Samsung QN90A 55-inch 4K UHD TV review: Mini-LED meets quantum dots

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Samsung’s Neo QLED QN90A takes the company’s already outstanding QLED color and brightness and, thanks to far more granular mini-LED backlighting, enhances it with far better blacks. The overall result is truly impressive, although Samsung still has some work to do on its zone dimming techniques. 

Design and features

The 54.6-inch (55-inch class) version of the QN90A I tested currently retails for around $1,700 and features a 4K UHD (3840 x 2160), 120Hz, 10-bit display. Said display implements quantum dots for accurate, saturated color, and mini-LEDs for refined backlighting. 

Mini-LEDs, as you might guess, are far smaller than traditional backlight LEDs. They’re placed closer to the filter/LCD layers to increase brightness and reduce bleed. And because they’re employed in far greater numbers, they also allow more precise zone dimming. How precise depends on the number of zones the vendor decides to divvy them into. In the case of the 55-inch QN90A, that seems to be around 600. QN90A models with larger screen sizes likely use more.

This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best smart TVs, where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.

The QN90A comes with the same iMac-like pedestal that we first saw from Samsung a year or so ago. It adds quite a bit of weight (9.3 pounds), but that’s necessary for for stability. The classy appearance and ability to sit on smaller surfaces are well worth it.

Including stand, the unit weighs 48.3 pounds; without it, 39 pounds. The QN90A is also remarkably thin at just one inch, which makes it look nice on the wall. To that end, a 200mm VESA mount point is integrated. You can see just how thin the TV is in the image below. The part jutting out from the back is part of the stand, not the TV itself.

qn90a side Samsung

Samsung’s QN90A is only 1-inch thick, despite not employing the One Connect breakout box that the company was so fond of a year or two ago. 

The port selection on the QN90A is modern, though extremely shy on legacy support. There’s no composite, no component, no analog audio in or out—not even a headphone jack. While the latter might seem quaint in the age of Bluetooth, it can be very handy when your headphone batteries die in the middle of a movie. If you need analog connections, you’ll need to purchase an HDMI converter.

The new stuff includes four HDMI ports on the TV itself. Three are mainly HDMI 2.0, with one being 2.1 to support 120Hz sources. Another supports eARC. In case you weren’t aware, vendors can implement individual elements of the 2.1 spec as they desire.

There are also two USB 2.0 ports (for mass storage, a keyboard, or other devices), coax for cable/satellite TV connections or an over-the-air antenna, ethernet, digital optical (Toslink) out, and an RS-232C (EX-Link, in Samsung terminology) port for customized remote control). Wireless connectivity is is via 802.1ac (Wi-Fi 5) and Bluetooth 4.2. Bluetooth audio devices are supported.

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