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Hands-on review with the Samsung QN900D Neo QLED 8K TV

The slick screen and stellar sound make a dazzling impression, but the AI-integration needs some work.

Samsung QN900D 8K TV
Samsung QN900D Neo QLED 8K TV
Starts at
$7530
pro Gorgeous design
pro Vivid picture quality
con Expensive, even before you factor in the soundbar
con Inconsistent software integration
Fergus Halliday
May 10, 2024
Icon Time To Read5 min read

The QN900D isn't the only 8K screen that Samsung is bringing to Australia this year but if you're in the market for an 8K TV it's probably the only one you care about.

Introduced back at CES 2024 and available in three different sizes (85, 75 and 65 inches), the QN900D Neo QLED represents the apex of Samsung's home entertainment offering in 2024. On the outside, it features a gorgeous edge-to-edge screen with Quantum Dots. This front end comes backed up by a Mini-LED array, making for a combination that brings with it all the usual advantages in contrast and colour.

Then, under the hood, the hardware here promises to reap the benefits of a more powerful NQ4 Gen 3 AI processor. On paper, this new chipset is twice as fast as the previous model and boasts eight times as many neural networks. In practice, that translates to all the usual features plus a few new ones.

If the questions that you're asking about the QN900D are simple, you'll get answers of the same calibre. Is it gorgeous to look at? Absolutely. Does it live up to the hype as Samsung's best TV? Without a doubt. However, as soon as you give into complexity and go one layer deeper, it becomes hard to shake the sense that things aren't as simple as they might first appear.

Samsung QN900D Hands On in hotel room

Initial pros

  • An upgraded processor: I've said it once, and I'll say it again: less is more when it comes to Smart TV interfaces. From the moment Samsung moved away from a less-intrusive navigation bar towards a phone-inspired app library, I've been one of the people grumbling about it. Part of the reason why is that Samsung's modern Smart Hub experience has typically felt slower and less responsive than it ought to be. On this specific front, I will say that the NQ4 Gen 3 AI processor inside the QN900D did a great job of alleviating some of these worries. In short, this speed-up isn't enough to make me love the smart interface here but it does make it significantly better than it has been in the past. The UI still covers the screen, which I don't love, but it does feel faster, which I do like.

  • Dazzlingly design: It's hard not to like what the QN900D has going on when it comes to form factor. It's lavishly thin, with an edge-to-edge screen, minimal wires (courtesy of Samsung's One Connect Box) and a backlight that's more than bright enough to deal with glare. Many of these bells, whistles and other details aren't necessarily new but they do add up when it comes to the overall home viewing experience it offers. You get the sense that the folks at Samsung have thought more about just the raw hardware involved.

  • Crisper contrast, vibrant colours and absolute blacks: Thanks to the Quantum Dots and Mini LEDs involved, the QN900D is built to offer the winning combination of more vibrant colours, deeper black and greater contrast. Netflix's new Ripley series proved a tremendous demonstration of the latter, with Andrew Scott's menacing micro-expressions and the aging architecture coming through in impressive clarity. Meanwhile, the Quantum Dot-enhanced colour made for a perfect match with animated series like Blue-Eye Samurai and Arcane.

  • Bigger, better and more bespoke soundscapes: While the headline act here is the 8K screen, the audio-specific feature might be something of a secret weapon. The QN900D features a 90W 6.2.4-channel sound system with both up, down and side-firing speakers. When used in tandem with the Q990D Sound Bar, it's capable of delivering engrossing soundscapes that feel the closest to a true cinema experience I've ever experienced from a home theatre setup.  The otherworldly score of Alex Garland's Annihilation has never sounded more unsettling and inescapable. I also really like the fact that achieving this kind of high-fidelity soundscape is much more feasible for more everyday users thanks to Samsung's SpaceFit SoundPro, which uses reverberations from your soundbar to tailor its output to your acoustic setup.

