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Skimming this Samsung QN90C review is a good way to learn the differences between flagship and mid-tier product lines.
The Samsung QN90C is a product line that sits directly under the QN95C, which is the company’s flagship QLED TV. As a mid-range TV, the QN90C offers comparable features and picture quality at a lower cost. Still, the Q90C is costly in its own right and we need to know if the TV’s overall performance matches its price tag.
Samsung QN90C review: A good first impression
Samsung’s QN90C draws attention to itself, long before you switch it on. Maybe it’s the panel’s paper-thin side profile or its hexagonal metal pedestal that serves as a TV stand. Whatever it is, the QN90C chassis adds an edgy, modern touch to your home decor.
Switching on the TV delivers the icing on the cake, as Samsung’s screensaver feature renders digital art. Beautiful images on a screen with near-invisible bezels transform the Samsung QN90C into a living picture frame.
Build, design, and usability
Most of the QN90C chassis consists of durable plastic that can withstand a slight accidental knock. The edges of the TV are reinforced with a metal frame that extends to the screen to form dark-gray bezels. Together, the metal-and-plastic exterior should be tough enough to protect the screen and internal hardware of the TV.
The central pedestal that comes with the QN90C allows you to place the TV on compact furniture. Your tabletop only needs enough room to accommodate the 338 x 237mm footprint of the pedestal stand. The catch is that a light, compact stand is less stable than solid TV feet with a wide footprint.
In contrast, mounting the Samsung QN90C creates a setup that is both stable and neat. The TV will hug the wall like a picture frame, thanks to a thin and even side profile. Samsung’s solution for cable management lets you arrange your media cables into a single set of wires. Most importantly, the ports at the right end of the TV remain accessible with a wall-mount setup.
Samsung QN90 review: Connectivity
We applaud Samsung and other brands that include four HDMI 2.1 ports on their high-end TVs. Four high-bandwidth HDMI ports on the Samsung QN90C allow you to enjoy high frame-rate content from multiple devices, at the same time. You can connect a soundbar to the eARC port and still have room for your gaming console and Blu-ray player.
In addition to supporting support 4K/120 content, the HDMI 2.1 ports make it possible for users to enjoy features like:
- High-resolution HDR content with support for HDR10+ and HLG
- Lossless audio formats like DTS and Dolby
- Variable refresh rate, with support for AMD FreeSync
- Low lag that enhances user experience with video games and other fast-action content
The QN90C also comes with a digital optical audio output, two USB ports, an Ethernet jack, and an antenna connector. WiFi and Bluetooth allow for wireless connection between the TV and compatible devices.
Smart TV features
Tizen has a user-friendly interface that you can customize to match your viewing preferences. The platform has numerous streaming apps, including some that offer free content.
Proprietary platforms like Tizen allow TV manufacturers to integrate unique features into the user interface. Examples of unique features in the QN90C interface include:
Ambient mode is Samsung’s take on the humble screensaver, and the feature showcases images from Samsung’s database of photos. The stunning images that Samsung curates do plenty to highlight the beauty of the QN90 chassis. Like most screensaver modules, Ambient Mode is customizable and you can choose the images that you want to see.
Comprehensive menu for sound and picture settings
Tizen provides a user-friendly interface that allows you to tweak minute aspects of the TV’s picture settings. Cinephiles and content creators will appreciate the option of fine-tuning the TV to their specific needs and preferences.
Samsung creates a one-stop gaming panel for game apps and cloud gaming services. The accessible interface also displays menus that you can use to change game settings on the fly.
SmartThings and smart home devices
You can use the SmartThings app to transform the Samsung QN90C into a hub that interfaces with your smart home devices. Tizen’s support for three voice assistants makes the QN90C an effective smart home controller.
Tizen’s own Bixby, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Assistant all work well within Samsung’s smart TV platform.
The internal speakers of the Q90C have a 4.2.2 channel configuration that tries hard to create expansive sound. This array of internal speakers ‘supports’ Dolby Atmos audio, according to the manufacturer. The speakers also try to move sound in a way that mimics the movements of on-screen action. Matching a sound element to the location of an on-screen source is challenging for internal speakers, so is the QN90C the exception?
Thin TVs like the QN90C offer little space to build resonance, so what we get is tinny speakers with little bass. While Samsung’s object tracking feature tries to mimic on-screen motion, it doesn’t always work.
