What is the Samsung QN900?
The Samsung QN900A is the company's flagship Neo QLED TV for 2021, which means it includes every design feature and technology the Korean giant has to offer. The QN900 uses an 8K panel with a newly developed Quantum Mini-LED backlight for a slimmer design and more dimmable zones. It also uses quantum dot filters for an increased colour volume, the latest AI-enhanced Neo Quantum Processor, and supports high dynamic range, including HDR10+ Adaptive.
The ultra-slim design uses a bezel-less screen with a filter to reject ambient light and widen the viewing angles. There's a newly slimmed-down One Connect box that can now be attached to the back of the stand if you prefer, four HDMI 2.1 ports, and a solar-powered remote control. There's OTS Pro sound with a total of ten speakers cleverly hidden in the edge and rear of the panel, along with a comprehensive smart platform and all the latest gaming features.
Unsurprisingly there's no support for Dolby Vision, nor is there onboard Dolby Atmos decoding, although the QN900A can send Atmos back from its internal apps via ARC. These two things aside, it includes every feature you would expect from a modern high-end TV. Unfortunately, it also comes with an equally high-end price, and the 75-inch model being reviewed here will set you back an eye-watering £7,499. Can the Samsung QE75QN900A possibly justify this premium? Let's find out...
Design, Connections and Control
The Samsung QN900A is an undeniably gorgeous piece of industrial design. Say what you like about Samsung, but the company knows how to put together an eye-catching TV, and this is no exception. The QN900 takes its design cues from last year's flagship and uses Samsung's Infinity Screen, which has absolutely no bezel. As a result, the image goes right up to the edge of the screen.
Thanks to the new Mini-LED backlight and the fact the connections are in the separate One Connect box, the panel is incredibly thin. It measures only 15mm deep from top to bottom, making the chassis look like a single slab. And yet all the speakers are cleverly hidden behind the perforated outer edge of the panel. As a result, the QN900A is especially striking when wall mounted, thanks to the included 'no-gap' bracket and a single cable running from the One Connect box.
If you would rather stand mount the QN900A, it looks just as attractive. The solid and well-made stand is finished in a brushed metal that Samsung calls Frost Silver, and it provides solid support while giving the impression the bezel-less screen is just floating in mid-air. The stand is only 360 x 321mm, which means it can also be installed on narrower surfaces, and there's 70mm of clearance if you're thinking of adding a soundbar.
The industrial design is gorgeous, with a bezel-less 'Infinity Screen', slim panel and 'Frost Silver' stand
The overall build quality of the QE75QN900A is excellent, and since it largely uses metal in its construction it's also quite heavy. The TV measures 1655 x 946 x 15mm (WxHxD) and weighs 31kg without the stand, and is 1655 x 1017 x 3201mm and weighs 41kg with it.
The slimmed down One Connect box is sleeker and more elegant, measuring 330 x 40 x 295mm (WxHxD). Its reduced height is more discreet, making it easier to hide it away, while the textured matte finish is also preferable because the earlier, glossy, black boxes tended to attract fingerprints and smudges. The One Connect box remains a fantastic feature, and now you can mount it on the rear of the stand, which is useful if you don’t need to place it away from the TV. Samsung includes a much shorter One Connect cable for those who plan to mount the box on the rear of the stand.
The One Connect box has been slimmed down, and can now be attached to the rear of the stand
All the necessary connections are included, with four HDMI 2.1 inputs with support for [email protected], [email protected], VRR, ALLM and eARC. The ability of the TV to automatically detect and setup devices connected via HDMI is a very useful feature. Other connections include twin terrestrial and satellite tuners, an Ethernet port for a wired connection, an optical digital output, and three USB ports (2 x 2.0, 1 x 3.0). There's also built-in dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth (5.2), plus support for Apple AirPlay 2.
The new One Remote remains a well-designed and intuitive-to-use Bluetooth controller, with all the necessary buttons and functionality. It’s finished in black, is comfortable to hold, and easy to operate with one hand. On the back there's a solar panel that recharges the batteries, which is a great idea not only because it's eco-friendly, but also because you don't need to change the batteries.
The solar-powered One Remote remains an intuitive Bluetooth controller but is now more eco-friendly
The controls are basically the same as last year, with simple navigation, play/pause, home, power, back, volume up/down, and programme up/down keys, along with direct access buttons for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Samsung TV Plus. There's also a built-in microphone for voice control. As a back-up, the QN900A includes Samsung's old-school black IR remote control, which is handy if you like lots of buttons.
