Samsung Q90R vs Q9FN Review (QN65Q90/QN65Q90R vs QN65Q9FN, QN75Q90/QN75Q90R vs QN75Q9FN)
Samsung Q90R is the flagship of Samsung’s 2019 4K HDR QLED TV lineup, one level under Q900R that comes with 8K resolution. It is released to replace the Samsung Q9FN, the flagship of Samsung’s 2018 4K HDR QLED TV. As the newer model of the Samsung Q9 series, it comes with some improvements over the Q9FN predecessor. Additionally, if the Q9FN predecessor is available in 2 screen sizes option only those are 65 inch (QN65Q9FN) and 75 Inch (QN75Q9FN), Q90R comes with more screen sizes options. In addition to 65 inch (QN65Q90/QN65Q90R) and 75 inch (QN75Q90/QN75Q90R), it is also available in 82 inch (QN82Q90/QN82Q90R). As a newer model, is performance of Q90 better and what improvements offered over the Q9FN predecessor? Below is the side by side comparison between Samsung Q90R and Q9FN, the flagship of Samsung 4K HDR QLED TV in 2019 and 2018.
Samsung Q90R / Q90 vs Q9FN Key Specs
|Technology and Features||Samsung Q90/Q90R||Samsung Q9FN|
|Screen Size Available||65 Inch (QN65Q90R), 75 Inch (QN75Q90R), 82 Inch (QN82Q90R)||65 Inch (QN65Q9FNAFXZA), 75 Inch (QN75Q9FNAFXZA)|
|Resolution||4K (3840 x 2160)||4K (3840 x 2160)|
|Panel Technology||VA Panel||VA Panel|
|Backlight Technology||Direct LED||Direct LED|
|Local Dimming Technology||Full Array Local Dimming (Direct Full Array 16x) with Ultimate UHD Dimming||Full Array Local Dimming (Direct Full Array Elite) with Supreme UHD Dimming|
|Ultra Viewing Angle Technology||Yes||No|
|Processor||Quantum Processor 4K||Q Engine|
|HDR Quality||Quantum HDR 16X||Q HDR EliteMax|
|HDR Supports||HDR10, HLG, HDR10+||HDR10, HLG, HDR10+|
|Color Technology||Quantum Dot||Quantum Dot|
|Moth Eyes Technology||Ultra Black||Ultra Black Elite|
|Depth Enhancing Technology||N/a||Q Contrast EliteMax|
|Up-Scaling Engine||4K AI Up scaling||UHD Up-scaling|
|Motion Technology||Motion Rate 240||Motion Rate 240|
|Native Refresh Rate Panel||120 Hz||120 Hz|
|Smart TV Platform||Tizen 2019 with Bixby 2.0 Voice Assistant||Tizen 2018 with Bixby 1.0 Voice Assistant|
|Processor||Quad Core||Quad Core|
|Support Google Assistant||Yes||-|
|Support Amazon Alexa||Yes||-|
|Total Sound Output||60 watts||60 watts|
|HDMI Supports||HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth, CEC, HDCP 2.2,||HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth, CEC, HDCP 2.2|
|One Connect Box||Yes||Yes|
|Price||See the price on Amazon||See the price on Amazon|
The Difference between Samsung Q9FN and Q90 / Q90R
Ultra Viewing Angle
One of the major improvements offers most model of Samsung’s 2019 QLED TV lineup including Q90R over the 2018 model is about ‘Ultra Viewing Angle’ technology. This technology is actually similar to ‘X-Wide Angle’ we found on Sony Z9F. It is an anti reflection optical layer with some certain filters that design in such a way in order to the spread of light is more evenly across the panel, so the quality of the picture produced will look more consistent if viewed from the side. And although the result is not as good as IPS TV or OLED TV, a TV with ‘Ultra Viewing Angle’ can provide better viewing angle coverage than a TV with conventional VA panel. But on the other hand, this will slightly sacrifice black level that produced.
