The Samsung QN90C/QN90CD QLED is a high-end 4k TV released in 2023, sitting below the Samsung QN95C QLED. It replaces the Samsung QN90B QLED in Samsung's lineup, but it has more in common with the Samsung QN85B QLED. It's available in a wide range of sizes, from 43 to 85 inches, so there's something for everyone. It's powered by Samsung's Neural Quantum Processor 4k, which was first introduced in 2022 and is designed to deliver better upscaling, optimized on a scene-by-scene basis. Like other Samsung TVs, it uses Samsung's proprietary Tizen OS interface, which offers a large selection of apps and games. It's compatible with the Bixby and Alexa voice assistants, and it supports the new Matter smart home standard, so you can control all of your Matter-compatible smart devices from your TV.
The Samsung QN90C is an excellent TV for most uses. It's excellent for watching movies or gaming in a dark room, thanks to its high contrast ratio. It's also a great choice for a bright room, thanks to its high peak brightness and superb reflection handling, so glare isn't an issue when watching TV shows or sports during the day. It has a decent viewing angle, so you can walk around with the TV on or watch something with a group of people without worrying about the image fading from the sides. Finally, it's amazing for gaming thanks to its low input lag, quick response time, and an impressive selection of gaming features.
The Samsung QN90C is an excellent TV for watching shows during the day. Its high peak brightness and superb reflection handling let it easily overcome glare in a bright room, and unlike previous high-end Samsung TVs, there's no rainbow smearing. It has a decent viewing angle, so you can walk around the room with the TV on and still enjoy a consistent image. It has a huge selection of streaming apps and great smart features, so you can quickly and easily find your favorite shows without investing in an external player.
The Samsung QN90C is a great TV for watching sports during the day. Its high peak brightness and superb reflection handling make it a great choice for a bright room, as it can easily overcome glare, and there's no distracting rainbow smear on the screen from bright lights. It has a decent viewing angle, so you can watch the game with a large group of friends without having to fight over the best spot. It also has good uniformity, with very little distracting dirty screen effect, and thanks to its fast response time, the action is easy to make out.
The Samsung QN90C is an amazing TV for playing video games. It has incredibly low input lag, ensuring a responsive gaming experience. Fast-paced games look great thanks to the high refresh rate and fast response time, and it supports advanced gaming features like variable refresh rates to reduce tearing. It looks great in a dark room thanks to its high contrast ratio, and switching to the more responsive 'Game' mode doesn't result in any noticeable reduction in picture quality.
The Samsung QN90C is a great TV for watching movies in HDR in a completely dark room. Thanks to its high contrast ratio, bright highlights stand out well in dark scenes, with very little blooming around them. It has a wide color gamut and excellent color volume, so saturated colors in HDR are vibrant and lifelike. It also gets extremely bright, so the brightest highlights stand out well, and it tracks the content creator's intent, ensuring highlights display at the correct brightness level.
The Samsung QN90C is an amazing TV for playing games in HDR. It delivers an amazing gaming experience thanks to its low input lag and fast response time, resulting in a responsive feel with very little blur behind fast-moving objects. HDR looks incredible thanks to its excellent contrast ratio, wide color gamut, and high peak brightness. Finally, it's well-equipped for gaming thanks to its variable refresh rate support and HDMI 2.1 bandwidth on all four ports, meaning you can take full advantage of the latest gaming consoles.
The Samsung QN90C is an excellent TV for use as a PC monitor. It has a decent viewing angle, so you can sit fairly close to the screen without the sides fading and losing uniformity. The screen has good uniformity overall, so websites and any other uniform color look good, with minimal dirty screen effect in the center. It has low input lag, so your cursor movements feel responsive, and fast-moving action is clear thanks to its quick response time. The 43-inch and 50-inch models are even better for PC gamers as they support a higher 144Hz refresh rate for even smoother motion, but they have a worse viewing angle.
We bought and tested the 65-inch Samsung QN90C, and these results are also valid for the 55-inch, 75-inch, and 85-inch models. The 43-inch and 50-inch models are slightly different, as they use VA panels and have a slightly higher refresh rate. It's also sold as the Samsung QN90CD at warehouse retailers, including Costco. The CD variant has slightly better speakers and a longer warranty but otherwise performs the same. Note that the last five letters in the model number (AFXZA in this case) vary between retailers and individual regions, but there's no difference in performance.
