Review on Samsung QN95A / QN90A ‘Neo QLED’
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|Price history for SAMSUNG 55-Inch Class Neo QLED QN90A Series - 4K UHD Quantum HDR 32x Smart TV with Alexa Built-in (QN55QN90AAFXZA, 2021 Model)|
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The Review on Samsung QN95A / QN90A ‘Neo QLED’
Samsung has launched “Neo QLED”, its first LCD TVs with miniLED backlighting and a resolution of 4K or 8K. The LCD TVs are equipped with zone dimming, an improved video processor, new sound features, HDMI 2.1 with 4K120, VRR, ALLM and more. There is also a redesigned remote and improvements to the Tizen platform.
First impressions It’s a heavy but elegant TV, with narrow bezels and a relatively thin profile for a streamlined design. QN95A comes with the One Connect external box with all input and output ports, while the other QN9xA models come without the One Connect box – ports are on the back of the TV instead.
The heavy table stand, which is made of metal, forms a very solid base for the TV despite its centered position.
Since Samsung first introduced its One Connect external box, it has grown in size and weight. The latest iteration is almost like a small console that you have to find space for not too far from the TV. It connects to the TV with a single cable that carries both power and data/video signals. Samsung calls it the “invisible cable,” and while that was an apt description for the cable at launch, it’s also gotten a lot heavier lately.
We still love Samsung’s One Connect concept, but we’re sad to see it go in the wrong direction. One of the reasons is that Samsung’s high-end LCD TVs consume a lot of power, which requires a large power supply.
Samsung still has the most effective anti-reflective coating for any TV on the market. The high-end models manage to effectively block most of the light from the environment, even in brightly lit living rooms.
User experience & features
Samsung’s Tizen operating system has reached version 6.0, with new features such as Game Bar, Samsung Health (a workout app), PC on TV (to easily connect a PC), and Google Duo (video calls). As always, Tizen 6.0 is reserved for the 2021 models. Samsung still refuses to provide major Tizen updates for previous TVs. The company has also not committed to providing Tizen upgrades to its 2021 models.
The TV is easy to set up up with or without the accompanying smartphone app, but you end up eventually up spend way too much time entering credentials for apps. Once you set it up up, you will be greeted by Rakuten, who powers Samsung’s TV Plus app in many regions – and who suffered from severe lip sync issues in our QN95A. We’d rather see Samsung not pushing its own service so hard. As you can see, there are also ads in the bottom menu of Tizen.
Other than the new training, PC and voice call features, Tizen looks and feels familiar. The menu that scrolls up from the bottom of the screen allows easy access to most streaming apps, although some local apps are missing, including those available on 2020 models. Samsung tells us that some apps must be re-approved annually before they can appear on new models in the Tizen app store – they are working on it.
After LG abandoned its bottom menu in webOS in favor of a full-screen home screen, Tizen looks even more appealing to buyers looking for a simple all-in-one Smart TV solution. In addition to popular streaming apps, Tizen . offers features such as Ambient Mode, SmartThings home automation and built-in Apple AirPlay 2 that allows you to push video (in up to 4K HDR) and music from an iPhone/iPad wirelessly to the TV. On the other hand, Samsung TVs lack support for Google Chromcast and Apple HomeKit.
Perhaps the biggest change in 2021 is the new Game Bar, which provides quick access to the TV’s many games games features including AMD FreeSync Premium Pro. A new ‘Super Ultrawide GameView’ mode gives PC gamers the ability to play in wide 21:9 or 32:9 ratios. You can also check source information such as fps, HDR and VRR. It is a useful tool for console and PC gamers. See the image quality section for more information about gaming.
In addition, Samsung has developed a smarter picture-in-picture mode that allows you to save and name your favorite ‘multi-view’ configurations (see photo below).
It has built-in support for three voice assistants, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Samsung’s own Bixby, although they are limited to basic functions. features. All three voice assistants also lack support for most regions and languages. Bixby continues to have a very poor voice experience in our tests.
That said, Tizen apps still run as a web view, meaning they’re more like websites than native apps. Tizen is not a polished and comprehensive TV OS like Apple tvOS or increasingly Android TV/Google TV found in competing TVs. If Tizen wants to keep up, it should evolve into a full-fledged TV OS with an open app store, more capable hardware, a long-term commitment to OS updates, strong support from third-party developers, and more advanced features general.
Compared to Samsung TVs from 2020 and 2019, Tizen remains largely the same and if you want to know more about the TV Guide, tuner functionality and related features, we refer to last year’s Q95T/Q90T review.
Control Last year’s Samsung Q95T came with a beautiful metal remote control. This year’s QN95A and cheaper Samsung 4K models come with a redesigned black remote that looks more elegant than it is, especially since it’s now made of black plastic. Samsung has tried to hide the fact by giving the plastic cover a brushed metal look, which in many ways sums up up Samsung’s TV design in recent years – faux metal has unfortunately also made its way into Samsung’s lifestyle TVs.
On the back are solar cells that allow users to charge the remote with indoor and outdoor lighting, in addition to a USB-C port. Samsung is promoting it as a way to save millions of single-use AAA batteries, which is true, although this eco-friendly marketing sounds a little hollow when a 55-inch QN95A has a power consumption of up up to 190W, based on our testing. If Samsung wants to take care of the environment, it needs to look closely at its miniLED-based LCD TVs, which are highly inefficient at converting energy into light and color.
The remote has three sponsored buttons for Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Samsung TV Plus, which is a shame, but overall it’s still one of our favorite TV remotes, mainly due to its simple design and lack of buttons.
TV audio The built-in speaker system (8 pieces) is solid and certainly better than the speakers of the average TV. The speakers are hidden from view, so things tend to sound a bit locked up at times, but voices are clear for the most part – even at high volume. The speakers may trip and sound shrill in some situations. There are obvious limitations in bass response, but overall the speakers should satisfy most casual viewers.
The TV has several dynamic sound modes, including Adaptive Sound+, which “analyzes each scene in real time to identify and reproduce the sound type”. It certainly does something, but we’re not convinced it’s a good thing. It sounds different, not necessarily better.
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