Samsung 8K QN900C Neo QLED TV

Samsung 8K QN900C Neo QLED review: big, bright and beautiful

9.2

People often talk about what the “best” TV screen technology is, but the truth is that there is no one “best” technology, but simply a matter of finding the best type of screen for your room and purpose. For gamers and AV nerds who have bright living rooms, I have never seen a TV better than the Samsung 8K QN900C Neo QLED TV.

Every part of it looks better than everything that’s gone before it. Well, every part of it except the price tag which is, while reasonable for this much technology, out of reach for most people. This TV is full of the best that Samsung has to offer, and a great promise for what the future has in store for the rest of the TV lineup.

First impressions

Setting up this 85” beast was very easy for me, because someone came and wall-mounted it. But the stand does work in a similar way to last year’s model, which I have put up and down a few times. So, if you’re not wall mounting it, it is very easy to put together, thanks to the clever construction of the box that Samsung has used for the last few years. It just requires some confidence, some patience, and a screwdriver.

When wall mounted, the QN900C sits fully flush against the wall with no gaps, looking clean and neat. This is because, instead of having all the inputs going into the back of the screen, there is just one clear cable coming out of the TV and going into the separate One Connect box that you can put in a cabinet. It’s glorious, looks clean, and means it’s easier to add or change out what you have plugged into HDMI ports as the mood strikes you.

Samsung QN900C TV nature doco

The only thing that I don’t love from a first impression standpoint is the new home menu that was introduced with last year’s models that you have to navigate any time you want to change between inputs. It makes whatever you’re watching small and brings up a big menu of all the options, which is kinda good, but also means you have to look at a bunch of ads. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t think a $10,000 TV should have unavoidable ads as part of its operating system. I also don’t like that navigating to anything through this menu system seems to take a few more clicks than is required on other TVs I’ve reviewed.

However, once watching something, all the minor annoyances of the operating system are almost forgotten.

Samsung QN900C specifications

Panel typeLCD (Neo QLED)
Refresh rate144Hz
Resolution8K (7680 x 4320)
HDR formatHDR10+
HDMI inputs4x HDMI 2.1
Gaming featuresFreeSync Premium Pro, Ultrawide Game View, Game bar, Xbox Game Pass App
Smart assistantsAlexa, Bixby, Google Assistant
Operating systemTizen Smart TV
Price (RRP)65”: $6,499, 75”: $8,499 , 85”: $10,995
Size reviewed85″
Warranty1-year manufacturer’s warranty
Official websiteSamsung Australia

Samsung QN900C performance

Samsung has had three years to really refine the premium 8K QN900 range, and it really shows. At this price point, with this calibre of TV, you’d expect it to be good. But I’m always pleasantly surprised by just how good TVs can get each year.

Picture

This year’s Samsung QN900C is noticeably brighter than last year’s QN900B, which is great not just for HDR, but for watching in bright rooms. I live in what is essentially a glasshouse, one of those apartments where every external wall is made of glass. It sounds really good in theory but varies wildly in temperature, and is very bright. While the TV is still not quite bright enough to comfortably play really dark games at lunchtime with all the curtains open (though, a TV that bright would possibly be like staring directly into the sun, so perhaps it is for the best), I can happily watch pretty much any movie or TV show on even the brightest day and still see what’s going on.

Although there isn’t a lot of 8K content available yet (and what’s out there is mostly restricted to YouTube), the reason to get an 8K TV is the upscaling that the more powerful processor allows for, which then means you can get a bigger TV and sit closer to it – the dream our parents warned us about. SD free-to-air TV channels still look, well, terrible up close, because this is an excellent television, but not a wizard. But HD channels, content on the basic Netflix tiers and even my favourite ye olde web series made with 50 cents years ago (Carmilla) look the best I’ve ever seen them. For a minute, I thought that maybe I’d accidentally upgraded to the premium Netflix tier and that I was watching 4K shows, the upscaling is that good. I credit my uncanny ability to always find the cake in Is It Cake? on Netflix to the upscaling.

