To 8K or not to 8K, that is the question confronting shoppers in the market for a premium TV today. After all, 4K TVs offer a great picture for the money, while 8K comes at a premium. But, consider that 8K TVs are about more than just pixel count, they are the embodiment of SOTA. The Samsung QN900A Neo QLED is a perfect example, not only does it offer the 33 million pixels of 8K, it also offers the most advanced design (virtually no bezel), the best Mini LED backlight array as well as more sophisticated built-in sound, than what you can get in Samsung’s 4K offerings.

The Neo QLED QN900A commands a premium price, befitting its flagship status. The 65” model has a $4999.99 MSRP, while the 75” goes for $6999.99 and the 85” is priced at $8999.99. So, we’re talking about a hands-on of a $7000 TV! Here’s what you get for the money.

SHOP NOW
We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in this article. Learn more about how this works here.

Features

Video


Quantum Matrix Technology Pro – This refers to how the TV breaks down the Mini LED backlight into distinct dimming zones. Samsung says the QN900A (as well as the QN800A 8K Neo QLED) offer 1.5X the more zones than its “regular” Quantum Matrix Technology found in the 4K Neo QLED models. This translates to what Samsung refers to as Quantum HDR 64X performance, which is the company’s way of describing contrast capabilities (the dynamic range between the deepest black and the brightest highlight). By comparison, the QN90A 4K Neo QLED is spec’d at Quantum HDR 32X.

Many features of the QN900A are shared with other Neo QLEDs, for example the Anti-Reflection and Ultra Wide Viewing Angle qualities that make the screen easy to see, even in bright rooms where reflections turn other TVs into mirrors. It also shares support for 4K/120 Hz input via HDMI 2.1, which makes the QN900A a tremendous choice for gamers willing to make the investment. And notably, the One Connect box that contains the inputs for this TV has HDMI 2.1 for all four inputs, making it possible to connect an 8K AVR, an Xbox Series X, a PlayStation 5 and a PC with an 8K video card, all at the same time—talk about living on the cutting edge!

A key feature of the Q900A is the Slim One Connect box that houses the inputs, processing, and even the power supply for the TV. This has the advantage of making it possible for a single cable to connect to the screen itself, carrying both the video signal and the power to run the screen. The result is a clean install, free of HDMI cables and the power cord that you’d have to run to a typical TV. But, not everyone wall mounts their TV, and for users who prefer to use the pedestal and a TV stand, the Slim One Connect is attachable, becoming a part of the TV’s stand, for a totally clean look.

3096500

The Slim One Connect Box provides a detachable home for the QN900A's power supply, processor, inputs and outputs.

While Samsung’s 4K Neo QLEDs also offer Multi View, this is an example of where 8K opens new ways to use a TV. With an 8K screen, multi-view windows possess incredible clarity, you can at once watch 4K content in a larger window, while sharing, and other sources in smaller windows (there are several layout options) and the smaller windows can even contain text (sharing a phone’s screen, or a PC desktop) with crisp, readable text thanks to the high pixel density. The “long story short” here is, 8K gives you enough resolution to display multiple sources and preserve their quality.

Connecting to the QN900A is as easy as tapping a Samsung Galaxy phone (running Android OS 8.1 or higher), allowing you to stream movies, play music and enjoy your phone’s photos on a huge, hi-res screen.

The “brains” behind this TV is the Neo Quantum Processor 8K. In recent years, improvement in the processor has been a strong focus among TV makers. For 2021, Samsung is using deep-learning AI to analyze and properly process each scene, the result is effective upscaling that preserves detail, enhances perceived sharpness, all while retaining a natural look to textures. It also provides effective (and adjustable) motion processing plus noise reduction.

The QN900A is the ultimate 8K TV for gamers. Its feature set includes 4K/120 Hz, FreeSync Premium Pro, and Super Ultra Wide View 32:9 aspect ratio support. It also has Game Motion Plus that upsampled lower frame rates to 120 Hz, for enhanced motion clarity. A dedicated Game Bar menu lets you dive deep into this TVs gamer-friendly feature set.

Aesthetically. The QN900A has achieved a practically bezel-free design. Insomuch as there is any bezel at all, it’s virtually invisible. And, there’s no gap between the bezel and the picture itself, so when the TV is on, you see the entire screen filled with 33 million pixels. But, this bezel design serves another purpose, it’s perforated and houses the TV’s speakers.

EZCal

Although still in development, and not yet a feature, during my hands-on experience I was able to check out the EZCal app that promises to revolutionize calibration by using just a smartphone (and its camera) to achieve color calibration that compares favorably with what’s currently achievable using professional calibration systems. This calibration will work in conjunction with a dedicated EzCal picture mode.

