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Roku Pro Series TV Review: a flagship mini-LED TV for a reasonable price
4:00 pm | July 12, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Televisions | Tags: | Comments: Off

Roku Pro Series: Two-minute review

The Roku Pro Series is the company’s new flagship TV offering. Roku has been a major player in our living rooms for a long time, starting out with streaming boxes and sticks. Those evolved to soundbars and wireless speakers, followed by last year’s initial foray into TVs with the Roku Select and Roku Plus Series. Building on those models, the Roku Pro Series takes things up a level with some interesting and unique design choices and useful features.

Considering the Roku Pro Series’ relatively affordable prices, starting at $899.99 for the 55-inch model, it’s certainly in the running for best TVs for those who are a little more price-conscious.

While the Pro Series is Roku’s premium offering, there are innovations on hand that make it worthy of consideration over Roku’s budget Select and mid-tier Plus TVs. For one, it offers better picture quality than those models thanks to a mini-LED backlight with local dimming. It also has 4K 120Hz support for gaming and side-firing speakers that provide superior sound quality.

This TV has some tricks up its sleeve feature-wise as well, such as the ability to switch picture modes not just between different forms of content but different scenes. A planned software update will also bring an artmode feature that turns the TV into a showcase for artwork when not in use, similar to Samsung’s The Frame TVs. Of course, the interface overall is a joy to use, as I’ll discuss later.

The TV’s design may be where I’m most impressed. There are TVs with similarly impressive picture quality for under $1,000 (the Hisense U8K Series TV comes to mind). However, no other TV that I know of is made to be intentionally thicker so that it mounts flush against the wall instead of precariously jutting out like most TVs, and there’s cable management to accommodate that installation. The upgraded second edition of the Roku Voice Remote Pro is pretty special as well, and not just because it has backlighting.

Everything about the Roku Pro Series TV follows an ethos that seems to permeate Roku products, and that is convenience. If you care about the absolute best picture quality, you might look elsewhere, though I think the Pro Series’ picture is more than good enough for most people. But setting this TV up, using it and its various features, and even dealing with how it integrates into your space, has been thought out in a way that most products this side of Apple aren’t.

Roku Pro series remote control held in hand

Roku's remote control features a backlit keypad (Image credit: Future)

Roku Pro Series review: Price and release date

  • Release date: April 2024
  • 55-inch: $899.99
  • 65-inch: $1,199.99
  • 75-inch: $1,699.99

The Roku Pro Series might be the company’s premium offering, but the price tag is in mid-range TV territory. The smallest of the Pro Series – it comes in three sizes (55-, 65-, and 75-inch) – retails for a surprisingly affordable $899.99.

If 55 inches is too small, stepping up to the 65-inch model is an extra $200, coming in at $1,199.99, while the 75-inch goes for $1,699.99. Despite the difference in price between models, they’re all the same other than size.

Roku Pro Series review: Specs

Roku Pro Series review: Benchmark results

Roku Pro series  TV rear ports

The Pro's connections include two HDMI 2.1 ports with 4K 120Hz support (Image credit: Future)

Roku Pro Series review: Features

  • Smart Home Ready
  • Auto-switching picture settings
  • Two HDMI 2.1 ports

Roku’s Pro Series TV is feature-filled. You can pair it with wireless headphones or with Roku’s lineup of wireless speakers. You can connect it with Google Home, Alexa, Apple Home, and Roku Smart Home. There’s even a mode that will be rolled out in a future software update to turn the TV into a piece of artwork when not in use.

Even without the smart home stuff, there’s plenty to get excited about. The TV comes with Dolby Vision IQ, which adjusts the picture settings based on the ambient light level in your room when watching. And there’s what Roku calls Smart Picture Max, a feature that automatically changes the picture settings based on the type of content you’re watching and can even make changes on a scene-by-scene basis. It’s also worth mentioning that the speakers are Dolby Atmos-certified.

If you plan on plugging in external devices, Pro series TVs have four HDMI ports including two HDMI 2.1 ports with 4K 120Hz support – something next-gen console gamers will appreciate.. There’s also a USB-A, useful in particular for charging the remote, and a USB-C port.

  • Features Score: 4/5

Roku Pro series  showing frog on screen

The Pro Series TV's picture has vibrant color and punchy contrast (Image credit: Future)

Roku Pro Series review: Picture quality

  • Good overall picture quality
  • Average peak brightness
  • Effective local dimming

You’ll see throughout this review that I’ve given the Roku Pro Series pretty high scores above the board. It can’t be perfect, can it? Well, it’s not. And, where it impresses least is in image quality. However, before you write it off, I will say that I found the image quality to be merely very good. That is to say, most people will find it pleasant to watch but will be more enamored by what it can do than by its stunning picture.

Still, the Roku Pro Series supports Dolby Vision IQ and HDR10+ HDR, and its Smart Picture Max automatic picture mode switching will show whatever content you’re watching in the best possible light.

When watching The Batman, a movie with a lot of shadows in it, I didn’t experience very deep blacks. Because it doesn’t deliver the deep contrast of an OLED screen, the picture could look a little flat at times. But at least I didn’t experience any backlight blooming thanks to the TV’s well-implemented local dimming.

The Roku Pro Series TV works fairly well with sports as well – I had to test with some Olympic Trial diving since I forgot to pay attention during the NBA finals. Colors generally looked good,  though skin tones came across as a tiny bit muted in the Movie picture mode. More importantly, the action was crisp and accurate without any blurring issues.

Watching Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse (again in Movie mode), this colorful animated movie was done justice, as the transitions between colors, particularly in backgrounds, were accurate and didn’t appear washed out. They could just pop a tiny bit more.

I felt similarly when playing games like Ghost of Tsushima in Game mode. This is a game with a fairly conservative use of color, so when you see something covered in red or purple, it jumps out. That was certainly the case with the Roku Pro series, however, it did seem a little more muted than I’d expect from a flagship TV.

Essentially, the Roku’s performance is nothing unusual for a TV at this price. It has an average peak brightness of 900 nits, for instance. And, if you look at the other benchmarks in our graph, you’ll mostly see average results there as well. There are also plenty of settings available for fine-tuning color saturation, color temperature, and even gamma correction in the TV menus.

  • Picture quality score: 4/5

Roku Pro series  being installed

Setting up the TV's stand is simple and requires no tools (Image credit: Future)

Roku Pro Series review: Sound quality

  • Thicker design allows for bigger speakers
  • Solid sound if a little light on the low end
  • Good enough to skip adding a standalone soundbar

The sound on TVs is typically thin and hollow. While some premium models try to correct this, there’s only so much you can do with thin display panels. Thanks to the thicker shadowbox-style design of the Pro Series TV, Roku was able to sneak in bigger speakers and it shows.

There’s certainly plenty of volume on tap, and the bigger speakers result in a fuller, less boxy sound. Details in the high frequencies retain body as well as clarity. The mids are nice and full. Really, the only thing missing is deep bass, though you could always pair one of Roku’s wireless subwoofers with the TV to fix that. 

It should be noted that the speakers are side-firing instead of downward-firing. This means that, instead of the audio waves traveling down and bouncing off whatever surface is beneath them, they travel outward with a direct path to the listener. This helps with clarity but also results in better steering of effects Dolby Atmos soundtracks.

Now, I’m not saying that the TV’s built-in speakers are going to beat or match one of the best soundbars. But, if your soundbar budget taps out at under, say, $300, you’ll be safe to skip it altogether.

  • Sound quality score: 4.5/5

Roku Pro series  cable management system

The Pro Series TV's cable managment system allows for a neat installation (Image credit: Future)

Roku Pro Series review: Design

  • Shadowbox design perfect for mounting
  • Has cable management
  • New, almost flawless remote

The Roku Pro Series might be the thickest TV to come out in a long time, and that’s by design. Using a shadowbox concept, this TV has about a 2-inch depth so that it can sit flush against the wall when mounted.

