The Samsung S90C QD-OLED builds on the strengths of the S95B and enhances performance in a few key areas before expanding the range with a 77in screen size. Although the style and functions of the new model are basically the same as those of the previous generation, the picture quality has noticeably improved thanks to an improved screen filter and brighter highlights.
Review of the Samsung S90C: Construction, Control
The Samsung S90C shares the same LaserSlim design, bezel-less screen, and ultra-sleek appearance as the S95B from a year ago. The difference in screen sizes we examined probably had more to do with how durable the TV felt than any specific modifications to the design.
The stand attaches with clips rather than screws, yet it offers robust support, and the S90C may be more easily placed on a narrower area thanks to its lower footprint. If you’d like, you may wall-mount the TV using either Samsung’s Slim Fit support or a typical 300 x 200mm VESA bracket.
The S90C, unlike the S95C, doesn’t make use of Samsung’s One Connect box but still includes four HDMI inputs, two of which face down and two laterally. All of them support VRR, ALLM, and 4K/144Hz, and HDMI 3 additionally supports eARC.
Along with the two USB 2.0 inputs, there are twin tuners for both terrestrial and satellite broadcasts, an optical digital output, and an Ethernet port on the side. There are Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and compatibility for Apple AirPlay 2 available for wireless connections.
Two remote controls are included with the S90C: a normal zapper and a modified solar cell controller. With a smaller shape and curved edges, the latter is now made of recycled plastic but may be difficult to use if you have large hands or are clumsy. The same basic controls are provided, including direct access buttons for Disney+, Netflix, Prime Video, and Samsung’s TV Plus.
Review of the Samsung S90C platform for smart TVs
The Tizen-powered smart platform that powers the Samsung S90C was updated last year to use a full-screen homepage rather than a launcher bar down the bottom. The layout can be somewhat customized, but the emphasis is on recommendations.
All connected HDMI devices as well as all streaming video services are available in one convenient location in the Media section. There is also a specific Game Hub where you can access any connected consoles as well as the most recent game streaming services.
While it makes sense for Samsung to group all game-related information together, it’s unfortunate that no linked game consoles are visible among the other connected HDMI devices in the Media section for easier access.
When it comes to content recommendations and system customization, the system works well. Additionally, Samsung offers the Smart Hub, which instantly recognizes and connects smart devices in one spot, and Samsung’s TV Plus, which has a wider selection of channels. Additionally, newly connected devices will be recognized and configured by the HDMI ports.
As usual, a wide range of video streaming options are available, including Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV+, Disney+, Now TV, Rakuten, YouTube, and all UK catch-up providers. All of these apps demonstrated responsiveness, supporting 4K, HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Atmos formats as needed.
The SmartThings app simplifies setup and offers some control. It also has built-in support for Bixby and can be used with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. If you choose, you can also use Apple’s AirPlay 2 to access Siri.
The Basic option works remarkably well, with Delta Es below the visible threshold of three for SDR and HDR, and calibrates the greyscale and color gamut in around 30 seconds. There is also an Advanced option, which takes longer but offers greater flexibility and accuracy.
Review of the Samsung S90C: Image quality
The Samsung S90C is pre-configured in Eco mode, which may keep energy consumption low enough to meet statutory power requirements but falls short of industry standards for image quality. The gamma is also drastically off, and the greyscale has too much blue, which causes everything to lean blue.
Thank goodness, Samsung offers a Filmmaker mode, which can be easily used to resolve these problems. In fact, the out-of-the-box accuracy in this mode is excellent, with a gamma that tracks close to the objective of 2.4, an average Delta E (error) for colors of 1.17, and a greyscale measuring an average of 1.1.
There are controls available for people who strive for perfection even when these measurements fall considerably below the visual threshold of three. Thanks to the utilization of quantum dots and the extraordinarily broad viewing angles offered by OLED displays, SDR images are spectacular, with rich, realistic colors, superb shadow delineation, deep blacks, and detailed, finely reproduced details.
The screen filter, which this year reduces reflections and rejects ambient light without adversely affecting the perceived black level, is one area that has clearly improved. Because of this, the black level is substantially enhanced when watching content in a room with a lot of ambient light, and there are no issues with greyer blacks like there were on the S95B.