The Samsung QN900A sports the latest version of the company's Tizen-powered smart platform, which is well-designed, responsive, robust and intuitive to navigate. It's good news that Samsung hasn't felt the need to mess with a winning formula, and retains the launcher bar along the bottom, the second layer above, and the easy-on-the-eye styling.
The Tizen-powered smart platform is well-designed, comprehensive, responsive and easy to navigate
The Digital Butler was introduced last year, and is a convenient method for finding, connecting and controlling nearby devices. There's Bixby built-in, and the TV also works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant; so it not only offers a choice of smart assistants, but also adds useful voice activated functionality and interaction.
The smart platform boasts a comprehensive choice of video streaming services that includes Netflix, Amazon, Apple TV+, Disney+, Now, Rakuten, YouTube, and all the UK TV catch-up services. All theses apps worked correctly, with responsive navigation and excellent image quality. The Amazon app supports HDR10+, and the TV informs you when it's decoding this dynamic metadata format. In addition, Dolby Atmos can be passed back via ARC from supporting apps. Since Netflix, Apple TV+, and Disney+ use Dolby Vision, it's a shame that Samsung still doesn't support this alternative dynamic metadata format.
All the main video streaming apps are included, and the Universal Guide helps collate this content
There are so many streaming services these days, and so much content available that it's hard to keep track of everything. To help with this first world problem, Samsung has included the Universal Guide, which collates all of a user’s favourite content into a single location making their favourite shows easier to find. The guide also makes recommendations based on analysis of a user's actual viewing habits, which is very helpful. In fact, aside from the lack of Dolby Vision support, Samsung's smart system currently ranks as the best of those on offer.
Out of the Box
As we do in all our TV reviews, we measured each of the out-of-the-box picture modes on the QN900A to find out which ones get closest to the industry standards for TV/film production and mastering. The idea is that at least one picture mode should be able to get close to these standards so you can view content as it was intended to be seen.
Samsung has added a Filmmaker mode and in testing it measured the same as the Movie mode, with the only difference being the Picture Clarity Settings, which are turned off in Filmmaker mode. For the purposes of evaluation the Movie mode was used for the measurements and graphs, primarily because this mode includes the 20-point white balance control.
Looking at the top left graph, the greyscale has a dip in blue energy which results in a yellow tint to onscreen images and whites. This is surprisingly inaccurate for a high-end TV and results in an image that's too warm. All the other white balance settings are too blue, so out of the box the Movie/Filmmaker mode results are the best we can obtain before calibration. The gamma results are also disappointing, with the BT.1886 curve sagging down to 2.0 at 80/90 IRE. Overall, we can see the yellow tint in actual viewing material and this is also corroborated by the DeltaE (errors) being well above the visible threshold of three.
The out-of-the-box greyscale and gamma accuracy was disappointing, especially for a high-end TV
The Rec.709 colour gamut measurements in the top right graph are also a little off because of the greyscale tracking towards yellow. The result is a slight push of most points towards the secondary colour, resulting in some hue errors in most of the other colours. The luminance levels (not shown in this graph) are spot-on, and we should be able to correct most of these colour issues with a greyscale calibration and slight adjustments in the Colour Management System (CMS). However, it would have been better if the Movie/Filmmaker modes had been more accurate out of the box.
The Samsung QN900 has a number of calibration controls available within the menu system, including 2- and 20-point white balance controls and a CMS. These should allow us to get the best possible greyscale, gamma and colour gamut results.
As you can see in the top left graph, we managed to obtain reference results for both the greyscale and gamma, with the DeltaE (errors) well below the visible threshold and averaging around 0.5. The yellow tint has now vanished and whites look correct. The gamma has also been adjusted, and now tracks the BT.1886 standard correctly. Overall, we are very pleased with the results obtained.
Once calibrated the greyscale, gamma and colour gamut were all hitting a reference level of performance
Once we had corrected the greyscale, the Rec.709 colour gamut measurements fell into line, and the overall accuracy was excellent. We found that the CMS wasn't particularly effective, but thankfully, the Auto colour setting works very well, and the DeltaE (errors) were averaging 0.9, which is well under the visible threshold, with no errors seen when viewing actual content. It’s a shame the QN900A isn’t more accurate out of the box, especially given the price, but the calibrated results are at reference levels, so images look very accurate. If you're planning on buying a TV this expensive, you really should get it professionally calibrated.
