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An In-depth Review of The Q90R: Samsung’s Best Performing 2019 4K HDR QLED TV

by on April 29, 2019
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Stephan Jukic – April 29, 2019

Overview

Samsung’s Q90 (also known as the Q90R) QLED 4K HDR TV is the closest thing to a successor for the brand’s 2018 Q9F QLED edition. Just like its predecessor, this model is one superb television in almost every sense of the word and offers numerous features that make it into one truly ideal 4K HDR LCD TV. Additionally, it comes with some new innovations on ultra HD TV technology that take the Q90 beyond the capabilities of the 2019 Q9F and make it much more similar to (and even slightly better than) Samsung’s absolute flagship Q900 8K TV, or in a certain way, Sony’s new 2019 Master Series 4K TVs. Most of all, in terms of sheer color delivery, motion handling and overall picture performance, this particular 4K HDR TV is amazingly good.

All that said, the Q90R is also oddly weak in certain specs and in a few key aspects of its performance, it under-delivers on things that we thought it would do better than Samsung’s best 2018 4K HDR TVs did. We’ll be covering these details as well further below.

Positives

• Incredible motion handling and gaming performance
• Very good color rendering for normal and HDR content
• Remarkably good viewing angles for a VA LCD TV
• Fantastic contrast and superb local dimming
• Excellent content upscaling for all resolutions

Negatives

• A bit weak on truly vibrant wide color gamut rendering
• Not as bright as we expected
• No Dolby Vision support
• Native Audio could be better

Bottom Line

There’s no debating it as far as we’re concerned: the Samsung Q90/Q90R is a downright superb 4K UHD HDR TV by any measure of the idea. Its few flaws can only be considered as such relative to other extremely high-performance flagship 4K TVs. This television is very expensive and if you’re working from a budget, that’s a big defect, but for your money you’ll get plenty of value if you decide to splurge on one of three editions of the Q90 QLED model. In essence, this flagship TV gives some serious competition to pretty much any other ultra-premium model from almost any brand on the current market.

A Review of Samsung’s Ultra-Premium 4K QLED, The Q90R (QN65Q90R) (QN75Q90R) (QN82Q90R)

Check out the Samsung QNQ90R QLED LCD HDR 4K UHD Smart TV 2019 on sale at Amazon

4.7 – 4 Reviews

What We Liked about the Q90R

There is a ton to like about the Samsung Q90R 4K HDR QLED TV. It’s literally crammed with excellent technology and fantastic features. Even if it underperforms its predecessor the Q9F in a couple of key performance metrics, it more than compensates for much of this in certain other crucial ways. The biggest selling points of the Samsung Q90 are those that make its picture quality so excellent. Following these, are the incredibly good motion handling specs of this particular 2019 QLED flagship TV model. Let’s cover the Q90’s absolute best features now.

Wide Viewing Angles

The Samsung Q90/Q90R 4K HDR TV comes with a new wide angle viewing technology on its screen that’s called the “Ultra Viewing Angle’” layer. We also saw this in the Q900 8K TV we recently reviewed from this brand and we consider it to be the single most impressive feature of this TV. What makes it so great is that it lets the Q90, a 4K TV with VA display panel design, to deliver excellent broad viewing angles. Up until recently, 4K LCD TVs offered the option of either screens built with IPS (In-Plane Switching) display or screens with VA (Vertical Alignment) display.

These two systems mainly represent differences in how their pixels are arrayed and while IPS offers excellent, wide viewing angles, it delivers weak contrast and poor black levels, which can only be mitigated by local dimming. Unfortunately, most IPS TVs offered either no local dimming or a really crappy version of it, forcing viewers into poor black levels and contrast (which sucks because both are crucial to high picture quality). On the other hand, there was VA, which does indeed offer deep black levels and strong contrast even without local dimming, but which completely falls flat on viewing a TV screen from more than 20 degrees off center to either side.

Samsung’s new “Ultra Viewing Angle” layer bridges this gap by creating a TV with VA display and excellent black levels, but which also offers superb viewing angles. Sony has something similar in its ultra-premium Master Series 4K TVs, called X-Wide Angle technology but so far, we think the Samsung version is better. In the Q90 it’s fully present and creates a wonderful combination of high quality picture performance at very wide angles.

