An informative look at the performance of these QLED 4K HDR TVs
This is not an apples-to-apples comparison which was my intent. In this review, I wanted to point out and highlight the advantages of choosing the flagship model over a less expensive model in Samsung’s premium lineup of QLED 4K HDR TVs.
I recently had the opportunity to do a hands-on evaluation with both of these TVs. But before I get to the actual comparison, I will give a run-down of key features for the Q90R. Since I’ve already posted a thorough review of the Q70R, I will not mention its features or stand-alone performance in this review. I will, however, speak about its performance and how it compares to the Q90R in the performance section below. Check out the full QN65Q70R review here.
Q90R (QN65Q90R, QN75Q90R, QN82Q90R)
Available Screen sizes:
Check current prices on these QLED TVs at Amazon.com
Q90R Key Features:
- Direct Full Array 16X LED backlight with Ultimate UHD Dimming (local dimming) – Q70R uses Direct Full Array 4X backlight with local dimming -The 65″ QN65Q90R’s panel grid has nearly 500 independently controllable LED zones
- Quantum HDR 16X (HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG) for extended picture contrast and brightness when viewing HDR content – Q70R uses Quantum HDR 8X
- Ultra Viewing Angle technology prevents contrast and color saturation loss when viewing the TV at wide viewing angles (this feature is not available on the Q70R)
- Ultra Black Elite filter – increases contrast and enhances black levels (not available on Q70R)
- Intelligent Mode: In Intelligent Mode, the Samsung QLED TV recognizes and analyzes the surroundings, the content, and your usage patterns to provide the best viewing and audio experience. (this feature not available on the Q70R)
- Quantum Processor 4K improves contrast, shadow detail, and color accuracy
- Quantum Dot technology provides 100% color volume — full color with full brightness
- 4K AI Upscaling enhances standard-def and high-def video signals for optimum display on a 4K screen
- Motion Rate 240 blur reduction (120Hz refresh rate)
- The Q90R has a glossy screen finish which in my opinion enhances its picture quality
- FreeSync VRR Technology: This Samsung QLED TV gives you the real-time lower-lag gaming speed you need for a better gaming experience. FreeSync VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) allows the TV to adapt to the game console’s frame rate
- Auto Game Mode optimizes settings for minimal lag and supports FreeSync variable refresh rate
- Dual-band 802.11ac built-in Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth wireless audio streaming to a compatible speaker or set of headphones
Smart TV features
- Use the One Remote’s microphone to access Bixby, the TV’s built-in intelligent voice assistant. Bixby makes it easy to change channels, search for content, or even ask about the weather, using only your voice
- The TV supports voice control of compatible apps and works with Google Home-compatible voice control assistants and Amazon Alexa-compatible voice control assistants
- Built-in Apple AirPlay 2 allows wireless streaming from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac (firmware update coming in Spring 2019)
Samsung’s One Connect Box connects to the television via a single 16′ proprietary fiber optic cable. All connectivity to the TV is done via the One Connect Box. (Not available on Q70R)
The Q90R’s appearance is sleek and elegant and features a bezel-less design which gives the effect that the entire front panel consists of only the TV’s screen. With that said, the display does have a very thin brushed metal trim (bezel) around the outer edges of the screen which adds to its overall visual appeal.
The Q90R’s two-piece pedestal stand mounts to the center of the TV panel and gives the TV decent support. However, I felt the stand design on the Q70R provided a bit more panel stability on these 65” screens.
- 4 HDMI 2.0b inputs – HDCP 2.2 compliant
- 1 Optical digital out
- 3 USB inputs – 2.0
- 1 Ethernet port
- 1 RF input for antenna/cable signals
Note: The TVs used for this evaluation were both 65″ models.
Let me start by saying that both of these displays will make a good choice if you’re searching for a 4K HDR TV with very good to excellent performance.
And as noted in the “features” section of this review, these displays have many of the same traits, yet also different offerings, with the better features only being available on the Q90R.
Getting right to the point, the Q90R has much better overall picture quality, and here’s why:
The Q90R was much more visually transparent; it was like looking through an open window into the outdoors. The Q70R just could not match that level of transparency.
The Q90R also produced a better three-dimensional image bringing a more life-like appearance to the picture quality.
The Q90R delivered a more refined picture image, with a lot more detail and clarity; the image was also much smoother without losing any fine detail and texture of objects that were being displayed on the screen.
The contrast range on the Q90R was some of the best I’ve ever seen, and I was very impressed at how well it revealed this range – from amazing dynamic peak white highlights (without clipping) and deeply saturated blacks that were not crushed, in addition to very good shadow detail; this type of performance truly brought 4K HDR images to life and was some of the best I’ve seen to date.
With that said, the Q70R was definitely no slouch in contrast and black-level performance and was very good in its own right, however, it just could not match the sheer capabilities of the flagship Q90R.
Black screen uniformity was very good on both TVs, and I did not detect any clouding or backlight leakage.
Color reproduction was remarkable on the Q90; colors were extremely rich and vivid, with a very accurate and natural tonal balance which added a great sense of realism to its color palette. The Q70 did a very good job with color reproduction as well, and I was very satisfied with its performance; yet again, it just couldn’t compete with the exceptional color rendering of the Q90.
One area of performance I found very surprising was how well Samsung’s Wide Angle technology works on the Q90R. When viewing the TV at the widest possible angles, I did not see any loss, in contrast, color saturation or brightness. I was very impressed, especially since most LED/LCD TVs suffer picture quality loss at wide viewing angles – which was the case with the Q70R.
Motion handling was very good on both TVs, and there were no immediate concerns regarding motion artifacts. Input lag was also very good measuring approximately 14 ms on both displays, which makes them ideal for gaming.
The Q90R’s sound quality was much better than the Q70R – thanks to its 60-watt speaker system which contains four main drivers and two bass (sub) drivers. This setup allows the Q90R to produce very good sound for a flat panel TV. The sound output was clean and spacious with nice stereo separation and well-defined midrange and high frequencies. Bass output had a solid impact which is rare on flat-panel designs with built-in speakers.
Note: Neither of these TVs offers Dolby Vision HDR support.
To sum things up, the Q90R is simply a much better TV than its 70R QLED counterpart. This should come as no surprise since Samsung incorporated its latest and best technology into this display, resulting in a new level of pinnacle performance for an LED/LCD TV, producing some of the best picture images I have seen to date. So if money is no object, I would certainly go with the Q90R. But if you don’t have the financial means, then you should certainly consider choosing the Q70R if you still want a QLED TV that offers very good performance for less money.
How does Q90R’s QLED technology compare to OLED?
I’ve read other reviews about the Q90R and have seen the claims regarding how this display rivals an OLED TV in picture quality. I must say I had my doubts about this claim until I saw the Q90R with my own eyes. I now have to agree – if I didn’t know any better I would or could have believed I was looking at an OLED TV. That’s just how close the picture quality of the Q90R is to an OLED display when viewing high-quality content. I was very impressed.
Even though I wasn’t able to compare the Q90R directly to an OLED TV, I will still give the edge to OLED technology for having the best overall picture quality, and this is due to OLED’s outstanding contrast and black level capabilities. And I believe these statements would be confirmed if I was able to compare an OLED and QLED TV side-by-side.
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