Review: Samsung 75QN900C 8K Neo QLED TV Lifts HDR Brightness To New Heights
Samsung continues to champion the cause of 8K resolution televisions with the intention of drawing in fans of really big screen TVs, by packing in all of its latest performance features and benefits.
This year is no exception. We recently had a chance to perform some hands-on testing of the company’s flagship 8K 75-inch 75QN900C Neo QLED Mini-LED TV series, and found a lot to like, including a brilliantly bright picture and loaded Tizen Smart TV feature platform. For full disclosure, the test model was set-up for us by Samsung, and our evaluation time was limited in our one-day visit.
Key features include:
• Expanded Quantum Dot/Mini-LED LCD back light technology with more dimming zones for brighter images;
• A Quantum Neural Processor for picture and sound processing including clean upscaling of sub-8K content;
• High frame rate gaming performance (up to 144Hz in some titles) with low input lag and 0.1 millisecond response time.
• Upgraded Gaming Hub supporting new cloud streaming services including Xbox with no downloads, storage limits, or consoles necessary;
• A Smart Hub providing entertainment, gaming and ambient art and news options in one place, along with recommendations based on individual preferences;
• A Slim One Connect design including an attachable input box solution that neatly tucks away cords and cables out of sight;
• Seamless pairing of the TV with Samsung Q and S-Series sound bars for greater immersive surround sound experiences;
• 120Hz native fresh rate panel.
• 2 USB ports and 4 HDMI 2.1 inputs supporting 4K120Hz HDR10 gaming, ALLM, HFR, FreeSync, G-Sync, and eARC/ARC sound passthrough.
• Game Bar 3.0;
• Wireless Dolby Atmos;
• Filmmaker Mode;
• HDR10/HDR10+ Adaptive/HLG HDR profiles;
• Bixby, G-Assistant, Alexa voice control;
• ATSC 3.0/1.0 over the air tuners.
The Samsung QN900C Neo QLED 8K TV series will have a model coming later this year with a screen size measuring 98-inches. For now, the company is shipping 75- ($6,299.99 suggested retail) and 65-inch ($4,999.99) versions, which are a bit small for typical living rooms to see all of the benefits of the panel’s 7680 x 4320 pixel resolution. Nevertheless, the review set delivered a sharp, colorful picture with nice raised specular highlights from upscaled 4K HDR content.
Keep in mind that you won’t find a lot of native 8K content available for a while to really gauge the advantages of all the added pixels, but while you’re waiting, the on-board upscaling system presents line-multiplied lower resolution content very well, especially 4K UHD Blu-ray material. Also relatively well presented were 1080p Blu-ray movies, which minimized artifacts reasonably well for an 8K television without removing natural film grain and other elements of the creative intent.
We hope to see more native 8K content content coming in the months and years ahead, but until then, your existing content libraries should continue to serve you well on this display.
Note that Samsung was unable to tell us if its 2023 8K TVs will support the new VVC video codec, which is expected to offer efficiencies for 4K and 8K content compared to the HEVC standard that has been in wide use for the past several years. However, Samsung’s UHD TVs continue to support AOMedia’s alternative AV1 open-source codec, which also offers some advantages to HEVC for 8K content. We will have to wait to see which format ultimately wins out as the technology evolves.
The QN900C series panel backlighting is said to feature more than 12,000 Mini-LEDs (depending on model) controlled through more than 1,000 dimming zones (mileage will vary by screen size). This is up from around 700 in 2022.
The additional Mini-LEDs expand the HDR10 (PQ) peak brightness of the QN900C to 2372.6 nits in Movie Mode (measured Portrait Displays Calman software using a 10% D65 white window pattern), which is near to the top of the flat-panel TV class from a year ago. We’ll soon see how the competition measures up.
The additional Mini-LEDs help to reduce blooming in this television, but not completely. Blooming (or haloing) is one of the weaknesses in any form of LCD backlighting technology. The higher number of Mini-LEDs and dimming control zones helps lift specular highlights significantly while reducing light in shadowed areas of an image, but this is generally inferior to self-emitting light technologies like OLED or Micro LED.
The QN900C is a quantum dot display offering very natural looking colors in both HDR and SDR content. We measured the P3 wide color gamut right around the 92.45% coverage (CIE 1976 uv), which is low compared to the company’s excellent S95C Quantum OLED TV, but still enough to meet the Ultra HD Alliance’s 90% threshold criteria for a “premium” UHD TV. Flesh tones and tone mapping appeared very realistic.
The television handles HDR10+ content especially well, presenting bright, rich color detail upscaled from a 4K UHD Blu-ray disc of We, The Marines.
Coral reef scenes from the BBC’s Blue Planet II 4K UHD Blu-ray disc were well saturated without being blown out, making for a brilliant natural look.
Wide Angle Viewing
The 75QN900C has excellent wide angle performance for an LCD-based television. The set holds on to contrast and color levels moving across the screen, but not as well as the S95C OLED TV we reviewed here. The anti-reflection technology helps to mitigate reflections under ambient room light somewhat, but some glare is still present. In certain instances we observed a faint milky haze in the lower center of the screen when viewing a table-mounted set from a standing position.
The panel uniformity of the QN900C was quite good viewing a 100% white pattern with only very slight pink shift showing from extreme right or left angles. Gray screen patterns were clean and no noticeable dirty screen effect came through in real-world content pans.
