65″ 4K Samsung QN90A Neo-QLED TV First Look: Samsung brings its A-game in 2021

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Samsung is one of the biggest players in the TV game, and they are bringing their A-game in 2021. With Neo-QLED, the company is bringing its QLED technology to the next level by incorporating Mini-LED technology. The 4K Samsung QN90A is the company’s flagship 4K Neo-QLED TV, and it is an absolute stunner.

Before we jump into the first look of the 4K Samsung QN90A Neo-QLED TV, you might be wondering what Neo-QLED actually is. In all honesty, Neo-QLED is mainly a marketing term to set the company apart from the rest of the pack. This year, Samsung is using Mini-LED backlighting (Neo-QLED) instead of traditional LED backlighting (QLED).

Mini-LED backlighting is more effective in producing better colors, deeper blacks, and balanced grays because more of them are across the TV panel. With smaller lights and more of them, it becomes much easier for the software to turn the TV areas on and off when it needs more or less light. Everything is just much more crisp, clear, colorful, and black when it needs to be.

Read me: Before we continue, I feel it’s important to let some readers know that my TV articles are written from the average user’s point of view. I know plenty of people with more knowledge than I who want technical data and testing, but we do not do that here. Our audience is mostly made up of regular users, not high-end TV and audio people. So if you’re looking for a deep dive into technicals, you’ll probably want to try someplace like AVForum; Mark Henninger and the guys will get granular.

Check out this video from Samsung about Neo-QLED technology, it begins at 19:40, and then read on for our first look at the 4K Samsung QN90A 4K Neo-QLED TV. And read our Samsung QN800A 8K review here!

Specifications

The 4K Samsung QN90A Neo-QLED TV has the following features and specifications:

  • Video
    • Screen Size: 65″
    • Resolution:  3840×2160
    • Motion Rate: 240
    • Color: 100% Color Volume
    • HDR (High-Dynamic Range): Quantum HDR 32x/HDR10+
  • Picture Engine: Neo Quantum Processor 4K
    • Quantum Dot Color: Yes
    • Upscaling: AI
  • Audio
    • Dolby: Yes (Digital Plus)
    • Sound Output (RMS): 60w
    • Speaker Type: 4.2.2
    • Multiroom Link: Yes
    • Bluetooth Headset Support: Yes
  • Wireless Connectivity
    • WiFi: WiFi5
    • WiFi Direct: Yes
  • Bluetooth: Yes (BT4.2)
  • Features
    • Smart Hub: Yes
  • Processor: Neo Quantum Processor 4K
    • Apps Platform: Yes
    • Voice Interaction: Yes
    • Auto Channel Search: Yes
    • Auto Motion Plus: Yes
    • Dimming Technology: Ultimate UHD Dimming (Mini LED)
    • V-Chip: Yes
    • Electronic Program Guide (Channel Guide): Yes
    • Game Mode: Yes
    • Ambient Mode: Yes
    • Auto Power Off: Yes
    • Closed Captioning: Yes
    • Anynet+ HDMI-CEC: Yes
    • Eco Sensor: Yes
    • Bluetooth: Yes
    • InstaPort S (HDMI Quick Switch): Yes
    • Mobile to TV – Mirroring, DLNA: Yes
    • TV to Mobile (Mirroring): Yes
    •  
  • INPUT/OUTPUT
    • HDMI (4)
    • USB 2.0 (2)
    • Optical Out (1)
    • Ethernet
    • RF In
    • RS232
  • Dimensions
    • Product Size (W x H x D) Without Stand in inches: 56.9 x 32.6 x 1
    • Product Size (W x H x D) With Stand in inches: 56.9 x 35.2 x 11.2
    • Stand Size (W x H xD) in inches: 13.4 x 9.4 x 11.2
    • Shipping Size: 63.8 x 37.3 x 7.3
    • Weight without stand: 53.8
    • Weight with stand: 69.2
    • Shipping weight in the box: 80lbs
  • Power
  • Power Supply: AC110-120V 50/60Hz
    • Typical Power Consumption: 
    • Maximum Power Consumption: 270
    • Standby Power Consumption: 0.5
  • Samsung remote: Solarcell Remote™
  • Model Number: QN90A

Design

Samsung’s aesthetic TV designs have changed year over year in two major ways, bezel size, and dimensions. More specifically, these TVs are getting thinner every time I see them. I thought the 4K Q90T that I saw last year was insanely thin for a QLED TV, but this new 4K has taken it even slimmer. The photo below is of the Samsung remote next to the 4K Samsung QN90A Neo-QLED TV panel.

