy. It's one of the best we've seen on any TV, but this may vary between units. Any white balance and color inaccuracies can't be spotted by the human eye, and the color temperature is close to the 6500K target. Gamma follows the target curve well overall, but dark scenes are too dark, and bright scenes are over-brightened.
The accuracy post-calibration is remarkable. Gamma now follows the target curve a lot better and the color temperature is even closer to the target.
You can see our recommended settings here.
The Samsung QN90A displays 1080p content almost as good as native 4k.
The Samsung QN90A displays native 4k content perfectly and without any issues. The Mini LED backlighting doesn't improve the picture quality in terms of resolution, and there aren't any visible artifacts.
The Samsung QN90A uses a BGR sub-pixel layout, which can affect how text is rendered when using the TV as a PC monitor. You can read more about that here. The pixels look a bit blurry due to the 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer.
The Samsung QN90A displays an impressive wide color gamut for HDR content, and it's an improvement over the Samsung Q90/Q90T QLED. It has exceptional coverage of the commonly-used DCI P3 color space and decent coverage of the wider Rec. 2020. The Hisense U8G has a slightly wider color gamut, but this isn't a noticeable difference.
The Samsung QN90A has a great color volume. It displays bright and dark colors well, thanks to its high peak brightness and contrast ratio.
The Samsung QN90A has great gradient handling. It looks a bit worse than the Samsung Q90/Q90T QLED, but not by a lot. Most of the banding is in the greens and reds; the Noise Reduction setting helps reduce banding in real content but may cause a loss in details.
There are no signs of temporary image retention after displaying a high-contrast static image for 10 minutes.
We don't expect VA panels to experience burn-in, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.
The Samsung QN90A has an excellent response time. For the most part, motion looks smooth and there's minimal blur. However, there's some overshoot in the darker transitions, which could lead to some artifacts in dark 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 backlight flickers at such a high frequency that you shouldn't notice it. However, the flicker frequency drops to 120Hz in the 'Dynamic', 'Natural', 'Standard', and 'Filmmaker' Picture Modes, or if you enable the Game Mode or Picture Clarity settings.
The Samsung QN90A has a Black Frame Insertion feature to help reduce motion blur. It flickers at 120Hz if you enable Picture Clarity or Game Mode. For it to flicker at 60Hz, you need to enable LED Clear Motion in the 'Picture Clarity' settings page. Note that our BFI scoring is based on whether it can flicker at 60Hz and 120Hz, and not the actual performance.
The Samsung QN90A has a motion interpolation feature. It can interpolate 30fps and 60fps content up to 120fps, known as the 'Soap Opera Effect'. It works properly in slow scenes, but a ton of small artifacts appear when there are fast-moving objects on the screen. It can get distracting during busy scenes.
See here for the settings that control motion interpolation.
Due to the fast response time, lower-frame rate content can appear to stutter as each frame is held on longer. If it bothers you, you can try enabling the motion interpolation feature.
The Samsung QN90A automatically removes judder from all sources, and there aren't any settings you need to enable.
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 QN90A supports FreeSync VRR natively to reduce screen tearing. It works without any issues at its full refresh rate range.
The Samsung QN90A has incredibly low input lag as long as Game Mode is enabled. You can enable the motion interpolation feature in Game Mode and although it increases the input lag, it should still be fine for most gamers. We weren't able to properly test the VRR input lag with our PC with an RX 580 graphics card because it was constantly giving us incorrect readings of around 1 ms, and it didn't seem that VRR was properly working. This may because the TV is having trouble properly detecting the VRR, but we're trying to figure out a way to properly test it. That said, we don't expect the input lag to increase with VRR enabled.
If you want to use the TV as a PC and want the lowest input lag possible, make sure to set the input you're using to 'PC' and enable Game Mode.
The Samsung QN90A supports all common resolutions up to 4k @ 120Hz. It also displays proper chroma 4:4:4 at every supported resolution, except for 1440p @ 120Hz. For it to display 4:4:4, enable Input Signal Plus for the input you're using and label it as 'PC', and make sure your PC is set to 4:4:4 or RGB. For full bandwidth signals, enable Input Signal Plus.
Unlike Samsung's 2020 models, the Samsung QN90A doesn't have any issues displaying content from either the PS5 or the Xbox Series X. Setting Game Mode to 'Auto' enables the Auto Low Latency Mode, automatically switching the TV into Game Mode when you launch a game from a compatible device. Enabling Anynet+ (HDMI-CEC) in the 'External Device Manager' settings page also does the same thing.
Additionally, there's a new feature that you can access on Samsung TVs in 2021. If you hold the Play/Pause button on the remote, it brings up the 'Game Bar' page, which shows you whether VRR is working and other useful gaming info. You can see what it looks like here.