There are also variants of this TV with a different model code. The QN91C, QN92C, QN93C, and QN94C are available in a few different regions, each with small variations from the QN90C. For example, the manufacturer markets the QN92C and QN94C as having Ultimate UHD Dimming Pro Micro Dimming, theoretically providing them with slightly better local dimming than the QN90C. The QN92C also has 70w speakers versus 60w for the QN90C and QN94C. Ultimately this won't impact your purchasing options much, as these differences are regional, but note that there are some minute differences.
|Size||US Model||Short Model Code||Costco Variant||Max Refresh Rate||Panel Type|
Our unit was manufactured in March 2023; you can see the label here.
The Samsung QN90C is an excellent TV that delivers fantastic picture quality overall. It's pricey, but there are very few TVs on the market that even come close to offering the same combination of picture quality and extra features.
The Samsung QN90C/QN90CD QLED is better than the Samsung QN85C QLED, but not by as much as you'd think. The QN90C gets much brighter than the QN85C in both SDR and HDR, but in practice, this isn't always noticeable, as most content just isn't mastered to take advantage of such high brightness levels. The QN90C's Automatic Brightness Limiter (ABL) also more aggressively dims the scene when it gets extremely bright, to a point where the two TVs are equally as bright in the brightest of scenes. The QN90C has better color volume and reflection handling than the QN85C.
The Samsung QN90C/QN90CD QLED is the replacement model for the Samsung QN90B QLED, and they each have their strengths and weaknesses. The QN90C has better tone mapping and tracks the PQ EOTF better, so HDR content especially looks better, despite the QN90B's better measurements on some aspects of picture quality. The QN90C also uses a different panel type that natively has a wider viewing angle without needing additional filters, so there's no Ultra Wide Viewing Angle layer. It results in a slightly smaller viewing angle on the QN90C, but there's no distracting rainbow smearing from overhead lights.
The Sony X93L and the Samsung QN90C/QN90CD QLED are very similar overall. The Sony offers better processing, so it can smooth out low-quality content better, and upscaling looks better overall. The Sony also supports Dolby Vision, a better and more widely supported HDR format than the Samsung's HDR10+ format. The Samsung is a bit brighter overall, and small specular highlights stand out better.
The Samsung QN95C QLED is slightly better than the Samsung QN90C/QN90CD QLED. The QN95C has a more advanced local dimming feature, with significantly more dimming zones, resulting in slightly less blooming around bright highlights in dark scenes and less noticeable zone transitions. The QN95C also gets a bit brighter with real content. Finally, for PC gamers, the QN95C supports a 144Hz refresh rate at 1080p and 4k, resulting in smoother motion handling.
The TCL QM8/QM850G QLED and the Samsung QN90C/QN90CD QLED are similar TVs. The TCL has slightly better contrast and much better black uniformity and gets brighter overall than the Samsung, especially when large highlights are shown on the screen. This makes the TCL better for watching HDR movies. The Samsung is the more accurate TV for color and brightness accuracy. It has a better viewing angle and much better low-resolution sharpness processing, so it's the better TV for watching sports or TV shows with friends.
The Samsung QN90C/QN90CD QLED and Hisense U8/U8K are closely matched, although the Hisense is a bit better overall. The Hisense has better contrast than the Samsung, is a bit more colorful, and also gets brighter; the Hisense pops more in dark and bright rooms. It also has better low-quality content smoothing than the Samsung TV. The Samsung has a faster response time, no VRR quirks, and lower input lag, so it's better for gamers overall.
The Samsung QN90A QLED performs better than the Samsung QN90C/QN90CD QLED on a few tests, but overall, the QN90C looks a bit better, especially with HDR content. The QN90C has better tone mapping and tracks the PQ EOTF better, so HDR content looks better and is more accurate. The QN90C also uses a different panel type that natively has a wide viewing angle without neding additional filters, so there's no Ultra Wide Viewing Angle layer. It results in a slightly smaller viewing angle on the QN90C, but there's no distracting rainbow smearing from overhead lights.
The LG C2 OLED and the Samsung QN90C/QN90CD QLED offer different strengths and weaknesses, so the best one depends mainly on your viewing conditions. The LG looks much better in a dark room thanks to its nearly infinite contrast ratio, resulting in perfect blacks with absolutely no blooming around bright highlights. The Samsung, on the other hand, is a much better choice if you're in a bright room or have a lot of windows, as it gets significantly brighter and can better overcome glare.