The back of the TV is molded to accommodate a cable management setup including straps. That’s not only for a tidy look but to keep those cables in place so that nothing gets in the way of the TV sitting flush when mounted. On top of that, the mounting set includes little kickstands that can be used to raise the TV off the wall for easy access to all the ports, which are situated on the back.

Even if you don’t mount the TV, this thicker design allowed Roku to install bigger speakers and better speakers. Also worth mentioning is that the stand installation is completely toolless, and there’s a button on the side of the TV to help find the remote if you misplace it. Press it and the remote will ping.

Speaking of the remote, the new 2nd-generation Roku Voice Remote Pro is a pleasure to use. First off, it has backlighting that turns on as soon as you pick it up, and turns off when you’re not using it. It also has two additional buttons – a guide button for live TV and a quick launch button. I do wish the quick launch (and really the live TV button as well) could be used to directly load an app of my choosing, instead of bringing me to a menu. However, it’s still more convenient than not. Also, the remote has a hands-free mode that can be toggled on so you can talk to it much like you would a voice assistant.

  • Design score: 5/5

Roku Pro series TV main Roku interface

The simple, elegant Roku TV interface (Image credit: Future)

Roku Pro Series review: Smart TV and menus

  • Intuitive navigation
  • Easy access to picture settings
  • Forthcoming Roku Backdrops turns TV into an artwork

The thing that has made Roku products stand out since day one has been the intuitive interface. Outside of accessing a few key features specific to the Pro Series TV, such as fine-tuning the picture or pairing wireless headphones, the interface is the same as it is on any other updated Roku device.

As far as accessing TV-specific settings, I appreciated that quite a few were available without having to exit the media I was watching or playing. Just pressing the star button on the remote let me adjust all sorts of picture quality settings like HDR and Gamma correction along with picture and sound modes, not to mention accessibility settings.

A feature that has yet to see the light of day called Roku Backdrops is sure to excite anyone who ends up accidentally leaving their TV on all the time the way I do. It will essentially make the screen go into art mode, replacing the screensaver with art, and is an especially nice feature if you plan on mounting the TV as a centerpiece in your living room. Roku Backdrops should be available on Roku Pro Series TVs in the second half of 2024.

Lastly, Roku has a lot of free content available, whether through its live TV portal or its own Roku channel. Yes, it may not be Netflix-level content, but some of it’s pretty good, especially if you’re a Weird Al fan.

  • Smart TV & menus score: 5/5

Roku Pro series  gaming

Gaming is fluid thanks to the 4K 120Hz support and ultra-low input lag (Image credit: Future)

Roku Pro Series review: Gaming

  • 4K 120Hz support
  • Automatic switching to console input and gaming picture mode
  • Good sound for gaming

Since the Roku Pro Series is the company’s premium offering, it makes sense that the company didn’t forget gamers when designing this TV. Unlike many cheaper TVs, Roku’s Select and Plus Series models included, it supports 4K at 120Hz for gaming with PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles.

Along with that fast 120Hz refresh rate, VRR and ALLM (including FreeSync) are supported, and input lag clocks in at an ultra-low 9.4ms. If you’re a console gamer, you won’t feel left behind with the Roku Pro Series.

The TV’s local dimming helps deliver a consistent picture no matter how dark the game and its HDR support adds to the contrast and depth. Whether I was playing Red Dead Redemption 2, Ghost of Tsushima, or Uncharted 4, I never had issues making out enemies or details situated in darker parts of the screen.

Since the Roku Pro Series automatically switches picture modes, turning on the PlayStation 5 turns on the Game picture mode.I also appreciated that, when I turned on the console, the TV’s interface automatically switched from the main Roku screen to the PS5’s input – though this feature can also be disabled in the settings.

Since the sound quality on the TV sits above many modern-day TVs with their downward-firing speakers, that benefit extends to the gaming experience. Also, you can wirelessly pair the TV with Bluetooth headphones for late-night gaming sessions.

  • Gaming score: 4.5/5

Roku Pro series unboxed

The Roku Pro series TV unboxed (Image credit: Future)

Roku Pro Series review: Value

  • Priced closer to mid-range TVs
  • Design is unique to the Roku Pro Series
  • Significant upgrade over mid-range Roku TV

When you consider other mini-LED TVs such as the Hisense U8K Series, which is currently $699 for the 55-inch model, it helps put the Roku Pro Series TV’s pricing, which starts at $899.99 for the 55-inch model I tested, into perspective. Of course, the Hisense doesn’t have the shadow box design or updated remote, though it does have the hands-free voice command as well as smart home integration.

One of the best TVs for most people right now is the Samsung S90C. It comes with a QD-OLED screen with a beautiful picture that offers deep blacks and detailed shadows. But that model costs $1,599 for a 55-inch screen size. The Roku Pro Series might not reach the same picture quality heights as the Samsung, but it does come with things the Samsung doesn’t, such as Dolby Vision IQ, or that much more intuitive Roku interface versus Samsung’s Tizen.

It’s also worth comparing the Roku Pro Series TV to the company’s mid-range offering, the Roku Plus Series. That series also comes in the same range of sizes, but at a much lower price tag, with the 55-inch going for $499, the 65-inch going for $649, and the 75-inch going for $999. While the Plus Series has Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and HLG, as well as Dolby Atmos support, not to mention local dimming, it has a less bright standard LED backlight and is capped at a 60Hz refresh rate. Additionally, it doesn’t have the same shadowbox design and front-firing speakers, and also lacks the new remote and useful automatic picture mode switching.

  • Value score: 5/5 

Roku Pro series  TV showing creature on screen

(Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the Roku Pro Series TV?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if…

Also consider...

Samsung QN900D showing test pattern

(Image credit: Future)

How I tested the Roku Pro Series TV

  • Used the Roku Pro Series TV for a couple of weeks
  • Tested with TV, movies, music, and games

I used the Roku Pro Series TV regularly for a couple of weeks with TV, movies, music, and games. I tested the various features to see if they work as advertised. I also spent time listening to the audio as well as paying attention to the picture quality.

After spending some time with this TV, it’s my humble opinion that this TV is ideal for two sets of people. The first is people who want a premium TV in a big, but not gigantic size, and therefore don’t want to spend too much. The second are those that hate the way most wall-mounted TVs look.

I’ve tested a lot of tech gear over the years from laptops to keyboards and speakers, and so have been able to use my expertise towards giving an honest and fair opinion, not to mention a critical eye, to any product I test.

You can read an in-depth overview of how we test TVs at TechRadar at that link.

Samsung QN85D review: a solid mini-LED 4K TV, but there are better-value rivals
11:00 am | July 11, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Televisions | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Samsung QN85D review: Two minute review

The Samsung QN85D is a solid, mid-range mini-LED TV that offers good performance for both gaming and movies. It isn't perfect and doesn’t provide the same value as other mini-LED sets such as the Hisense U7N, one of the best TVs in the budget range, but there are things to like about the QN85D. 

The NQ4 Gen2 AI processor used by the Samsung QN85D is the same one you’ll find in the Samsung S95D, one of the best OLED TVs, and it provides AI-driven features for picture, sound and gaming, with Real Depth Enhancer serving as the highlight. 

Picture quality is a mixed bag on the QN85D. Textures and details are accurate, crisp and refined from nearly every source and colors are bold and vibrant yet natural and true-to-life. Black levels and contrast are solid for the most part though occasional backlight blooming can make blacks take on a grayer tone. Motion handling is good during movies but less so during sports. Although performance is mixed, the QN85D’s picture still makes it a solid mini-LED contender. 

Audio quality is also a mixed bag on the QN85D. It has solid, hefty bass, clear enough dialogue and Object Tracking Sound (OTS) Lite for excellent sound placement that follows the onscreen action. However, its Dolby Atmos and virtual surround placement is limited by the 2.2-channel, 40W built-in speakers. It may be fine for some, but it's worth considering one of the best soundbars to boost the QN85D’s sound. 

