The title says it all, the Samsung QN95A has excellent contrast and picture quality. In this review, we will go more in deep into the panel quality. The Samsung QN95A is a 4k television based on LCD technology. The traditional drawbacks of LCD have been virtually eliminated thanks to filters in front of the screen and a false backlight behind it, while the traditional advantage of high brightness has been reinforced. If you can afford this model and have a well-lit room, you should definitely consider this model.
Although Samsung is by far the largest producer of OLED screens in the world by numbers, the televisions of this electronics giant only use LCD panels. LG is in fact the only manufacturer that makes large OLED panels for televisions and Samsung does not want to be dependent on its largest competitor for the supply of image panels. Perhaps that will change in the future, but this year’s models are all still equipped with an LCD. Traditionally, OLED screens have much better contrast and better viewing angles than LCDs, but the shortcomings of LCD can be counteracted by applying local dimming and diffusion filters.
In this review, we take look at the Samsung Neo QLED Q95A, the new 4k top model made by Samsung. This model uses mini LEDs in a full-array backlight, which means that it not only has a large number of dimming zones but also a much higher maximum brightness than what’s possible with OLED. Of course, this TV uses quantum dots for a larger color range and the viewing angles have also been addressed with a diffusion filter. To prevent reflected light in the image, this screen is provided with a layer that prevents reflections, making it more pleasant to view in a room with a lot of (day) light.
By using a mini LED backlight, not only could the image quality be improved, but the QN95A could also be made thinner. This allows it to be hung closer to the wall when wall-mounted with the optional wall bracket. Only a single cable runs to the TV because Samsung has housed all connections in the One Connect Box, a separate box that you can place out of sight.
A new feature is the option to display two images side by side on the screen, so that you can watch live TV and an app at the same time, for example. The QN95A uses Samsung’s own operating system Tizen. You get a compact remote control with a limited number of buttons, which is now equipped with a rechargeable battery. The remote can charge itself by means of solar cells on the back of the remote. The QN95A is available in four screen sizes from 55 up to 85 inches. The 65″ variant we tested could be found at the time of writing for about 2800 euros.
Beautiful Design and hidden connectors
The QN95A’s high price is also reflected in its appearance. The look of the television is very sleek, with small bezels around the screen that are barely visible. Dark brushed metal edging the housing on all four sides provides a nice finish. The only noticeable feature on the front is a bulge on the underside of the display. You will also find the infrared receiver, the ambient light sensor, and a status LED here. Because the screen is only 25 millimeters thick, the TV may be hung very flat against the wall.
The foot also has a sleek design that uses beautifully finished brushed metal. The connection between the metal base and the TV is made of cheap-looking plastic, and the design is quite out of tune with the rest of the TV. The back of the TV is also made of plastic, but with a pattern.
The QN95A just has one connector. The One Connect Cable, which connects the television to the One Connect Box. The supplied cable has the same thickness as a coaxial cable and is, therefore, a lot thicker than the partly optical ‘invisible cable’, which Samsung has used in recent years. The new cable has a silver color and stands out much more than its predecessor.
The connection for the power cord is located on the right side of the One Connect Box and has an angled plug, through which the cord runs to the back. There is a slot in the side through which you can feed the cable, but although there are small protrusions in the slot, the cord will not stay in place properly. This problem can easily be solved by folding a piece of paper with which you clamp the cable, but of course, it would have been nicer if Samsung had designed the slot a bit more cleverly.
On the backside, we find the following connections: a network connection, a Toslink digital audio output, two F-connectors for satellite, and a CI+ slot. In addition, there are two USB connections and four HDMI 2.1 connections, which are suitable for 4k images with a maximum of 120 fps, the third of which has an enhanced audio return channel with which sound can be sent to an audio system. To the right of this is another USB connection, which is intended for recordings. On the far right is the One Connect connection, which connects the box to the TV. A 3.5mm headphone jack is missing, so you can only use headphones and earbuds via Bluetooth. The aforementioned cheaper QN90 lacks the One Connect Box and has all connections on the back of the television itself, with only one of the four HDMI ports being suitable for 4k120 signals.
The QN95A runs on Tizen; the Linux-based operating system that has been used since 2015 and that Samsung will continue to use for the time being. Not much has changed about Tizen compared to last year. New this year is MultiView, the option to display two images side by side on the screen. You can now watch YouTube or the screen of your phone next to the live television image.
The interface of Tizen looks well-organized and the most important functions are easy to find. It is a pity that advertisements are occasionally shown. Unlike its competitor LG, Samsung does not offer its users the option to turn off the ads. You don’t see the ads very often, but they are very prominent in the otherwise tidy interface.
