Samsung Q90R QLED 4K TV review

Samsung Q90R
  • Samsung Q90R
  • Samsung Q90R
  • Expert Rating

    4.25 / 5

Pros

  • Great software
  • Slick design

Cons

  • No Dolby Vision
  • Voice isn't super useful
  • Volume buttons!

Bottom Line

If you’re not quite game to pull the trigger on Samsung’s first 8K TV, the full-array backlighting, sleek software experience and powerful Quantum Processor leave the Q90R a more than serviceable alternative.

Would you buy this?

  • Price

    $ 6,499.00 (AUD)

Should I buy the Samsung Series 9 Q90R QLED 4K TV (2019)?

It might not be OLED but Samsung have invested in these factors surrounding the home entertainment in a way that might just tip the scales in their favor of their new flagship Q90R QLED 4K TV. 

The bezels on the Q90R are appropriately thin, it runs on the company’s aesthetically-pleasing and mostly-responsive Tizen smart TV operating system and the pedestal-style rounds things out in style. Combined with the Samsung One Remote, One Connect Box and features like Ambient Mode (introduced in last year’s Q9F), the Samsung Q90R ticks all the boxes you’d expect from a premium TV and then some. 

You’re unlikely to confuse the results with native 4K or 8K content but the Samsung’s new Quantum processor does a great job of making up most of the difference when it comes to 1080p content, which is still realistically what you’re probably going to use the Q90 to watch most of the time. 

Combined with the 480-zone full array dimming, the final results aren’t quite on the same level of OLED but it does get the closest I’ve ever seen from a LCD-LED and without any of the glare problems. 

If you have the money and want a TV that offers an experience that’s as premium in feel as it is in looks, then the Q90R is hard to go past. 

Price when reviewed

In Australia, the price of Samsung’s Q90R QLED 4K TV starts at an RRP of AU$6499. 

Samsung Series 9 Q90R QLED 4K TV (2019) full review

Credit: Samsung

The Samsung Q90 does little to disrupt expectations. 

It looks like you’d expect a really nice Samsung TV to look and excels in all the ways that you’d expect a premium TV like this one to excel. The bezels on the Q90R are pretty thin, it runs on the company’s Tizen smart TV operating system and it’s mounted on a slick-looking pedestal-style stand. 

You won’t confuse the Q90R’s output with the truer absolute blacks of OLED but the 480 zones of dimming on this TV do a more than adequate job of delivering strikingly deep and oft-inky blacks. Likewise, you won’t confuse the results with native 4K content but the Q90’s Quantum processor does make up most of the difference when it comes to upscaling 1080p content. 

Simply put: if you’re expecting premium picture quality, you’re unlikely to be disappointed by what the Q90R has to offer. 

The final piece of the puzzle here are smaller details. Where rivals like Hisense and Panasonic have opted to settle for a slightly-prettier version of an ultimately familiar premium TV experience, Samsung’s Q90R delivers a slew of small mutations on that experience that you might not expect. Even if these permutations have been carried over from last year’s effort, the Samsung One Remote, One Connect Box and One Clear Cable set it apart from most of the other options in a tangible and meaningful manner. 

There’s a tacit understanding here that picture quality isn’t the only thing that matters and, even if it’s short of the best-looking TV you can buy, the experience of actually watching and using the Q90R is almost peerless. 

Price

In Australia, you can buy the price of Samsung’s Q90R QLED 4K TV starts at an RRP of AU$6499. Three sizings are available: 65-inches (AU$6499), 75-inches (AU$9399) and 82-inches (AU$11799). 

The Samsung Q90R can be found at:

Design & Build Quality

Look, let’s be real: it’s very rare for a mass market TV like this one to reinvent the wheel in terms of how a TV looks. And when it comes to aesthetics, the Samsung Q90R does little to disrupt expectations. It looks like you’d expect a really nice Samsung TV to look. The bezels are pretty thin and the pedestal-style stand itself is both novel and useful. 

If you’re looking for differences, you’re going to find them in the details. 

In line with the last few Samsung flagship models, the Q90R utilises Samsung’s One Connect box and “invisible” One Connect Cable. The latter isn’t quite incorporeal but it is fairly translucent. The former, however, changes up the TV experience in a pretty cool way. 

Credit: Samsung

Rather than reach behind the TV whenever you need to wrangle a spare HDMI slot for this or that, thee Samsung Q90R outputs via the aforementioned single cable to an external box that then handles all the inputs and cabling. You do need somewhere to put that box but, on the whole, I found this arrangement adds more to the experience than it takes away. 

As someone who has to set up and use a lot of different TVs and video sources, it certainly made setting up and using the Q90R a lot less of a headache. Speaking of the setup, this part of the experience was also relatively painless. 

Honestly, it wasn’t all that different to the setup experience for Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones. As a process, it’s as quick as it is polished. The ambient music that plays during the process even makes you feel like you’re at a Samsung press conference. I almost expected DJ Koh to appear on-screen. 

The one area of the overall design for the Q90R I’d really fault is the remote. Specifically, the volume and channel buttons. 

