Samsung Q900TS QLED 8K TV review
Last Updated on October 1, 2021 by Daniel Osakwe
This Samsung Q900TS QLED 8K may be exactly what you are looking for in an 8K TV. The Q800T, while lacking the OneConnect box cabling solution that comes with the Q950TS, has the distinctively low price of the Q700T (and Q800T). It offers flagship performance at a lower price than the top-of-the-line TV.
With the Q900TS, you’ll enjoy a zero-bezel infinity screen that looks stunning whether the TV is on or off. Even with only one HDMI 2.1 port for next-gen hardware that requires a higher passthrough standard, there are four HDMI ports to keep you connected for gaming consoles, AV receivers, and soundbars.
Additionally, Samsung’s Q900TS boasts a fine audio experience, thanks to the OTS+ system that propels sound effects, dialogue, and music seamlessly. Although not quite as powerful as a front-firing soundbar, this speaker still offers a grand soundstage and multichannel detail.
Despite Samsung’s advocacy of 8K, the technology isn’t yet the necessity Samsung would like it to be. It’s understandable since 8K content is still relatively rare compared to 4K, which is increasingly available.
Nevertheless, TVs such as the Q900TS upscaling both 4K and HD sources to an 8K resolution make a strong case for the advance resolution. If you’re seated far enough away, you’ll be able to notice the extra detail more clearly. It might not be so noticeable in smaller units if you’re sat closer. We’ll discuss this in more detail below.
Samsung uses aggressive backlight dimming, as we’ve reported in several other new TV reviews, to prevent halos or blooming around bright areas of the screen. As a result, HDR objects might lose a little of their flare, meaning that they can’t fully utilize their potential.
The Q900TS is a superb choice if you do not want to drop a large sum on the Q950TS but are seeking largely the same specs. A smaller 8K TV of fewer than 65 inches, or one priced less than $4,999 / £4,499, would be better suited to other stores.
Design-wise, the Q900TS offers much to admire. Like the Q950TS, it also offers a 99% screen aesthetic, with a sleek and minimalist design that’s pleasing to the eye even when the screen is off.
Because of the full array backlight that sits behind the screen, it is not the thinnest QLED around. In spite of this, Samsung manages to design the set so that the back is kept as sleek as possible by keeping the pixels tight.
A silver/gray color covers the top and sides, accompanied by a dotted speaker grille that lets out sound from the system’s 4.2.2 channels. More details about Samsung’s OTS+ sound system can be found under the ‘Audio Performance’ section – but suffice to say, it doesn’t need to sit inside your eyeliner to impress.
There is a relatively easy setup process. It consists of two parts and is assembled with eight small screws. Even the 65-inch TV will require two people to lift. There was a little more effort in the Q60T assembly process than the Q60T Zero Screw kit, but it wasn’t quite as difficult as the Samsung Sero.
Four HDMI inputs are located on the rear of the device, but only one is HDMI 2.1 (which supports video passthrough in 8K/60 Hz and 4K/120 Hz). There should be more of the latter, especially for those planning to purchase both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X in the future. Although 8K Blu-rays aren’t yet available, there can still be some uses for the port. However, there is support for directing lossless audio to an external soundbar through eARC.
In addition to the two USB ports, there are also RF, Ethernet, and optical inputs, rather than the three found on the Q950TS.
Standard with QLED televisions is two remote controls. One plastic remote features a full numerical keypad and rubberized buttons, and the other has more limited inputs. In summary, it is the sleekest and has the best battery-insertion mechanism; it is a pleasure to use.
The main difference between the Q950TS and this is that there is no Samsung OneConnect box cabling solution.
The Q900TS runs Samsung’s Tizen operating system. The Samsung TV Plus platform works similarly to LG’s webOS smart TV platform, with a horizontal line of tile icons to show off available streaming apps, and a left-hand side that displays settings for picture, input, and the free Samsung TV Plus service.
Here, you can find a great selection of apps, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Rakuten TV, Apple TV Plus, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, My5, and YouTube, among others. There is also Samsung Health, a fitness, and wellness feature that will be available on Samsung TVs this year.
There is support for Disney Plus, but it isn’t displayed on the home screen. If you’re interested in watching it, you can get it from the Samsung app store and pin it to your home screen.
Despite most other TV brands offering catch-up services in the UK, there’s no Freeview Play on the horizon.
No matter the quality of the source, Samsung’s Q900TS delivers an excellent 8K picture. The best-looking image is native 4K, but even HD and SD content look fantastic, with all the added pixels needed to approximate an 8K image.
Our jaws dropped when we watched the HD version of Schitt’s Creek, which is an Emmy-winning show. It becomes obvious in vivid detail how furrows embellish a forehead, how an eyebrow flutter, and how a lampshade is stitched.
The AI-based upscaling that Samsung uses on its most high-end television sets is clearly beneficial. While traditional upscaling applies some sharpening around grainy objects, AI upscaling uses a huge bank of high-resolution and low-resolution images as a model to predict how images with a higher pixel count should look.
