A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to spend a day with the new Samsung QN95B as well as The Frame, and while Samsung seems to have made the most of the existing technology, last year’s models are absolutely superb, they somehow managed to step it up a notch this year and improve on what was available.
Considering we only had half a day with these TVs, please don’t take them as reviews. My review of the Samsung QN900a from last year will still be true for basic functionality and image quality, and having used the Samsung The Frame in my bedroom, I can also confirm that it is a Damn brilliant TV, so I’m confident in recommending both of the TVs I’m going to talk about, without spending a lot of time with them. Hopefully reviews will come later.
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THE SAMSUNG QN95B 4K MINI LED TV
This is Samsung’s brand new flagship 4K TV that we didn’t get last year. It’s a Harvey Norman exclusive and thankfully it has the One Connect box, meaning we now get four full-bandwidth HDMI 2.1 ports, which was only on the 8K model last year. The One Connect box is also 20% thinner. It comes in 55″, 65″ and 75″ and I had the privilege of seeing the 75″ model in the flesh.
The QN95B sports Samsung’s Infinity One design which was reserved for the 8K model. Although the bezels aren’t as thin as my QN900A, they are really thin, especially compared to OLEDs. The panel itself is also slim at just 15mm. This makes it perfect for wall mounting without the big bump that other TVs have.
While last year’s 4K models were bright thanks to Mini LED technology, Samsung has made things even brighter this year with Quantum HDR 32x which makes things even brighter. Samsung says the contrast levels are four times better than last year’s 8K flagship model and from my time with the device I’d have to believe them as the TV looked impressive in terms of black levels for a LED panel.
There are two things I absolutely love about Samsung’s QLED above any other OLED display I’ve used. Not only are the screens bright and vivid beyond what we get with OLED screens, but the visibility thanks to the anti-glare technology is fantastic. While OLEDs reign supreme in the perfect viewing environment, on a sunny Australian day it’s hard to beat the anti-glare used in these screens, and it still exists in this TV.
A huge feature of the QN95B and also the flagship 8K model is the fact that this TV can now do 4K/144HZ which means connecting a 3000 series graphics card will allow you to use this TV as the companion PC perfect. TVs used to be limited to 4K/120Hz, but now you can enjoy the full 144Hz. When you also add in the fact that you can take advantage of ultrawide at 21:9 and 32:9, that really conveys that this is a great PC companion.
Add to that the fact that it can do both Freesync Premium Pro as well as NVIDIA G-Sync (unofficially) plus features like four HDMI 2.1 ports for PS5/Xbox Series X and the new Game Bar feature that’s been introduced last year, the TVs are more gamer-friendly than ever before.
There’s a whole new user interface on Samsung TVs this year. Although the experience feels familiar, all your streaming and other platforms are right there on your homepage, rather than in the quick menu. It will also be updated to bring you the latest and most relevant content from each of the streaming services. I’ve always been a fan of the quick menu, but there’s probably too much content living on these TVs for it to remain a thing, so I understand that.
Another new feature of the QN95B is that it can now do Dolby Atmos directly from the TV speakers. Again, not something I had a lot of time to check out, but I was impressed with what I heard. Dolby Atmos support comes from an upward-firing TV speaker rather than being simulated.
There are a bunch of other great features that have been pulled from last year, including Multiview which still lets you view multiple sources such as a YouTube walk while playing a game, and the battery-powered remote control. Solar energy has even been improved with now the possibility of recovering radio frequencies from your Wi-Fi router and generating them into energy. After 12 months of use, I haven’t had to recharge my solar-powered remote, so things are only getting better.
Overall, the QN95B is probably Samsung’s best 4K TV yet, and I look forward to spending more time with the 2021 lineup to hopefully give you more in-depth reviews.
THE SAMSUNG 2022 FRAMEWORK
Along with my Samsung 8K QN900a, I’ve also been lucky enough to use a The Frame 2021 in my bedroom for the past six months or so. The Frame had always intrigued me, but I hadn’t anticipated what a great TV it would be. Not only is it fully functional as a TV, but the way it automatically turns on and off as soon as I draw the curtains or open them is a game changer. I haven’t had a single person in my house who watched The Frame and wasn’t completely shocked that it was actually a TV. They didn’t believe it until I turned it on and showed them.
The 2022 The Frame kind of amps this TV up tenfold, to the point that unless you need the most hardcore gaming features (like 4K/144Hz) I’d pretty much recommend this TV to anyone because it truly offers the best of both worlds in terms of phenomenal looks but also performance as a high-end TV.
Samsung’s 2022 The Frame now has a matte screen, which not only means the screen is no longer reflective (that was the only minor issue I had with previous models), but it also makes paints even more realistic. Because the screen is now matte, it somehow manages to make the strokes of paintings more textured and real. Paintings look less flat and manage to pull further away from the screen. The art store featured on The Frame is now more integrated into the UI, which now only makes it easier to find artwork, but also to switch views to another artwork much easier .
Another big improvement is the fact that all four HDMI ports are now HDMI 2.1, so there’s absolutely no reason why this shouldn’t become your next-gen driver. Although you don’t get the same insane levels of brightness as the QN95B, it’s still a very good panel.
There’s also a rotating stand you can buy this year (there’s still a slim fit stand included in the box) and this allows The Frame to automatically rotate based on the content being shown, so if you want to watch a lot of TikTok content in bed, he will turn around for you.
Overall, I’m so glad Samsung is investing in The Frame because it’s such an exciting technology and I expect to see it in more homes over the coming years.
SAMSUNG Q990B HOME THEATER SYSTEM
I wanted to finally address the new flagship Q990B home theater system, simply because there are a few improvements too. It’s still one of the best soundbar systems on the market with its 11.1.4 channel setup.
Design-wise, my only complaint with last year’s model was the fact that it used cloth material on all the speakers, which collected dust. This has now been replaced by a metal grille which not only gives off a premium quality but is also great for dusting and keeping clean.
The other minor complaint was that the screen was on top, which meant you couldn’t see it sitting down. This has also been rectified and it now sits on the front of the soundbar, which makes sense.
You can now use Dolby Atmos wirelessly, which for some reason means that if you can’t connect your soundbar to your TV using a wire, it now works wirelessly as well. with a wired connection. Q-Symphony, the feature that lets you use Samsung TV speakers together with the soundbar speakers, has also been enhanced with the TV speaker.
All in all, it’s just another product that Samsung has managed to improve year after year and shows that it listens to feedback, which is great to see.
Samsung’s 2022 TV/soundbar lineup is now in stores. We hope to bring dedicated reviews when we have more time with these products at home.