Hands on: Samsung QN90D 4K TV review – mini-LED magic for movies and sports

Samsung's next-gen Neo QLED is brighter and better

What is a hands on review?
Samsung QN90D on table showing image of landscape
(Image: © Future)

Early Verdict

Samsung’s next-to-top 4K mini-LED TV lineup may cost more than last year’s QN90C series, but it offers brighter pictures and improved local dimming. Both those factors result in powerful HDR when watching movies and shows, and the QN90D is also a fantastic option for viewing sports in bright rooms. New for 2024 is a 98-inch option, one that benefits from Samsung’s new Supersize Picture Enhancer processing.

Pros

  • +

    Excellent brightness and contrast

  • +

    Impressive local dimming

  • +

    Great off-axis uniformity

Cons

  • -

    Slight backlight blooming

  • -

    No Dolby Vision HDR support

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The Samsung QN90D series is among the company’s top 4K mini-LED TVs for 2024. It replaces the Samsung QN90C series, which ranked on our list of best TVs in 2023 as the best model for sports owing to its exceptional brightness, anti-glare screen coating and wide viewing angle. The QN90C series launched in screen sizes ranging from 43- to 85-inches. For 2024, Samsung will expand the lineup with a 98-inch model, one benefiting from the company’s new Supersize Picture Enhancer for ultra-large TVs.

Samsung recently invited me to its New Jersey facility to do a hands-on test of the 65-inch QN90D model. Having reviewed last year’s QN90C, I was eager to see what, if any, improvements had been made to the new series. I had sufficient time during my visit to do a full set of measurements, and also had substantial time for subjective tests. Read on for my thoughts on the QN90D, which improves on last year’s model, and is in many ways a worthy, and much lower-cost, competitor to the new Samsung QN900D 8K mini-LED TV and Samsung S95D OLED TV, both of which were also tested during my visit.

Samsung QN90D closeup of pedestal stand

The Samsung QN90D's pedestal stand (Image credit: Future)

The QN90D series is available in 43-inch to 98-inch screen sizes. Pricing for the lineup is notably higher than for last year’s QN90C series, particularly for the larger 75- and 85-inch screen sizes.

  • 43-inch: $1,499 (around £1,190 / AU$2,300)
  • 50-inch: $1,599 (around £1,270 / AU$2,450)
  • 55-inch: $1,999 (around £1,580 / AU$3,060)
  • 65-inch: $2,699 (around £2,140 / AU$4,130)
  • 75-inch: $3,299 (around £2,610 / AU$5,050)
  • 85-inch: $4,799 (around £3,800 / AU$7,350)
  • 98-inch: $14,999 (around £11,880 / AU$22,980)

Samsung QN90D shown in profile in room with gray walls

The Samsung QN90D has a very thin profile for a TV with a built-in backlight and input connections (Image credit: Future)

An updated NQ4 AI Gen2 processor with 20 AI neural networks powers audio and video on the QN90D series. Picture enhancements include Neo Quantum HDR+ and HDR Brightness Enhancer to improve the look of 4K images with HDR, and there’s also an Auto HDR Remastering feature to give a dynamics boost to regular HD sources. Quantum Matrix Technology helps with backlight control for local dimming, and same as with the QN90C there’s an anti-glare screen coating and Ultra Viewing Angle to improve picture uniformity when viewing from off-center seats.

The QN90D has a 4.2.2-channel built-in speaker system powered by 60 watts and provides many of the same audio processing features found on the company’s other premium TVs. These include Object Tracking Sound+, which expands the sound field to heighten the impact of Dolby Atmos effects and Active Voice Amplifier Pro, which boosts both dialogue and sound effects to heighten their clarity in the mix. The QN90C also supports Q Symphony for combining the TV’s speakers with supported Samsung soundbars for even greater audio immersion.

Gaming features on the QN90D series include four HDMI 2.1 inputs with 4K 120Hz support (and up to 144Hz for PC gaming) and FreeSync Premium Pro. There’s also Samsung’s Gaming Hub, which serves as portal for accessing more than 3,000 titles from cloud-based apps such as Xbox, Nvidia GeForce Now, Utomik and more. Samsung’s Game Bar menu now also features an AI Auto Mode option that can recognize game genres and adjust picture and sound settings to suit. During my test, I measured input lag in Game mode at 9.7ms – an excellent result that about matches last year’s QN90C.

Samsung QN90D Cloud gaming portal screen

The cloud gaming section of the Samsung QN90D's Gaming Hub (Image credit: Future)

Brighter and better-looking 

With the QN90D set to its Movie picture mode, pictures were seriously bright and had excellent contrast even when viewing with overhead room lights turned on. Peak brightness measured on a white 10% window pattern was around 2,000 nits, and brightness with a full-screen white pattern was just short of 600 nits. Those numbers indicate a modest boost over last year’s QN90C, a TV that in my estimation already had brightness to spare.

The QN90D’s color gamut coverage was about the same as what I measured on the QN90C at 94% for UHDA-P3 and 71% for BT.2020.

I normally wouldn’t expect a small brightness boost to have an impact on a TV’s performance, but I was fully captivated by the QN90D. Watching the demonstration footage section on the Spears & Munsil HDR Benchmark 4K Blu-ray disc with the 2,000 nits version selected, images of snow-capped mountains at sunset showed powerful and detailed highlights, while darker scenes revealed a marked improvement in local dimming over last year’s QN90C, with only the slightest degree of backlight blooming visible on high-contrast shots.

The QN90D’s picture maintained excellent uniformity when viewed from off-center seats (see pic below). There was some judder and motion blur visible when I watched a reference scene from the James Bond movie No Time to Die with the TV at its default Movie Mode settings, but a quick visit to the motion settings in the picture setup menu fixed that issue. 

Samsung QN90D shown at angle on table

The Samsung QN90D has excellent off-axis picture uniformity for an LCD-based TV (Image credit: Future)

A relative bargain 

At $2,699 (around £2,140 / AU$4,130) for the 65-inch model Samsung made available for my hands-on test, the QN90D isn’t exactly cheap. But having tested it during the same session where I did hands-on reviews of the much more expensive QN900D 8K mini-LED and S95D OLED models, it comes across as a bargain in the Samsung TV universe. It will take a full review to determine just how good the QN90D ultimately is, but given my relatively brief time with it, I found it to be the TV that left the strongest impression.

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Al Griffin
Senior Editor Home Entertainment, US

Al Griffin has been writing about and reviewing A/V tech since the days LaserDiscs roamed the earth, and was previously the editor of Sound & Vision magazine. 


When not reviewing the latest and greatest gear or watching movies at home, he can usually be found out and about on a bike.


What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.