When the content is low-resolution, there are occasionally picture defects. It is natural that Samsung’s image processing focuses mainly on foreground objects, like faces. As a result, busy scenes can exhibit some grain over the backdrops, particularly around moving background objects. There will sometimes be some mild judder on your screen when your camera pans over longer distances, but it will usually subside fairly quickly.
Samsung needs to improve in a few areas over the next few years if they want to continue increasing 8K TV adoption, which is why these problems are fairly minor – but you would have to look for them.
As for Netflix’s The Social Dilemma documentary, we upscaled the 4K source up to 8K and are very impressed by its performance – almost startlingly so. Samsung’s upscaling algorithms help show off the details in someone’s freckles, or the lines in their eyes, during a sudden zoom-in.
Likewise, the benefits of Samsung’s Wide Viewing Angle technology are evident on its QLED premium sets from 2019. Even off-axis, the TV’s rich color and contrast remain vivid, so you won’t have to look straight at it if you want a great picture.
This product can be used in bright daylight or well-lit environments because its peak brightness is 3,000-nits for high-impact images. As a result, even SDR (standard dynamic range) content looks impressive.
On Amazon Prime Video, we tested out the Q900TS’s 4K HDR capabilities with the remake of Utopia. There were vibrant colors on the set, whether they were red tees, green dye, or blue ribbons (it’s a colorful show). The Q900TS has a bright screen, which is ideal for displaying vivid colors. At times, you’ll encounter some minor crushing of blacks in dark suit trousers or even beards in darker scenes – but it’s pretty minor.
Nevertheless, the Samsung Q900TS, along with the Q950TS and Q800T, uses some slightly aggressive backlight dimming, presumably to reduce blooming or halos around bright objects. Despite this, HDR objects still look spectacular. (On occasion, we saw the screen brightness drop suddenly as well, but that was rare.)
In addition to the usual array of options, there is a brand new option you might not be familiar with.
Normal (default), Dynamic (high contrast), Natural (midway between the previous two), and Movie (reduced saturation) are the basic picture modes. Most television and movie content will be best served by a movie, although a standard or natural selection may be better for reality TV and documentaries. We recommend browsing them to get a sense of what you want your picture to look like – even though we dislike Dynamic’s harsh and artificial colors, there are definitely people who enjoy them.
Another new feature is Filmmaker Mode, which bypasses the usual picture-processing techniques in order to display TV or movie content “as intended”. In terms of visuals, we found it pretty close to the Movie preset, but it performed worse when it came to moving objects – likely due to the lack of motion smoothing technologies. It is not recommended.
Also included is an Intelligent mode, which switches between picture (and audio) settings automatically based on what you’re seeing on screen – so no fiddling with picture presets is required.
The TV features HDR10 and HDR10+, which calibrates the picture settings on a shot-by-shot basis – but not Dolby Vision, as it does on all QLED TVs. Netflix movies are better enjoyed with Dolby Vision, while Amazon Prime Video shows are best viewed in HDR10+.
With Samsung’s OTS+ (Object Tracking Sound) technology, the Q900TS’s audio offers plenty of benefits.
With the Q900TS’s OTS+, the Q900TS’s screen comes with a multidirectional stereo sound system, allowing you to hear the audio from every direction. This type of speaker cannot support Dolby Atmos as a whole, but you can pass the format through to a speaker that can.
Audio can best be described as “roomy”. The OTS+ provides an incredibly wide soundstage that never feels constrained – meaning the sound is as unrestrained as the zero-bezel screen.
Since this is not a dedicated front-firing soundbar some people may miss the punch of a front-firing soundbar, given that here the sound fills the room instead of bursting outward. The Q900TS does support the connection of a soundbar or other AV equipment, but it might be a waste of its audio specifications to do so.
With Q900TS’s speakers, voices are vividly recreated; even in a documentary, the drivers show all the frequencies and peculiar timbres that people use. As a result of the multiple channels, the dialogue is never drowned out by a booming soundtrack, and a plethora of distinct details can be seen all at once.
Throughout The Old Guard on Netflix, Charlize Theron’s chains clink delicately and clatter with force all at once, giving even the smallest of moments a range of subtle tones. The chaotic overlap of Burnham’s monologue, audience laughter, and a techno soundtrack is properly handled in Bo Burnham’s standup special Make Happy, ensuring no listener is disoriented.
Although the volume is high, the sound is generally clear and controlled. A few people may not like how dynamic the OTS+ sound system is – Panasonic HZ2000’s built-in speakers are louder, and the lack of front-firing speakers means the Q900TS lacks immediate impact. Nevertheless, there is no denying the overall quality and verticality of the sound.
|Expansive zero-bezel screen||No Dolby Vision|
|Stellar smart platform||Aggressive brightness control|
|Amazing upscaling to 8K||Some background grain with HD|
For a high-end 8K TV, the Q900TS is the way to go if you do not want to buy the Q950TS, but are happy with mainly the same specifications. However, if you’re looking for an 8K TV cheaper than £4,499, or that’s smaller than 65 inches, you should look elsewhere.