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Samsung Q80R vs Q90R Review (QN65Q80R vs QN65Q90R, QN75Q80R vs QN75Q90R)


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The Samsung Q80R and the Samsung Q90R are the second to the top and top of the line models for  Samsung’s 2019 4K QLED TV lineup. They sit between the Q90R with its 8K resolution and the Q70R. The Samsung Q90R was launched to replace Samsung’s 2018 flagship Q9FN while the Samsung Q80R was to replace the Samsung Q8FN. On the market, they both come in 3 screen size options, but the biggest and smallest models are different inch sizes between each series. The Q90R comes in 65 inch (QN65Q90R), 75 inch (QN75Q90R), and 82 inch (QN82Q90R), while the Q80R comes in 55 inch (QN55Q80R), 65 Inch (QN65Q80R) and 75 inch (QN75Q90R). With the same screen, (QN65Q80R vs QN65Q80R, QN75Q80R vs QN75Q90R), the Q90R is priced more expensive than the Q80R. As a higher priced model, the Q90R should have better picture quality and performance than the Q80R. But the question is what are the differences and is the superiority of the Q90R to the Q80R comparable with the difference in price?

Samsung Q80R vs Q90R Key Specs

Technology and Features Samsung Q80R Samsung Q90/Q90R
Screen Size Available 55 Inches (QN55Q80RAFXZA), 65 Inches (QN65Q80RAFXZA), 75 Inches (QN75Q80RAFXZA) 65 Inches (QN65Q90RAFXZA), 75 Inches (QN75Q90RAFXZA), 82 Inches (QN82Q90RAFXZA)
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 8x) with Ultimate UHD Dimming Full Array Local Dimming (Direct Full Array 16x) with Ultimate UHD Dimming
Ultra Viewing Angle Technology Yes Yes
Processor Quantum Processor 4K Quantum Processor 4K
HDR Numerical Index Quantum HDR 12x Quantum HDR 16X
HDR Supports HDR10, HLG, HDR10+ HDR10, HLG, HDR10+
Color Technology Quantum Dot Quantum Dot
Moth Eyes Technology Ultra Black Ultra Black
Up-Scaling Engine 4K AI Up scaling 4K AI 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 2019 with Bixby 2.0 Voice Assistant
Processor Quad Core Quad Core
Support Google Assistant Yes Yes
Support Amazon Alexa Yes Yes
Remote TM1950C TM1950C
Speaker Channel 4.1 4.2
Total Sound Output 40 watts 60 watts
HDMI Ports 4 4
HDMI Supports HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth, CEC, HDCP 2.2 HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth, CEC, HDCP 2.2,
USB 2.0 2 3
USB 3.0 No No
All Inputs are located on One Connect Box No Yes
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Features and Technologies of Samsung Q90R and the Q80R

Panel Technology

As the top line and second to the top line model of Samsung’s 2019 4K QLED TVs, both come with a number of Samsung’s most advanced technologies. On the panel, they both use VA panel technology supported by a Direct LED backlight and Full Array Local dimming. As can be ascertained, the use of the VA panel makes them have an excellent native contrast ratio, but on the other hand, this makes them have a poor side viewing angle. Samsung has anticipated this issue by adding their new optical layer technology called “Ultra Viewing Angle” on the display panel. This makes them have a better side viewing angle than most LED TVs with a VA Panel. Although the use of the “Ultra Viewing Angle” layer technology slightly reduces the native contrast ratio and color gamut.

In addition to the “Ultra Viewing Angle” which can increase viewing angle coverage, both the Samsung Q80R and the Q90R also have another optical layer called “Ultra Black” that handles reflection. This feature actually is not new considering it is also used by last year’s models like the Q9FN, Q8FN, Q7FN, and others. Since they both also have “Ultra Viewing Angle”, the layer is designed in such away so the reflections can be more diffuse on the Q80R and Q90R. This makes the screen of the Samsung Q90R and Q80R slightly darker than the predecessor Q9FN and Q8FN. In general, their Ultra Black optical layer can do a great job in handling reflections by absorbing and redirecting most external light that hits the screen.

