Modern flat-panel televisions typically slot into one of three common categories - LED, quantum-dot LED, and OLED, with standard LED TVs being the most affordable and OLED TVs usually being the most expensive. Recently, a few brands including TCL, LG, and Samsung have introduced a fourth category in India - Mini LED. This panel type is a middle ground between the affordability and brightness of LED models, and the colour and contrast levels that OLED panels offer.
The product I'm reviewing today is the current flagship Ultra-HD television from Samsung, the QN95B Neo QLED TV, which combines Samsung's expertise in quantum-dot technology with the modernity of Mini LED technology. Priced at Rs. 2,14,990 in India, the 55-inch Samsung QN95B Neo QLED Ultra-HD TV is a modern marvel in many ways, including its use of quantum dot technology, Mini LED backlighting, and its uniquely slim design. There is also support for high dynamic range up to the HDR10+ format, and Dolby Atmos audio with a 70W speaker system. Is this the best flagship 55-inch television you can buy right now? Find out in this review.
The Samsung 55QN95B TV runs on the Tizen operating system for televisions, which has a particular focus on the Samsung TV Plus streaming service
Samsung 55-inch QN95B Neo QLED TV design and specifications
The Samsung QN95B Neo QLED is one of the company's flagship Ultra-HD TV ranges in India, and you can choose between two sizes, 55 inches and 65 inches. Samsung sent me the 55-inch variant for review, which is priced at Rs. 2,14,990 in India. This places it firmly in the premium category, going up against flagship options from brands such as LG and Sony, covering various display technologies including quantum-dot LED and OLED.
What sets the Samsung QN95B series apart from much of the competition is the use of Mini LED backlighting, combined with the company's highly-rated QLED quantum-dot technology. Mini LED technology uses much smaller LEDs for backlighting, allowing for more, smaller local dimming zones, and a promise of reduced backlight bleeding effects. This precision backlighting comes close to what OLED technology offers. It also has the distinct advantage of much higher peak brightness; the Samsung QN95B has a claimed peak brightness of 2,000 nits.
There's more to the Samsung QN95B television that aims to justify its premium pricing, particularly how this TV looks. The main body of the TV is completely flat, with a uniform thickness that allows it to maintain a low profile when wall mounted, with barely any gap between the screen and the wall on all sides. The back of the TV has just two ports, for the One Connect cable (more on that in a bit), and one USB Type-C port for a webcam (which is an optional purchase, priced at Rs. 8,900). All eight drivers of the 4.2.2-channel speaker system are also at the back.
You can also table-mount the Samsung QN95B television, using the centre-positioned stand included in the box. The stand is very heavy at around 8kg, and feels solidly built to be able to safely hold up the screen. I had the Samsung QN95B TV wall-mounted for my review, using my own VESA kit. Samsung states that the TV weighs around 16.1kg without its stand, which is quite heavy for a 55-inch television, especially this one given its slim proportions.
The screen unit is, quite literally, just the screen of the Samsung 55-inch QN95B television; the ‘brains' of the TV is the One Connect box that comes with it. This box connects to the screen, sending both power and audio-visual signals to the screen and its 4.2.2-channel speaker system. The single cable that connects the two is transparent and thin for easy concealment, and is about 1m long. This allows for easy access to the ports and sockets, and is the reason for the screen unit being so slim.
The One Connect box connects to your mains power supply and has four HDMI 2.1 ports (one supports HDMI eARC), three USB Type-A ports, an RF In cable socket, an Ethernet port, and a digital optical audio output (Toslink). The box also handles wireless connectivity over dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.2, and interfaces with the remote. This flat box can be positioned anywhere near the TV, although it is a bit large and will need some space on a flat surface such as a TV furniture unit.
The design of the Samsung QN95B TV is particularly impressive, with a slim form factor that leaves little space between the TV and the wall
The Samsung QN95B Neo QLED TV has a native refresh rate of 100Hz, variable refresh rate of 144Hz (under certain conditions when used for gaming), and a resolution of 3840x2160 pixels for its 55-inch screen. The TV uses Samsung's Neural Quantum Processor 4K, and supports high dynamic range content up to the HDR10+ format and Dolby Atmos audio (but not Dolby Vision). The 4.2.2-channel sound system has two top-firing speakers to simulate overhead channels, and has a rated output of 70W.
Samsung 55-inch QN95B Neo QLED TV remote and features
The Samsung 55-inch QN95B Neo QLED TV is fairly well-equipped when it comes to the remote and features. The remote is unique for its solar charging capability, with a small solar panel on the back to keep the rechargeable internal battery going. Usefully, there is also a USB Type-C port for urgent, quicker charging when needed. That said, The remote was sufficiently charged straight out of the box and didn't need to be charged over USB at all during my review.