A Review of Samsung’s Ultra-Premium 4K QLED, The Q90R (QN65Q90R) (QN75Q90R) (QN82Q90R)

Motion handling and Gaming Excellence

To put things simply, the Samsung has virtually perfect motion handling in almost every single way there is. This TV’s motion blur control is incredibly good through an extremely fast pixel response time of less than 3.5 milliseconds. Its motion interpolation of content in virtually all frame rates and refresh rates of up to 120Hz is downright fantastic and the Q90’s delivery of smooth, judder-free content from low frame rate sources like disc or streaming movies is pretty much perfect, with support for 24p playback via disc, broadcast, streaming and any other media sources. In addition to its general motion handling, the Samsung Q90 QLED is nearly perfect as a 4K TV for gaming via PCs or consoles like the PS 4 Pro or the Xbox One X and so forth. With these devices it offers incredibly low input lag in almost all resolutions, frame rates, color, HDR and other important gaming settings. We’ll cover the specifics of its performance at PC and console gaming connectivity further below in our sections on performance metrics. For now it’s enough to say that we were exceptionally impressed with how well the Samsung Q90 handles onscreen motion under almost any measurement or use scenario.

Local Dimming, contrast & black rendering

The Q90R QLED TV offers some truly fantastic contrast and black uniformity, but it pulls both off mostly thanks to the presence of its extremely high quality local dimming technology, which has to be activated to truly appreciate these specs. Because of the Ultra Wide Angle viewing technology that Samsung also gave to this TV, the Q90R’s native contrast ratio and black level aren’t exactly perfect. Something about the display design that allows wider viewing angles also means a bit more light bleed than usual. However, if local dimming is fully active (and in fact it can’t be shut off fully anyhow), then the Q90R is truly an incredibly powerful television for how good its contrast ratio, overall black uniformity, black rendering and absence of halo effects around bright content are. This is important because these specs are what most affect 4K TV picture quality perception.

A Review of Samsung’s Ultra-Premium 4K QLED, The Q90R (QN65Q90R) (QN75Q90R) (QN82Q90R)

Color delivery and performance

In terms of color performance and rendering of vibrant, strong and also accurate colors, the Samsung Q90 is an excellent television; this is after all a QLED TV. It’s out-of-the-box color accuracy is reasonably good and after a bit of fairly easy calibration, it can be taken to downright incredible levels. Furthermore, this 4K HDR TV, as bright and dark as it can get, also manages to decently render accurate colors at both extremes, which is actually fairly tricky to pull off for most ultra HD and HDR televisions. Two other things the Q90 delivers extremely well are its Wide Color Gamut coverage of the DCI-P3 color space and a very smooth delivery of 10-bit color, for 1.07 billion gradations of the RGB colors that built most other color variations in all HDR or SDR content. In really basic terms, the Q90 is a stunner at delivering excellent color to almost any kind of content, and particularly for HDR content sources.

overall HDR delivery

Given the Q90R’s superbly realized contrast, black level, brightness and color performance features that we’ve described above, it only makes sense that this 4K UHD TV should be an excellent performer at HDR delivery with the right kind of content, and it absolutely is. In terms of comparison among all of the fully decked-out HDR TVs you could buy from among the 2018 and 2019 models available right now, very, very few will outperform this beast of a television, especially on how bright they can get. Combine this with superb motion handling and you have a truly winning home theater package. There are some issues with HDR in the Samsung 4K HDR TV lineup in general and in the Q90 specifically but we’ll cover these a bit further down. They’re minor details anyhow for the most part.

A Review of Samsung’s Ultra-Premium 4K QLED, The Q90R (QN65Q90R) (QN75Q90R) (QN82Q90R)

Also Read:
Our in-depth review of Sony’s X950G 4K UHD HDR LCD TV
Our in-depth review of Samsung’s Q7F QLED 4K HDR TV

What We Didn’t Like

The Samsung Q90 isn’t perfect either, since no 4K TV we’ve ever seen quite reaches that level. In other words, it does have a few flaws though none of them are anything close to what we’d call deal breakers in terms of performance. If any one thing is this 4K TV’s biggest hindrance, it would be that it’s fairly expensive, and while this television is better than most other 4K HDR TVs, its extra cost might not exactly justify its minor to moderate benefits. That said, here are the (fairly minor) specific performance flaws we noted in this particular TV.