The LG B2 OLED and the Samsung QN90C/QN90CD QLED offer different strengths and weaknesses, so the best one depends mainly on your viewing conditions. The LG looks much better in a dark room thanks to its nearly infinite contrast ratio, resulting in perfect blacks with absolutely no blooming around bright highlights. The Samsung, on the other hand, is a much better choice if you're in a bright room or have a lot of windows, as it gets significantly brighter and can better overcome glare.
The Samsung QN90C/QN90CD QLED and Hisense UX are two similar high-end QLED TVs, although the Hisense is the better of the two. The Hisense has a much better contrast, helped by noticeably better local dimming. It also gets noticeably brighter than the Samsung, with a wider color gamut, so it's the most vibrant of the two TVs. While the Hisense has better image processing overall, the Samsung does have significantly better HDR gradient handling. The Samsung is also the more accurate TV of the two and has lower input lag, although the Hisense has a faster response time.
The Samsung QN90C has a premium design that looks great in any setting. The slim hexagonal stand looks great and takes up very little space. The bezels are incredibly thin, which helps the TV to blend into your surroundings.
This TV isn't currently part of our accelerated longevity test, but its predecessor, the Samsung QN90B QLED, is.
The stand is thin and doesn't take up much space. Unfortunately, it doesn't support the TV well, as it wobbles a lot.
Footprint of the 65-inch stand: 15.4" x 10.6". The stand lifts the TV about 2.95" above the table, so most soundbars fit in front of the TV without blocking the screen.
The back of the TV looks great, with a nice textured design to the back panel. There are grooves along the back to help with cable management. The inputs are hard to access, especially if you wall-mount the TV. You can mount it to any standard VESA mount, and it's also compatible with Samsung's Slim Fit Wall-Mount.
The Samsung QN90C has great build quality. It's made of a mixture of metal and premium plastic, and it feels nicely built overall. The stand isn't very sturdy, though, and the back panel has a lot of flex to it. There's also a gap between the back panel and the inputs that shouldn't be there; this could indicate a quality control issue, but won't likely cause any issues long term.
Thanks to its Mini LED local dimming feature, the Samsung QN90C has excellent contrast. It results in very deep blacks in a dark room, even when bright highlights are visible on the screen. The native contrast with local dimming disabled is very low, but this isn't an issue since you can only disable it from the service menu. If you'd like something with even better contrast than this, check out the Sony X95L or even consider an OLED TV like the Samsung S90C OLED.
There's some noticeable blooming around bright highlights and subtitles in dark scenes, but it still looks great. Samsung's dimming algorithms spread bright lights across more dimming zones than necessary, so it's not as harsh as other TVs.
Unfortunately, the algorithms that control the local dimming feature can't quite keep up with fast content, so zone transitions are noticeable. When bright highlights move quickly across the screen, the leading edge is darker, as the TV doesn't turn zones on quickly enough. There's also a bright trailing halo behind fast-moving objects. The higher-end model in Samsung's lineup, the Samsung QN95C QLED, has nearly double the number of dimming zones. Zone transitions are much smoother on that model, but some of the issues from this model are also noticeable on that one.
We took additional videos with a mouse cursor on a black background with local dimming set to 'Low' and 'High':
Unfortunately, the Samsung QN90C looks a bit worse overall in 'Game' mode. There's more noticeable blooming around bright highlights, and zone transitions are a bit more noticeable.
The Samsung QN90C has amazing peak brightness in HDR. Bright specular highlights stand out incredibly well, even in difficult scenes with a high APL (Average Picture Level). Although it doesn't get quite as bright as the Samsung QN90B QLED, it tracks the PQ EOTF better, and most HDR content looks better and more natural on the QN90C.
These measurements are after calibrating the HDR white point with the following settings:
Setting HDR Tone Mapping to 'Static' delivers the most natural image, closest to the content creator's intent. If you prefer a brighter image, setting it to 'Active' results in brighter highlights, and most content looks brighter, closer to the Samsung QN90B QLED, but the peak brightness is the same.
|Hallway Lights||1299 cd/m²|
|Yellow Skyscraper||1056 cd/m²|
|Landscape Pool||360 cd/m²|
The peak brightness with most test slides is about the same in 'Game' mode as it is in 'Movie' mode.