As we see comparison above, as their image processor, Samsung Q9FN is powered by Q engine while Q90R is powered by Quantum Processor 4K. Something new that offered by this processor is about AI (Artificially Intelligence) technology that integrated with its up-scaling engine for improving its performance in up-scaling the lower resolution content to 4K. Expected, with AI Up-scaling, Q90R can provide better picture quality than Q9FN when the source is non native 4k content.
The Level of HDR Quality
We found a different term that brought by Samsung Q90R and Q9FN, which are Quantum HDR 16X and Q HDR EliteMax. I think this is just the marketing name for assessing HDR quality produced by each model of Samsung TVs. Meanwhile, which is better between HDR quality of Q90R and Q9FN, we will discuss a lot below.
Screen Dimming Technology
Both Samsung Q90R and Q9FN might use direct LED backlight with full array local dimming, but they have a difference in screen dimming technology. As we see on comparison table above, Samsung Q9F is powered by Supreme UHD Dimming while Q90R is powered by Ultimate UHD Dimming. We don’t know for sure, what is the difference between these technologies. But certainly, Ultimate UHD Dimming is the next marketing name of Supreme UHD Dimming.
The term of the Local Dimming
Again, Samsung uses a different marketing name for their technology. And for this time, Samsung uses term ‘Direct Full Array 16x’ for the local dimming of Q90R while for Q9FN is ‘Direct Full Array Elite’. We think this is just about the number of zones of their local dimming. But unfortunately, Samsung doesn’t clearly reveal how many dimming zones of each, so we cannot determine which is superior between them. Nevertheless, in term of performance of their local dimming, we will discuss a lot below.
Depth Enhancing Technology
As we see on the comparison table above, Samsung Q9FN has depth enhancing technology named “Q Contrast EliteMax’ while the Q90R doesn’t has depth enhancing technology. Just like other technology, this actually is just a marketing name for the output level of the contrast produced by Samsung TVs. And Q Contrast Elite is the pinnacle of the contrast level produced by Samsung QLED TV. Meanwhile, on Samsung’s 2019 QED TV lineup, there is no Q Contrast EliteMax listed on their official specs.
The Level of Moth Eyes Technology
For this case, Samsung Q9FN comes with moth eyes technology called Ultra Black Elite while Q90R comes with Ultra Black. This actually is an anti reflective screen technology that design for reducing glare and improving black. And since the level of Ultra Black Elite is higher than Ultra Black, Samsung Q9FN with Ultra Black Elite should be able to produce deeper black level than the Q90R successor.
Smart TV Platform
Although Samsung Q90R and Q9FN both are featuring Tizen OS as their platform and powered by a quad core processor, but their version is different. Samsung Q9FN come with2018 version while Q90R comes with 2019 version. Additionally, in the newer version, Tizen OS also already works with Google Assistant and Alexa, while the 2018 version doesn’t support. But even so, Samsung will give an update for the 2018 version in order to support Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. The other difference among these two versions, Tizen 2019 is integrated with Bixby 2.0 version while the 2018 version is integrated with 1.0 version.
Samsung Q90R vs Q9FN Performance
Black Level and Contrast
Samsung Q9FN has outstanding native contrast ratio, higher than most TVs with VA panel. Additionally, it also has excellent local dimming that can do a great job in boosting their contrast ratio, up to 19000:1, the highest contrast ratio that ever reach by an LED TV. The result, black produced by Samsung Q9FN looks extremely deep, close to black produced by an OLED TV. On the other hand, Samsung Q90R also has good native contrast ratio, but actually, its native contrast ratio is far lower than Q9FN and even still lower than most VA TVs. This is caused the use “Ultra Viewing Angle’ optical layer slight bother its native contrast ratio. But even so, although its native contrast ratio is relatively low, but Q90R also has a local dimming technology that is able to boost its contrast ratio excellently, up to higher than 10000:1. Sp, although its native contrast ratio is relatively lower than most VA TVs, but with its local dimming, it can produce deeper black than most VA TVs.