The Samsung QN900A is a Neo QLED model, which means it employs newly designed and much smaller LEDs, and this Mini LED backlight is composed of 1920 (60 x 32) zones based upon our count. We used the Movie mode again for testing but, as with the SDR measurements, the results were identical in the Filmmaker mode.
Previous Samsung QLED TVs with a VA panel and full array local dimming (FALD) have easily hit high nit values on a 10% window, but have also reduced the brightness on smaller window sizes in an attempt to mitigate blooming. As we always do within our reviews, we measured a series of window sizes in the order of the smallest to a full 100% white. This year, the local dimming algorithm appears less aggressive on the smaller window sizes, so we get similar levels of brightness from 1 to 20%, with 10% hitting 1600 nits.
An accurate peak brightness of 1600 nits means this TV can deliver 1000 nits content without tone mapping
The brightness falls off as the white image area expands to 50% and finally up to 100% where peak brightness tops out at just under 500 nits. This isn't surprising and it's considerably more than an OLED, which will top out at around 150 nits on 100% full field pattern, but it is less than Samsung's 4K TVs. It's likely that the increased pixel density of the 8K panel is causing this drop in brightness compared to similar-sized 4K panels.
As you can see from the out-of-the-box greyscale measurements, the QN900 isn't tracking the PQ EOTF (ST.2084) accurately, and is instead boosting the brightness in the middle of the curve. This is a common issue with Samsung TVs, and you need to drop the contrast setting in the HDR mode to 45 for the ST.2084 to track correctly. The greyscale also has the same deficit of blue seen in the SDR measurements, which makes sense given both SDR and HDR use the same D65 target. Once again, this is easily addressed using the white balance controls, after which the greyscale tracks accurately.
The out-of-the-box HDR measurements don't track the PQ EOTF correctly, but can be fixed using the contrast control
Once these tweaks have been done the QN900A delivers an excellent performance with 1000 nits content and, given the inherent brightness, it doesn't even need to apply tone mapping. With content mastered at 4000 nits some tone mapping is required, and there's a gentle roll-off from around 600 nits to the peak of 1600 nits, which means that details in the highlights should be preserved.
Looking at the top left graph shows the DCI-P3 saturation tracking within the Rec.2020 container doesn’t quite reach the full 100% coverage of the colour gamut, even though the colour volume is very good. Most of the tracking is very good, especially after calibrating the greyscale, and although there are still minor errors, with actual HDR10 viewing material you shouldn't notice any visible issues on screen.
The colour gamut is reasonably accurate, covers 95% of DCI-P3, and tracks the various saturation points well
The QN900 covers 93% of DCI-P3 using xy coordinates, and 95% with uv coordinates. When it comes to the larger Rec.2020 colour gamut, the coverage is 65% for xy and 68% for uv coordinates.
To test the Samsung QN900 we used Portrait Displays Calman colour calibration software.
The Samsung QN900A delivers a genuinely impressive picture for the most part, and after calibration the SDR images are excellent – with deep blacks, nice shadow detail, accurate colours and perfectly upscaled pictures. As a Neo QLED TV, it uses a new LED unit that's significantly smaller, resulting in a Mini LED backlight with more dimmable zones and improved backlight control. It also includes Ultra Viewing Angle technology for improved off-axis viewing, and Anti-Reflection technology to minimise distracting reflections. Both these work well, but avoid putting a light source directly to the side of the TV, or you might see reflections on the screen.
The uniformity on the 8K (7680 x 4320 pixels) LCD panel is very good, with minimal dirty screen effect, and none of the banding that affected last year's models. This is probably due to the new smaller LEDs being used in greater numbers and not being too close to the rear of the LCD panel. The Mini LED backlight also benefits from Quantum Matrix Technology, which ensures active control of all the LEDs, with more precise dimming, better localised power distribution, deeper blacks and increased shadow detail.
SDR images are excellent with deep blacks, nice shadow detail, accurate colours and perfectly upscaled pictures
The upgraded Neo Quantum Processor 8K uses Multi-Intelligence Deep Learning that delivers an even better level of image processing. The previous AI processor used one neural network, but this latest version uses up to 16 neural networks with multi-intelligence to create a neural analyser that’s specialised for video. The neural analyser chooses the best neural network based on the analysis of the scene for optimal upscaling and image processing.
As a result, the upscaling is particularly impressive, with the processor taking full advantage of the neural analyser and all the additional pixels in the 8K panel to deliver wonderfully detailed pictures. When watching 720p content from Now, the images look fantastic and far better than on any other display. The same is true of higher quality sources, and the images from the Blu-ray of Samsara are often breathtaking. Thanks to the upscaling and image processing, the picture often looks like it's higher resolution than 1080p, and the black bars remain completely black thanks to the increased number of zones and effective local dimming.