These measurements are after calibrating the HDR white point, with the following settings:
With the 'FILMMAKER' and 'Movie' modes in HDR, the Samsung QN90C has superb PQ EOTF tracking, ensuring that most content displays at the correct brightness level. There's a sharp cutoff near the TV's peak brightness; this results in some clipping in really bright scenes. Setting the HDR Tone Mapping setting to 'Active' noticeably increases the brightness of most scenes, but doesn't change the overall peak brightness of the TV ('Movie' Mode, 'FILMMAKER' Mode).
Unlike some previous Samsung TVs, there's no noticeable difference in PQ EOTF tracking with different test window sizes. This means that you'll enjoy an accurate image when watching HDR content, and Samsung isn't optimizing their TVs for reviewers.
The Samsung QN90C has superb peak brightness in SDR. It's bright enough to overcome glare even in extremely bright rooms with lots of natural light. Large, bright scenes are dimmed considerably by the TV's automatic brightness limiter, but it's still bright enough to overcome glare, and this isn't noticeable with most content.
These measurements are after calibration with the following settings:
The Samsung QN90C has a great color gamut. It can display almost the entire range of colors in the DCI-P3 color space, so most HDR content is vivid and lifelike. It has just okay coverage of the wider Rec. 2020 color space, though, and it has worse tone mapping in Rec. 2020, especially when displaying saturated greens.
The color volume of this TV is amazing. Colors are bright and vibrant and stand out well against bright whites. Dark, saturated colors are also displayed well, thanks to its high contrast ratio.
Before calibration, this TV has impressive accuracy in SDR. The white balance is excellent, with no noticeable issues in any shade of gray. The color accuracy is good, but saturated blues and reds are noticeably off. Finally, gamma is a bit high, averaging closer to 2.4 even when set to '2.2', which means that most content is a bit darker than it should be for a moderately lit room.
The calibration system is a bit difficult to adjust. The white balance and gamma are nearly perfect after calibration, but the color accuracy is still slightly off, and saturated reds are slightly inaccurate, but not noticeably so.
You can see our full calibration settings here.
The Samsung QN90C has good gray uniformity. The sides of the screen are slightly darker than the center, and there are some darker spots throughout the center of the screen. It still looks good when watching sports or browsing the web, though. Near-black uniformity is much better, with no significant issues in dark scenes.
This TV's black uniformity is excellent. It looks bad with local dimming disabled, but you can only do that from the service menu, so most people will never see this. With local dimming on, dark areas of the screen are deep and uniform, but there's some distracting blooming around the test cross. If you want a QLED TV with better black uniformity than this, check out the TCL QM8/QM850G QLED.
The Samsung QN90C has a decent viewing angle. The image remains consistent at a moderate angle, but if you move too far off-center, colors fade, and the screen looks washed out. It's good enough for a moderately wide seating arrangement, as you can move around the room without the image degrading. Due to the switch from VA panels to an ADS (IPS-like) panel, the 2023 QN90-Series TVs no longer feature an ultra-wide viewing angle layer.
This TV has superb reflection handling. The glossy coating looks great and significantly reduces the intensity of direct reflections. Since Samsung switched their 90-Series TVs to ADS (IPS-like) panels, there's no ultra-wide viewing angle layer, so the rainbow distortion that was noticeable on other TVs, like the Samsung QN90B QLED, is no longer an issue.
Gradients in HDR look great for the most part, but there are a few noticeable issues, especially in bright shades of white and blue.
Unfortunately, Samsung's Neural Quantum Processor 4k is mediocre at smoothing out gradients. Some fine details are lost, and there's still significant macro-blocking, especially in darker areas. If you care about low-quality content smoothing, the Sony X93L offers similar picture quality overall but much better processing.
This TV uses an ADS-type panel, which is very similar to the more commonly known IPS.
The Samsung QN90C has a great response time, resulting in fairly clear motion when gaming or watching sports. There's some blur around fast-moving objects but almost no overshoot that could result in inverse ghosting.
