In 2021, Samsung is launching QLED televisions whose backlighting is entrusted to mini LEDs. Failing to completely compete with OLED and its inky blacks, the technology is to be considered for gamers.
In 2021, the television market will welcome yet another evolution in LCD technology, with the appearance of a backlight combining even smaller LEDs. The goal ? Multiply them in order to even more finely dose the lighting of the pixels. Samsung, competing on OLED, is therefore launching a new range of QLED televisions, which receive the prefix Neo to materialize the transition to mini LED (technology also found on the new iPad Pro with a screen of 12, 9 inches).
In the 4K category, the Neo QLED QN95A reference represents the top of the basket. The technical sheet makes you dizzy: refresh rate at 120 Hz, light peak of 2000 nits, OneConnect remote box or even 70-watt speakers. To go further with Samsung, we must cross the threshold of 8K.
It was with great curiosity that we put this QN95A to the test, knowing that OLED has always been in our favor. Is the mini LED a step forward enough to compete? The answer is no. On the other hand, we have to recognize that the QN95A is an ally of choice for players.
A new OneConnect box
Samsung’s high-end TVs follow and look alike. To put it simply, we are always dealing with a very thin large screen – thanks to the remote electronics (we will come back to this) – strewn on a central metal stand guaranteeing ideal stability. There is no frills to report and we understand then that the Korean firm prefers to focus attention on the image itself. We note an irreproachable quality of manufacture, in line with the price list.
The first size change is on the side of the OneConnect box, which brings together all the ports necessary for operation (it is connected to the TV by a single cable). This year it is becoming more compact, the better to blend in – and be forgotten – in a piece of furniture. Good news: it integrates four HDMI ports compatible with all the features of the 2.1 standard (starting with video games in 4K at 120 fps). It is just a shame that you cannot attach it to the back of the TV to hide it even better.
The other change concerns the remote control, which abandons its silver dress (in metal) for matt black (in plastic). Always so riquiqui, it finishes with the batteries, replaced by a battery which can be recharged by a USB-C port or… a small solar panel. Good news that should start a trend for the entire market.
Light power to be tempered
A lot was expected from the backlighting based on LEDs 40 times smaller. Television enthusiasts know that the more LEDs there are, the more backlight areas there are and the better the picture quality. While waiting for the even more promising microLED, Samsung still refuses the OLED by betting on improvements to the LCD. The mini-LED makes it possible to take an additional step in rendering contrasts, while continuing to offer unheard-of light power – and far superior to OLED models (of which this is the main limit).
Unheard-of light power
You only need to see the first image delivered by the QN95A to realize how bright it is. One would almost be tempted to take out sunglasses so as not to be too dazzled by the luminous power of the television. It is at the service of HDR content, which reaches high peaks in terms of dynamics.
We will gladly pass Samsung’s marketing promises of artificial intelligence-based improvements to you. The algorithm, present for several generations, works better and better. Beyond the numbers and superlatives, we will say that the QN95A offers an image with sharpness and very well transcribed colors. Gone are the days when Samsung tended to be overbearing and artificial. In cinema mode, the show is excellent. Just steer clear of smart modes, which always tend to overdo it in overly showy enhancement (even if it’s less than before).
Armed with its thousands of mini LEDs (Samsung doesn’t specify an exact number), the QN95A is, on paper, cut to compete with the OLED. It is undeniably close to it, but still remains quite far on a point that makes people talk: the management of light dispersion. The phenomenon of blooming, which takes the form of an unsightly halo of light around the brightest elements (example: white subtitles on a black background), unfortunately remains present. This is especially true if you move slightly from the central axis, which can happen depending on your position on the sofa.
On the other hand, future owners will be delighted to learn that the cinema format tapes are quite black (and not grayish). Blooming can be reduced by adjusting the settings (tip: lower the brightness, anyway too high for ordinary people), which could be a problem for the less initiated.
Last annoying point: Samsung continues to ignore Dolby Vision, an HDR format that is however very widespread (Disney +, Netflix).
The Gaming Bar for gamers
We have already had many occasions to praise the merits of the Samsung interface, complete (in terms of applications), fluid and very pleasant to navigate. And we have already said how much the brand’s televisions are the allies of choice for the owners of a video game console and / or a powerful PC. In 2021, the situation has not changed. Better, Samsung further asserts its positioning – beyond the presence of four HDMI 2.1 ports (against only one for the previous reference). They offer interested parties everything they are entitled to expect in terms of comfort features: auto low latency mode (the television automatically switches to game mode when it detects a console), variable refresh rate (for better fluidity) , AMD FreeSync Premium Pro certification and 4K at 120 fps.
To go even further, the QN95A has a Gaming Bar. By pressing a button on the remote control, a small interface resembling that of a PC monitor appears. It is used to provide information on the parameters dear to gamers (display delay, frame rate per second, format, screen position, etc.). It’s a small addition that doesn’t revolutionize usage, but proves that Samsung knows how to do it when it comes to addressing the most demanding users. The input lag – or display delay – was measured at 10.4 ms by our colleagues from Frandroid. Translation: you will not perceive any latency between the moment you press your controller and the moment the desired action occurs on the screen.
Obviously, all the light power on board the QN95A is a definite advantage for recent video games, with visual effects that stand out even more (the last Spider-Man game on PS5 for example, sublime in HDR). In addition, this light power makes it possible to play in very bright conditions without any concern for visibility.
Samsung Neo QLED QN95A
Note indicative : 4/5
Much was expected from the mini LED backlight, which we thought would be better equipped to compete with the OLED. The reality is this: there are still some light leaks to be eliminated to make it the technology to advise with closed eyes. It is a phenomenon which remains at the discretion of each one, some people being more sensitive to it than others.
For the rest, the Neo QLED QN95A remains a remarkable television. Remarkable in the image quality it offers, with phenomenal light power and ever more efficient processing. Remarkable in its versatility, with a complete and pleasant interface. Remarkable, finally, in its propensity to become an ideal screen for gamers, thanks to welcome features.
- Made for video games
- What luminous power …
- The OneConnect box, the remote control without battery
- Too much light = leaks difficult to control
- Still no Dolby Vision
- OLED always (slightly) in front