Contrast Issues (Especially in HDR mode)

The native contrast of the Q90 flagship QLED, without local dimming, is much weaker than that of any of its 2018 predecessor QLEDs, even the cheapest. This is the biggest specific problem this TV has with its display but it’s barely noticeable and the trade-off is that in exchange, you get the benefit of the Q90’s Ultra Wide Angle viewing technology, which is what we believe to be responsible for the reduced native contrast ratio. Besides, even the Q90’s native contrast is still fairly good and much better than what any IPS TV we’ve ever reviewed offers. Aside from that you can always turn on the Q90 QLED’s local dimming to full power and get one stunningly good contrast ratio of over 11,000:1, which we’ve seen beaten only by the 2018 Q9F QLED and Sony’s old 2016 Z9D 4K ultra-premium TV. In other words, the Q90’s contrast “defect’ is barely worth being called a defect, but we had to mention it just in case.

Very Slight Color Performance weaknesses

The color rendering that the Q90R is capable of is nothing short of superb in almost all regards. However, it’s not quite up to par with what we saw the 2018 Q9F QLED deliver. The Q9F really hammered viewers’ eyes with incredibly vibrant colors while this 2019 model doesn’t quite reach that level. Again, the reason for this is the Ultra Viewing Angle technology that lets you watch this TV from wide angles and still get great picture quality, so you’re receiving something good in return for the very slight color performance reduction. Another very minor defect of this TV’s color performance is that while the Q90R manages color volume of the DCI-P3 WCG space, with all colors being represented well even under bright and dark conditions, the 2018 Q9F and Q8F QLEDS both did this better.

A Review of Samsung’s Ultra-Premium 4K QLED, The Q90R (QN65Q90R) (QN75Q90R) (QN82Q90R)

Also Read:
Our In-depth review of Samsung’s ultra-bright flagship 2018 Q9FN 4K HDR TV
Our detailed review of Samsung’s excellent 2018 Q8FN 4K HDR LCD TV

Minor HDR problems

There are three main things we could criticize about HDR performance and rendering in the Q90R. They’re all very minor and only one of them is really worth taking into consideration: First of all, with the above points on minor weaknesses about color gamut coverage and native contrast, you should keep in mind that the Q90R delivers slightly weaker overall high dynamic range content rendering than does the 2018 flagship Q9F. The difference is so small that you’d barely notice it even if the two TVs were side by side, but it is visible enough to be worth mentioning considering this TV’s higher price. Again though, this is mostly because the Q90R has its new Ultra Viewing Angle technology improving viewing angles. We consider this a great trade-off.

That said, we do have to mention a peeve of ours about this TV that it shares with all of Samsung’s televisions. This is their lack of support for the Dolby Vision HDR format. HDR10 is great and HDR10+ is even better but Dolby Vision is a superb HDR format that is available in many of today’s HDR content sources. It’s a shame that such good 4K HDR TVs like the Q90 and its QLED cousins don’t support it, because they could deliver the format wonderfully if they did.

A Review of Samsung’s Ultra-Premium 4K QLED, The Q90R (QN65Q90R) (QN75Q90R) (QN82Q90R)

Weak Audio

The sound quality of the Samsung Q90 QLED TV is only decent and almost identical to that of the 2018 Q9F. In other words, this TV can reproduce very decent and loud audio for casual TV watching but its built-in speakers lack the strong, rich bass that a really robust external sound system would provide. Furthermore, sub-bass noises simply don’t register audibly. Thus, we’d have to consider the overall audio performance of the Q90R among its weaknesses. This is a minor problem though since even a modestly priced external sound bar will fix it and in any case, what the Q90R itself can output is more than good enough for ordinary TV watching in any normal space.

Price and Value

On a final note, the Q90R is expensive. It certainly costs more than almost any other 2019 Samsung TV except the Q900 8K television and it’s pricier than the 2018 Q9F or even many other similarly good 2018 ultra-premium TVs. Thus, while it provides great value and quality, you can choose a TV like the Q9F for nearly identical performance in most ways while saving a fair bit.

Also Read:
Our detailed hands-on review of Samsung’s incredible new 8K HDR TV, the Q900
Our In-depth, detailed review of Samsung’s most affordable 2019 QLED, the Q60R

Value for Price & Bottom Line

Overall, we absolutely recommend the 2019 Samsung Q90 QLED TV to anyone who insists on getting themselves a brand new 2019 television model. It’s easily one of the best LCD 4K HDR TVs we’ve had the pleasure of reviewing so far and it’s also one of the best 4K TVs in general that we’ve seen to-date. In so many ways, the Q90 is a much better choice than the flagship Samsung 2019 QLED, the Q900 8K TV and it’s far more reasonably priced too.