The Picture Clarity Settings allow users to choose between Off, Auto or Custom. In the Custom setting (which is the default for the Movie mode) there are Blur and Judder Reduction controls and the LED Clear Motion setting. The Noise Reduction control is also included in this sub-menu. The motion handling is generally excellent, even with the Picture Clarity turned off.
The Auto setting delivers the full 1080 lines in our benchmark test pattern, making it great for sports, while the Custom mode can also be useful, allowing users to set bespoke Blur and Judder Reduction settings. The LED Clear Motion black frame insertion also proves effective, delivering excellent motion without any interpolation artefacts or flicker. However, there is a slight reduction in brightness, so this option is best avoided with HDR content.
The gaming performance is exceptional thanks to the Game Bar, [email protected], VRR, ALLM, and 9.7ms input lag
The QN900 has a number Game Mode Settings, so with the Game Mode On and everything else turned off, the input lag is an incredible 9.7ms and down to 5.6ms for [email protected] If the Dynamic Black Equaliser setting is increased to its maximum, the input lag remained 9.7ms, but turning the Surround Sound mode on increased the lag slightly to 10.8ms. Unsurprisingly, using the Game Motion Plus controls increased the lag to 28.4ms, although this is still very low and does give users who want smoother motion a viable alternative.
The QN900A is a very impressive gaming TV, with support for [email protected], VRR and ALLM. There's also support for FreeSync, and while Samsung doesn't officially support G-Sync it can be manually engaged. The resulting gaming experience is excellent, with fluid motion, detailed images and impressive HDR. The new Game Bar is also a great feature, making it easy to check, adjust and customise your gaming experience from a single display along the bottom of the screen. The Game Bar is launched by holding down the play/pause button the remote control.
Overall, the HDR performance is also excellent, with the brightly lit snowy vistas in The Revenant looking stunning. The HDR images are incredibly detailed and realistic, and the QN900A is able to handle the brighter full-field images with ease. The same was true when watching Dunkirk and Blade Runner 2049, with both native 4K films delivering exceptional detail and HDR pop.
The QN900A also handled bright colourful HDR images with skill, ensuring Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 makes full advantage of the wider colour gamut. The same is true of Pan, with the TV delivering the film’s exaggerated colour scheme correctly, and reproducing the ‘Arriving in Neverland’ sequence with no clipping and a clearly defined sun setting over the mountain. There’s a lot of motion in this film as well, and the Samsung handles it without judder or other artefacts.
The HDR performance was generally very good, although there was a bit of blooming evident
The film Overlord mainly takes place at night, and is often a very dark film, but the QN900 handles this difficult material very well, delivering deep blacks, excellent shadow detail, and highlights where necessary. The TV also renders all the subtle differences in the film’s primarily green and brown colour design very effectively. The details in shadows during the many nighttime scenes are nicely rendered, allowing you to see what's lurking in the darkness.
However, there are signs of blooming on the lettering at the start of Blade Runner 2049, with slight halos against the black background . The torches in the nighttime scene towards the end of The Revenant generally look good, but there is some slight haloing on the moon above DiCaprio’s head. It would appear that despite the increased number of zones the local dimming this year has traded some blooming for greater detail just above black.
The Samsung QN900A is particularly impressive when it comes to sound quality, thanks to the inclusion of Object Tracking Sound Pro. This uses a total of eight speakers along the bottom, sides and top, plus a pair of subwoofers. Setup is easy, and the TV analyses the acoustic environment to optimise its sonic performance. The result is a much bigger soundstage that fills the wall behind the TV, creating a presence that matches the 75-inch screen size. The built-in subwoofers also produce a surprising amount of bass for a TV. There's plenty of power too, although Samsung doesn't specify how much in its marketing literature, but it can go very loud without sounding strained or distorting.
The QN900A sounds great, thanks to the inclusion of Object Tracking Sound Pro with a total of ten speakers
There is AI-enhanced acoustic processing that analyses the incoming audio signal and optimises the TV's settings on the fly, along with a number of manual settings you can choose. The addition of extra height really makes a difference, and the inclusion of Object Tracking Sound Pro resulted in a more involving audio experience. Sounds are clearly moving around to match specific objects on screen, and thanks to the added centre channel, dialogue and localised effects are also more focused and intelligible.
