"The Samsung Q90T delivers a breathtaking picture."
Excellent brightness and contrast
Spot color accuracy
Excellent for playing
Rainbow effect from the screen level
Nobody connects box
Given that the Samsung Q90R was one of my favorite TVs in 2019, I had high hopes for its successor in 2020, which I suspected would be the Q90T tested here. As it turned out, Samsung had some interesting plans to shake up its 2020 lineup, which was unveiled at CES earlier this year.
Unlike the Q90R, the Q90T doesn't come with Samsung's One Connect Box (a feature I'm a big fan of), the backlight system has fewer local dimming zones, and the panel layer that enables deeper black levels isn't quite as effective. To use these functions, you have to switch to the Q800T, which is an 8K television.
All of this makes the Q90T appear less as a replacement for the Q90R than as an effort by Samsung to bring premium buyers to its 8K TV line. But it's not all bad news. The 65-inch Q90T costs $ 1,000 less than the 65-inch Q90R when it was released. It has a pimped sound system and is available in other sizes – including 55, 65, 75 and 85 inch variants.
Ultimately, the Q90T doesn't seem to be as advanced as last year's 4K flagship, but it is still a remarkable TV and will likely be one of the best TVs you can buy this year.
Out of the box
The Q90T is one of the heaviest 65-inch devices I've wrestled with from Samsung and Panasonic plasma TVs since sunset. Most of the weight comes from the stand, a sturdy, curved piece of brushed metal that attaches to the center of the TV. This weight instilled confidence that the panel is held securely, and it is, but the TV still wobbles a lot more than I want. Be sure to install a seat belt to ensure safety when you mount this TV while standing.
Do-it-yourself wall mounting needs a friend. I dare to say that even the 55-inch set would require a second set of hands to be securely mounted on the wall. I would also recommend drilling the wall mounting plate into studs as I'm not sure if drywall anchors would do the trick.
In addition to the TV and the stand, the packaging contains the simple but effective remote control from Samsung, batteries, stand screws and some product literature, which contains an installation guide that I should recommend to buyers, as the method of installing the TV stand varies depending on Stand size varies TELEVISION.
Properties and design
The Q90T is a very eye-catching television, even if its bezels are not as invisible as that of the Q90R. It's a black plate with a deliberately thick profile, but I like it. Maybe it's all lush brushed metal, but the Q90T seems to be on business.
The Q90T is a very eye-catching television
I mentioned the lack of Samsung's One Connect box, which handles all incoming connections from game consoles, Blu-ray players, etc., and conducts power and video signals over a single clear cable that is virtually undetectable on a wall. Its convenience and practicality are missed.
The Q90T has four built-in HDMI inputs, of which only one is HDMI 2.1 capable. This means that the TV supports eARC along with variable refresh rate (VRR), automatic low latency mode (ALLM) and up to 4K 120 Hz signals. All of this is good news for gamers.
Samsung's workmanship has also improved this year. You will see fewer artifacts, especially if you stream content from Netflix, Hulu, Disney + or HBO Max. Apps for which everyone is directly integrated. Samsung has also reduced its tendency to sharpen the image too much by making the image presets in the focus department less aggressive. These are all welcome improvements.
Regarding the backlight, I have already mentioned that there are fewer zones, but as I will explain shortly, this is not a weak point for this TV. Samsung's local dimming processor seems to be working even better than last year, fewer zones or not.
Samsung's Tizen operating system is fine. There is nothing wrong with that. I think most people will navigate it easily enough. Maybe it just feels a little stale to me because I've used it so often and I've been using it for a long time. I will say that Samsung's automatic detection function, which detects what you have connected to the TV, correctly labels it and enables immediate control via its own remote control, is something I have always appreciated on Samsung TVs and for that the user friendliness of this television set is of great importance.
Compared to LG's webOS, which looks a bit dated, Tizen makes less effort to integrate the smart home, which I think is a little more geared towards meeting the needs of television. Tizen also complies with LG's webOS in that it combines free wireless and free TV channels provided over the Internet and summarizes everything in one guide.
Compared to Android TV, which is used by Sony, Tizen feels a bit more individual, but less language-friendly. Samsung added the ability to make Amazon Alexa the default voice assistant – much better than Samsung's own Bixby – but the integration was uncomfortable for me. Android TV makes using the Google Assistant very easy.
It gets a little tricky here. From the moment I turned on the Q90T for the first time, I found that it had a problem with the uniformity of the panel. Certain areas of the screen appear blotchy, which is known in television circles as the dirty screen effect (DSE). I've seen this on less expensive TVs, but never on a premium Samsung.