Image Processor

The new thing offered by both the Samsung Q80R and the Q90R is their picture engine. They now are powered by an image processor called “Quantum Processor 4L”. The difference to the processor compared to last year’s models like the Q9FN and the Q8FN, this processor has been based on AI (Artificial Intelligence). This means that some features offered by this image processer have been based on AI. One of the features generated by AI is the Up-scaling Engine. This engine up-scales the non 4K content based on the correlation of low resolution/quality samples with their corresponding high resolution/quality version (of the same content). The result is the noise reduction, detail correction, and edge enhancements of up-scaled images produced will be more optimized. Not only that, it also has a machine learning that has the ability to collect and analyze data that has been processed. And as more data is collected and analyzed, the picture engine has the potential to fine-tune the different up-scaling components further over time.

Additionally, the AI also makes them have an intelligent mode with some features like Adaptive Sound that optimizes the sound based on the type of content and acoustic room correction, Adaptive Volume that automatically adjusts the volume based on noise level of the room, and Adaptive Brightness that automatically adjusts the brightness based on ambient light.

Smart TV and Remote

Just like last year’s models, both the Samsung Q90R and the Q80R also run Tizen OS as its smart TV platform and also powered by a quad core processor. The difference to last year models is they run the 2019 version that offers improvement in performance and some additional smart features. At a glance, the appearance of the 2019 version is not much different to last year’s version. But in this version, it performs faster and more responsive than the previous version. In the previous version, the interface freezes occasionally for a few seconds and there are dropped frames and lags in animation, in this newest version these issues are minimized. Additionally the Tizen 2019 OS works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Their Universal Guide Algorithm is generated by AI based on your viewing habits for both streaming content and TV broadcasts. This allows their Universal Guide to provide a more accurate recommendation according to your habits. And just like the previous version, there are a lot of preinstalled apps. There are VoD Services like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, Web Browser, Games, Live TV, and much more. It also has an apps store called the Samsung Apps Store that provides tons of downloadable contents, apps, and games you can directly download them to your Samsung TV. Additionally the 2019 version also works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

For their controller, both the Samsung Q80R and the Q90R come with Samsung’s Smart Controller with model number TM1950C. At a glance, this remote is similar to what we saw on last year’s model like the Q80R and the Q7FN. The difference is now it has 3 additional dedicated buttons for Amazon Video, Netflix, and Hulu. So if you want to launch these apps, you don’t need to navigate through the menu. Unlike last year’s model where you can use Bixby to make a voice command by pressing and holding the microphone button, the new version with a far-field capability you just make a voice command and the remote does it, although it still has the microphone button for reassurance. And just like the previous model, with Samsung’s One Remote feature, the remote can act as a universal remote that allows you to control other devices connected to your Samsung TVs. Its ability is not limited to devices which support HDMI CEC only, but also for devices that don’t support HDMI CEC.

The Differences

The Number of Dimming Zones

Although they both have a direct LED backlight with Full Array Local Dimming, the number of local dimming zones is not the same. The Samsung Q80R has around 96 zones while the Q90R has many more at around 480 Zones. The different screen sizes might have a different number of dimming zones.  As you might know, the higher the number of dimming zones for a TV, the light precision will be more accurate especially for small areas.  And this will have an impact on its ability in producing black, minimizing blooming, and extending color gamut.  Of course, with more dimming zones, the Samsung Q90R can do a better job of dimming the small area and minimizing blooming which means the picture produced is better.  This is a major factor that makes the the Q90R priced much more than the Q80R.

Direct Full Array Numerical Index

This is actually just a parameter used by Samsung to measure the panel ability of its lineup, based on the characteristics of backlighting, contrast enhancement, and anti reflection technology. The higher the numerical index of its Direct Full Array the better its performance. Of course, this also has an impact on picture quality produced which is better. The numerical index of the Samsung Q90R is higher than the Q80R. From that we can derive that the panel performance of the Q90R is better than the Q80R.

Quantum HDR Numerical Index

This is also just a parameter used by Samsung to measure the HDR output of their lineup, based on internal testing standards. Just like the Direct Full Array, the higher the numerical value of the Quantum HDR, the better the HDR output produced. For this case, the Samsung Q80R has Quantum HDR 12X while the Q90R has Quantum HDR 16X. And since the the Q90R has a higher Quantum HDR numerical index, it can be ascertained that its HDR output is also better than the Q80R.