These are nothing new but if you haven’t spent that long messing with Samsung’s One Remote before, they can take some getting used to. Anecdotally, they’re aren’t super intuitive. They look and feel like they’re meant to be pressed but, in reality, they’re supposed to be sort-of nudged upwards and downwards as needed. Both I, my partner and my housemates were all confused by this at various stages during our time testing the Q90R. 

Once I’d worked it out, the One Remote remote worked like a charm (and it does give using the Q90 a different feel to a lot of other TVs). Still, it’s annoying that I had to get there. Your mileage may vary. 

Features

In line with Samsung’s last few sets of QLED TVs, Samsung Q90 runs on Samsung’s Tizen-powered smart TV interface. 

To the unfamiliar, the Samsung smart TV experience is gonna look and feel like the sort of Apple-esque friendly tech you’d expect. Navigation is primarily handled via a menu interface that peeks up from the bottom of the screen when needed. You swap between different streaming services like you would channels. 

Samsung’s smart TV interface supports most major streaming platforms, including Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play Movies and catch-up apps such as 9Now, ABC iView and 7plus. For more info on this, hit up our guide to smart TVs.

Credit: Samsung

Interestingly, the Samsung Q90R actually comes with all the usual suspects pre-installed but it doesn’t automatically populate your various shortcut menus with them out of the box. It leaves that part of the process to the user - which I found made it a little less overwhelming out of the box. 

There’s also a bevy of snappy, built-in integration between the Q90 and any other Samsung products you might have. Any of Samsung’s SmartThings smart home tech can be easily controlled from the relevant app and, if you own a Samsung smartphone, you can even control the Q90 using the same. 

In addition to being able to integrate with Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant, the Samsung One remote also has Samsung’s Bixby Smart Assistant built-into it. 

Functionally, this voice-led aspect of the Q90 works about as well as expected but if you’re a skeptic, it’s unlikely to surprise you in terms of what it’ll actually let you do. 

It’s good for quick things like opening Netflix or raising the volume. Unfortunately, I found that using it for specific requests was a bit more hit and miss. Asking it to play Veronica Mars on Stan and it’d just bring up a page of Youtube videos about Veronica Mars - which wasn’t super useful. 

Picture Quality

If you’re looking at the big picture, there isn’t a huge difference in the overall approach that Samsung are taking to premium segment of the home entertainment TV space this year compared to last. 

Ultimately, Samsung are still betting on the brightness of QLED to hold its own against the OLED panels used by LG, Sony and Panasonic while they edge closer to adopting MicroLED. For more on MicroLED, check out this article.  

Fundamentally, there’s not a big change between this year and last year’s Samsung TVs. Samsung’s QLED still loses out to OLED on absolute blacks in darker environment. It still beats OLED in well-lit environments, since QLED is naturally a bit more more resilient to glare. 

The color saturation is killer here and when used to watch properly 4K-graded content, the Q90R looks drop-dead gorgeous. As we noted in our initial hands-on for the Q90, the kaleidoscopic action of Into the Spiderverse and the post-apocalyptic vistas of Mortal Engines look incredible when depicted on the Q90R’s 4K panel. 

However, as someone who only recently got NBN, most of the content I watched on this thing wasn’t 4K. Most of the time, I was watching 1080p and - in some cases 720p - content on the Q90R. 

Credit: Samsung

That’s where the Samsung Quantum Processor comes in. It’s the same engine that powers Samsung’s first 8K TV. It handles any and all upscaling. Some of this involves cleaning up image noise and picture grain. Some of it involves edge detection & sharpening. 

A big part of it involves using machine learning to do what Samsung call ‘texture recreation’ - an image processing technique that identifies textures on the screen and then upscales them using an algorithm that’s designed to make them appear more lifelike. You’ll still notice that difference between native and upscaled content - but it does feel like it looks a little sharper than you remember it. There’s only so much upscaling can do when it comes to stuff like anti-aliasing. 

The full-array dimming on the Samsung Q90R is another highlight. Offering 480 zones of dimming, it delivers really strikingly deep and inky blacks. It’s not quite on the level of OLED but it is probably the closest I’ve ever seen from a traditional LCD-LED TV.

Credit: Samsung

The one wrinkle I do have with the Q90R is that, in a time where the HDR market is beginning to settle down, it’s just plain annoying that it doesn’t support Dolby Vision. You do get support for HDR, HDR10+, HLG and HDR10+ but it’s frustrating to see it omitted all the same. 

If you’ve bought a Samsung TV like the Q90R sometime in the last few years, I don’t know if I could say that there’s quite enough happening here to justify the upgrade. If it had Dolby Vision support, I might feel differently. 

The Bottom Line

If it’s a question of friction, the Samsung Q90 leaves little to be desired. Simply put: this is Samsung's best 4K TV to date. It’s not quite as "extra" as the 8K-capable Q900R but it’s definitely just that little bit nicer and more capable than the other Q-series options. 

It might not be OLED but Samsung have invested in everything around the picture quality in a way I really dig and in a way that helps tip the scales in its favor. 

Credit: Samsung

If you’re not quite game to pull the trigger on Samsung’s first 8K TV, the full-array backlighting, sleek software experience and powerful Quantum Processor leave the Q90R a more than serviceable alternative. 

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Read more on these topics: samsung, Samsung Q90R
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?