Samsung continues to produce high-level cosmetic designs for its televisions. The 75QN900C employs Samsung’s “Slim One Connect” Design” that off-loads the input and connection electronics into a diminutive box that attaches to the back of the table mount stand. This helps to reduce cable clutter. The central pedestal-type stand provides a stable base that will fit a wide variety of table lengths. For wall-mounted applications, the thin panel depth makes for a more snug fit.
As with other higher-end models this year, the back of the QN900C series uses a gray/black polycarbonate with a vertical grove texture that makes for nice modern appearance. The company also places rear-firing speaker ports on the back to contribute to the overall sound experience. The design includes input cover panels and cable management channels to minimize wire clutter viewed from in front and behind the set.
Samsung continues to offer a thin bezel trim framing around the perimeter of the screen, which helps to maintain the immersive effect of picture.
Once again, Samsung is addressing the environment and user pocketbooks by supplying a rechargeable One Remote that has a solar panel window on the back. The overall look of the unit, which is the same as ones offered in top-end LED- and Mini-LED LCD TVs, has changed slightly from previous years, but the buttons, layout and functionality are very similar. As last year, the diminutive control unit eliminates the need for frequent battery changes, by recharging the internal batteries via the built-in solar panel to absorb energy from sunlight or even ambient room lights.
Samsung continues to drive its televisions using this year’s version of its Tizen OS and an interactive user interface controlled by the rechargeable remote.
For 2023, Samsung has evolved the platform with a focus on the growing smart-home trend that has been rapidly expanding since 2018.
Samsung smart TVs have a designed user interface (UI) to better address how users prefer to interact the display, including the use of a new smart hub that prioritizes accesses to features of most value according to past user experiences.
Also, Samsung has enhanced its SmartThings platform for more seamless and automatic connectivity with compatible smart home devices.
Samsung said the goal for this year was to allow TV to simply turn on a new device and have the connection process take place automatically in the background. We’ll have to take their word for it, as we didn’t have any devices to test this with in our quick hands-on review.
This platform long has been popular for its large library of supporting app services. We’ve always found it among the best smart TV interfaces in the market. In our brief run-through, app selection and engagement seemed snappier than last year.
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Samsung continues to nicely provide compatibility to a variety of voice assistants including Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant and Samsung’s own Bixby.
Samsung provides new engagement experiences this year using Multiview picture in picture capabilities, including Video Calling and Tele-Medicine (both of which will require adding an optional camera).
For Telemedicine, Samsung is providing a new app that connects patients with doctors and health specialists in real time. Samsung Telemedicine is specific to Samsung smart TVs to help patients conduct virtual appointments. We didn’t get to try this out, but it sounds like a useful and needed technology coming on the heels of a global pandemic. The app developer promises to provide virtual contacts through a network of relevant, available health professionals who should connect with 60 seconds. A virtual exam can them be conducted through the video screen and various monitoring devices like some Samsung Galaxy Watches.
The application will accept some important physical measurements to monitor overall health without leaving the home. This includes taking vital signs including heart rate, heart rate variability, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation and stress index. Samsung said it is scheduled to begin offering this TV-based health monitoring service through a number of supporting 2023 Samsung TVs and monitors this year, including the QN900C.
The technology uses a remote intelligent computer vision technology that assesses vital signs by detecting changes in facial skin color caused by heartbeats. The system is said to be contactless, accurate and easy to use.
Samsung is also evolving video calling capability of Tizen 7.0 TVs this year using a Samsung video calling app. This requires downloading an app, customizing alerts and setting up a list of top contacts in order to engage one-tap video calling. Users will receive notifications on their mobile phone that they’ve received a call while they are watching TV.
As mentioned in our review of the 77S95C 4K Quantum OLED TV, this year’s Tizen Gaming Hub provides access to game streaming services including Xbox, GeForce Now, Amazon Luna and Utomik. The Xbox service support continues.
The Gaming Hub has been further upgraded with the GameBar 3.0 with MiniMap Sharing and Virtual Aim Point to enhance competitive game play. MiniMap Sharing enables players to see the minimap of their game at-a-glance on any display while Virtual Aim Point, designed for first-person shooters (FPS), allows players to view more noticeable crosshairs in shooter games to improve accuracy.
The four HDMI ports support most of the newer advanced gaming features including Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), Variable Refresh Rate, G-Sync and FreeSync support, and 4K/120Hz HDR10 support. We measured Full HD 1080/60p input lag at a respectable 9 ms.
There is still a dearth of native 8K content available to stream online from a handful of supporting services. Supposedly this is set to increase shortly, but by how much and with what content remains to be seen. You are going to have to decide if its worth the extra money to have the highest level of resolution an LCD screen can deliver, even if you aren’t likely to see the full benefit from it for some time. What we can say is this television offers top-of-class performance peak brightness benefits when viewing the 4K Ultra HD, HD and SD content that is available. The quantum dot technology produces excellent color at these brightness levels and the image processing and upscaling continue to be a company strength.
The Tizen smart TV platform also provides an expanded range of functions and content sources to enjoy, though these will be available on most of the company’s step-up 4K TVs as well. If maximum HDR brightness from more pixels is your thing and you can afford the premium Samsung is asking for its 8K displays, this could be a good pick for you, but we strongly recommend you check out the company’s 77-inch S95C 4K OLED TV picture first.
Based on our preliminary review we award the Samsung 75QN900C 4.5 out of 5 hearts.
The Samsung 75QN900C used for this review was provided and setup for us to test using our own test equipment and demo material.
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By Greg Tarr
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