On 4K content, like Daisy Jones and the Six, Hijack and Silo, I am blown away. The blacks are deep (though not quite as deep as OLED, due to the brightness), and the colours are so rich and vibrant (far more so than OLED). There is very, very minimal noticeable light bloom between the moon and a black night sky, thanks to the almost 2,000 dimming zones on the TV. With an 8K 85” QN900C and a good Atmos sound system, it’s like being at the cinema, only the snacks are more plentiful, and you can pause to go to the bathroom whenever.

Frankly, the picture looks exactly as you would expect from a TV of this calibre.

Remote

The Samsung remote is extremely polarising in its minimalism. As someone who still watches a lot of free-to-air TV, I really hate its lack of number buttons, because it means that changing the channel is a whole thing. But I also love how simple it is. It’s small, but not too small, and it’s obvious what everything does. Almost every button (except the Samsung TV Plus button) earns its place. Though, I do wish the four streaming service buttons down the bottom could be remapped to other inputs or other services, given the limited real estate.

My test of whether a remote is easy to use is whether or not I would dread explaining it to my parents. We got my dad a Samsung TV earlier this year, I was really nervous about explaining it to him. He’s not great with gadgets and his old TV was a very simple Panasonic plasma. But, somehow, this remote was far easier for him to understand than any other remote I’d tried to show him. He took to it instantly. He’s still asking about how basic features on his iPhone work (despite him having had one since the 3GS), and yet he’s telling me about Samsung TV Plus channels I hadn’t even realised existed. He’s taught my mum how to use the remote, though she is a little more hesitant.

Relying on a solar cell instead of batteries is a great move, too. Overall, I really like the remote a lot, even though there are still minor changes I would like to make to it.

Gaming

Samsung introduced a gaming mode to its premium TV range a few years ago, and every time I review a new screen I’m impressed by how it’s been improved. It’s set up so that any casual gamer can just start playing and have a good experience, but players with more demanding preferences can adjust it to their needs. Being able to add crosshairs to the screen is something that players of some games will really appreciate and it’ll be a good accessibility move for some people, whereas other players will likely keep it off forever.

Samsung QN900C TV Fortnite

Bringing up the menu to double-check the refresh rate, or adjust the settings, is really easy. I appreciate being able to fiddle with it mid-game as needed to adjust for bright days, dark nights, and all the different games I need to play for work and fun.

The 144Hz refresh rate means that it’s ready for PC gaming, or just Xbox Series X and PS5 at 120fps, and the buttery smoothness is really fantastic.

Sound and other features

One cool feature of the higher-end Samsung TVs is called ‘Q-Symphony’, which utilises the speakers in the TV, along with compatible Samsung soundbars, like the HW-Q990C, to even greater effect. It’s a nice way of using everything that you paid for, and it sounds surprisingly good. Like, much better than it has any right to. It adds extra channels and means that the TV and the soundbar combined are more than the sum of their parts.

Without a soundbar connected, the QN900C does not sound great. It sounds good for a thin-screen TV that is a TV first with speakers added as a nice to have, but, like all TVs, you really need a soundbar with it to get the whole experience. It’s just physically impossible for a TV this thin to give a full sound stage.

Another cool thing about the TV is that you can plug a webcam into it for big-screen Zoom calls, catching up with family, or looking at your technique on workout videos. I got to see this a bit at the launch (I don’t have the Samsung webcam with my review TV), and it was kinda neat. I can see people in long-distance relationships, or with family overseas (or next lockdown) really benefitting from being able to have their loved ones on the big screen.

Who is the Samsung 8K QN900C for?

This is a TV for AV snobs with a high budget and a bright room. It’s brilliant for gamers, movie buffs, sports fans and people who just want a preposterously large TV with the best quality possible. The price puts it out of reach for a lot of people but, cost aside, there is really no TV enthusiast who wouldn’t love the QN900C.

The whole premium Samsung range is a sight to behold, and something that you just can’t go back from.

Samsung 8K QN900C Neo QLED
A fantastic TV, with all the bells and whistles, for discerning viewers with bright living rooms.
Features
9.5
Value for money
8.5
Performance
9.5
Ease of use
9
Design
9.5
Positives
Bright
Beautiful
Easy to use
Lots of good viewing angles
Negatives
Displays ads in the menu
Doesn't have Dolby Vision
9.2