Certain Samsung soundbars can provide the extra hardware that would allow the TV’s processing array to execute moving sound.
Hardware and picture quality
Samsung’s QN90C is a 120HZ ADS panel with a QLED layer and 4K resolution. The panel executes full-array local dimming (FALD) using a mini-LED backlight that creates small dimming zones. Small dimming zones make it possible for the QN90C to dim small sections of the screen to execute stark contrast and crisp detail. Here’s how the TV performs across different image quality metrics.
This QLED panel also boasts a wide color gamut that provides enough range for the TV’s processor to work its digital magic. The result is rich, vibrant colors with just the right amount of saturation for every context in every image. Viewers get to enjoy realistic colors that are vivid and realistic, with little exaggeration. A little tweaking of the picture settings will remove any over-the-top saturation that the QN90C may indulge in.
Brightness and black levels, contrast, and detail
The Samsung QN90C has high native contrast, thanks to a bright and powerful backlight. A large array of small dimming zones allows the screen to create deep blacks, which enhances the native contrast of the TV.
These native capabilities should provide enough material for Samsung’s Neuro quantum processor to draw sharp lines where bright and dark colors meet. Unfortunately, there’s a little light bleedthrough where bright and dark elements sit side by side. The bleedthrough also causes black hues to look brighter than they should. The solution is better execution of local dimming and smaller dimming zones; which are features that you find in the flagship model.
None of these small drawbacks keep the QN90C from painting fine detail and HDR highlights that catch the eye. The TV manages to render texture and depth that does a good job of mimicking 3D.
ADS and IPS panels have many similarities, including their wide viewing angles. The ADS panel in the Samsung QN90C has good off-angle viewing. Color, brightness levels, and contrast remain constant, even as you move to the side of the screen. This makes the QN90C a good TV for all kinds of group viewing.
On paper, the QN90C panel has everything it takes to deliver smooth, blur-free motion. A response time of 10.2ms means that pixels in the QN90 panel change color at a speed that minimizes motion blur. An equally low input lag means that changes in an input signal appear on the screen in just under 10ms.
In practice, motion handling by the Samsung QN90C is a mixed bag. Fast action content renders like a dream, with smooth motion and minimal blurring. Background and foreground graphics remain crisp as moving objects fly across the screen. This translates to video games, sports, and action scenes that look great on the Q90C. 4K/120 content will easily keep up with your eyes and your reflexes.
On the other hand, slow-panning shots will have the faintest, most distant hint of stutter. You may notice this drawback as the camera pans slowly to capture an expansive scene. From a viewer’s perspective, the subtle choppiness looks like individual frames that are unsure of how long they should remain on screen. This small drawback will be most obvious with cinematic content and nature shows where the camera guides the eye through a sweeping view.
Motion handling and gaming
The Samsung QN90C is the perfect gaming companion for users who enjoy intense, fast-action games. Four HDMI ports, a variable refresh rate, and low input lag make this 120Hz screen one of the best gaming TVs in the market.
A gaming hub that provides easy access to all your game settings only sweetens the deal. Avid gamers will appreciate the chance to optimize the screen’s graphics on the fly. Options like raising the black level during gameplay may reveal cues and details that could deliver a win or prevent a loss.
- User-friendly design and a solid build
- Expansive setup menus that let you make all sorts of adjustments to the picture settings
- Samsung’s Game Hub puts all your gaming apps and game setting menus in one convenient user interface
- Good picture quality
- Excellent motion handling with fast-action content
- For a VA panel, the Samsung QN90C has wide viewing angles
- No support for Dolby Vision
- You may notice some light bleedthrough
- There’s a chance of slight stutter in cinematic, low frame-rate content
This Samsung QN90C review reveals a high-performance QLED TV that must fend off stiff competition.
The smart features of the QN90C offer an enjoyable user experience. Almost all aspects of picture quality have a score of ‘above average’. That being said, there are TVs from competing brands with similar specs and lower prices. So what is the competitive edge that sets the Samsung QN90C apart?
Reliability is one of Samsung’s major selling points, and the QN90 delivers on this count. The QN90C leverages high-quality components to create visual feasts and an immersive viewing experience. Also, the QN90C is an excellent gaming screen, and gamers will love the panel’s flawless execution of demanding AAA games. Click here to learn more about this television.