The QN85D’s design is simple and solid. It’s reassuringly weighty with a well-built rear panel and a burnished metal frame that feels sturdy. It has a trim profile with a slim bezel around three sides of the screen that allows the picture to take center stage. The stand, in contrast, is a little cheap, matching what you would find on a much cheaper TV. 

Samsung’s own Tizen smart TV platform is used on the QN85D, and its neatened-up home menu doesn’t bombard with recommendations like it did in the past. It provides access to all the major apps and is easy enough to navigate thanks to its separate hubs for Home, Game, Daily+ and Ambient. Picture settings are on offer for those who like to experiment, though not so much on the sound front.

Gaming is one area where the QN85D thrives. Its four HDMI 2.1 ports support 4K 120Hz and VRR with AMD FreeSync Premium Pro, and the Gaming Hub collates everything gaming into one easy-to-find and use place. Graphics and gaming performance are also top-notch, putting the QN85D alongside the best gaming TVs

Value is a tough obstacle for the QN85D as it competes with similarly equipped but cheaper mini-LED TV options. While it may top budget TVs in some areas and offers great features and performance for the money, it ultimately can't compete with budget options such as the Hisense U7N and TCL QM851G on the value front.

Samsung QN85D with mountains on screen

The Samsung QN85D suffers from reflections, but its brightness does a serviceable job of reducing them (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN85D review: Prices & release date

  • Release date: April 2024 
  • 55-inch: $1,399 / £1,599 / AU$2,499 
  • 65-inch: $1,999 / £2,399 / AU$2,999 
  • 75-inch: $2,599 / £3,099 / AU$3,999 
  • 85-inch: $3,699 / £4,099 / AU$5,499 

The Samsung QN85D is the entry-level model in Samsung’s 2024 Neo QLED (mini-LED) range. It is available in 55, 65, 75 and 85-inch sizes and sits below the Samsung QN90D and Samsung QN95D (the latter only available in the UK). 

Since its release in April 2024, prices for the QN85D have fallen across the board in every size and nearly every region. The 65-inch model I tested has already seen its price fall to $1,599 and £1,899 in the US and UK respectively. Prices in Australia have remained the same. 

Samsung QN85D review: Specs

Samsung QN85D review: Benchmark results

Samsung QN85D with Daily+ hub screen

The Samsung QN85D's Daily+ hub screen (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN85D review: Features

  • NQ4 AI Gen2 Processor 
  • HDR10+ HDR support 
  • Four HDMI 2.1 ports and Samsung Gaming hub 

The Samsung QN85D’s mini-LED backlight provides superior local dimming and contrast over standard LED sets. Its NQ4 AI Gen2 Processor is the same one in more premium models such as the Samsung QN90D and even Samsung's flagship OLED, the S95D. This processor enables AI features such as Real Depth Enhancer Pro, Object Tracking Sound (OTS) Lite, AI Sound and more. 

Like all Samsung TVs, the Samsung QN85D supports the HDR10+ HDR format but not Dolby Vision. 

The QN85D is well-stocked with gaming features. Its four HDMI 2.1 ports support 4K 120Hz, VRR including AMD FreeSync Premium Pro, HGiG and ALLM. It also features Samsung’s Gaming Hub with cloud gaming apps such as Xbox, Luna, and Nvidia GeForce Now. 

The QN85D’s audio is provided by a 2.2-channel, 40W speaker array that supports Dolby Atmos. It also features ‘360 Audio’ and OTS Lite for surround sound, as well AI sound features such as Active Voice Amplifier Pro and Adaptive Sound Pro, both of which are designed to enhance and adapt dialogue and sound based on the viewing environment. 

Samsung’s own Tizen smart TV platform provides separate hubs for categories including the previously mentioned Gaming Hub, Ambient Hub for displaying artworks and Samsung Daily+ for lifestyle apps such as Samsung Health and office-based apps. Tizen provides access to Netflix, Disney Plus, Prime Video and more. For UK viewers it’s worth noting that live TV management is not provided by Freeview Play or Freely but rather Samsung’s own TV Plus, though there is still access to major UK apps such as BBC iPlayer and ITVX. 

  • Features score: 4.5 / 5 

Samsung QN85D with green butterfly on screen

The Samsung QN85D's natural colors are one of its biggest strengths (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN85D review: Picture quality

  • Natural and detailed textures 
  • Bold, vibrant colors 
  • Some backlight blooming  

Measurements taken on a 10% white HDR window yielded 878 and 1,026 nits in Standard and Filmmaker Mode respectively. While those are decent brightness results, they're similar to the Samsung Q80D, a QLED TV that uses a standard LED backlight. For context, a premium mini-LED such as the Sony Bravia 9 yielded results of 2,280 and 1,871 nits in Standard and Filmmaker Mode respectively when we measured it.

The QN85D demonstrated good full-screen HDR brightness, clocking in at 696 and 635 nits in Standard and Filmmaker modes respectively. That brightness level is useful for daytime viewing and is almost double what you would get on OLED models such as the LG C4.

When measuring the QN85D’s UHDA-P3 and BT.2020 HDR color gamut coverage, it yielded results of 93 and 69.1%. While those aren't the best results we’ve seen, they are still solid enough numbers. 

It's time to move from numbers to real-world viewing. Starting with broadcast TV, the QN85D did an effective job upscaling pictures to 4K, although textures looked a little soft in some TV shows.  

Moving onto 4K, I started by viewing The Batman to test black levels and local dimming. While blacks had a slightly gray tone overall, they were still suitably dark for an entry-level mini-LED TV. The QN85D also demonstrated impressive backlight control when viewed front-on, showing a good contrast range between the darker tones of the hallway and the brightness of the lamps in the opening crime scene. The QN85D’s excellent detail was also on show in this scene, with clothing and other objects taking on a natural look. 

Viewing the same scene in dark conditions, the QN85D’s backlight struggled a bit more, showing some minor blooming and a gray wash in the blacks. Its performance here was still noticeably better than what you’ll see on standard LED sets, however. 

Colors on the QN85D were bold, vibrant and lifelike. Watching the throne room fight scene in Star Wars: The Last Jedi on Disney Plus, the reds of the lightsabers were punchy and vivid but still maintained a natural and not overblown appearance. In the opening scene of La La Land,  bright green, yellow, red and blue outfits worn by the dancers displayed dynamic yet natural hues. When measuring the QN85D’s color accuracy, it gave a result of 1.75 (we typically look for a margin of error below 3) which is a great result and shows why the QN85D’s colors appeared true-to-life. 

Samsung QN85D with city at night on screen

The Samsung QN85D's picture is a mixed bag, but it demonstrates decent contrast (Image credit: Future)

I next watched Oppenheimer to test the QN85D’s contrast and its handling of black and white images. Overall, it demonstrated strong contrast with a good balance between whites, blacks and gray tones although black crush in some shots resulted in a loss of detail. Once again, facial features, objects and textures were realistic thanks to the TV’s Real Depth Enhancer AI feature.

To test motion, I watched Top Gun: Maverick, focusing on the opening Darkstar testing and first training missions. In Filmmaker Mode (which has no motion smoothing), the QN85D did a solid job handling the sweeping camera angles, with only minor judder to be seen on the jets careering in the air.

Watching an HD stream of a Man U v Chelsea soccer match on Prime Video, also in Filmmaker Mode, I found the motion to be a little inconsistent. The lack of motion smoothing resulted in some stuttering long side-to-side aerial shots, though adding some motion smoothing made the action look unnatural. Eventually, I set judder and blur reduction to around 2-3 and got good results.

Finally, I used the demo footage on the Spears & Munsil UHD Benchmark 4K Blu-ray to test all elements of the QN85D’s picture. Colors on parrots and butterflies looked punchy and the textures and details were crisp. Black levels, though solid, took on a gray-ish hue, however, which was particularly noticeable in shots with large areas of shadows there was some backlight blooming, particularly when viewing off-center.