I think that's an anomaly. Let me explain.
First of all, it is clear that this TV has been used before – the screws of the TV stand were in a sandwich bag and I could see some small scratches on the back of the TV. In addition, the TV box saw significantly more than the typical mailing campaign. Speaking to representatives from Samsung, I also learned that, given the global coronavirus pandemic, it was difficult to send review samples to reviewers, and part of this struggle meant that the device I received was unlikely to be checked, before it was shipped to me.
The Q90T is a top performer.
I have requested a replacement sample for Q90T and will update this review as soon as I have made a second review. I only offer this option in extreme cases when I suspect that a television is damaged or otherwise defective. Until then, my rating and rating for this TV contains the uniformity issues I've seen.
However, uniformity is only part of the picture quality. Otherwise, the Q90T is a first-class service provider.
The Q90T's black levels are the best I've seen outside of Samsung's own high-end models (like the 8K Q900R and probably the Q800T, which I haven't checked yet) and the Sony and LG OLED TVs, one use completely different technology. Blooming is well controlled, which is particularly evident when, in some films, subtitles run across the bottom black letterbox bars without turning the black bar gray.
The brightness is more than sufficient. Using Portrait Display's Calman software, along with a SpectraCal C6 HDR colorimeter and a Videoforge Pro pattern generator, I measured the sustained peak brightness in HDR at 1500 nits, which is bright enough to provide a stunning HDR image from the Screen appears. Compared to the brightness of the Sony X900H of 750 nits that I am currently evaluating, the number is twice as high, although I would say that it is not twice as bright.
The Q90T delivers a breathtaking picture
The color accuracy in the Q90T's film image preset was immediately ready for use in both SDR and HDR. I've made minor adjustments to the white balance that have further improved color accuracy, but I think most people will love the color of the TV without any adjustment. So far, only the X900H from Sony has achieved ready-to-use color accuracy, but with a slightly lower color volume due to the lower HDR brightness. However, I still have a lot of TVs to check, so I will be running updates all year round.
Apart from technical data and dimensions, the Q90T delivers a breathtaking picture. In my case, the dirty screen effect was a distraction, but it didn't affect other performance elements. I suspect that the replacement device I am getting has a more typical "clean" panel than I have seen in the past.
I have a complaint that I am less optimistic that a replacement TV will react to it and that is a rainbow effect that I have observed on the screen. This can be a side effect of Samsung's anti-glare treatment or the wide-angle viewing layer, both of which are very effective for the intended purpose. This is also something that I would like to investigate further and that I will update as I learn more.
When I saw this TV for several days, I was often amazed by its picture quality. Samsung tends to over-brighten the picture, especially in HDR mode, but I suspect this move away from technical accuracy is actually enjoyed by many viewers. However, purists should check out the Sony A8H OLED, the Sony X900H LED or one of LG's OLED televisions if strict compliance with the intent of the creator is of the utmost importance.
This is an excellent TV for gamers. The Q90T's response time is among the best I've seen from a VA LCD panel, its input delay is also exceptional at just 10ms in game mode, and its support for Freesync VRR will be a huge bonus for gamers, especially if the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X arrive.
At this point in time, the only TVs that can compete for games with the Q90T are LG's OLEDs, topping Nvidia's G-Sync VRR as icing on the cake.
The Q90T will likely turn out to be one of the best 4K HDR LED TVs you can buy in 2020. Without the suspicious panel uniformity issues I've seen, this TV would be enthusiastically received by me. I suspect a replacement pattern review will lift all reservations as the Q90T outperforms any other television I've seen in its class this year and in all previous years. It's no small thing that Samsung offers such premium picture quality at a significantly cheaper price than last year.
Is there a better alternative?
At this point, I have not yet tested a superior 4K LED TV for the Q90T. I'm excited to see what Vizio brings this year and I've been impressed with the Sony X900H so far, but if history is an indicator, the Q90T will be one of the best 4K LED TVs you can buy this year.
You can find more options on our best TVs of 2020.
How long it will take?
With an HDMI 2.1 input, the TV supports extended functions for many years. I suspect that this television will continue to exist in the future.
Samsung offers a one-year warranty on parts and labor for home use and a 90-day warranty on parts and labor for commercial use.
Should you buy it
I am holding back to award this TV the "Digital Trends Recommended Product" award, but I still think the answer is "yes" until there is a solution to the extreme uniformity of my sample. This is one of the best TVs you can buy this year. If you find problems with the uniformity of the panel that were to some extent a problem for all TV brands, you can request a replacement from your authorized Samsung dealer.