The result, despite the superiority of Q9FN, both Samsung Q90R and Q9FN are able to produce very deep black. So, although they are set in a dark room where the difference in black level of black is very sensitive, black produced by them still looks really black. Since they both have deep black, this also makes them able to show darker colors accurately. On the other hand, black produced by both Samsung Q9FN and Q90R is also dark enough to meet black level required for revealing details of HDR images in dark scene like the intended. And combined to their excellent black uniformity and their local dimming that able to minimize “blooming” excellently, this certainly makes them are able to show shadow details of HDR images excellently.
In general, their performance in a dark room and producing black is excellent. But of course, since Q9FN can produce deeper black, this certainly makes its dark room performance is also better than the Q90R.
While performance of Samsung Q90R in producing black is not as good as the Q9FN predecessor, in term peak brightness, it is better. With test pattern, in SDR mode, Q9FN may be able to reach brighter peak brightness than Q90R, but real SDR content, Q90R can get brighter. With test pattern, the brightest peak brightness reached by Q9FN is when it is showing around 10% bright area, that is around 1600 nits. Meanwhile, with the same size of bright area, Q90R can reach a bit brighter than 1000 nits. Otherwise, the dimmest peak brightness reached by them is when they are showing thorough area is bright where Q9FN can reach about 650 nits while Q90R is less than 500 nits. But even so, with SDR real scene, Q90R is brighter where it can reach about 750 nits while Q9FN is only around 650 nits. Nevertheless, despite the difference peak brightness reached by them, their peak brightness are bright enough to overcome the glare in most bright room, makes the picture produced looks very bright even though they are set in a very bright room.
Meanwhile, in HDR mode, they both can reach brighter peak brightness. Just like in SDR, with test pattern, Q9FN can reach brighter peak brightness than Q90R. With the same sizes of bright area, the brightest peak brightness reached by Q9FN is around 1700 nits while Q90R is a bit higher than 1300 nits. Otherwise, the dimmest peak brightness reached by Q9FN is close to 700 nits while Q90R is around 500 nits. But with HDR real scene, peak brightness of the Samsung Q90R is around 1300 nits while peak brightness of Q9FN is around 900 nits. This means when they are showing HDR contents, the Q90R can show them brighter than Q9FN.
In certain scene, the Q9FN might able to show highlights brighter than Q90R, but overall, when they are playing HDR content, Q90R is brighter. But despite their difference, they both can get very bright with HDR content. Even, in certain scene, they both are able to show HDR images at 1000 – 4000 nits of brightness range intended by content creator. And we all know, there are not many TVs that can show HDR images at brightness level intended by the content creator.
Just like in native contrast ratio, the use “Ultra Viewing Angle” optical panel also seems to affect on the color gamut delivered by Q90R. If Samsung Q9FN can deliver color gamut that can cover more than 97% of DCI P3 color space, color gamut of Q90R is a bit worse where its color gamut coverage in DCI P3 is only around 94%. What reached by Q90R is similar to Q900R or the lowest model of Samsung’s 2018 QLED TV Q6FN series. This means, in certain colors, the Q9FN can show them more accurate than Q90R. But even so, although not as wide as Q9FN, color gamut of Q90R is wide enough to makes color of HDR images displayed on its screen looks fairly accurate.
Meanwhile, in term of color volume, they both can show their wide colors gamut almost at their entire brightness level. They can produce both dark and bright colors fairly well. The result, no matter they are showing dark scene or bright scene, color of images displayed on their screen looks fairly accurate. But even so, compare between them, the superiority of Q9FN in color volume is more caused by it has wider color gamut.
In term of color gradient, Samsung Q9FN can also deliver smoother color gradient than Q90R. But even so, overall, despite the superiority of Q9FN, they both have excellent color gradient. When displaying HDR content or 10 bit content, color gradient of images looks very smooth with almost no color banding. Some little imperfections may be still visible in certain colors particularly in dark grey and dark green, but overall, the result is great.