Inputs

As we see on the comparison table above, both the Samsung Q90R and the Q80R are equipped with 4 HDMI ports. Although the number of HDMI ports is different where the Samsung Q80R is only equipped with 2 USB ports and the Q90R is equipped with 3 USB ports. Except for the number of USB ports, they are equipped with the same connectivity. In addition to HDMI and USB, they both are equipped with 1 Tuner In, 1 Digital Audio Out (optical), and 1 Ethernet port. The major difference is where the inputs are located. For the Q80R all their connections are located at the back of the TV, while for the Q90R all their connections are housed on a separate box called the “One Connect Box”.

Additionally the HDMI support is different. They both support CEC, HDCP 2.2, and HDMI 2.0 Full bandwidth, but for HDMI 2.1 the capability is different. One of the HDMI ports (HDMI 4) of the Q90R supports HDMI 2.1 full bandwidth, while none of the HDMI ports of the Q80R support HDMI 2.1. This allows the Q90R to accept 4K HFR (High Frame Rate) content via HDMI. Additionally one of the HDMI ports (HDMI4) also supports ARC (Audio Return Channel) but they don’t support eARC. Except for the 4K HFR (4K @ 120Hz), the types of inputs supported by the HDMI ports are the same. At 60 Hz, both support 1080p, 1080p @4:4:4, 1440p, 4K, and 4K @ 4:4:4, while at 120 Hz, both support 1080p and 1440p. As mentioned, the Q90R supports 4K @ 120 Hz thanks to HDMI 2.1 support. Since none of the HDMI ports of the Q80R support HDMI 2.1, this means it doesn’t support a 4K @ 120 Hz input.

Sound System

The other difference between the Samsung Q90R and the Q80R is the audio system. As seen on the comparison table above, the Q90R is equipped with a 4.2 channel speaker system with 60 watts of sound output. This means it has a 2 channel built-in woofer. The Samsung Q80R is equipped with a 4.1 channel with 40 watts of total sound output. With more channels and power output, the sound delivered by the Q90R should be more impressive than the Q80R.

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Samsung Q80R vs Q90R Performance

Contrast and Black Level

The use of “Ultra Viewing Angle” allows both to have a better viewing angle, but this will reduce the native contrast ratio. The native contrast ratio for both the Q80R and the Q90R is relatively low in comparison with most of LED TVs with a VA panel. Even with this the native contrast ratio of both is great and far better than an IPS TV. When comparing between them, the Q80R has a stronger native contrast ratio than the Q90R, although the difference is not very significant.

Both the Samsung Q80R and the Q90R have FALD (Full Array Local Dimming) that helps boost the contrast ratio. Starting around 3500:1, the contrast ratio of the Q80R is then boosted to around 6000:1. And the local dimming performance of the Q90R is even better. Starting around 3000:1, its contrast ratio is then boosted to around 11000:1. The result is a black produced by each that is very deep, around 0.017 nits for the Q80R and 0.009 nits for the Q90R. Even when set in a pitch dark room where the impact of the contrast ratio can be very sensitive, the blacks of images displayed on screen looks very black and makes dark scenes look excellent. Additionally the black produced by each of them is more than enough to make shadow details of HDR images look excellent.

In addition boosting the contrast ratio significantly, the local dimming is able to minimize blooming. And since the Q90R has more dimming zones, it can do a better job in reducing blooming compared to the Q80R. And this will be more noticeable when showing a small bright object or highlight in a dark scene.  On the screen of the Q90R, unwanted adjacent light around bright objects (blooming) is less visible than on the screen of the Q80R. The combination of deeper black and better performance in handling blooming makes dark scenes displayed on the screen of the Q90R look better than the Q80R. However, this doesn’t mean that the performance of the Samsung Q80R in showing dark scenes is poor. Its performance is also great but just not as great as the Q90R.

Winner: Q90R

Color Reproduction

The Samsung Q90R might have a wider color gamut than the Q80R, but the difference is not significant and in general, the color gamut is equally great between these series. Their color gamut is not as wide as the previous versions, being the Q9FN and the Q8FN. It’s possible this is caused by the “Ultra Viewing Angle” optical layer. The color gamut of the Samsung Q80R and the Q90R can cover around 94 % of DCI P3 uv and around 90% of DCI P3 xy. This means their color gamut is wide enough to show most color of HDR images accurately, and they can produce colorful HDR images as intended. In terms of color volume, the Samsung Q90R has better color volume than the Q80R. The superiority of the Q90R is because it has a deeper black, wider color gamut, and brighter peak brightness than the Q80R. But even when ignoring this difference, both can produce dark and bright color across most of the color gamut fairly well. Unfortunately, and like most LED TVs, both are not able to produce very bright blues. In general the color of HDR images displayed on screen looks very accurate. But since the Samsung Q90R has a bit wider color gamut and color volume, and in some certain colors the Q90R can show them more accurate than the Samsung Q80R.