65" 4K Samsung QN90A Neo-QLED TV First Look: Samsung brings its A-game in 2021
The QN90A next to the Samsung TV remote.

The bezels around the QN90A are even thinner than last year’s Q90T. It is now to the point that Samsung’s QLED TVs look like their OLED competition in the bezel department. This TV display really does look like it’s just floating there, given that there is nearly no bezel.

This thinner bezel and thinner profile make this TV a little more fragile, so we suggest you have help when installing it and making sure your installation point will be its final resting place. Better yet, finding a professional installer is probably better if you can afford it.

Last year I raved about the Q90T’s stand, and that same stand is doing the work for the 4K Samsung QN90A Neo-QLED TV this year. Since we only had the QN90A for a short time, we had to use the stand, and it does a fantastic job of holding this TV. It is heavy duty and weighs the same if not more than the TV itself.

65" 4K Samsung QN90A Neo-QLED TV First Look: Samsung brings its A-game in 2021
The input/output panel on the back.

The Q90T TV stand is also designed in such a way as to allow most Samsung soundbars to fit neatly under the TV and out of the way. This is a great design feature as many times; the soundbar is an afterthought with manufacturers.

I complained about the 2019 Samsung TV models’ build quality, pointing out that the materials felt cheap. They did better in 2020 with a better build and slightly better materials. For 2021, the 4K Samsung QN90A Neo-QLED TV build quality has only gotten better. The materials used are nicer than last year’s and far superior to their 2019 lineup.

One area of design that Samsung improved on a thousandfold is their Samsung Remote. Some of their 2018 models came with an aluminum remote which I loved. After 2018, they went with a basic plastic remote, even on their flagship TVs. This year, the QN90A comes with a beautiful black metal and plastic remote that no longer requires batteries.

The remote can be charged via USB-C, and it doesn’t take that long to charge at all. But even better, this remote is solar-powered, and it will charge with the lights in your home. This is the best Samsung remote I’ve ever used.

65" 4K Samsung QN90A Neo-QLED TV First Look: Samsung brings its A-game in 2021
Yeah, this photo just doesn’t show what real life does.

Display

It wasn’t that long ago that many people online and on social media were disparaging 4K TVs citing that 4K content wasn’t even a thing. But the funny thing about the entertainment industry and content creation. Content creators will not create content if there is no hardware to display that content on. It costs more to create 4K content, so creators need a reason to invest in it.

We’re seeing the same thing happening with 8K at the moment. Trolls and all-around unhappy people mocking and making disparaging comments about 8K TVs using the same lack of content argument.

Now we see 4K content just about everywhere. Broadcast TV still has some catching up to do, but for the most part, streaming services like Vudu, Peacock TV, Netflix, and others all have plenty of 4K content to watch. Heck, even we distribute our Rumble, Odysee, and YouTube videos in 4K.

The 4K Samsung QN90A Neo-QLED TV also uses AI Upscaling to render lower resolution content into 4K. Samsung’s Neo Quantum Processor has an AI algorithm that pulls data from hundreds of thousands of pieces of data that it learns from and can reconstruct lower resolution images into 4K.

The video below is from 2020 and explains 8K AI Upscaling, but it is relevant to the way the 4K Samsung QN90A Neo-QLED does 4K AI Upscaling:

https://youtu.be/tPbMgySrsls

Almost everything that was on the 2020 line of Samsung TVs is here on the 2021 line. For example, the color modes include Movie Mode, Standard Mode, Dynamic Mode, and Film Maker Mode. You can still go granular and tweak the settings yourself and skip the preset modes.

Ambient Mode is also on the 2021 lineup. Ambient mode allows you to use your display as a place to display art, news, or photos. Multi-View is also back and very useful for many.

Multi-View on the 4K Samsung QN90A Neo-QLED TV is especially useful for gamers. Gamers can now pull up YouTube tutorials on their phones and have them playing on screen as they play those same games. This can help gamers get through difficult levels without looking down at their other device or pausing anything.

Multi-View could also be used for fact-checking while watching news programs or political debates. Having your phone screen available on the same display where everyone can see it and verify facts is actually a pretty good idea.

The interface is the same as well, I love Samsung’s UI on its TVs. It is, by far, the best in the business.

The biggest difference in the picture is the implementation of Neo-QLED backlight technology. Basically Mini-LED backlighting. I tried to explain this new tech earlier but I think my friend Caleb Denison from Digital Trends produced an excellent piece of content that helps shed more light on it, watch it below.