The sense that sound effects being place around the screen is actually quite effective, and the fireworks going off at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 do seem to be exploding above and to the sides of the screen. It's a shame that Samsung doesn't include onboard Dolby Atmos decoding, because it would be able to make full use of all these speakers and deliver an immersive audio experience without resorting to psychoacoustic processing, which is the case with many TVs claiming to support Atmos.
Of course, if you're buying a screen this big (and expensive) you really owe it to yourself to invest in a decent soundbar or other outboard audio solution. The QN900A can pass lossy Atmos (Dolby Digital Plus) from its built-in apps and lossless Atmos (Dolby TrueHD) from connected devices via eARC. If you decide to go for one of Samsung's recent soundbars, the QN900A also supports Symphony Q, which is a great feature that allows the TV's height speakers to be used in conjunction with the bar's Dolby Atmos/DTS:X decoding, this creating a sonic experience that's even more immersive.
- Incredible image processing
- Excellent calibrated SDR images
- Impressive HDR performance
- Stunning design
- Fantastic build quality
- Great sound quality
- 4 x HDMI 2.1
- Input lag of 9.7ms
- Comprehensive smart platform
- Slim One Connect box
- Solar-powered remote
- Should be more accurate out of the box
- Some blooming with HDR
- Avoid light sources at the sides
- No Dolby Vision support
- No Dolby Atmos onboard decoding
- Still no native 8K content
- Insanely expensive
Samsung QN900 (QE75QN900A) Neo QLED 8K TV Review
Should I buy one?
The Samsung QN900A is every inch a flagship 8K TV, and while many of its key attributes aren't related to picture quality, there's no denying it's a gorgeous-looking piece of industrial design. The overall aesthetic is stunning and the build quality excellent, with the slimmed-down One Connect box and solar-powered One Remote being nice additions. Whether you stand or wall mount this TV it will perfectly complement any modern living space with its 15mm deep panel, sleek chassis, hidden speakers and elegant minimalism.
Its also has a host of fantastic features that include an intuitive and comprehensive smart platform, surprisingly good sound thanks to Object Tracking Sound Pro, and plenty of excellent gaming features such as a useful Game Bar, [email protected], VRR, ALLM and an input lag of just 9.7ms. The use of an 8K panel and AI-enhanced picture processing results in incredibly detailed images, even when upscaling lower resolution content. The new smaller LEDs not only allow for the slimmer panel, but also an increased number of dimming zones and an impressive HDR performance. These smaller LEDs also eliminate the banding seen last year, while the screen uniformity is good and the dirty screen effect minimal.
So it's a shame that the out-of-the-box accuracy for SDR and HDR isn't better, especially on a flagship TV. Despite the increased number of dimmable zones, there is also more blooming than last year, especially with HDR. Having said that there is more detail just above black, so it's swings and roundabouts when it comes to local dimming algorithms on LCD TVs. The filter on the front of the screen does an excellent job of widening the viewing angles and rejecting ambient light, but avoid putting a light source at the sides of the TV as it can result in reflections on the screen. Finally, Samsung's continued refusal to support Dolby Vision or add onboard Atmos decoding remains a disappointment.
However, the price of this TV is the biggest issue, and given the lack of any native 8K content, it's hard to justify a premium this big for an 8K TV. In fact, if you look at the cost of competitor TVs, it's hard not to come to the conclusion that Samsung is currently pricing itself out of the market. As an overall package, the Samsung QN900A does enough to deserve a recommendation as a high-end TV for anyone who's criteria isn't purely focused on picture quality and price, but enthusiasts will know you can get better and more accurate images for considerably less money.
What are my alternatives?
Assuming you like the sound of the QN900A, the range offers two other screen sizes: the 65-inch QE65QN900A which currently costs £5,499, and the 85-inch QE85QN900A, which will set you back a hefty £11,499.
Alternatively there's Samsung's 75-inch QN95A (£3,799), which is the flagship Neo QLED 4K TV and is not only excellent in its own right but offers most of the same features as the QN900A. You could also check out Sony's 75-inch Z9J 8K model at around £6,000, or the 75-inch X95J 4K model, which is expected to cost around £3,000.
If you're interested in large-screen premium 4K OLED TVs, the obvious choice is either the 77-inch LG G1 at £4,799, or the massive 83-inch Sony A90J which should be about £7,000. Both are excellent, delivering exceptional picture quality, plenty of features, and great build quality.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
SDR Picture Quality
HDR Picture Quality
Picture Quality Out-Of-The-Box
Picture Quality Calibrated
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
Our Review Ethos
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