HDMI 4 is the only input that supports HDMI 2.1. This may be disappointing if you need to connect more than one HDMI 2.1 device. On the Samsung QN95A model in Europe, which comes with the One Connect box, there are four HDMI 2.1 inputs.
Both of the USB inputs are USB 2.0.
The Samsung QN90A supports Dolby audio formats, including Dolby Atmos via TrueHD through eARC. For it to work, enable HDMI-eARC Mode and set Digital Output Audio to 'Pass-Through'.
The Samsung QN90A has an okay frequency response. It has a very well-balanced sound profile and gets loud enough for most environments, but it doesn't produce much bass. There's also a digital room correction feature, but we don't test for it.
The distortion performance is good. There isn't too much audible distortion even when playing at its max volume, but this depends on the content, and not everyone may hear it.
The updated 2021 Tizen OS interface is easy-to-use and feels smoother than previous versions. We didn't experience any bugs during testing.
There are ads on the home page and app store, and there's no way to disable them. They're not always there and may disappear at times.
Samsung's app store has a large number of streaming apps available, and they run smoothly.
Samsung released a redesigned remote for the QLED TVs in 2021, with a similar design to 2020's Samsung The Terrace. It still has the same quick-access buttons as the previous model, but with brushed plastic at the bottom. The remote doesn't use disposable batteries as there's a solar panel on the back and you can charge it that way, or with a USB-C cable. The voice control with Samsung's Bixby does most common demands, like opening apps, changing inputs, and changing settings, but it can't search for specific content in apps.
There are buttons underneath the Samsung branding in the center to change volume, channels, source, turn the TV On/Off, and you can also navigate the menu a bit.
We tested the 55 inch Samsung QN90A variant, and for the most part, we expect our review to be valid for the 50 inch, 65 inch, 75 inch, and 85 inch variants available in North America. The Samsung QN9 Series is sold at Costco, but only in a 65 inch size. In Europe, there's the Samsung QN90A, but we don't know for sure how it performs compared to the North American model because Samsung's European lineup is slightly different, but we expect it to perform similarly.
If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their Samsung QN90A doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we'll update the review. Note that some tests, like gray uniformity, may vary between units.
The Samsung QN90A is an excellent all-around TV with exceptional picture quality. It's a slight improvement over its predecessor, the Samsung Q90/Q90T QLED, mainly because the Mini LED backlighting provides brighter highlights and improved local dimming in 'Game Mode'. However, it's on the costly side, and it's likely that cheaper options will come out in 2021 with somewhat similar performance. Also see our recommendations for the best Samsung TVs, best QLED TVs, and best 4k TVs.
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 LG C1 OLED and the Samsung QN90A QLED are both excellent TVs, but they use different panels. The LG is an OLED with a near-infinite contrast ratio, nearly instant response time, and wide viewing angles. The Samsung has a VA panel, so it still has an excellent contrast ratio, but its viewing angles are only decent. OLEDs don't get as bright as LED TVs, and the Samsung uses Mini LED backlighting, allowing it to get exceptionally bright and making it better suited to very bright rooms.
Overall, the Samsung QN90A QLED is better than the Sony X90J. The Samsung has a much wider color gamut, and it gets a lot brighter, more than enough to deliver a true cinematic HDR experience. It has better viewing angles because it has Samsung's 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer, but this layer also causes a drop in the contrast ratio. That said, the Samsung's local dimming is significantly more effective at improving the black level. The Samsung has better response times, and unlike the Sony, its Black Frame Insertion feature can flicker at 60Hz in 60 fps content. It has VRR support to reduce screen tearing when gaming, and it supports 1440p @ 120Hz on the Xbox Series X, while the Sony can't.
The LG GX OLED and the Samsung QN90A QLED are both excellent TVs, but they use different panel types. The LG uses an OLED panel that can turn individual pixels off, resulting in perfect black levels. It also has wider viewing angles and a near-instantaneous response time. However, the Samsung uses an LCD panel with Mini LED as backlighting, so it's much brighter, allowing it to make highlights pop in HDR. They both have a 120Hz panel with HDMI 2.1 support for gaming, but the Samsung has one HDMI 2.1 input, while the LG has four.
The Sony A90J OLED and the Samsung QN90A QLED are both excellent all-around TVs, but they use different panel types. The Sony is an OLED, so it has perfect blacks and an infinite contrast ratio. The Samsung, on the other hand, is an LED TV, and its use of Mini LED backlighting allows it to get exceptionally bright. The Sony may be a better option if you prioritize movies and picture quality, but the Samsung may be a better option for gaming since it has VRR and ALLM support and a lower input lag.
The Samsung QN90A QLED is better overall than the Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED. The QN90A uses Mini LED as its backlighting, so it gets significantly brighter and has improved local dimming, especially in 'Game Mode'. Other than that, each TV has the same inputs with HDMI 2.1 support. The QN90A is better for HDR content since it gets significantly brighter and has a slightly wider color gamut.