In addition to a wider color gamut and a better color volume, the color gradient of the Q90R is better than the Q80R. In some shades of color it can show them smoother than the Q80R. Although not the best in class, both have an excellent color gradient. There are still some small imperfections in dark gray and dark green, but overall the color gradient looks smooth and clear. There is an option to remove imperfections by setting the “Digital Clean View” to “Auto. But in some scenes, this will make the images lose some fine details.

Winner: Q90R

Peak Brightness

In terms of peak brightness, the Samsung Q90R is superior to the Q80R. With SDR content, the peak brightness of the Q90R is around 750 nits, which is bright enough to fight glare in most bright rooms. Even when showing a small bright object (around 10% of screen), its local dimming is able to boost the peak brightness to 1100 nits. When showing all areas of screen as bright, it can reach around 500 nits. On the other hand and not as bright as the Q90R, with SDR content the peak brightness of the Q80R is very bright. With real content, it can reach around 650 nits where it is also bright enough to fight the glare of most bright rooms. The local dimming can also boost peak brightness to around 750 nits when showing a small bright object.

Meanwhile with HDR content, the peak brightness of the Samsung Q80R and the Q90R is even better. With real content, the Q90R can reach around 1300 nits, making its peak brightness among the brightest that we’ve ever seen. When showing an area of a scene that is bright, the Q90R still shows it at 500 nits which is excellent. The result is that highlights and bright scenes of HDR images standout on the screen. In certain scenes, it can even show them at the brightness range intended by the content creator. With real HDR content, the peak brightness reached by the Q80R is around 900 nits. When showing a small bright area (around 10% of screen), the peak brightness achieved is brighter than 1000 nits. Although not as exceptional as the Q90R, in some scenes on the Q80R the highlight of images still stand out the way they should in HDR.

Keep in mind that all their peak brightness is reached by setting the “Picture Mod” to “Movie”, ”Local Dimming” to High, and “Color Tone” to “Warn 2” and “Gamma” to “2.2.” Different settings may produce a different result.

Winner: Q90R

Side Viewing Angle

As mentioned, the use of the “Ultra Viewing Angle” optical layer might reduce the native contrast ratio and color gamut, but it improves the side viewing angle coverage. Although still not as good as an IPS TVs, at least their viewing angle coverage is better than most VA TVs. On most VA TVs, the color shift starts at around 20 degrees off center and front — on the Samsung screen, the color will shift starting at around 35 degrees off center and front. As well as the black level, on the screen of most VA TVs, the black level will start to look degraded at around 15 degrees — on the Samsung screen, the black level just starts to look degraded at around 70 degrees. And this also applies to peak brightness. On the Samsung screen, the peak brightness starts to reduce at around 40 degrees, while on the screen of most typical VA TVs, the peak brightness starts to reduce at around 30 degrees. If you often watch TV with your family, you’ll enjoy this benefit.

Winner: Draw

Motion

The Samsung Q90R may have a better pixel response time than the Q80R with response time for the Q90R at around 10 ms and the response time of the Q80R at around 12 ms. In general, their response time is equally excellent. So when showing fast paced content like sports and fast movies, the picture produced looks smooth and clear with almost no motion blur visible. Behind fast moving objects, there is only a very short faint trail where most people might not notice this much. The blur may still be visible but it’s more due to persistence or backlight flicker.

To dim their backlight, both use a PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) dimming system.  But even so, their dimming frequency is dependent on the settings. Their highest dimming frequency is 960 Hz and it is reached when set in Movie mode with the “Auto Motion Plus” disabled. With this setting, its dimming frequency is very high and it is impossible for anyone to notice this. When the Auto Motion Plus is set to Custom or Auto or its picture mode is set to “Standard”, “Dynamic”, “Natural”, “Game” or “PC”, the dimming frequency will change to 120 Hz. At this rate, some people who are sensitive to backlight flicker might notice it. Furthermore if you set to “On” the “LED Clear Motion”, the backlight flicker will change to 60 Hz. This will help minimize blur caused by persistence, particularly when playing 60 fps content like sports and video games. But this will make backlight flicker more noticeable. If you feel bothered with any flicker, you can disable this feature. Or iif you feel uncomfortable with persistence blur, you can enable this feature.