Analyzing the QN85D’s AI Picture mode (in the Intelligence Mode settings), I found that colors, while brighter, lost their natural look and brightness seemed overblown. Textures also appeared sharper but enough so that it created a ‘fake’ look.

  •  Picture quality score: 4/5 

Samsung QN85D with La La Land title on screen

The Samsung QN85D's built-in speakers suffer from limited soundstage, reducing the impact of movies such as La La Land (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN85D review: Sound quality

  • 2.2-channel speaker array  
  • Punchy bass 
  • Limited soundstage 

The QN85D features a 2.2-channel speaker array with 40W of power. Dolby Atmos is supported and there are AI features including Adaptive Sound Pro and Active Voice Amplifier. Two preset sound modes are available: Standard and Amplify, the latter of which I used for testing. 

Bass on Samsung’s TV is hefty enough and has a solid weight. In both The Batman and Top Gun: Maverick, the rumble of the engines from the Batmobile and jets carried enough power to satisfy most bass fans, and provided an immersive feel. OTS Lite was effective at connecting the action to the screen, with the crunching cars, shattering glass and screeching car tires within the Batmobile chase scene all accurately placed. 

Dialogue overall was clear, though I did struggle during the Batmobile chase scene to hear voices over the chaotic and bassy audio. Watching La La Land, vocals during many of the big dance numbers were crisp and easy to hear, despite the brass-heavy score throughout. The QN85D showed a good balance between instruments as well, especially with the vocals and delicate piano during the ‘Somewhere In The Crowd’ scene.

It wasn't all good news with the QN85D’s sound. Although it supports Dolby Atmos, spatial effects were rarely audible. The soundstage was also somewhat limited, with the big, theatrical soundtrack of La La Land struggling to extend beyond the confines of the screen itself. 

Applying AI Sound (again found in the TV’s Intelligence Mode settings), Adaptive Sound Pro did a good job of improving balance by making the soundstage a bit wider and immersive, though this came at a great cost to bass levels.  

While the QN85D’s sound is perfectly acceptable, I'd still recommend using this TV with one of the best soundbars, particularly Samsung ones with Q Symphony, a feature that combines the soundbar’s speakers with the ones built into the TV.

  •  Sound quality score: 3.5/5 

Samsung Qn85D stand

The Samsung QN85D's stand (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN85D review: Design

  • Trim profile 
  • Solid but safe design 
  • Samsung SolarCell remote    

The QN85D has a safe, but reassuringly solid design. It feels weighty and well-constructed, with a plastic and metal rear panel. It also has a nearly bezel-less screen, a trim profile and a burnished metal frame that makes it feel more premium than budget mini-LED sets from the likes of Hisense and TCL. 

The stand on the 65-inch model I tested in the UK is a gray plastic and aluminum pedestal that’s different from stands you’ll find on other sets. I found it subject to wobbling, but its smaller size means that the QN85D will fit on most TV furniture. 

The supplied remote is Samsung’s eco-friendly SolarCell remote, which draws power from either a solar panel on the rear or a USB-C port on the bottom. It’s small and has a limited button count, but is sleek and modern enough that most will enjoy using it.

  •  Design score: 4/5 

Samsung QN85D with Tizen home menu

The Samsung QN85D's Tizen smart TV platform offers recommendations across its home menu (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN85D review: Smart TV & menus

  • Tizen smart TV platform
  • Game, Ambient, and Daily+ hubs
  • Plenty of settings to tweak

Like all Samsung TVs, the QN85D uses Samsung’s own Tizen smart TV platform. There haven’t been any upgrades made to the platform since last year aside from small improvements to make navigation and customization easier.

The Tizen home screen locates apps near the top and is divided into three sections: For You, Live and Apps. There are other hubs to choose from, including Daily+, which focuses on lifestyle apps such as health and office; Game for all things gaming including cloud-based apps; and Ambient, where you can display both static and dynamic background artworks and images. 

Along with Standard, Movie, Filmmaker, and other preset picture modes, there are plenty of picture settings in the QN85D's menus for those who like to experiment. Sound settings are somewhat limited compared to other TVs, with only two preset sound modes and a limited number of settings to adjust. Tizen may be a little on the safe side, but it is a solid and serviceable smart TV platform. 

  • Smart TV & menus score: 4/5 

Samsung QN85D with Battlefield V on screen

The Samsung QN85D is a great gaming performer, even with intense games such as Battlefield V  (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN85D review: Gaming

  • Four HDMI 2.1 ports 
  • Gaming hub
  • Ultra-low 10.1ms input lag 

The QN85D comes with a full suite of gaming features across its four HDMI 2.1 ports, including 4K 120Hz support, ALLM, VRR including AMD FreeSync Premium Pro, and HGiG. It also offers cloud-based gaming from services such as Xbox, Luna, and Nvidia GeForce Now as well as live Twitch streaming in the Gaming Hub and has a Game Bar menu that lets you customize settings such as black level and virtual aiming. 

The QN85D handles higher frame rate gaming at 120fps with ease, resulting in fluid gameplay. Playing Battlefield V, switching from target to target felt easy and controlled even during chaotic battle sequences, and sprinting motions never felt too fast or overwhelming. When I measured the QN85D’s input lag using a Leo Bodnar 4K tester, it yielded a result of 10.1ms – well below the 15ms threshold that we look for in the best 120Hz TVs

When gaming, the QN85D displayed the same picture quality level as it did for movies. During a desert mission, the vast surrounding sands had true-to-life color and textures. Details within the various weapons were intricate and vehicles and environments had a 3D-like quality. 

  • Gaming score: 4.5/5 

Samsung SolarCell Remote

The eco-friendly Samsung SolarCell remote (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN85D review: Value

  • Competitive mini-LED market 
  • Decent price for performance and features 
  • Cheaper options from Hisense and TCL 

As mini-LED tech continues to grow in popularity, the market has become more crowded. Samsung’s mini-LED sets generally feel more premium than TVs from rival brands, but those rival brands are gaining. 

Hisense’s ULED range is Samsung’s closest rival, with the Hisense U7N providing the main competition to the Samsung QN85D. In the US, the U7N costs nearly half as much as the QN85D, with a 65-inch model averaging $799 and a 75-inch one averaging $1,699. Although the QN85D tops the U7N in some areas, that’s a tough price gap to ignore.

Still, the QN85D’s gaming features and movie performance aren’t to be forgotten, and it’s a solid option for those who can stretch their budget a bit further. 

  •  Value score: 3.5/5 

Samsung QN85D with La La Land on screen

(Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the Samsung QN85D?

Buy it if...

You want a good picture
Natural textures and accurate colors mean the QN85D suits many different pictures, especially 4K HDR ones.

You want a great gaming TV
The QN85D is stacked with gaming features including 4K 120Hz, VRR and a useful Gaming hub, and it performs well when gaming.

You want a solid smart TV platform
Tizen may not be the perfect smart TV platform, but it does provide plenty of customization options for users.

Don't buy it if...

You want the best value mini-LED TV
Mini-LED rivals such as the Hisense U7N and TCL QM815G provide a similar list of features as the QN85D for less money.

You need good viewing angles
While the QN85D's viewing angles aren't bad, they are limited compared to more premium sets, revealing fading contrast and backlight blooming.

You need great built-in sound
The QN85D's has decent bass, but unfortunately suffers from a limited soundstage and lacking virtual surround sound placement.

Also consider

Hisense U7N
The Hisense U7N carries many similar features for gaming and performance to the QN85D for cheaper (especially in the US). It may also not be perfect, but it performs well for the money as we found in our Hisense U7N review.