A Review of Samsung’s Ultra-Premium 4K QLED, The Q90R (QN65Q90R) (QN75Q90R) (QN82Q90R)

Check out the Samsung QNQ90R QLED LCD HDR 4K UHD Smart TV 2019 on sale at Amazon

4.7 – 4 Reviews
Also see:
Our complete guide to today’s best 4K HDR TVs for every budget and home size
Ranking the best 4K TVs of 2019 for less than $1000

Key Samsung Q90R Specs

• Screen sizes: 65 inch QN65Q90R, 75 inch QN75Q90R, 82 inch QN82Q90R (TV being reviewed is 65 inches)
• Smart TV: Tizen 2019 Edition
• HEVC (H.265) Included: Yes
• VP9 Included. Yes
• HD to UHD to 4K upscaling: Yes
• HDCP 2.2 Compliance: Yes
• HDR Support: Yes, HDR10, HDR10+, Hybrid Log Gamma
• Refresh Rate: 120Hz native refresh rate
• Screen Lighting: LCD Display with full-array backlighting & local dimming
• Resolution: 3840 × 2160 pixels 4K UHD
• Wireless Connectivity: Yes, includes both built-in WiFi and Ethernet port
• Remotes: Samsung smart OneRemote with voice control
• Connectivity: 4 HDMI ports (all of them 2.0a and with HDCP 2.2, port 4 with HDMI 2.1 enhancement), 3 USB ports, 1 Ethernet port, 1 Digital Audio Out, all also located in external One Connect box
• Contrast Ratio: 11,400:1 (native, real contrast)
• Absolute Maximum Peak Brightness: 1440 nits (cd/m2)
• 3D Technology: N/A
• Processor: Quantum Processor 4K

Display Performance Metrics

The following sections are crucial for a good idea of how well the Samsung Q90R 4K HDR TV performs because they consist of measurements for: color reproduction, brightness, black levels, contrast, local dimming and motion handling. These are the things that really dictate how well a TV displays the content you want to watch on it. We also note that these specs sometimes vary slightly from unit to unit so they should not be taken as perfect absolutes. However, they should maintain a generally high level of similarity in all TV models of all sizes, making them good enough to be highly reliable indicators of quality.

It’s important for us to also mention here that different TV display sizes in a single model can make some of the specs detailed below vary slightly. This applies particularly to edge-lit UHD TVs due to the wider space covered by the LEDs along one or more edges of these TVs. The Samsung Q90 is a full-array LED backlit TV, meaning that the back of its display surface is mostly covered with LEDs that can be shut off in sections through the television’s local dimming technology. In essence, this means that its display brightness and contrast performance should be more uniform between different sizes of this model than it would be in an edge-lit 4K TV.

All of the specs and metrics we’re about to cover cut right to the measured, concrete root of how well the Q90R 4K HDR TV works. They don’t take into account and marketing and labeling fluff that manufacturers like to pile up around their 4K TVs for the sake of making them seem more exceptional than they really might be. In other words, here we ignore empty labels, fake color brilliance branding and disingenuous terminology of the kind that you’ll often find on the manufacturers promotional materials. Instead, we measure what the Samsung QNQ90R QLED TV can actually deliver in a normal consumer setting with only the kind of calibration that’s built into the TV’s controls applied to it.

A Review of Samsung’s Ultra-Premium 4K QLED, The Q90R (QN65Q90R) (QN75Q90R) (QN82Q90R)

Black Level, uniformity, Local Dimming and Contrast:

Black depth, black uniformity, local dimming and contrast range are some of the most important specs for measuring how well a television of any kind performs. They apply especially to HDR TVs however because, done right, they strongly enhance the overall perception of color richness and picture quality in the rest of what’s being presented onscreen and they play a crucial part in how strongly dynamic range in content is rendered. This is why they all need to be covered together and explained in terms of their relationship with each other In the Q90R QLED TV.