Side Viewing Angle
The use of Ultra Viewing Angle may reduce black level and color gamut produced by Samsung Q90R, but on other hand, this can improve its side viewing angle coverage. If on the screen of Q9FN, black level will looks degraded started at around 20 degrees, on the screen of Q90R, black level can be maintained at up to 70 degrees. Additionally, on the screen of Q9FN, color will be washed out started at 25 degrees, on the screen of Q90R, color will washed at more than 30 degrees. The result, when viewed from an angle, particularly wider than 20 degrees, the picture displayed on the screen of Q90R will look more consistent than Q9FN. This will be useful when you are watching TV with a group of your family who seat on the wide seating.
Samsung Q9FN might already have low pixel response time, but Q90R successor even has lower pixel response time. And we know, the lower pixel response time of the TV, the performance in handling motion blur is better. And since Q90R has lower pixel response time than Q9FN, of course, its performance in handling motion is better than Q9FN. But even so, despite the superiority of Q90R, the both can do a great job when handling motion blur. When playing fast moving images like fast movies or sports, the picture produced looks very smooth with almost no motion blur visible. Following fast moving object, there is only a short ghosting trail where most people might not notice this much. But of course, on the screen of Q90R, ghosting trail will looks shorter than on the screen of Q9FN. Some duplication may be still visible, but this is more caused by persistence than pixel response time.
Meanwhile, to dim their backlight, they both use PWM Dimming System and the dimming frequency is depending on the setting. But for this case, the highest dimming frequency of Q90R is higher than Q90FN. In ‘Movies’ Mode with ‘Auto Motion Plus’ disabled, the dimming frequency of Q90R is 960 Hz while Q9FN is 480 Hz. And we know, the higher dimming frequency of the TV, the backlight flicker will be more invisible. This means, in this setting, backlight flicker will be more noticeable on the screen of Q9FN than Q90R. But since the dimming frequency of QFN actually is fairly high, most people might notice this much. Nevertheless, on the other hand, this will cause some duplication.
Both Samsung Q90R and Q9FN have an option that allows you to reduce their dimming frequency. By enabling ‘Auto Motion Plus’ or changing the mode to ‘Standard’ or Game, their dimming frequency will change to 120 Hz. Additionally, they both also have a BFI (Black Frame Insertion) mode called ‘LED Clear Motion’ where when this feature is enabled, this will change the dimming frequency to 60 Hz. By enabling this feature, this can help to reduce the blur that caused by 60 fps persistence, particularly when you are playing 60 fps content. But on the other hand, this will make backlight flicker s more noticeable.
Except 24p movies via 60i signals, both Samsung Q9FN and Q90R also can do a great job in reducing judder when playing 24p movies. This means, whether they are playing native 24p videos like Blu-Ray or DVD movies, via 60p signal like movies from streaming devices, or movies via streaming apps like Netflix, YouTube, and more, all of them can be shown clearly and smoothly with judder-free. Meanwhile, when playing 24p movies via 60i signal likes movies from satellite TV, Samsung Q90R can do a better job when Q9FN. This means, with this frame rate, Q90R can show with judder-free while Q9FN cannot reduce completely. But even so, for most people, judder on the screen of Q9FN might be not noticeable. To remove the judder without interpolation, you should set the ‘Auto Motion Plus’ to ‘Custom’ and both Judder and Blur Reduction to ‘0’.
Both Samsung Q90R and Q9FN have native 120 Hz refresh rate panel. But the advantage, they also support FreeSync VRR (Variable Refresh Rate). At 4K, their fresh rate ranges from 48 Hz to 60 Hz while at 1080p, its refresh rate even ranges from lower than 20 Hz to 120 Hz. This allows the TV can synchronize its refresh rate to the input device’s outputs. This feature is very useful to reduce stuttering and screen tearing when you are playing game with compatible device like X Box One or others.
Both Samsung Q9FN and Q90R support most of input resolution. They both support 1080p at both 60 Hz and 120 Hz, 1440 at 60 Hz, and 4K at 60 Hz. A bit improvement offered by Q90 is in 1440p and 4K resolution where now it already supports 1440 at 60 Hz and 4K at 120 Hz while the Q9FN doesn’t support yet these input type.