3096491


Audio

The QN900A is not just Samsung’s top TV for visuals. It’s also the most capable when it comes to built-in sound. The OTS Pro feature (object tracking pro) offers speakers that can output sound coming from “all sides of the TV” and even make sounds appear to come from the center of the TV, thus placing the dialog where it’s supposed to be. And the audio features don’t stop there. If you add a Q Symphony compatible Samsung soundbar, the TV and the soundbar system become one. This leverages the TV’s ability to steer sounds so they match what’s on the screen with a soundbar system’s ability to render multi-channel surround-sound, including 3D immersive audio with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

3096495

The QN900A's bezel is ultra-thin and perforated, so the TV can accommodate speakers on all sides for its OTS Pro feature

A sound system is only as good as its integration with the room environment, so Samsung also includes SpaceFit Sound on the QN900A. This feature tailors the audio to the room, accounting for the acoustics and also the TV's placement (on a wall, or on a stand).

New Remote

This Neo QLED gets Samsung’s redesigned, eco-friendly SolarCell Remote. This controller is charges using solar when not in use, either by the sun or indoors. It offers USB charging for environments where there’s not enough light (like a dedicated home theater). Samsung sought to reduce battery waste while offering an ergonomic remote that’s always ready.

HDR

Although there is a bit of an “HDR war” going on between Dolby Vision and HDR10+, the reality of HDR is that the more capable the TV itself is, the less you need to worry about which flavor of HDR it supports. Nevertheless, HDR10+ Adaptive is available through Amazon Prime Video and works with the TV’s Filmmaker Mode to maximize HDR picture quality, even accounting for changes in ambient light levels in the viewing space. In years past, HDR only looked bright enough in the mid-tones when the TV was located in a darkened room (thus matching the mastering environment). Now, the TV will compensate for ambience, with viewers experiencing the benefit of increased shadow detail natural-looking tonality, so that HDR10 looks good even when seen in a bright space.

Even when not watching HDR10+ content, the QN90A leverages its built-in sensor for dynamic adaptation in sync with room lighting. When a change in ambient light levels occurs the QN900A adjusts the picture on screen accordingly.

More Specs

To read the QN900A's full published specifications on Samsung's website, click here.

Hands-On

I recently spent time with a 75” 8K QN900A, and even had the opportunity to compare it to a 65” 4K QN90A. Both TVs deliver an exceptional picture, but I did notice that the QN900A tended to offer a slightly more realistic color rendition versus its 4K sibling. The QN900A also preserved more highlight detail with HDR scenes, when playing 4K HDR demo clips of nature scenes on both TVs (using the Spears & Munsil UHD HDR Benchmark disc as the source) I could see spots where the QN90A clipped, while the QN900A maintained tonality in the same highlight region. Overall, with 4K video as the source, the visible detail was the same. Seeing the resolution benefit of 8K is possible, but it requires 8K source imagery to really appreciate, or else it becomes apparent when using the Multi View feature.

3096492

My hands-on experience included actual 8K footage, playing off USB. It looks astonishingly sharp.

8K video is still relatively scarce as compared to 4K, but on the production side, 8K is now becoming accessible to many more video producers and film makers. It’s inevitable that you’ll see more and more 8K content. But when it comes to still photos, recent premium smartphones have easily shattered the 4K capture barrier, and now you’ll find cameras that can take 8K resolution images, which look mesmerizing when viewed on a true 8K TV. You can walk right up to it, the same way you would walk up to a painting, drawing or photo at a gallery or museum, and are rewarded with ever finer details. Yes, including details you cannot see when standing at a distance from the TV. We live in a world where capturing 8K imagery is as easy as taking a smartphone photo, but the only way to really appreciate the power of these smartphone cameras is to view the result on an 8K TV.

The important thing to remember is that with the 8K QN900A, while you do pay a premium, you are not just buying more pixels. You are buying a TV that has the maximalist expression of all Samsung’s best features. You are buying a TV designed to offer the best picture, the most compelling gaming experiences, the most superior built-in sound and audio compatibility with the company’s soundbars. And the highest build quality, with a suitably futuristic, minimalist look to it—it’s all screen! Now, it need be said, for a lot of applications, the 4K QN90A is more than a good enough TV, and my subjective first impression is the 4K TV might even outperform its 8K sibling when it comes to the Ultra Wide Viewing Angle feature.

For those AV enthusiasts seeking the SOTA solution for TV-based in home viewing in 2021, it’s hard to deny the technological powerhouse that is the QN900A. Whether its worth the extra money is a decision each TV shopper needs to make for themselves. However, given the pricing of 85” 8K FALD TVs in years past, even the $8999.99 MSRP 85QN900A enters the realm of the obtainable, perhaps with the help of some interest free financing (available from Samsung).

Conclusion

8K is still “new” and therefore commands a premium. But as discussed above, the point of buying an 8K Neo QLED is not strictly limited to getting 4X the pixels of 4K. The point of this TV is it plays a leading role in the pursuit of state-of-the-art performance and appearance. It is a TV that is ready to make the most of today’s content, and is especially appealing to gamers seeking the ultimate HDMI 2.1-equipped display, but also sports fans who may wish to have their sports book app up on screen next to the game.

The Neo QLED QN900A is a TV for movie lovers who appreciate the wide color gamut and high contrast that allows it to make the most of HDR. In short, it’s a TV for anyone seeking Samsung’s best QLED viewing experience and is willing to pay the cost of admission. It is a technological tour de force among TVs and therefore is an AVS Forum Top Choice for 2021.