Along with Mini-LED backlighting, this TV is packed with the usual suspects such as HDR 10+, Object Tracking Sound, 120Hz refresh rate, Quantum Dots, Anti-Reflection, great viewing angles, and Game Mode for gamers.

All of this makes the 4K Samsung QN90A Neo-QLED TV picture quality insanely beautiful. The picture’s density and clarity are totally seen, especially when setting it side by side with last year’s model or another older TV.

Colors pop, and I mean pop; the color accuracy and saturation make everything looks clean and bright. Brightness is outstanding, and I think Samsung improved their ambient light sensors. I used not to like the Samsung adjusting the brightness for me, but this model did a great job.

It used to be that OLED was king of blacks, but those days are gone. The 4K Samsung QN90A Neo-QLED TV is yet another improved model for blacks and grays for Samsung. I’ve been reviewing these TVs since 2018, and each year you can see improvements. With Mini-LED, this year, they are killing it.

Overall, Samsung really brought their A-game in 2021. With the release of Neo-QLED, the company has launched a new era of Samsung TV and the 4K Samsung QN90A Neo-QLED TV is a display king.

65" 4K Samsung QN90A Neo-QLED TV First Look: Samsung brings its A-game in 2021
The back

Sound Quality

Last year Samsung introduced Object Tracking Sound, which makes you feel like you’re in the middle of the action with a directional, realistic sound that projects from the TV speakers. Once again, the soundstage improved overall, giving vocals a push to the front and creating spatial depth between sound effects, objects in a scene, people, nature; everything is just enhanced and separated. Object Tracking Sound is almost like being in the scene you’re watching.

The 4K Samsung QN90A Neo-QLED TV continues the trend of Samsung improving their on-TV sound quality. Even in 2018, their TVs had some of the best speakers on a TV you could buy anywhere. This model does an excellent job of producing a useable sound. This means users don’t have to buy a soundbar right away.

Of course, a soundbar or home theater system will improve your sound a hundredfold, but considering the price of this TV, it should have a great sound, and it does.

Samsung Solarcell Remote
The new Samsung Solarcell Remote.

Performance

The 4K Samsung QN90A Neo-QLED TV has an upgraded AI processor that is improved from last year, and with Samsung running Tizen on its TVs well, everything is optimized. Everything ran smoothly with apps opening quickly, and interface navigation is a breeze.

Gaming performance is also enhanced with Samsung’s improved version of Game Mode. When you have your Xbox or PlayStation plugged into the TV and turned on, Game Mode will automatically be applied. Game Mode changes the colors and changes the refresh rate, which gives you a better gaming experience. Game Mode plus delivers a 9.4ms input lag which is freaking amazing for a TV. This means that gamers can enjoy a more responsive experience within their favorite games. Game Mode Plus also adds some surround sound improvements, making the sound more immersive for gamers and more exciting. It also supports Freesync.

65" 4K Samsung QN90A Neo-QLED TV First Look: Samsung brings its A-game in 2021
This is the first time I’ve tried to get photos of a TV I reviewed. My photos do not do these TVs justice at all.

SmartHub is back, and it hasn’t changed since its major update last year. The improvements were more aesthetic, with some emphasis on the functional. SmartHub is the best UI on any TV on the market. It’s fast, well designed, and gives you everything you need with just a few button clicks.

The Universal Guide has also improved and moved. It is now more easily accessible by just scrolling down on the home screen. Universal Guide gives you suggestions based on the apps you have installed and the content you have watched. There’s also Samsung TV Plus which offers up free programing that’s actually really awesome. TV Plus has also expanded and is offering a whole lot more than it ever has before.

Wrap Up

These first look reviews aren’t easy to do. I only get the TV for a short time and then it goes on to the next reviewer. So I’m sure there was plenty more I could have covered but I just didn’t have the time to do that.

My final thoughts on the 4K Samsung QN90A Neo-QLED TV are this. Samsung impresses me every year because I can see the progression and the improvements the company makes in these TVs. When I think they can’t possibly do more, well, they do.

Mini-LED backlighting is so much better, and the company is also producing Micro-LED TVs that have a lot of promise. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the 4K Samsung QN90A Neo-QLED TV is the future of 4K TV, at least the near future.

If you’re looking for a 4K TV, we believe you should buy the Samsung QN90A Neo-QLED TV. They’re available in the following sizes and price points on Samsung’s website:

Congratulations to the Samsung QN90A Neo-QLED TV for taking an Editor’s Choice Award for 4K TVs.

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Last Updated on February 26, 2021.

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