The remote has been revamped this year and has a few significant changes from last year. At first glance, the device looks like it is of lesser quality, as they switched from metal to black plastic. It no longer uses AAA batteries, but now features a rechargeable battery. The remote weighs about sixty grams and therefore feels less “luxurious”.
The battery is rechargeable via the USB-C connection on the bottom. A charging cable was not included, but that will not be a problem for most users, because the remote can charge itself by means of a solar cell on the back. So if you occasionally turn it upside down for a while, it never needs to be recharged. It does not have to be near a window, because a normal amount of (artificial) light in the living room is sufficient to charge the battery. A notification message will appear on the TV when the battery level is low.
The remote has a built-in microphone for voice commands and buttons for Multi-View and TV Plus. We find the lack of a button for external inputs very inconvenient; these must be selected via the menu.
Gaming on the SamsungQN95A
The QN95A will be a good choice if you play a lot of games as there are many features available for gamers. Such as four HDMI 2.1 inputs with 40Gbit/s bandwidth, all of which are suitable for displaying 4k images at up to 120fps and in HDR. It also offers support for variable refresh rates and AMD’s FreeSync Premium Pro. Frame rates between 24 and 120 fps are possible. Thanks to the ‘auto low latency mode’, the TV automatically switches to the game mode in which the input lag is the lowest.
As far as input lag is concerned, this TV performs very well. When displaying both 1080p60 and 3840p60 images, the Samsung QN95A has an input lag of 10ms. When displaying images at 120fps, the input lag even drops to 6ms. This makes the QN95A one of the best-performing televisions of the moment in terms of input lag. LG’s OLED models, from the C series, perform just as well.
Samsung has equipped the QN95A with a special display for games. The display looks a bit gimmicky, just like the Game Optimizer from competitor LG. We are pleased with the wide range of the variable frame rates with which all refresh rates between 24 and 120 fps are supported.
What’s the energy consumption of the Samsung QN95A?
Since the 1st of March this year, there are new energy labels for TVs and other household appliances, such as refrigerators and vacuum cleaners. The rules have been tightened considerably to encourage manufacturers to design ever more energy-efficient devices. As a result, almost all televisions this year carry energy label G. This means that the energy label is currently a less useful tool for choosing an energy-efficient television.
The Samsung QN95A also carries the energy label G, but despite the red color on the label, this model does not consume much more than other televisions with the same image size. Our 65″ test model consumes about 110W on average in standard mode, with the screen producing about 384cd/m² of brightness. If we adjust the screen to 250cd/m², the consumption drops to 90W. At 120cd/m². The QN95A is equipped with an ambient light sensor with which can automatically adjust the brightness of the screen to the ambient light in the room.
The QN95A’s speakers are tucked into the bottom of its housing and the sound exits the TV through a horn structure on the bottom. Samsung specifies that it is a 4.2.2 audio system. In addition, the QN95 has two extra speakers on the side of the screen, incorporated into the edge. Those extra speakers only reproduce higher tones and should ensure that the sound seems to come more ‘from the screen, instead of from underneath.
The bass reproduction is fine for a TV, but those who like a strong bass should opt for a separate audio system and a possible real subwoofer. Samsung also claims that this TV has Object Tracking Sound, with which the manufacturer prevents objects from being tracked in the picture and that their position affects the sound. The effect of this is limited and, moreover, only noticeable if you place the television relatively close to the wall.
Still, we find it a pleasant-sounding audio system that isn’t inferior to other televisions. Samsung offers a seven-band equalizer, but it doesn’t do much to the sound. There is an option to amplify voices and that works just fine. This boosts the mid-tones, significantly increasing comprehensibility. Unfortunately, there is no support for DTS sound, which can be very inconvenient if you want to play movies via the built-in media player.
Samsung has equipped the QN95A with a VA panel. This type of LCD is known for having relatively good contrast, but the viewing angles are generally less. However, Samsung has added a diffusion layer, which improves viewing angles significantly.
When viewing at an angle, the color saturation hardly decreased, and the contrast and brightness only slightly decrease. An OLED appears to be more appealing from an angle, but the difference is minor. Samsung has successfully addressed one of VA panels’ main flaws by addressing this disadvantage.
Another challenge of LCD technology is to have the backlight illuminate the screen as uniformly as possible. The QN95A is equipped with a mini LED backlight, which uses thousands of small LEDs. Because LEDs are smaller, they can be packed more densely, allowing for a larger area to be illuminated and the housing to be made flatter.