The 4K Neural Quantum chipset’s picture processing abilities are particularly excellent, bringing out and enhancing the details in high-quality photographs. Even lower-resolution content can be viewed thanks to excellent upscaling and visual enhancements. Motion handling is also excellent, creating moving images devoid of judder or other motion artifacts.
Review of the Samsung S90C’s HDR performance
The Samsung S95B was already achieving 1,000cd/m2 last year, but the Samsung S90C is able to extract a little bit more brightness from its QD-OLED panel. The new model has a maximum output of 230cd/m2 on a full-field pattern and 1,100cd/m2 on a 10% window. This effectively means that HDR video at 1,000 nits requires the least amount of tone-mapping, which is really good for an OLED.
Additionally contributing to HDR’s purer and wider color palette are the quantum dot layers utilized for red and green. This is demonstrated by the DCI-P3 coverage, which measures 100%, and the outstanding 76% achieved by BT.2020. Importantly, BT.2020’s DCI-P3 saturation sweeps are also quite accurate, producing HDR footage with wonderfully depicted colors.
The HDR greyscale measurements in Filmmaker mode are as outstanding, tracking red, green, and blue almost precisely, and the EOTF precisely maps the PQ target. This makes sure that aesthetic decisions are upheld whether the grade employs 1,000, 4,000, or 10,000 nits. The HDR10, HLG, and HDR10+ Adaptive formats for high dynamic range are supported by the TV.
Samsung gives users of the S90C an option between Static and Active tone mapping settings, with the former closely maintaining the PQ standard and the latter deviating to give HDR a brightness boost. Even though the outcome is less precise, it still has its uses when there is a lot of ambient light in the space. This year, the tone mapping in the games is also more precise, removing visible clipping.
The breathtaking flying moments in Top Gun: Maverick are the perfect example of all these attributes. The action is viscerally realistic thanks to the sun glinting off aircraft canopies and the bleached desert vistas, and the helmets stand out thanks to the purer colors. The 4K and HDR experience is incredible, brimming with life and richness.
However, given that Dune is predominantly a relatively dark movie, the inherent qualities of OLED become immediately clear. The deserts of Dune are also represented with clarity that is free of any clipping. When indoors, the blazing sun is purposefully kept away, and the S90C captures every detail in these dim environments. These scenes effectively convey the deep and subtle color palette.
Review of the Samsung S90C: Gaming
One of the greatest options for gamers is the S90C, which has a feature set built to accommodate every cutting-edge technology at present. FreeSync Premium and Motion Xcelerator Turbo Pro 144Hz are available for PC gamers, while the HDMI inputs support next-generation console capabilities including 4K/120Hz, VRR, and ALLM.
You may select from a variety of streamed gaming apps thanks to the Game Hub, and a special Game Mode offers an input lag time of just 9.2ms. As a result, even at the highest frame rates, the gameplay is exceptionally fluid and responsive, with outstanding motion handling devoid of tearing or other aberrations.
Review of the Samsung S90C: Audio quality
Considering its slim design and Object Tracking Sound Lite audio system, the Samsung S90C delivers surprisingly high sound quality. The latter essentially implies that the 2.1-channel speakers are positioned at the bottom and direct sound downward, necessitating the use of psychoacoustic processing on the part of this TV to enhance the feeling of surround sound.
There is even a respectable amount of bass in addition to great mid-range, treble, and bass. On the 55in display, the front soundstage has some width, and the stereo separation is acceptable. However, this would undoubtedly sound better on larger screens. Additionally, there is 40W of amplification, which is enough power to make this TV loud without distorted or unpleasant sound.
Contrary to what you may assume, the acoustic processing produces a soundstage that is well-balanced and has dialogue that is distinct and sharp on the screen. There is also some three-dimensionality to the audio; Dolby Atmos content really gives you a sense of height, although expectations must be controlled in this regard.
Verdict on the Samsung S90C review
The Samsung S90C is a fantastic OLED TV that demonstrates the company pays attention to customer feedback, particularly with regard to the screen filter. It functions better this year and produces a stunning HDR performance when combined with the deep blacks of OLED and the brighter highlights of the display. Additionally, the precision is outstanding, and the colors are beautifully represented due to the wide gamut.