Initial cons

Samsung QN900D Hands On in hotel room - Smart Hub interface
  • Price. Look, there's no getting around the fact that the QN900D is as expensive as you'd expect it would be. Even in its smallest size, you're still looking at spending more than $7000. As good as the results it delivers are, that sum is going to be hard to stomach for those with more modest budgets. The QN900D does everything it can to try and justify that price but if you're not an AV aficionado it's hard to imagine this thing competing against the simple allure of the many cheaper options available.
  • AI sometimes goes too far: Ever since 8K TVs began to trickle into the market, upscaling has been a key piece of the puzzle. For the vast majority of consumers, actual 8K content isn't available. The good news is that TVs like the QN900D can upscale 4K, HD and SD content to try and fill that gap. AI-adjacent tech is a key part of making this possible and this year's Samsung TVs are very much building on that blueprint, the company is now moving beyond things like machine learning and neural networks and towards generative AI that's essentially making up detail where the raw content falls short. In some ways, this isn't a huge leap from previous upscaling approaches. At the same time, I found myself frequently wondering whether what I was seeing on the screen was meant to look that way. The line between camera noise, creative choices and AI upscaling is a porous one that yields unpredictable results. Its effect on animated content is incredible but the consequences on CGI-heavy live-action content are much more inconsistent. While more-grounded films like Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer looked great, special-effect-heavy ones like RRR or Poor Things never seemed quite right. You can always turn the bulk of these picture enhancements off by enabling Filmmaker Mode. Of course, if you do that then the gulf between the quality of the content you're watching and the quantity of pixels that the QN900D has to offer becomes even harder to ignore.
  • Gaming and search integration isn't quite there: For all my reservations about Samsung's Smart Hub Interface, there is something to appreciate about aggregating all your streaming services into one unified interface. I especially like that the recommendation algorithm on the QN900D prioritizes the content from one service over another based on how you've ordered the tiles. However, the way that these efforts towards integration tie into Samsung's Gaming Hub leaves something to be desired. More than once, I'd search for a given movie or TV show only for the results to be drowned out by gaming content. It doesn't help that booting into Microsoft's Xbox Game Streaming service proved to be something of a mixed bag. Despite a 200mbps internet connection, latency proved to be a major hurdle and the quality of the stream was neither consistent nor stable. The Xbox Cloud Streaming even managed to hard-cash the TV at one point. These instances may be anomalies but for me to encounter them during my hands-on session does not inspire a lot of confidence.
  •  

Final thoughts

There’s something primal about our relationship to pixels and something intoxicating about gazing into the depths of a TV screen with the colour, clarity and contrast that the Samsung QN900D offers. If the questions are as simple as is this good, the answer is a clean-and-easy yes. If the question is more complicated like whether the upscaling is delivering the experience you expect or one that lives up to the lofty price tag, then the answer can quickly become a little more complicated.

It feels like a situation where when all Samsung has is an AI-shaped hammer, everything starts to look like an AI-shaped nail. The fundamentals here are solid, but Samsung's vision of the future isn't nearly so clear-cut.

Hands-on photos

How much does the Samsung QN900D Neo QLED TV cost?

Starting at $7530

Samsung’s new QN900D Neo QLED 8K TV is available now from retailers like JB Hi-Fi, Bing Lee and Samsung itself.  See the table below for a comparison of local pricing for each available screen size.

Samsung 2024 TV Model
Size
Australian price
QN900D85-inches$13,900
QN900D75-inches$10,427
QN900D65-inches$7,530

Disclosure: This author tested the Samsung Q900D Neo QLED 8K TV during an overnight stay in a hotel room as a guest of Samsung.

Fergus Halliday
Written by
Fergus Halliday
Fergus Halliday is a journalist and editor for Reviews.org. He’s written about technology, telecommunications, gaming and more for over a decade. He got his start writing in high school and began his full-time career as the Editor of PC World Australia. Fergus has made the MCV 30 Under 30 list, been a finalist for seven categories at the IT Journalism Awards and won Most Controversial Writer at the 2022 Consensus Awards. He has been published in Gizmodo, Kotaku, GamesHub, Press Start, Screen Rant, Superjump, Nestegg and more.

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