The Samsung Q90 delivers all of the above very well or even exceptionally with the exception of native contrast ratio. This TV’s black levels are excellent whether local dimming is turned off or on but with local dimming activated, the overall black uniformity of the Q90R is downright fantastic. So are the black levels themselves, creating a contrast ratio that is incredibly high as long as local dimming stays on. Most importantly, the Q90R TV offers a black level capacity that fully meets the standards of premium HDR as stipulated for HDR10 and HDR10+ ranges. This means that it can generate black levels of below 0.019 nits and can at the same time deliver peak brightness (which we cover in detail further down) that exceeds 1000 nits.

A Review of Samsung’s Ultra-Premium 4K QLED, The Q90R (QN65Q90R) (QN75Q90R) (QN82Q90R)

The most crucial aspect of the Q90R QLED TV’s performance is its local dimming technology, which is downright awesome in this particular TV. Local dimming works by deactivating sections of the LEDs that light up the back side of a TV display behind its pixels for the sake of enhanced darkness during content rendering. Many TVs don’t even have the technology and instead depend on light-blocking filters in the screen to create black levels by blocking LED backlight. In other cases, local dimming is present but extremely imprecise because the TV in question is edge-lit, with LEDs only creating backlight from along one or more edges of the screen. The Q90R is a full-array TV, meaning that its backlight LEDs cover most of the display space and shine outward. Consequently, its local dimming can be very precise, with many specific dimming zones and very high quality black levels. This feature lets the Q90R have excellent contrast and black uniformity despite a native contrast ratio that’s fairly low if local dimming is off.

Contrast

Thus, In terms of contrast, the Samsung Q90R is both a below average and also an exceptional performer. Its maximum native real contrast ratio (no local dimming) sits at around 3,250:1, which isn’t incredible but definitely decent. This is more than enough for high picture quality and for appreciating strong, crisp variations between colorful, vibrant bright scenes in content and shadowy parts. However, some of Samsung’s mid-range 4K TVs from last year such as the Q7F, Q6F and even the non-QLED NU8000 all outperform even the best contrast performance that the Q90 can do. On the other hand, if local dimming is turned on fully, the Q90R delivers an insanely high contrast ratio of 11,400:1.

Brightness:

Having an idea of how bright a 4K HDR TV is in general means measuring how luminous the TV can get in both SDR (normal content) mode and how bright it can get when set to view HDR content. The main measurements under each are for peak possible brightness, average general screen brightness and for highest sustained brightness. Peak brightness is the maximum possible spot HDR or SDR luminosity of a complete 4K TV display or differently sized sections of its screen as measured in units of brightness called nits (or cd/m2, which is the same thing). Sustained brightness is the highest possible sustained HDR or SDR brightness that the TV screen can manage across its entire screen or parts of it for a prolonged period of time (a few minutes or more).

A Review of Samsung’s Ultra-Premium 4K QLED, The Q90R (QN65Q90R) (QN75Q90R) (QN82Q90R)

The Samsung QNQ90R 4K HDR QLED TV is exceptionally bright at all levels and delivers both excellent HDR luminosity and very high SDR luminosity. Its brightness stays high for both peak and sustained measurements and the same thing is the case whether small or large sections of the screen are fully lit up. Furthermore, this 4K TV is incredibly good sustained luminosity in both its SDR and HDR content modes.

In basic terms, the above means that the Q90R generally does an excellent job at being bright enough for normal non-HDR content of all kinds, and as an HDR TV it simply excels. This is further compounded and enhanced by its fantastically good color performance, contrast, black levels and other HDR features. All of these things mean that the Q90R will offer generally stellar picture quality.

Below are all of the main display brightness specs of the Q90 as measured in nits for different areas of display space, under both HDR and SDR settings and under both peak and sustained conditions:

BLACK UNIFORMITY

Samsung Q90R SDR Brightness

  • Overall SDR peak brightness for normal content: 770 nits
  • Peak 2% display area display SDR brightness: 910 nits
  • Peak 10% display area SDR brightness: 114 nits
  • Peak 100% display area SDR brightness: 479 nits
  • Sustained 10% SDR brightness: 1085 nits
  • Sustained 100% SDR brightness: 499 nits

Samsung Q90 QLED TV HDR Brightness

  • Overall HDR peak brightness for normal content: 1315 nits
  • Peak 2% display area display HDR brightness: 1090 nits
  • Peak 10% display area HDR brightness: 1440 nits
  • Peak 100% display area HDR brightness: 522 nits
  • Sustained 10% HDR brightness: 1374 nits
  • Sustained 100% HDR brightness: 520 nits

Color Delivery:

Compared to the 2018 QLED flagship, the Q9F that is the Q90R’s predecessor, the Q90R doesn’t quite reach the same color vibrancy and coverage of Wide Color Gamut color space (DC-P3 percentage). It slightly underperforms Samsung’s own best 2018 QLED TV by a few points in a couple other ways too when it comes to color. However, the difference is very small and the Q90R is still an incredibly vibrant color performer. Furthermore, the main reason we think it slightly underperforms compared to the 2018 Q9F is that the Q90R comes with the Ultra Viewing Angle technology we already mentioned, which very, very slightly reduces WCG color quality but compensates by expanding viewing angles considerably. We think the trade-off is definitely worth the smaller loss. The Q90R also comes with good out-of-the-box color calibration for decent color rendering accuracy even if you do nothing to calibrate it.

A Review of Samsung’s Ultra-Premium 4K QLED, The Q90R (QN65Q90R) (QN75Q90R) (QN82Q90R)

The specific color settings that we Samsung Q90R delivers right out of the box and after calibration are as follows. The lower the following numbers are, the better and as you can see, both pre and post-calibration numbers for each setting are either decent or excellent: Pre-calibration (out-of-the-box) White balance delta E, color delta E and Gamma in this 4K HDR LCD TV sit at very good levels of 3.75, 2.5 and 2.18 respectively. Adjusting the Q90’s picture settings through manual calibration produces even better, nearly superb results, with these same levels being aligned even further to sit at 0.31, 1.08 and 2.19 respectively for the model we reviewed. Again, these are some great color accuracy settings by any measure, especially if you bear in mind that the lower these numbers are, the better.

In basic terms, despite a slight drop in WCG DCI-P3 color space coverage, the Samsung QNQ90R nonetheless offers HDR-level high wide color gamut coverage of the DCI-P3 space at 94.5%. Furthermore, it’s 10-bit color support (for 1.07 billion colors) is smooth and finely gradated, and this TV delivers excellent, rich color rendering for content in general even when it’s not being used to display HDR movies. This is of course crucial because most of the content available for the Q90R will be ordinary TV broadcast content or streaming movies and shows without HDR or 4K resolution, at least for now.

10-BIT COLOR RANGE

Also see:
Our complete guide to everything you need to know about HDR color and standards

The Q90R QLED TV also renders very decent color accuracy during both very shadowy and extremely bright scenes, and it’s definitely a superior performer to what we saw in many of the 2017 and even some 2018 4K HDR TVs made by Samsung or other brands. In shadowy content sequences in particular, very decent color volume is maintained across the entire wide color gamut DCI-P3 space and that’s pretty good considering just how tricky it used to be for a TV display to pull this off in older 4K models. The Samsung Q90R’s ability to deliver vibrant colors in high brightness is just as good as its capacity for rendering good color in shadowy scenes, but when it comes to blue colors performance weakens slightly.

Motion Handling & Upscaling:

In terms of how well they handle motion in content, Samsung’s 4K UHD TVs have a great track record and this applies especially to the brand’s premium TVs like the QLEDs. Furthermore, for gaming performance and responsiveness during console/PC connectivity, almost all of Samsung’s 4K UHD TVs –both premium and mid-range or budget models included—are incredibly good performers. We’ve noticed the same thing in almost all of our reviews of this brand’s models and it applies exceptionally well in the Q90R. In this 4K HDR TV, motion in content is very smoothly and effectively handled with minimal blur, flicker or distortion even if the content is being played back at frame rates that are lower than the native refresh rate of 120Hz that this TV’s screen is set to. We also note that the 120Hz native refresh rate of the Q90R applies to all three sizes this television is available in.

Specifically, the Q90’s motion blur control is simply outstanding starting with a measured pixels response time of 3.6 milliseconds of pixel color shift delay. By the standards of 2018 or older 4K LCD TVs, this number represents an incredible improvement. In basic terms, what this spec means is that pixels change color quickly enough (within 3.6 milliseconds 80% of the time or more) that fast movement blurs minimally during playback, making the TV good for things like sportscasts or action movies and games. Even at its very slowest response time, which occurs no more than 20% of the time for motion across the onscreen pixels, the Q90 never does worse than 9.9 milliseconds, which is still excellent. In terms of response time in other words, this TV beats many of its 2018 and 2017 predecessors from Samsung or even most other brands hands down.