By default, both the Samsung Q80R and the Q90R have a native 120 Hz refresh rate panel. Since they each support FreeSync VRR (Variable Refresh rate), this doesn’t rule out the possibility their refresh rate will change to synchronize with the input device’s output.  With 1080p content, the refresh rate can change from 20 Hz to 120 Hz while with 4K content, the refresh rate can change between 48 Hz – 60 Hz. This feature is useful to reduce screen tearing particularly when you play a game with a console that supports FreeSync such as the Xbox One or a PC with a compatible AMD Card.

When playing 24p movies, both do a great job. Regardless of the frame rate of the source, whether it is natïve 24p videos like DVD and Blu Ray Movies, via a 60p signal like movies from streaming devices, via a 60i signal like movies from satellite TV, or 2p movies from streaming devices like Netflix, Amazon Video and YouTube, all the content will be shown on screen clearly and smoothly judder-free. To remove the judder without motion interpolation, the “Auto Motion Plus” must be set to “Custom” and both the “Blur Reduction” and the “Judder Reduction” must be set to 0.

Winner: Q90R

Input Lag

The input lag of the Samsung Q90R and the Q80R in “Game” and “PC” mode are both equally excellent. With 60 Hz inputs, regardless ofthe resolution, whether it is 1080p, 1440p, 4K, 4K @4:44, 4K with HDR, their input lag is around 15 ms. With 120 Hz content, the input lag is dependent on the resolution. For the Q90R, with a 1080p and 1440p resolution, the input lag is around 10 ms, while with a 4K resolution, its input lag is around 18 ms. For the Q80R with a 1080p resolution, its input lag is around 20 ms while with 1440p resolution, its input lag is around 15 ms. Keep in mind, the Q80R doesn’t support 4K @ 120 Hz. Furthermore with VRR, the input lag at a 1080p and 1440p resolution is even being around 6 ms. While with 4k resolution, their input lag is right around 15 ms. This means that regardless of the difference for each input, the input lag will be great and makes these series very responsive for any game, even for fast paced games that require quick reflexes.

Winner: Q90R

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Summary

Performance Samsung Q80R Samsung Q90R
Picture Quality (4.2/5) (4.2/5)
HDR (4.3/5) (4.3/5)
Motion Handling (4.5/5) (4.6/5)
Inputs (4.9/5) (4.8/5)
Sound Quality (3.7/5) (3.5/5)
Smart TV (4/5) (4/5)

Conclusion

In general, the Samsung Q90R is better than the Samsung Q80R. The superiority of the Q90R is on black level and peak brightness achieved. For other factors like color reproduction, motion handling, and input lag, the Q90R is still superior to the Q80R, but that superiority is not very significant and doesn’t have a major impact on normal usage. In terms of features offered, the superiority of the Q90R to the Q80R is in the HDMI 2.1 support where one of its HDMI ports (HDMI 4) supports HDMI 2.1 while the Q80R doesn’t support that. This allows the Q90R to accept 4K HFR content via HDMI. On the other hand, the Q80R also supports HFR, but via streaming or USB only and not through an HDMI port. Overall, both are great TVs for many uses. Regardless whether they are used for watching movies, sports, games, or TV Shows, and in a bright room or a dark room, performance of each is very satisfying.

So which is a better choice for you? Overall the Samsung Q90R may be superior to the Q80R. But as mentioned above, within the same screen size the Samsung Q80R is priced lower than the Q90R. If you have the budget, the Samsung Q90R can be a better choice that you will not regret. But if you have a limited budget, the Samsung Q80R is also a good choice considering its performance is great for its class. Now the decision is yours according to your preferences and budget.

>> Please click here to see today’s price for the Samsung Q80R <<

>> Please click here to see today’s price for the Samsung Q90R <<

Samsung Q80R vs Q90R Review (QN65Q80R vs QN65Q90R, QN75Q80R vs QN75Q90R)

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