Hands on: Samsung Neo QN900 8K QLED TV review

The new Samsung Neo QN900 QLED is going to be the first 8K TV for a lot of people who want to absolutely splurge on their next television purchase and blissfully buy into Samsung’s vision for top-end TVs in 2021.

Big, bright, beautiful and before our own eyes, the 85-inch Neo QN900 stood in front of us ahead of CES 2021 running a looped 8K video that showed off exactly where this display makes its biggest improvements. The answer: pretty much everywhere, including a price drop compared to last year’s flagship set.

The QN900 is starting at $4,999 for a 65-inch model (around £3,600 / $AU6,500), which is exactly what last year’s Q900TS started at when it launched. Larger sizes see it go up to $6,999 (£5,100 / AU$9,100) for the 75-inch, and $8,999 (£6,500 / AU$11,700) for the 85-inch. It’s now available to pre-order, and will start shipping to US customers by March 13, though exact price and release info is yet to drop for other territories.

Samsung’s first trick for 2021 involves shrinking its LEDs to 1/40th of their traditional size to increase both brightness and black levels. This allows for more precision and less blooming, so you won’t see bright areas of the screen unnaturally bleed over into darker spots, like on some TVs that use local dimming.

Exclusive to the QN900 is matrixing technology that reduces the space between the edges of the screen where pixels end and the incredibly thin bezels begin. It’s a small change by definition, but a big enough deal to use Samsung’s edge-to-edge ‘Infinity Screen’ moniker from the Galaxy phone series. Of course, at screen sizes of 65, 75, and 85 inches, it’s at a whole different scale here than the forthcoming Galaxy S21.

Measuring just 0.9.mm, the slimmed-down border around this 8K TV is a tad sleeker than the similar Samsung Neo QN800 8K QLED, which was also announced ahead of CES 2021.

(Image credit: Future)

This QN900 TV has better HDR (Quantum HDR 64x on the 900 series vs 32x on the 800 series), too. So while you may otherwise have a tough time telling the two Samsung Neo TVs apart, if you’re going to spend big, the QN900 makes a bold impression.

How important is an 8K TV like the QN900? Samsung makes the point that 57% of consumers streamed more TV shows and movies in 2020 than in the past. None of that streaming content is in 8K, though. You’re future-proofing your television experience for the day this 8K-optimized TV gets true 8K content to match its specs. 

Right now, you can take advantage of Samsung’s Multi-Intelligence AI upscaling to get better-than-4K quality. We didn’t see this 8K upscaling in action – that’ll have to wait for a final Samsung Neo QN900 8K QLED TV review – but Samsung promises that the Neo QLED’s level of upscaling is powerful enough to call it an industry first.

(Image credit: Future)

The speakers have been integrated into the Neo QLED TV sides, perforating the left and right sides with speaker grille. You won’t find audio shouting out of the back of this television. Samsung’s Object Tracking Sound feature brings a new level of clarity to intense action movies in which sound sources move across the screen.

The QN900 is a beast of a television, but a lot of the brainpower is offloaded into a separate breakout box that connects to the display panel with a single cable. It has a new design in 2021 by way of attaching to the stand or the back of the TV, so Samsung is calling it this box its ‘Attachable Slim One Connect’.

(Image credit: Future)

Early verdict

The Neo QN900 is Samsung’s flagship QLED TV in 2021 with over-the-top specs that, like its bezel-less ‘Infinity Screen’, knows no bounds. It’s incredibly bright thanks to its use of smaller LEDs, which offer better peak brightness than Samsung’s previous QLEDs. And yet its has more OLED-like precision when it comes to deep black levels.

Shrinking the bezels to almost nothing, beyond what we saw on the new QN800, is a technical marvel. Plus, the fact that it’s promising twice the HDR performance as the 800 series Neo QLED means this is Samsung’s best for 2021 if you want the king of 8K QLEDs.

Given the price drop from 2020’s flagship Samsung Q950TS  – which retailed for $12,999 / £11,999 at its largest 85-inch size – you’re going to be paying less for Samsung’s best too.

  • Check out every new Samsung TV coming this year
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