Offering a significant brightness upgrade and a mostly similar list of gaming features, the TCL QM851G rivals the Samsung QN85D at larger screen sizes. Overall, when performance and features are weighed up, the QM851G demonstrates better value.  Here's our full TCL QM851G review.

Samsung Q80D
Although it is a step down in screen tech with only a QLED panel, the Q80D is a very good TV offering excellent gaming features and top-notch performance and picture quality. The QN85D has mini-LED tech for better local dimming, but the Q80D is one to consider if you want to save money. Here's our full Samsung Q80D review.

Samsung QN85D with Calman and testing equipment connected

(Image credit: Future)

How I tested the Samsung QN85D

  • Measurements taken using Portrait Displays' Calman software
  • Tested using variety of SDR ad HDR sources
  • Tested in varying lighting conditions

My testing of the Samsung QN85D was split into two parts: subjective, using reference scenes to analyze picture and sound quality, and objective, using specialized equipment to take measurements. 

After some casual viewing to establish the most accurate picture modes, in this case Filmmaker Mode, I then viewed broadcast TV in both SD and HD quality, and 4K Blu-rays and streaming services, analyzing the QN85D's picture for contrast, color, brightness, black levels, textures and details, and upscaling. 

I used a Panasonic DP-UB820 4K Blu-ray player for 4K Blu-ray playback, Disney Plus and Prime Video for streaming, and an Xbox Series X to test gaming performance and features.

After completing subjective viewing, I then moved on to objective testing, which involved taking measurements using specialized equipment including a test pattern generator, and colorimeter, and recording those measurements with  Portrait Displays' Calman calibration software. 

The measurements taken were for both SDR and HDR brightness measured in nits on white window patterns covering from 1-100% of the screen, UHDA-P3 and BT.2020 color gamut coverage, and SDR color and grayscale accuracy.

Input lag was measured at 4K/60Hz using a Leo Bodnar 4K HDMI Input Lag tester.  

Nitro Deck+ review: a slick upgrade, but not a transformative one
3:00 pm | June 30, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Gaming | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Two-minute review

Peripherals manufacturer CRKD is back with the Nitro Deck+, an upgraded version of its fantastic Nitro Deck handheld Switch dock/controller. While said upgrades here essentially boil down to a handful of quality-of-life improvements, these changes make the Nitro Deck+ unequivocally the best product the manufacturer has put out so far. But it’s not necessarily the one that offers the best value for money.

The Nitro Deck+ features a slick translucent shell not unlike the Crystal Collection limited edition variants of the original model. It offers six remappable buttons as opposed to the original’s four, comes packaged with an HDMI adapter that allows you to play on the TV and an improved kickstand that feels notably less stiff and fiddly.

Performance remains excellent across the board, with class-leading Hall Effect thumbsticks that effectively eliminate the risk of drift. The face buttons, extra remappable buttons, and bumpers all still feel snappy, responsive, and tactile - though the mushy triggers of the original Nitro Deck sadly remain here. It, unfortunately, hasn’t lost any weight off of the original model either, meaning that one of its few real drawbacks - the overall bulkiness - hasn’t been improved upon.

Price is also a bit of a sticking point, costing notably more than standard edition Nitro Decks while coming in at the same price as its many special editions. On top of this, the bundle that includes the HDMI adapter costs slightly more on top. As a result, it’s tough to recommend the upgrade to existing Nitro Deck owners when the overall improvements are slight.

That being said, the Nitro Deck+ is still easily one of the best Nintendo Switch controllers and one you should consider if you haven’t already purchased the original Nitro Deck. It also helps that customization via the CRKD Ctrl app is excellent, allowing users to fine-tune the feel of the controller and its various modules to a high degree.

Nitro Deck Plus

(Image credit: Future)

Price and availability

  •  $69.99 / £69.99 list price 
  •  $79.99 / £79.99 for the controller bundled with a HDMI adapter 
  •  Considerably more than the standard Nitro Deck ($49.99 / £49.99) 

If you’re looking to purchase the Nitro Deck+, it’s available to buy right now from CRKD’s website for $69.99 / £69.99 (around AU$99). At this price, you’re getting the peripheral itself as well as a lovely microfiber string bag that I feel is a cut above most carry cases thanks to its luscious build quality and adjustable strap.

At $79.99 / £79.99, you can nab a bundle that includes the Nitro Deck+, carry case, and a USB-C to HDMI adapter that’ll transfer the Switch’s output to your TV, allowing you to play on a larger display while your console is still docked in the Deck.

The Nitro Deck+ is a good deal pricier than the standard Nitro Deck model ($49.99 / £49.99) and the same price as most of its limited edition bundles ($69.99 / £69.99). You’re also looking at $10 / £10 more than that for the inclusion of that HDMI adapter. Unless you really like the idea of playing on your TV with the Nitro Deck+, we’d recommend opting for the version without the adapter to save yourself some cash.


Nitro Deck Plus

(Image credit: Future)

Design and features

  •  Exceptional build quality 
  •  Like a suit of armor for your Switch 
  •  Fairly bulky with Switch docked 

The Nitro Deck+ brings a number of improvements to the table in terms of build quality and aspects of its design. Like the base model, it feels sturdy in the hands while you’ve got the Switch tablet docked in. And while we’re happy its superb build quality carries over to this new model, there hasn’t really been any effort to shed some of the device’s size and weight. If you’re heading out and about, expect that half-a-kilo weight (including the Switch) to feel quite bulky during lengthier play sessions. Thankfully, the included carry case, made from lovely microfiber material, does alleviate this with its high-quality design and over-the-shoulder strap for ease of portability.

There have been some excellent improvements over the base model, mind. The new metallic thumbsticks feel fantastic, backed up once again by Hall sensors that help to greatly reduce the risk of stick drift. We also noted that the rear remappable buttons feel a good deal more tactile here, and the addition of two more on either side of the Nitro Deck+ is welcome if you want to customize your button layout to a higher degree.

On the back of the Nitro Deck+, you’ve still got an adjustable kickstand and an eject slider used for undocking the Switch tablet. These both feel far sturdier here; on the original Nitro Deck, the kickstand was quite fiddly and often refused to click back into its resting position. That’s no longer the case with the Deck+, making it excellent for setting up on your desk for YouTube viewing or for playing touch-based games.

Nitro Deck Plus

(Image credit: Future)


  •  Improvements to sticks and remappable buttons 
  •  Fantastic mobile app-based software 
  •  USB-C to HDMI connectivity is more suited to playing on a monitor 

The Nitro Deck+ remains a fantastic option for handheld play, thanks to improvements to its various modules as mentioned above. While face buttons, D-pad, bumpers, and triggers are all comparable to the original model, those upgraded thumbsticks and remappable buttons make portable play feel more responsive and tactile than ever.

We found the Nitro Deck+ to be a fantastic controller for the recently-launched Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble. Its tiltable obstacle courses often require pinpoint precision with the analog stick, and the Deck is more than up to the task here thanks to ultra-responsive sticks and Hall-sensing technology.

One thing worth noting is that the analog stick layout has been swapped around on the Nitro Deck+. The sticks here are symmetrical, as opposed to the asymmetrical layout found on the base Nitro Deck. This did take some getting used to, being so familiar with that original design, and there’s certainly some awkwardness involved in having to move your thumb downwards to access the face buttons. But after a period of adjustment, it felt no worse to play the best Nintendo Switch games here.

Now let’s talk about the Nitro Deck+’s HDMI compatibility. The USB-C to HDMI adapter allows you to play games on your telly while your console is docked in the Nitro Deck+. It’s perfectly responsive, and we didn’t note any kind of intrusive input latency playing games this way. However, we feel it’s an incredibly niche way to play your Switch games and somewhat defeats the purpose of the Nitro Deck’s incredible portability factor. 

Furthermore, the cable is extremely short, meaning you’ll likely have to play sitting quite close to your TV. That being said, it is a solid option if you have a monitor and gaming desk setup, and this feels like the intended way of using that HDMI adapter given the shorter distance required.