The Samsung QN90A QLED is better overall than the Sony X950H, mainly because it has more gaming features. The Samsung has HDMI 2.1 support, allowing you to play 4k @ 120Hz games. It also has lower input lag and supports VRR to reduce screen tearing. In terms of picture quality, the Samsung uses Mini LED as its backlighting, so it gets much brighter and has a better local dimming feature in SDR, but the Sony's local dimming is better in HDR. Each TV has viewing angle technology to improve the viewing angles, but Samsung's is better, so it's a better choice for use in wide seating arrangements.
The Samsung QN90A QLED and the Samsung QN900A 8k QLED are high-end TVs in Samsung's Neo QLED series, which use Mini LED backlighting. While the QN900A is an 8k TV with a price tag to match, the 4k QN90A performs better overall. The QN90A has a higher native contrast ratio and a significantly better local dimming feature. It also gets even brighter in both SDR and HDR.
Despite having a lower resolution, the Samsung QN90A QLED is much better overall than the Samsung QN800A 8k QLED. The main difference is the improved dark room performance. The QN90A displays a wider color gamut, has a much better contrast ratio, and it has a far superior local dimming feature, as there's too much blooming around bright objects with the QN800A. The QN800A is an 8k TV, but since there isn't much 8k content available in 2021, it's worth getting the QN90A.
The Samsung QN90A QLED is a slight improvement over its predecessor, the Samsung Q90/Q90T QLED, mainly because it uses Mini LED as its backlighting. This allows more control over its local dimming feature, causing deeper blacks and higher brightness. The QN90A also doesn't have issues with local dimming in 'Game' mode the way that the Q90T does. Overall, they're very similar TVs with many of the same features.
The Samsung QN90A QLED is a bit better than the Hisense U8G. The Samsung has better viewing angles, making it a better choice for a wide seating arrangement, and the local dimming feature is more effective at reducing black levels, improving contrast. The Samsung is also significantly brighter, but since the Hisense is also very bright, the difference is only noticeable with some content.
The Samsung QN90A QLED and the Sony A80J OLED use different panel types, but both offer amazing performance. The Sony is an OLED with a near-infinite contrast ratio, while the Samsung has a VA panel, so its native contrast is more limited. The Samsung uses Mini LED backlighting, and its local dimming feature allows it to produce exceptionally deep blacks. You may, however, notice a bit of blooming, especially when viewing off-angle, whereas the Sony has no visible blooming. The biggest advantage the Samsung has over the Sony is that it gets exceptionally bright, so it's better for bright rooms and can bring out more highlights in HDR.
The LG G1 OLED and the Samsung QN90A QLED are both excellent TVs that use different panel technologies. The LG has an OLED panel with a near-infinite contrast ratio and perfect black uniformity, and it has wider viewing angles. On the other side, the Samsung has an LED panel that gets significantly brighter and doesn't have burn-in risk like OLEDs. Each TV has similar gaming features, but the LG has more HDMI 2.1 inputs. The LG supports Dolby Vision for HDR content, while the Samsung supports HDR10+.
The Samsung QN90A QLED is significantly better than the LG NANO90 2021. The Samsung is a high-end TV that uses Mini LED backlighting, so it gets extremely bright and delivers a more satisfying HDR experience than the LG. Even though the Samsung has a VA panel with a higher contrast ratio, it also has wider viewing angles than the LG, thanks to the 'Ultra Viewing Angle' technology. Also, the Samsung has a quicker response time, but they each have the same gaming features with HDMI 2.1 and VRR support. However, the LG is G-SYNC compatible, which the Samsung isn't.
The LG GX OLED and the Samsung QN90A QLED are both excellent TVs with different panel types. The LG's OLED panel provides an infinite contrast ratio, perfect black uniformity, and wide viewing angles. On the other hand, the Samsung's LED panel gets significantly brighter, which is great for watching HDR content, and it doesn't suffer from burn-in like the LG. In terms of gaming, they each have HDMI 2.1 support; the LG has four HDMI 2.1 inputs, while the Samsung just has one.
The Samsung QN90A QLED is a bit better overall than the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2020. The Samsung gets a bit brighter, and it has wider viewing angles thanks to its 'Ultra Viewing Angle' technology. The Samsung also has better gaming performance because there aren't any bugs with its VRR, it supports the PS5 with 4k @ 120Hz games, and it has a quicker response time. However, the Vizio has a better contrast ratio because it doesn't have any viewing angle technology.
The Samsung QN90A QLED and the LG A1 OLED are very different TVs, as they use different panel technologies, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The LG is a better choice for watching movies in a dark room, as it displays perfect blacks with no blooming, and has better uniformity. The Samsung is a better choice for gaming or for watching TV in a bright room, though, as it has a faster refresh rate, it supports advanced gaming features like HDMI 2.1 and variable refresh rate technology (VRR), and it's significantly brighter.