The remote itself is compact and somewhat minimalistic when it comes to buttons; there is no number pad and no dedicated playback controls, but there is a D-pad for navigation, hotkeys for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar, and Samsung TV Plus, and a few others.
You can use the remote's microphone to give voice commands to the voice assistant of your choice, and you can also directly access the settings from any screen on the TV. I quite liked the remote and didn't have any trouble with it during my review, apart from the markings on the buttons being a bit hard to read in the dark and the tactile feel of the buttons not really helping either.
If you have any Samsung smart appliances that are compatible with the company's SmartThings framework, you can control them directly from the TV. Other features include EyeComfort mode which adjusts brightness and colour levels according to time of day and ambient light, support for multiple voice assistants including Google Assistant, Alexa, and Samsung's own Bixby, Multi View for mirroring your smartphone screen while simultaneously watching content on the TV (from select apps and services), and more.
There is no Google Chromecast functionality, but you do get Apple AirPlay 2 on the Samsung QN95B Neo QLED TV, which worked well for me. I was able to use AirPlay to mirror my iPhone screen on a part of the TV screen, while using select apps such as Samsung TV Plus or YouTube for the Multi View feature.
The remote of the Samsung 55QN95B has a solar panel for charging, but also can be charged quickly with USB Type-C
Gaming-focused features such as a 144Hz variable refresh rate, auto low-latency mode, and support for AMD FreeSync Premium Pro make this TV reasonably well suited for use with modern gaming consoles. There is also Object Tracking Sound which claims to create a realistic soundstage according to what's on screen, and Q-Symphony, which allows the TV's speakers to work in conjunction with compatible audio systems.
Samsung 55-inch QN95B Neo QLED TV software and interface
Samsung continues to use its own Tizen software for its televisions, but the QN95B Neo QLED TV sees significant changes in the user interface compared to earlier Samsung TVs. This includes a much more content-focused UI with viewing recommendations from various apps and services. This is similar to Xiaomi's approach with PatchWall, although Samsung's curation and layout feel a bit cluttered and awkward in comparison.
A key focus point of the interface is Samsung TV Plus, a free streaming service that comes preinstalled on the television. This service has a linear TV programming format, with over 60 channels including Discovery, TLC, and Boomberg. The content on these channels is scheduled, and is streamed using the TV's Internet connection.
However, the user interface tends to put this service front and centre, including starting up the most recently viewed channel immediately in a small preview box when this TV is turned on, which can be annoying and disturbing if the volume was left at a high level. There is also a lot of emphasis on free movies and TV shows from various streaming services, but you will need each one's app to be installed, and in some cases, you'll need to register and sign in.
All of this aside, the core functionality of the user interface is decent enough, and it's easy enough to switch between connected source devices. Apps are easy to access as well thanks to a dedicated row on the home screen, and the app marketplace has various options for popular streaming services, games, and other apps. The settings menus are a bit complicated to navigate, but the TV offers plenty of options for customisation and tweaking. The UI isn't quite the best among the various options available right now, but it's entirely functional and usable.
The Samsung 55QN95B Neo QLED TV supports HDR up to the HDR10+ format
Samsung 55-inch QN95B Neo QLED TV performance
Before I get into the performance section of this review, it's worth noting that we are aware of reports that Samsung has reportedly been caught cheating on certain TV tests carried out by reviewers; the QN95B TV is itself the subject of allegations brought up by FlatpanelsHD in its review. However, our testing process does not involve the specific tests that the Samsung QN95B TV is alleged to detect and manipulate, and we have no reason to believe that the television sent to us for this review is not a standard retail unit.
The Samsung 55-inch QN95B is a modern flagship that delivers the kind of performance you would expect from a television priced at over Rs. 2,00,000. The quantum-dot Mini LED screen provided a bright, vibrant picture with most of my viewing, and this TV was able to use its careful calibration and technical capabilities to deliver flagship-grade HDR performance even with HDR10+.
I tested the Samsung 55QN95B with a variety of content across resolutions and dynamic ranges, and as is usually the case with high-end models, this TV was optimised for Ultra-HD HDR content. Apart from obvious differences in sharpness, parameters such as motion handling, colour accuracy, and brightness were all visibly better with high-quality content.
Perhaps the best experience I had with the Samsung 55-inch QN95B TV was watching Spider-Man: No Way Home in Ultra-HD HDR with Dolby Atmos through the Apple TV streaming service. Everything including the sharpness, colours, and detail levels were expectedly good, but the brightness of this television with good HDR content was what truly stood out. Even after ensuring that this TV wasn't artificially boosting brightness levels, its picture was still visibly brighter and more vibrant than most other competing options I've had a chance to see or review.