Lastly, the accompanying CRKD Ctrl app - available for both Android and iOS - is an extremely robust app that lets you perform firmware updates for your Nitro Deck+, as well as customize pretty much every aspect of your controller’s performance. That includes stick dead zones, remapping those ancillary buttons (as well as all standard buttons, bumpers, and triggers should you desire or need), vibration strength, and trigger sensitivity. It’s one of the most intricate pieces of software we’ve seen for a Nintendo Switch controller and is perfect for players who really like to tailor their play experience to their specific preferences.

Nitro Deck Plus

(Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the Nitro Deck+?

Buy it if...

You want the best handheld play experience on Switch
With superb customization and luxurious build quality, the Nitro Deck+ is essential for players who prefer going handheld with their Switch console.

You enjoy customizing your experience to a granular degree
The CRKD Ctrl app is fantastic for tailoring a personal play experience. With it, you can adjust your stick’s dead zones, trigger sensitivity, rumble strength, and more.

Don't buy it if...

You already own a Nitro Deck
The $69.99 / £69.99 asking price for the Nitro Deck+ is pretty steep when the experience is quite comparable to the base model outside of some slight upgrades.

Also consider...

If the Nitro Deck+ isn’t quite what you’re looking for, we recommend checking out the following Nintendo Switch controllers. We recommend these in confidence if, say, you’re after something cheaper or would simply prefer a more traditionally-designed gamepad.

Nitro Deck
The standard Nitro Deck tops our best Nintendo Switch accessories list for a reason; it’s simply the finest portable experience you can have with the console at its price point. It’s very similar to the Nitro Deck+ minus a few improvements. We’d consider checking out this base model if the Nitro Deck+ is a little beyond your price range.

Read more in our full Nitro Deck review.

8BitDo Ultimate
One of the very best third-party Nintendo Switch controllers, it packs phenomenal value for money by coming with its own charging dock, 2.4GHz dongle as well as PC and SteamOS support if you prefer to play on Steam Deck.

Read more in our full 8BitDo Ultimate review.

How I tested the Nitro Deck+

  •  Tested over two weeks almost every day 
  •  Compared against the standard Nitro Deck 
  •  Played in handheld, and on TV and a gaming monitor via the HDMI adapter 

I tested the Nitro Deck+ over the course of about a week and a half with several Nintendo Switch games including Super Monkey Ball Banana Rumble, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Splatoon 3, and Endless Ocean Luminous. I felt that these games are all well-suited to the Nitro Deck+’s improvements including those lovely metallic Hall effect sticks, gyro support, and a wealth of remappable buttons.

I made sure to test the device across all supported formats, including handheld as well as play on TV and a monitor via the USB-C to HDMI adapter. While I maintain that there’s niche appeal to the latter methods, playing on a gaming monitor with the Nitro Deck+ was a fantastic and responsive experience that’s well-suited to Switch games’ relatively lower resolutions.

First reviewed June 2024

Hisense U7N review: a budget mini-LED 4K TV that out-performs its price
5:46 pm | June 28, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Televisions | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Hisense U7N review: Two minute review

The Hisense U7N is a budget to mid-range mini-LED TV that delivers much for your money. It covers all the bases and performs well for gaming and movies, making it a versatile TV choice.

Picture quality on the Hisense U7N is generally good with whatever is thrown its way. Colors are vivid and punchy, black levels and contrast are rich and details and textures are as refined as on more premium TVs. Motion handling can be a little inconsistent, but fast-paced sources such as sport are generally well-handled. There is backlight blooming and you’ll have to do some tweaking to get the most accurate picture, but the U7N is still an overall great performer, even if it doesn’t beat the best TVs

the U7N's sound quality isn’t the most impressive, with a limited soundstage and surround effects that are extremely difficult to hear despite Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support. But, the U7N provides clear dialogue and meaty bass, along with directional sound that closely follows the picture on the screen. Its performance may be good enough for some, but one of the best soundbars is recommended. 

The U7N is well-equipped for gaming, with features including 4K 120Hz, 144Hz support for PC gaming, VRR including AMD FreeSync Premium Pro, and Dolby Vision gaming. Performance is impressive, with smooth gameplay and crisp graphics. The only drawback is the TV’s two HDMI 2.1 ports as opposed to the four we typically expect from the best gaming TVs.

The Hisense U7N’s design and VIDAA smart TV platform (Google TV in the US) are on the plain side, but both are serviceable and functional. There are plenty of picture settings to experiment with – a good thing because the U7N requires adjustment for best performance. It also features the live TV streaming service Freely, which is a breath of fresh air for UK viewers. 

It may not be the ultimate TV, but the U7N is the epitome of a high-value TV – more so in the US and Australia since UK prices are higher. Compared to rivals, the U7N's smart and gaming features and picture performance make it a bargain.

Hisense U7N with late sunset on screen

The Hisense U7N great contrast makes dusk and night scenes look good (Image credit: Future)

Hisense U7N review: Prices & release date

  • Release date: April 2024 
  • 55-inch price: $799 / £1,299 / AU$1,599 
  • 65-inch price: $999 / £1,599 / AU$2,299
  • 75-inch price: $1,499 / £1,899 / AU$2,999
  • 85-inch price: $2,030 / £2,799 / AU$3,999   

The Hisense U7N is the mid-range model in its mini-LED TV lineup, sitting above the U6N and below the U8N, flagship U9N and massive UX (sized at 98- and 100-inch) models. It comes in 55, 65, 75 and 85-inch sizes, though it’s worth noting the 85-inch model is not available in the UK.

We’re already seeing huge discounts on the U7N only a couple of months after release, particularly in the US where you can buy the 65-inch model (the size we tested) for $799. Whether this discount is permanent is unclear, but it’s likely the U7N will receive big discounts around Black Friday. 

Hisense U7N review: Specs

Hisense U7N review: Benchmark results

Hisense U7N with butterfly on screen

The Hisense U7N's bold colors make it look more premium than its price would indicate (Image credit: Future)

Hisense U7N review: Features

  • Dolby Vision and HDR10+ high dynamic range support
  • 144Hz refresh rate, Dolby Vision gaming
  • VIDAA/Google TV smart TV platform   

The U7N uses what Hisense calls ‘Mini-LED PRO’, which is mini-LED tech combined with full-array local dimming. It supports the Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR10 and HLG high dynamic range formats and is IMAX Enhanced certified. 

For gaming, the U7N has two HDMI 2.1 ports that support 4K 120Hz (with up to 144Hz refresh rate), VRR including AMD FreeSync Premium Pro and Nvidia GSync, ALLM, and Dolby Vision and HDR10+ gaming. It also features Hisense’s Game Bar, which can adjust gaming settings such as Dark Detail. 

The U7N has a 2.1-channel speaker array and supports both the Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtrack formats. It features several different preset sound modes including Standard and Movie plus an Enhanced (ACR) mode that uses viewing data (with permission) to enhance sound based on your viewing habits. 

Two different smart TV platforms are used for the Hisense U7N: Google TV in the US and Hisense’s own VIDAA platform in the UK. Both have access to all the major apps including Netflix, Disney Plus and Prime Video. In the UK, the U7N hosts Freely, a live TV streaming service backed by BBC, ITV and Channels 4 and 5, which enables live TV viewing without an aerial or satellite dish. Freely is also where UK viewers can find BBC iPlayer, ITVX and other UK-based catch-up services. In the US, the U7N features an ATSC 3.0 tuner for broadcast TV. 

The U7N’s design is on the basic side, with a black, plastic central stand attached to two metal feet on the 65-inch model I tested. Materials-wise, it has a silver-toned metal frame with a trim, but slightly deep bezel. It also has a slim, black remote that can be charged using its front solar panel or USB-C port. 