Overall, there is an improvement offered by Samsung Q90R over Q9FN on its input lags in ‘Game’ and ‘PC’ mode at any resolution, particularly at 60 Hz. Whether it is at 1080p, 1440p, or 4K, the input lags of Samsung Q9FN at 60 Hz are a bit higher than 20 ms while the input lags of Q90R is a bit lower than 15 ms. This certainly makes the Q90R is more responsive than Q9FN when used for playing games and this will be more felt particularly for fast paced games. But even so, although the input lags of Q9FNare not as low as Q90R, the Q9FN actually is already responsive for any games, even for fast paced games. Meanwhile, their input lags in 1080p and 1440p at 120 Hz are almost similar.
Smart TV Experience
Both Samsung Q90R and Q9FN might be featuring the same smart TV platform that is Tizen OS and powered by the same quad core processor, but they come with different version. Q9FN as an older model comes with 2018 version while Q90R as a newer model comes with 2019 version. At a glance, their interface looks similar. But in 2019 version, there is an improvement on its performance. In 2019 version, we don’t find anymore its interface freezes occasionally for few seconds and animations drop frames intermittently where this becomes an issue for 2018 version. This certainly makes the user interface of the 2019 version is more responsive and smoother than the 2018 version. Additionally, the other improvement offered by the 2019 version, now it already supports Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant while the 2018 doesn’t yet. But even so, Samsung will give an update for the 2018 version in order to support Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Meanwhile, discussing about apps provided, there are not many changes. As their preinstalled apps, there are VoD Service like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Videos, and others, Web Browser, Lice TVs, Games, and more. Just like the older version, it also has a Home Assistant App called Smart Things. And the interesting, it also an apps store called Samsung Apps Store that provides tons of apps, games, content and other you can download directly from your Samsung TV.
As their controller, Samsung Q90R comes with the 2019 model of smart remote or 1950C model like we found on the Q900R, while Q9FN comes with the 2018 model or 1890A model. With metallic finish, the remote of Q9FN looks more elegant than the remote of Q90R that has plastic finish. But even so, functionality, they are almost the same. Both of these remote only have few buttons. But it is equipped with built-in microphone for voice and some features like CEC menu control, universal ability, Samsung OneRemote and others. Overall, their voice navigations works well like answer some basic question, open apps, change inputs, and more. But a bit unfortunately, its voice command doesn’t support searching with in apps. A bit improvement of the 2019 version, there are three additional dedicated buttons for Netflix, Amazon Videos, and Hulu.
|Performance||Samsung Q90/Q90R||Samsung Q9FN|
As we have discussed a lot above, the key point that makes difference in picture between the picture produced by the Q90R and Q9FN is about the “Ultra Viewing Angle” optical layer. The use of this technology might make Q90R has better viewing angle thanQ9FN, but on the other hand it reduces black level and color gamut produced, makes black and color gamut produced by Q90R is not as good as the Q9FN predecessor. But even so, for a high end TV, performance of Q90R in producing black and color gamut is still excellent. Meanwhile, although with test pattern, the peak brightness of Q90R is not as bright as Q9FN, but with real content, whether with SDR or HDR, Samsung Q90R can deliver brighter images than Q9FN. In general, despite their difference, both Samsung Q90R and Q9FN have excellent picture quality and HDR performance. Even in certain scene, they can show HDR images fully like the intended by the content creator, whether it is about black level, color reproduction, or peak brightness.
Meanwhile, outside the aspects of picture quality, overall, performance of the Samsung Q90R is better than Q9FN. It has lower pixel response time, less visible flicker, better performance in handling 24 movies, particularly 24p content via 60i signals, lower input lags, supports more input types, and more responsive smart TV experience. So, which is a better choice between them? As a newer model, in my personal opinion, I think Q90R is better than Q9FN. But of course, when I was writing this comparison, Samsung Q90R is recently launched, it still has a full price. Waiting for few months might be better if you want to buy Q90R. On the other hand, since Q9FN is the 2018 model and there is a newer model, its price certainly has dropped a lot. Now, the decision certainly comes back to you according to your own preferences.