Samsung QN65Q90R LCD Ultra HDTV Review Test Bench

Test Bench

For the picture settings used during viewing, visit The measurements here were made using CalMAN software from Portrait Displays, together with Photo Research PR-650 and Klein K-10A color meters and a Fresco Six-G test pattern generator from Murideo/AVPro.

Full-On/Full-Off Contrast Ratio: 153,800:1

With the Backlight set to 26, local dimming on Standard (the default), and Contrast at 35 in Movie Picture mode, the measured peak white level on a 10% full white window was 44.9 foot-lamberts after calibration (153.8 nits). A full black screen was nearly unmeasurable at 0.001 nits (the ragged edge of our Klyne meter's accuracy), resulting in the above contrast ratio.

With Warm2 Color Tone and the above settings selected, the pre-calibration grayscale Delta E from 20% to 100%, was a maximum of 2.91 at 30%. Post-calibration using only the 2-point White Balance controls, the maximum Delta E was 2.2 at 30%. The maximum color Delta E was 3.48 (in red) before calibration in the Auto Color Space setting, and 3.12, also in red, after calibration. Green, cyan, magenta, and yellow all had Delta Es under 2.0 both before and after calibration. With the Gamma control at the BT.1886 setting (with the BT.1886 adjustment on 0), the Gamma ranged from 2.26 at 20% to 2.3 from 50% to 80%.

(Delta E is a figure of merit indicating how close the color comes to the D65 HD standard at each point in the brightness range. Values below 3—some experts allow for 4—are generally considered visually indistinguishable from ideal.)

Full On/Full Off Contrast Ratio: Unmeasurable

With the Samsung's Contrast setting at the default 50, the EOTF (gamma) curve skewed hot above about 50%. Bringing Contrast down to 39 for both the before and after readings produced a more accurate EOTF. This setting was increased to 42 for some of the comparative viewing tests.

With the Backlight set to 50, Brightness to 0, Contrast to 39, Gamma on BT.1886 (BT.1886 adjustment on 0), Local Dimming on High, the measured peak white level on a 10% white window was 1,300 nits and the black level toggled between 0.001 nits and 0.000 nits. But it was mostly the latter, rendering the Full On/Full Off Contrast ratio essentially unmeasurable.

In the Warm2 Color temperature and the above settings, the post calibration grayscale Delta E never exceeded 2.1 without luminance included, and the color Delta E never exceeded 3.5 (in red, at 50% color saturation and 50% luminance). Complications in the menu ergonomics discussed in the review prevented dialing in a tighter tolerance, but the average Delta E for all primary and secondary colors was a respectable 2.9 (again at 50% saturation and 50% luminance) and the visible result was excellent. A color checker analysis, which measures dozens of different colors, resulted in an average Delta E of 2.09 with luminance included and 1.85 without luminance.

With a 2% white window, and a Contrast setting of 39, the luminance measured 800 nits with a 2% peak white window, 1,000 nits with a 5% window, 1,300 nits with a 10% window, 1,200 nits with a 25% window, and 500 nits with a 100% full field white window. The color tracking in BT.2020 was fair, P3 within a BT. 2020 window was fair to good, and BT.709 within a BT.2020 window very good.

The Q90R reached 72.9% of BT.2020 and 94.2% of P3 (using the 1976 standard for both), slightly below the best we've yet measured on those parameters with other TVs.

The Samsung passed all of our standard video tests for deinterlacing, clipping, and luma and chroma resolution.

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jnemesh's picture

While MANUALLY enabling Game mode is a tedious process, the set DOES have the ability to automatically recognize when it's needed and turn it on AUTOMATICALLY.

While the reviewer here didn't use game mode, it's one of the most compelling features of the set for those that DO use their TV for gaming! It has some of the lowest input latency of any of the sets currently on the market (as low as 6.1 ms, depending on resolution and refresh rate!). It also supports both the VESA standard "VRR" (Variable Refresh Rate) as well as AMD's "Freesync" (also now available on Nvidia graphics cards) and supports up to 120hz with 4k resolution. In addition, the set has the ability to interpolate low framerate games to higher framerates. (Some 4k games on Xbox OneX and PS4 Pro are only 30fps, this allows them to be played at 60 or even 120 fps, with only a modest increase in input latency).

Bottom line...if you are buying a large screen TV and plan to use it for gaming as well as TVs and movies, you can't find a better set for this purpose being sold today!

utopianemo's picture

Tom, great review. I'm frankly surprised how close LED-lit LCDs are getting to OLED performance. A quick suggestion: In the fourth paragraph, you mention Samsung's claim regarding this TV and color volume, but you didn't mention there whether it was P3 or BT2020. I eventually found it way back on the specs page, but it might help to call that out up front in future, similarly structured articles.

PunchyRedcrown's picture

"I'm frankly surprised how close LED-lit LCDs are getting to OLED performance."- watch them side by side and tell me if you feel the same way. The motion and processing on the OLED is much more advanced as well. I'll agree with your comment if and when micro LED's hit the mainstream- just can't compare zone dimming to pixel by pixel. It's also unconscionable that Samsung would omit eARC on it's flagship tv. Huh? What?

utopianemo's picture

But I don't care if you agree with my comment.

drny's picture

I guess S&V wants to have the last word on TV reviews, Mid October review for 2019 model year released in April. That is cutting it close Tom.
Nonetheless the review is just in time for holiday sale prices.
Tom's evaluation of the Q90R is spot on. I'm not an OLED guy, as I used my TV displays in bright rooms. As such, I preffer a TV that does well overall in both dark and bright environment. OLED's do very poorly in a bright room. A TCL or Hisense TV looks better than an OLED in a bright room.
However, LG's OLEDs are future proof with HDMI 2.1. A 2019 Samsung TV, along with all other manufacturers, will be yesterdays news when almost all premium TV's come out with full HDMI 2.1 features within 18 months (TV model year 2021 release).
My advice, let's all wait until 2021. Now if the 82"Q90R goes on sale for $3,000 this holiday season, I will surely bite.

fecogo5848's picture

Thanks for sharing the Samsung QN65Q90R LCD Ultra HDTV Review with Castle Drywall in Winston Salem! Impressive brightness, good off-center uniformity, and vibrant HDR make it a solid choice.