  • Features score: 4.5/5

Hisense U7N with lake and sunset on screen

The Hisense U7N has refined textures and detail (Image credit: Future)

Hisense U7N review: Picture quality

  • Bold, colorful picture 
  • Well-defined details and textures  
  • Picture requires adjustment 

Starting off with measurements, the U7N in its default Standard and Filmmaker Mode settings yielded peak brightness results of 807 nits and 1074 nits, respectively, on a 10% HDR white window test pattern. Those numbers are lower than what we’ve measured from more premium mini-LEDs such as the Sony Bravia 9, which hit 2,280 nits peak HDR brightness in Standard mode. 

I did find that some adjustments improved brightness – setting Local Dimming to High and turning off Dynamic Contrast, for instance. With those settings, the U7N measured 1,256 nits in Standard mode. 

This was a common theme with the U7N – some picture settings needed to be adjusted to improve its performance. Before conducting my subjective tests, I found setting Local Dimming to High added more detail and contrast, and turning off Super Resolution removed the U7N’s oversharpened look, which it even displayed in Filmmaker Mode. 

After cycling through different picture presets, I established that Filmmaker Mode was the most accurate, but the brighter Standard mode better suited some TV shows and movies. 

When watching broadcast TV, lower-resolution TV shows had fuzzy textures. HD pictures, on the other hand, looked good, with solid color and detail. One thing to note for UK viewers,  lower-resolution TV shows streamed through Freely actually improved picture quality over broadcast TV, giving them a similar look to HD. 

Moving onto 4K, I first streamed Star Wars: The Last Jedi in Dolby Vision on Disney Plus. This activated the set's Dolby Vision picture modes, including Dolby Vision IQ. Colors were bold but natural, with the throne room fight scene featuring vivid, though not oversaturated reds. HDR highlights including lasers from blasters and other lightsabers also had a dazzling sheen.

The Hisense U7N’s strong color performance was confirmed by my measurements of its UHDA-P3 and BT.2020 color gamut coverage, which was 95.5% and 75.4% respectively – both excellent results for a budget mini-LED TV. Color accuracy measurements 1.75, another fantastic result. 

I next watched the  Spears & Munsil UHD Benchmark 4K Blu-ray’s demo footage section. The U7N looked very good across the board, showing dynamic and vibrant colors in bright landscapes and animal shots, and excellent black depth when full black backgrounds were displayed. Contrast was also excellent in a shot of bright white city lights against a night sky. Details and textures looked accurate and refined, although they were not as good as what I’d seen on more premium mini-LED sets such as the Sony X95L.

Hisense U7N with city aerial shot at night

The Hisense U7N has very good contrast (Image credit: Future)

I next watched The Batman (also in Dolby Vision), a disc I find to be a great test for black levels and shadow detail. The U7N demonstrated good backlight control, with only minimal blooming in a scene where Batman walks down a dim hallway illuminated by bright lamps.

Black levels and contrast were rich with brilliant shadow detail in the opening crime scene investigation, though there was some black crush before I set Local Dimming to High. After that, facial features and objects such as Batman’s intricate suit looked true-to-life and realistic.

For motion testing, I used a combination of movies on 4K Blu-ray and sports. Beginning with an HD stream of a soccer game, the U7N did a credible job, though setting the motion preset to Standard or Smooth allowed the match to flow better and greatly reduced motion blur.

Watching Top Gun: Maverick’s opening Darkstar testing sequence and training mission, the U7N did a decent job handling the fast panning camera sequences and weaving jets, though there was occasional judder. Also, viewing the race in Ready Player One, the U7N did a good job handling the chaotic action and free-flowing camera, again with only minimal judder.

While I was impressed with the U7N’s picture, I noted contrast fade and more obvious backlight blooming when viewing off-axis. Also, while some of its preset modes, such as Filmmaker, are good, others require a lot more tweaking. Frustratingly, the Dolby Vision IQ preset sets motion smoothing to the overly aggressive Standard setting, making adjustments necessary.

The Hisense U7N isn’t going to beat the likes of the OLED-rivalling Sony Bravia 9 anytime soon, but for what you pay, the picture punches above its weight.

  • Picture quality score: 4/5

Hisense U7N with La La Land on screen

The Hisense U7N's sound quality was credible, but limited with movies such as La La Land (Image credit: Future)

Hisense U7N review: Sound quality

  • Clear dialogue 
  • Good directional sound 
  • Lacking soundstage and virtual surround   

With a 2.1-channel speaker array totaling 40W of power, the Hisense U7N can’t rival the best TVs for sound such as the Panasonic MZ2000 or Sony A80L. It does deliver in some areas, such as dialogue and directional sound, but is lacking in others. If you're looking for great audio with the U7N, I’d consider adding one of the best soundbars

Watching the batmobile chase scene from The Batman, the U7N demonstrated clear speech even during moments of loud explosions and crunching metal with its Theater preset sound mode active. Directional sounds were also captured well by the U7N, with each sound effect connected to the action on screen, and it had somewhat weighty bass. Dolby Atmos effects in this scene such as thrashing rain were barely audible over the other sounds, however, and the soundstage was limited, with everything very much contained to the screen itself. 

Moving to La La Land, it was a similar story. The horn-heavy jazz score was well handled and never distorted even at higher volumes. Vocals came through nice and clear and warmer instruments such as double bass and drums sat nicely in the mix. However, the limited soundstage didn’t allow instruments to breathe.  

  • Sound quality score: 3.5/5

Hisense U7N stand

The Hisense U7N's stand (65-inch pictured) is easy to assemble (Image credit: Future)

Hisense U7N review: Design

  • Trim bezel  
  • Easy to assemble stand 
  • Solar-powered remote control 

The Hisense U7N has a plain but solid design. Its rear panel is made of a thick but cheaper feeling plastic, though a solid silver frame gives it a more premium look. 

The U7N’s bezel is trim enough and allows the picture to take up the majority of the screen, though it’s not as trim as you’d find on more premium TVs. Its two reassuringly weighty metal feet connect to a plastic stand by simply slotting into place. This is one of the easier stand assemblies I’ve seen. It does feel a little cheap – not surprising given the U7N’s budget price.  

Hisense’s supplied remote for the U7N feels more premium than expected. It features a solar panel on the front and a USB-C charging point on the bottom, eliminating the need for batteries. Although the solar panel is a welcome addition, it gives the remote a bottom-heavy feel. 

  • Design score: 4/5

Hisense U7N with VIDAA home screen

Hisense uses VIDAA as its smart TV platform in the UK (home menu pictured) (Image credit: Future)

Hisense U7N review: Smart TV & menus

  • Google TV (US), VIDAA (UK & Australia) 
  • Good selection of picture settings
  • Sometimes stuttering performance   

The U7N’s smart TV platform varies depending on the region. Since I’m based in the UK, I will be discussing Hisense’s own smart TV platform, VIDAA. For US readers, the Hisense U7N uses  Google TV, which is also featured on the Hisense U8K and Sony Bravia 9 if you’d like to read up about it. 

The VIDAA home menu is filled with recommendations from various apps; it’s a little cluttered, and this can affect scrolling speed on the home menu. Stuttering occurred at multiple points while navigating VIDAA, which lacked the smooth feel of other smart TV platforms such as LG’s web OS, Samsung’s Tizen and Google TV.

I appreciated VIDAA’s settings and menu layouts. It was very easy to find settings I was looking for and I was pleasantly surprised by how many picture adjustments were available. These turned out to be necessary, as simple changes to local dimming, motion smoothing, super-resolution, dynamic contrast and other settings transformed the U7N’s picture completely. 

VIDAA provides access to all major streaming apps including Netflix, Disney Plus, and Prime Video. Hisense TVs also host Freely, a live TV streaming service that lets viewers watch a range of live TV shows without any need to connect to an aerial or satellite dish and provides access to UK-based streaming apps including BBC iPlayer, ITVX and more. 