Other motion handling specs in the Q90R are also very good or simply fantastic: For one, the Q90 4K HDR TV also has excellent motion interpolation capacity in its screen for adding frames during slower content to further diminish blur, but this can produce a slight soap opera effect when used for movies that play at different frame rates, though Samsung has made the effect less noticeable with each passing year in its newer TV models like this one. Black frame insertion in this TV also works perfectly, which further helps improve the crispness of picture quality

A Review of Samsung’s Ultra-Premium 4K QLED, The Q90R (QN65Q90R) (QN75Q90R) (QN82Q90R)

The Q90’s motion interpolation capability is also downright superb for all frame rates typically found in a wide range of normal broadcast, disc media and streaming content, and especially in movies (24p movies, 30-50fps TV content, high frame rate streamed video and games) the Samsung Q90 manages all of these very well on its native 120Hz display panel. It can interpolate content up to 120fps and offers this for content that natively plays back at 30fps and at 60fps. 24p Blu-ray discs, DVDs, cable TV and broadcast TV sources as well as streaming media from both native apps and apps inside external streaming media devices can all be played judder-free as well.

Finally, the Samsung QNQ90 QLED TV does a superbly good job of upscaling pretty much any content you throw at it. It can sharpen 1080p content from any source with minimal to non-existent artifact creation and it pulls off nearly as high a level of upscaling performance for 720p and even 480p SD content sources from TV broadcasts, DVDs and other media sources, as long as the source material has been mastered well. Color and contrast are also conserved well in most high quality media sources though the Q90 will only apply HDR color to native high dynamic range video with HDR10 or HLG mastering. Again, because Samsung simply refuses to adopt support for Dolby Vision HDR in any of its TVs, the Q90R does not support the Dolby standard.

Input Performance for Gaming and PC:

The Samsung Q90 QLED is downright superb as a gaming TV or for use with a PC rig (either for gaming in 4K on a PC or many other things). This is one of this particular 4K HDR TV’s great features as far as both visual performance and responsiveness are concerned.

The Q90R responds to playback of games from consoles or PCs at all sorts of different refresh rates, frame rates, color settings, resolutions and combinations of all of these. Additionally, the Q90R, like all of Samsung’s 2018 and 2019 QLED TVs, includes the benefit of FreeSync variable refresh rate synchronization technology, allowing it to smoothly mesh the onscreen refresh rate of a PC game with that being outputted by a GPU inside a gaming platform or PC gaming rig that the Q90R is connected to. The responsiveness of the Q90R is fantastic under almost all settings and the measurements for input lag for console or PC gaming on this TV across several resolution, HDR, color and frame rate combinations bear this out, as the numbers below clearly show:

A Review of Samsung’s Ultra-Premium 4K QLED, The Q90R (QN65Q90R) (QN75Q90R) (QN82Q90R)

Here are some of the key specific specs for its gaming performance in different console setups:

  • 4k @ 60Hz: 14.9 ms
  • 1080p @ 60Hz: 15.1 ms
  • 1080p @ 120Hz: 10.3 ms
  • 1080p @ 60Hz outside Game Mode: 76 ms
  • 4k @ 60Hz + HDR: 14.7 ms
  • 1440p @ 60Hz: 14.6 ms
  • 4k @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode : 58.2 ms
  • 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4: 14.5 ms
  • 4K @ 120Hz: 18.5 ms
  • 1440p @ 120Hz: 9.9 ms
  • 1080p with FreeSync: 6.9 ms
  • 4K with interpolation activated: 35.7 ms

The Samsung QLED Q90 offers broad and excellent support for different resolutions, frame rates and color settings when connected to a PC rig as well. The following specs show this clearly:

  • 1080p @ 120Hz: Yes
  • 1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4: Yes
  • 4k @ 60Hz + 4:4:4: Yes
  • 1440p @ 60Hz: Yes
  • 4k @ 120Hz : Yes
  • 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4: Yes
  • 1440p @ 120Hz: Yes

Connectivity

The Samsung Q90 comes with all of its connectivity ports built into an external One Connect box. Because of this, its cable management is pretty well designed and easy to set up even though this TV doesn’t have a smoothly flat back panel for the specialized flushed mounting to walls that Samsung’s design allows for certain higher-end QLED TVs.

