Samsung Neo QLED 4K review: TV, smart hub, gaming monitor rolled into one

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Samsung, a well-established brand in India, has mini-LED smart televisions, termed Neo QLED TVs, in its product portfolio. The Samsung QN90C Neo QLED 4K Smart TV, a recent addition to this lineup, is available in screen sizes ranging from 50 inches to 85 inches. This review focuses on the 50-inch model, which is a feature-rich smart television equipped with a smart hub and gaming-oriented features. Priced at Rs 131,990, it is available on the premium end of the price spectrum. The question at hand is whether the Samsung QN90C Neo QLED 4K Smart TV 50 delivers a commensurate experience. Let us find out.


Design


The Samsung QN90C Neo QLED 4K Smart TV boasts a contemporary design that exudes a sense of opulence and seamlessly complements any environment. While not exceedingly thin, it maintains uniform thickness on all sides, presenting a more aesthetically pleasing appearance compared to TVs with protruding lower backsides despite slender frame.


Adding to its elegance is the slim hexagonal central stand, which occupies minimal space. However, it is worth noting that the stand tends to wobble and may not provide the most secure support for the TV. Nevertheless, the TV offers the option of wall-mounting and is compatible with standard VESA wall mounts, in addition to Samsung’s own. When wall-mounted, the challenge lies in accessing the ports, which are tightly situated within a cavity on the rear left side. Speaking of the rear panel, it features a brushed finish with grooves designed to aid in cable management.


The overall build quality and finish of the TV is impeccable, characterised by clean lines and refined contours.


Display


Mini-LED display panels are akin to standard LED panels but incorporate over ten times the number of LEDs, resulting in superior control over colours, brightness, and contrast. Furthermore, they offer a significantly higher number of local dimming zones in comparison to LED and quantum-dot-LED (QLED) panels. The outcome is a luminous and colour-rich display with class-leading contrast and dynamic range.


Putting the technical details of mini-LED aside, the Samsung QN90C Neo QLED 4K Smart TV maximises the potential of its mini-LED display panel. It boasts a 10-bit display, encompassing over a billion colours, with a wide colour gamut validated by Pantone for colour accuracy. While the display performs admirably in general, it excels in three specific aspects: details, depth, and dynamic range.


Starting with details, the TV offers content upscaling to ensure a consistent viewing experience, regardless of the source. This means non-4K content is upscaled to near-4K resolution. The upscaling works effectively with video streaming applications like YouTube and content from external sources such as USB thumb drives and SSDs. However, it may not perform as proficiently with live channels from DTH.


Moving on to depth, the display enhances the depth of scenes by improving the colours and contrast of foreground objects. It is particularly effective when handling content natively available in 4K resolution. Samsung deserves credit for using this feature judiciously to enhance quality to a point where scenes appear natural, without venturing into the realm of artificial processing.


As for dynamic range, the display excels at rendering high dynamic range (HDR) content. It delivers deep blacks, preserves highlights, and captures details in shadows while rendering bright whites. Consequently, high dynamic range content appears natural, with finer details such as highlights remaining visible in the scenes. For an even more immersive experience, the display settings include a filmmaker mode designed to present content as intended.


Completing the package is a variable refresh rate that can reach up to 144Hz. While this does not have a significant impact on everyday use, it enhances the experience when paired with gaming consoles like the Sony PS5 or Microsoft Xbox Series X. Speaking of gaming consoles, the Samsung QN90C Neo QLED 4K Smart TV 50 supports all modes and features offered by the latest gaming consoles, thanks to its four HDMI v2.1 ports. These modes and features include auto-low latency mode, HDR, and variable refresh rate.


Sound


In addition to its visual prowess, the TV offers an audio experience powered by Dolby Atmos. As the entry-level model in the series, the Samsung QN90C Neo QLED 4K Smart TV features a total of four audio drivers. The speakers deliver loud, balanced, and clear audio. The TV also incorporates an ‘amplify sound’ mode, which broadens the soundstage, even when the audio is originally available only in stereo. Naturally, Dolby Atmos content takes the soundstage to a higher level.


Software

Based on Samsung’s proprietary operating system, Tizen, the Samsung QN90C Neo QLED 4K Smart TV is straightforward to set up. To access all features and services, a Samsung account is a prerequisite. The operating system comes preloaded with popular streaming apps such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Videos, and Apple TV. Additionally, there is a Samsung Live TV app, offering free access to select live channels.


Enhancing the user experience is the interface and a range of value-added features. The interface adopts a tile-based design, displaying content recommendations from installed apps on the home screen. The interface is responsive, with apps opening promptly. Value-added features include ‘multi-view,’ which allows content from two different sources to be displayed side by side on the screen. For instance, you can watch news from DTH on one window while monitoring a cricket match on another window as you await the second inning. Furthermore, a built-in smart hub facilitates the discovery and pairing of smart connected home devices such as robot vacuum cleaners, air purifiers, light bulbs, geysers, and more. Samsung streamlines the on-boarding process by enabling automatic detection of available Internet of Things (IoT) devices, provided they are Matter certified. Only downside to the operating system and the interface is advertisment.


Verdict


The Samsung QN90C Neo QLED 4K Smart TV is a feature-rich smart television that includes smart home and gaming monitor capabilities. Coupled with its impressive display, clear audio, and premium design, this television offers a comprehensive package suitable for watching movies, gaming, and everything in between. It outperforms LED and QLED display-based televisions and stands on par with OLED models. While its premium price may appear steep in isolation, it aligns well in comparison to the prices of OLED televisions, making it a compelling option.

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