Unfortunately, the backlight isn't flicker-free, as Samsung uses pulse width modulation (PWM) to dim the backlight. The exact flicker frequency varies between picture modes and with certain settings. In 'Movie' mode, with the backlight set between '48' and the max of '50', the backlight flickers at 120Hz. However, it increases to 960Hz with a backlight setting below '48'. The flicker frequency drops to 120Hz in the 'Dynamic' mode with a backlight above 25, in 'Standard' mode above 21, and in 'Eco' mode above 25. If you're using it as a PC monitor, it flickers at 120Hz in both 'Entertain' and 'Graphic' modes and flickers at 960Hz in 'Game' mode below 48. Between 48-50, it's flicker-free in 'Game' mode, and it always flickers at 960Hz with the variable refresh rate feature enabled in 'Game' mode from a PC.
This TV has an optional backlight strobing feature, commonly known as black frame insertion or BFI. This feature reduces blur caused by the TV's fast response time, otherwise known as persistence blur. It works at both 60Hz and 120Hz, but the timing is a bit off, causing a duplicated image.
This TV has a feature to increase the frame rate of low frame-rate content like movies and TV shows. It's okay overall on this TV, but it looks best in slow-paced scenes. Like most TVs, it doesn't look as good in busy scenes with a lot of action, and there are a lot of artifacts.
Due to the quick pixel response time, low frame rate content, like movies, appears to stutter. It's mainly noticeable in slow panning shots. If this bothers you, the optional motion interpolation or backlight strobing features can help, but those features create other issues, so there's no perfect solution.
This TV can remove judder from any source; however, for most external sources, you have to set Picture Clarity to 'Auto' or 'Custom' with both sliders at 0 to remove judder without adding any motion interpolation.
The Samsung QN90C is compatible with all three variable refresh rate formats, and it works across a very wide refresh rate range, ensuring your games remain nearly tear-free even when your system can't keep up with the action. Note that the 43-inch and 50-inch models have a max refresh rate of 144Hz. If you want a 144Hz refresh rate on a larger model, all sizes of the Samsung QN95C QLED support a 144Hz refresh rate.
The Samsung QN90C has fantastic low input lag in 'Game' Mode. This results in a very responsive gaming experience with almost no noticeable delay between your actions and what you see on-screen.
This TV supports all common resolutions up to 4k @ 120Hz. All supported formats display chroma 4:4:4 signals properly, which is essential for clear text from a PC. 4k @ 120Hz signals are displayed properly, with no resolution-halving or other issues. The 43 and 50-inch models also support up to 4k @ 144Hz; this higher refresh rate isn't supported on the larger sizes, even when forced.
This TV can take full advantage of the PS5.
This TV can take full advantage of the Xbox Series S|X systems.
The Samsung QN90C supports the full 48Gbps bandwidth of HDMI 2.1 on all four HDMI ports, giving you the flexibility to take full advantage of multiple high-bandwidth devices, like if you own both new-gen consoles. Unfortunately, Samsung still doesn't support Dolby Vision; however, it supports HDR10+ instead, which is very similar overall but not as widely supported.
This TV supports eARC, which lets it pass uncompressed high-quality audio from a connected source to your soundbar or home theater system without sacrificing audio quality. Sadly, it doesn't support DTS formats, which is disappointing, as many UHD Blu-rays use DTS for their lossless audio tracks.
The Samsung QN90 has an okay frequency response. Like most TVs, there's almost no thump or rumble in its bass, so if you enjoy explosions and action movies, even a basic external soundbar or home theater system with a dedicated subwoofer delivers better sound. The sound profile is well-balanced above its low-frequency extension at moderate listening levels, meaning that dialogue is clear and easy to understand. Unfortunately, although it gets fairly loud, there's significant compression at max volume, especially in the mid-to-high treble range.
Overall, the distortion handling of this TV is good. There's little audible distortion at moderate listening levels, and it doesn't increase noticeably even at max volume.
The Samsung QN90C runs the 2023 version of Tizen OS, which is fast and easy to use. The Smart Hub interface is smooth and has many advanced options, and it's easy to find your favorite content.
Unfortunately, like most TVs on the market, there are ads throughout the interface, and there's no option to disable them completely. There are a few privacy-related options, so you can limit things like ad-tracking, but this doesn't reduce the number of ads you see, as it just makes them less personalized.
The included apps cover most of the common streaming services, and there's a great selection of additional apps available in Samsung's app store.
The remote is very slim and compact and is easy to use. It has a built-in rechargeable battery with a solar panel on the back of the remote. You can also recharge it via USB-C if it dies unexpectedly.
The controls are on the bottom bezel of the TV near the right corner. There's a single button to power the TV on/off and change channels, volume, and inputs.