As far as connectivity ports are concerned, the Q90 QLED comes with all of today’s now standardized and essential advanced connectivity specs. Thus, this 2018 model comes equipped with four HDMI 2.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 USB ports and other crucial connectivity slots. Samsung has also given the Q90 full HDMI 2.0 HDR supported bandwidth in all four HDMI ports. Furthermore, unlike Samsung’s cheaper QLED TVs such as the Q60R, the Q90R also comes with one HDMI 2.1 port, which is why (as we indicated above in our measurements) it supports 4K gaming or content playback at a true native 120Hz. This is a great bonus feature even though for now, almost all consumer entertainment sources of 4K UHD content are streamed or broadcast at no more than 60Hz. On the other hand, disappointingly, the Q90R does not have any USB 3.0 ports though it does offer 3 USB ports that all come with USB 2.0.

A Review of Samsung’s Ultra-Premium 4K QLED, The Q90R (QN65Q90R) (QN75Q90R) (QN82Q90R)

The following are the Samsung QLED QNQ90R’s ports and their specifications:

  • HDMI : 4 (HDCP 2.2 & full HDMI 2.0a capacity)
  • HDMI 2.1 : 1 (HDCP 2.2, 4K @ 120Hz)
  • USB : 3 (USB 2.0 x 3)
  • Digital Optical Audio Out : 1
  • Analog Audio Out 3.5 mm : 1
  • Tuner (Cable/Ant) : 1
  • Ethernet : 1
  • HDR10 support: Yes
  • HDR10+ support: Yes
  • Dolby Vision HDR support: No
  • Hybrid Log Gamma HDR support: Yes
  • Dolby Vision HDR: Yes

The Samsung QLED Q90R TV models also offer audio connectivity in the following types.

  • ARC
  • 5.1 Dolby Digital via ARC
  • 5.1 Dolby Digital via Optical

No support for eARC though the Q90R does proabably support Atmos passthrough from Dolby Digital Plus sources

Pricing

Samsung has released the QNQ90R 4K ultra HD HDR LCD Smart TV models in three different sizes. Thus, you have the choice of a 65 inch or 75 inch model, and a huge 82 inch version that would be just awesome for gamers and home theater fans who want a deeply immersive experience. All three models are basically identical in their specs and performance and between them only very minor screen performance variations such as those we described in our visual specs intro section above might be the case.

The models all sell for the following prices, found in the link below at the time of this writing. Bear in mind that these are subject to sometimes frequent downward change and it’s a good idea to click the following Amazon links for real-time pricing and all available discounts on this model.

A Review of Samsung’s Ultra-Premium 4K QLED, The Q90R (QN65Q90R) (QN75Q90R) (QN82Q90R)

Check out the Samsung QNQ90R QLED LCD HDR 4K UHD Smart TV 2019 on sale at Amazon

4.7 – 4 Reviews
Story by 4k.com
5 comments
 
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  • Bedirhan
    April 29, 2019 at 6:52 am

    Thank you for this comprehensive review! I’m seriously considering this TV, but I have a couple of questions. Are you sure that this TV supports eARC? I have an LG SK9Y soundbar which is capable of Dolby Atmos, but, as far as I know, this TV does not have either any real HDMI 2.1 inputs or supporting 2.1 features over 2.0 like eARC etc. If you’re right, then this would be awesome! Do you have any idea about Q70R? Does it also have the same connectivity features?

    Reply

    • Stephen
      Stephen
      April 29, 2019 at 8:41 am

      Hey there Bedirhan, our apologies, this has been corrected. Though it comes with one HDMI 2.1 port, the Q90R does NOT support eARC, neither with Dolby Atmos via TrueHD via eARC or DTS:X via DTS-HD MA via eARC. As for the Q70R, we’re in the process of a review of it and will be putting it up live in a week or less.

      Reply

  • Jared
    May 23, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    What chroma settings do you use to achieve [email protected] and [email protected]? Or do you have an hdmi 2.1 output device?

    I’ve only managed [email protected] at 4:4:4. I haven’t messed around much but 1440p at 4:4:4 says it will do 75hz but when I change it the resolution resets to 1024×768.

    Also is “input signal plus” the same as UHD color mode on other models?

    Reply

  • Baptiste
    June 28, 2019 at 10:27 am

    Hello and thanks for this review. Are you sure that the Q90R supports hdmi 2.1 with 4k 120 hz (throught wich port ?) ?

    Reply

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Features

Quality

User Friendliness

Connectivity

Price