The black display is traditionally a weak point of LCDs, with VA panels clearly performing better than IPS screens. Because this TV is equipped with a full array of local dimming backlight, the TV can illuminate parts of the screen less brightly to improve the blacks in this display.
When displaying a completely black screen, with a small white text on it, the whole screen remains dimly lit. As a result, black does not become completely black, but no disturbing halos can be seen in the image either. As far as we are concerned, this is a neat solution, but the white letters are displayed a bit too dark as a result. The black display of the QN95A is therefore certainly not bad, but an OLED is clearly better.
The image processing of the Samsung Q95A is provided by the Neo Quantum Processor 4K. According to Samsung, this is an ‘intelligent processor with deep learning’. Samsung, like other brands, claims that neural networks are used to scale images with a lower resolution to UHD, which results in sharper lines, among other things. In our opinion, the upscaling looks fine but no better than other brands.
The number of individual ‘image enhancers’ is relatively small for a TV in this price range. Most expensive televisions come with a large range of settings that are intended to polish the picture. If you’re looking at mediocre images that look a bit lifeless, Contrast Enhancement allows you to brighten the light areas and darken the darker areas to make the image look a bit more vibrant. Do not use this style on high-quality pictures since the highlights and shadows will be lost.
There is a similar sharpness control to that found on most televisions. If the material is good, it’s best to keep it at zero. You may enhance contrast transitions by emphasizing them if the picture is out of focus. Apply sparingly or the image will appear harsh; otherwise, halos will emerge quickly.
You can improve the look of moving pictures by using image interpolation and the ‘Sharpness settings’ option is one way to do so. You can tweak the algorithm with Vibration Reduction and Blur Reduction. However, we prefer not to use this feature at all because, as always with image interpolation, it causes artifacts to become visible in the image when objects in the image move over each other.
Supported types ofHDR
One of the most essential characteristics when it comes to how you perceive the picture quality on a screen is contrast. The Q95A has a mini LED backlight that improves the image panel’s own contrast. We counted 44 horizontal and 18 vertical zones for a total of 792. In theory, a mini LED backlight could have a lot more zones, without the need for more LEDs. Unfortunately, each additional zone also requires more electronics to control the LEDs, so costs quickly add up.
Samsung has cleverly managed the local dimming backlight, ensuring that light halos around bright objects on a dark backdrop are kept to a minimum. Switching individual zones on and off sometimes needs to be (too) plainly visible, particularly when white subtitles are on a dark background. With the Q95A, Samsung has succeeded in overcoming this difficulty by making the subtitles darker. Unfortunately, some other small objects are also rendered too dark by the algorithm.
There is support for the standard formats Hybrid Log-Gamma and HDR10. In addition, HDR10+ is supported. That is an extension to HDR10 that adds dynamic metadata and can mainly be found with Amazon Prime Video. Dolby Vision is missing, which is a shame, because this format, with dynamic metadata, is much more popular than HDR10+.
The Q95A has a maximum brightness level that is considerably greater than that of OLED televisions, so you don’t need to dim the lights when watching HDR. You also receive the most beautiful HDR display if you view this TV in a room with moderate illumination.
Conclusion onThe Samsung Neo QLED QN95A
The Samsung Neo QLED QN95A is a beautiful 4K TV with a separate box that contains all of the connections. As a result, only one cable goes to the television, with the other cables hiding in plain sight. It’s quite thin and well-finished, despite the fact that it has a fold-backlight. Fold-backlighting televisions are usually a lot thicker, but Samsung was able to make the Q95A flat by utilizing mini-LEDs.
The tiny LEDs are also beneficial for picture quality. The backlight is divided into 792 zones, and this TV delivers excellent contrast for an LCD television. Furthermore, because of the high maximum brightness, you can still view a clear image with a lot of natural light and prevents annoying reflections due to the superb anti-reflection.
Gamers will certainly appreciate this TV, as it has low input lag, supports variable frame rates, and can display 4k images at 120fps thanks to the four HDMI 2.1 inputs. The built-in speakers sound good and offer a good maximum volume for most living rooms. It is a pity that there is no support for DTS sound.
Thanks to the high brightness of the mini LEDs, the HDR display is beautiful, even with a little more ambient light. An OLED performs better in a dark room, but if you watch a lot during the day, the QN95A is the better choice. The lack of support for Dolby Vision is disappointing, as this is the most popular format for HDR with dynamic metadata.
For many, the high price will be a deal-breaker, especially when you consider that an equally large OLED television is now available for around 1000 euros at many stores. This TV, on the other hand, is the ideal option if you want to watch TV in a bright living room.
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