The bright colours of this superhero movie were a treat to watch, and looked on point throughout, thanks to the effective and powerful backlighting provided by the superior micro-dimming ability of the Mini LED tech and the quantum-dot filter. I found black levels to be practically as good for regular viewing as what I've seen on high-end OLED TVs. I also found blooming and light bleed issues to be handled well on the Samsung QN95B Neo QLED TV, with very little light spillover visible even in bright scenes.
The brightness was, on occasion, a bit too much, particularly in dark rooms. Changes in brightness were quite visible and sometimes a bit sudden. However, this TV does have a mode that allows it to adapt to light conditions, and this largely worked well for me. This mode can also boost brightness during the daytime, making it possible to quite easily and conveniently watch TV even with bright daylight shining in the room. Although a dark room undoubtedly made for the best viewing experience, this TV didn't deviate too much in performance even when the room was well lit.
The Samsung One Connect Box powers the TV screen, and also holds all the ports and inputs for the device
Although Dolby Vision HDR is said to be technically superior to Samsung's preferred HDR10+ format, the QN95B's hardware makes the lack of it a moot point. The Samsung 55-inch QN95B television delivered HDR performance on par with the best I've seen even with HDR10+, although it seemed to rely more on its own adaptive capabilities to ensure that brightness and black levels were good, rather than relying on the metadata of the content itself.
This was visible across high-quality content on Apple TV, Apple TV+, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video. Shows such as Love, Death & Robots and Roar looked great, but the TV felt just a bit sluggish to respond to on-screen changes.
With standard dynamic range Ultra-HD content such as episodes of Better Call Saul on Netflix, the content retained much the same sharpness and colour quality, but naturally didn't feel as striking and imposing as with HDR content. Motion issues, which were generally kept in check with a bit of careful picture calibration by me when watching HDR content, tended to show a bit more here, with some artefacts visible in scenes with quick, flowing movements.
Upscaling on the Samsung QN95B television was decent, with most Full-HD content looking just about as good as can be expected on a 55-inch Ultra-HD television. However, fast motion, particularly when watching live-streamed F1 races, showed artefacts and judder. This is visible on most televisions regardless of price, but was a bit more obvious on the QN95B.
Spider-Man: No Way Home was a treat to watch on the Samsung 55QN95B Neo QLED TV
Apart from motion, I didn't face any issues with full-HD content, and watching sitcoms such as Kim's Convenience and The Big Bang Theory was pleasant enough thanks to the gentle motion and easy cinematography of these kind of shows. Colours were also decent, with the usually bright pop-culture-infused Big Bang Theory looking clean and punchy on the Samsung QN95B TV. Low-resolution content on the Samsung TV Plus streaming service often looked odd, as is usually the case when watching standard-definition content on a big-screen Ultra-HD TV.
Sound quality is touted as a key factor on the Samsung QN95B Neo QLED television, but turned out to be underwhelming in practice. Despite its 70W rated output, the television never quite sounded as loud as I expected, and sound felt a bit muffled at low volumes. This perhaps had to do with the speakers firing to the back. Object Tracking Sound didn't seem to make any difference at all with normal audio.
Performance with Dolby Atmos content was actually pretty good, though. Spider-Man: No Way Home, Hustle, and Love, Death & Robots delivered better-than-usual performance with a cleaner and more spacious sound. I still found that I needed to turn the volume up to around the 70 percent level for it to be loud enough for a good experience, but on the whole, I'd still recommend a good soundbar to go with this television for a truly immersive home theatre experience.
Samsung is among the best in the business when it comes to televisions, and the QN95B Neo QLED is a flagship TV that lived up to the expectations I had of it. It's technically adept, bright, and detailed, and does indeed live up to its price of over Rs. 2,00,000. You get great design and features, a bright Mini LED screen, and top-quality performance with Ultra-HD and HDR content.
There are small drawbacks though, particularly the underwhelming sound quality, cluttered and intrusive user interface, and slight motion issues with lower-resolution content. However, anyone buying a high-end TV like this will likely have access to quality content, and will benefit greatly from how well it performs in those situations. The fact that it's a design masterpiece also helps; the slim TV unit is beautiful to look at.
On the whole, this is a flagship Ultra-HD television that largely justifies its premium price with quality performance and technology, particularly when it comes to brightness and high-quality Ultra-HD content. However, do factor in the need for a soundbar or speaker system to go with the Samsung QN95B TV, for a proper home theatre experience.
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