  • Smart TV & menus score: 4/5

Hisense U7N with Battlefield V on screen

Similar to TVs from LG, Samsung and Panasonic, the Hisense U7N features a Game Bar for gaming settings  (Image credit: Future)

Hisense U7N review: Gaming

  • 4K 120Hz and 144Hz refresh rate support
  • 13.1ms input lag 
  • Only two HDMI 2.1 ports   

The U7N has plenty of gaming features on offer , including a 4K 120Hz (even up to 144Hz) refresh rate, Dolby Vision gaming, VRR including AMD FreeSync Premium Pro and Nvidia GSync, and ALLM. This list of features lets the U7N easily compete with the best gaming TVs. Hisense’s Game Bar also allows for settings such as Dark Detail and FPS Viewing to be tweaked during gaming. 

Unlike other TVs that feature dedicated Game picture modes, the U7N’s Game Mode works in tandem with its main picture preset settings, providing freedom to customize the picture during gameplay. Annoyingly, it leaves motion smoothing settings switched on, so it’s important to turn those off during gaming.

the U7N's gaming performance was very good. Playing Battlefield V on Xbox Series X, motion was smooth, with quick camera cuts to switch between targets and landscape panning shots all feeling seamless and free-flowing with no judder or stutter. The U7N also did a great job with Battlefield, displaying plenty of intricate details on objects such as weapons and landscapes and showing the same rich contrast and bold colors as with movies.

The  U7N’s measured input lag was 13.1ms. A result below 15ms is what gamers generally look for, so this will be fine for the majority of users. 

Unfortunately, the U7N only has two HDMI 2.1 ports, with the other two HDMI 2.0 ports capped at 60Hz with no gaming features supported. 

  • Gaming score: 4.5/5

Hisense U7N remote

The Hisense U7N's supplied remote is sleek and eco-friendly, but a little bottom-heavy (Image credit: Future)

Hisense U7N review: Value

  • Excellent value (in the US) 
  • Cheaper than many rivals  
  • Crowded mini-LED TV market 

Although the U7N generally represents good value, it is a significantly better value in the US. The 65-inch model I tested dropped as low as $799 since launch, which for a TV with this many features and this picture quality level is simply phenomenal. Rival sets such as the Samsung QN85D are priced at $1,699 for a 65-inch model, while premium mini-LED options such as the Sony Bravia 9 cost $2,999 for the same screen size. 

In the UK, the margin is somewhat narrowed, though the U7N is still priced cheaper than many of its rivals. The 65-inch U7N currently sits at £1,599, while the Samsung QN85D is priced at £2,099 and OLED options like the LG B4 are priced at £1,699 in a 65-inch size. So even though the U7N is still cheaper and provides plenty of features, you’re not quite getting the same bang for your buck as in the US.

But wherever you are, it is hard to argue just how many bases the Hisense U7N covers at the price it does, with its great overall picture quality, stacks of gaming features and good smart TV platform. With the money you save with the U7N, you can add a Dolby Atmos soundbar, such as the brilliant Hisense AX5125H

  • Value score: 4.5/5

Hisense U7N with La La Land 4K Blu-ray home menu on screen

The Hisense U7N accurately displays bold, bright colors such as those in the La La Land logo (Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the Hisense U7N?

Buy it if...

You want great picture quality
The U7N delivers dynamic pictures for both movies and gaming that look more premium than the price you pay. 

You want a TV for gaming
4K 120Hz, 144Hz, VRR, and Dolby Vision gaming are just some of the features the U7N offers that make it ideal for PS5 and Xbox Series X

You want real value from your TV
The U7N offers similar features and performance to rival sets from Samsung and Sony but has a lower price tag. 

Don't buy it if...

You don't want to adjust picture settings
To get the best out of the U7N, setup is required, and that involves digging into the nitty gritty of its picture settings. 

You want the perfect picture
Like a lot of mini-LED TVs, the U7N suffers from backlight blooming. To avoid this, you'll have to fork out more for premium mini-LED or OLED TV. 

You need the best built-in sound
It may be adequate for most, but the U7N's sound feels limited and contained. Want better TV sound? Look to Sony. 

Also consider...

Samsung QN85D
The Samsung QN85D is arguably the U7N's closest competitor, offering similar features and performance. Pictures appear more natural and Tizen is a better smart TV platform, but you'll be paying a lot more and the gap is tough to justify. We are currently testing this TV and will have a full review live soon.

Hisense U6N
The step-down model from the U7N, the U6N doesn't offer the same level of features or picture performance. It is cheaper than the U7N, however, and the performance it gives for the price is admirable. We are currently testing this TV and will have a full review live soon. 

Samsung QN90D
The Samsung QN90D is a more premium mini-LED option when compared to the U7N. Although it's pricier, you'll no doubt be getting better picture performance, especially for daytime sports viewing. There isn't much between them in terms of gaming features, so it does come down to picture vs price. 

Read our Samsung QN90D hands-on review 

Hisense U7N with testing equipment including Calman

(Image credit: Future)

How I tested the Hisense U7N

  • Tested in varying lighting conditions 
  • Measurements taken using Calman calibration software
  • Tested using both SDR and HDR sources

My first step in testing the U7N was casual viewing to establish the most accurate out-of-the-box picture preset using a variety of sources such as broadcast TV and DVD, 4K Blu-ray and 4K streaming. 

I then used several reference scenes from various movies, TV shows and sports streams to judge the U7N on picture criteria including contrast, color, black levels, motion handling and upscaling. I also tested it built-in sound quality for speech, bass, virtual surround sound processing and directional sound. 

To test the U7N's gaming performance, I used an Xbox Series X console, primarily playing Battlefield V

Moving onto objective testing, I analyzed the U7N's SDR and HDR brightness, HDR color gamut coverage (both UHDA-P3 and BT.2020) and grayscale and color accuracy. For this, I used a test pattern generator and colorimeter, recording the results with Portrait Displays' Calman calibration software.  

I also measured the U7N's input lag in milliseconds using a Leo Bodnar 4K HDMI Input lag tester while the U7N was in Game mode. 

For a more detailed breakdown, check out our guide on how we test TVs at TechRadar

Sony Bravia 9 review: a stunning next-gen mini-LED 4K TV that makes a big bet on brightness
1:00 pm | June 16, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Televisions | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Sony Bravia 9: Two-minute review

The Sony Bravia 9 is the company’s flagship TV for 2024. TV tech followers were taken aback when the company announced earlier this year that a mini-LED model would be its new flagship, a position traditionally reserved for the best OLED TVs like the Sony A95L. However, in subsequent demonstrations, Sony showed off its new XR Backlight Master Drive with High Peak Luminance tech, exclusive to the Bravia 9, and it became clear why it made a jump to mini-LED.

Sony’s Bravia 9 is intended to follow in the footsteps of the company’s new BVM-HX3110 professional monitor, used when shows are being created, which bumps peak brightness up to 4,000 nits – that compares to the previous pro monitor's 1,000 nits. The BVM-HX3110 gives creators an option to produce movies and TV shows with a wider dynamic range – something they expect to see happen as the new monitor gets deployed in studios. And while the Bravia 9 can't hit the same brightness peaks as Sony’s pro monitor, it allows for programs developed with these super-bright highlights in mind to be accurately displayed using HDR tone mapping tech developed for the BVM-HX3110. That's Sony's claim, anyway.

That’s not to say the Bravia 9 isn’t sufficiently bright – it surpassed its high-end competition among the best TVs in our measurements and is significantly brighter than last year’s Sony X95L mini-LED model. Equally importantly, it has highly refined local dimming, delivering OLED-like black depth and powerful HDR highlights with almost none of the backlight blooming effects mini-LED TVs typically suffer from. This benefits movies most, though the Bravia 9 also has an effective anti-reflective screen coating and a wide viewing angle feature that, combined with its high brightness, make it one of the best TVs for sport.

The Bravia 9’s excellent audio features also rank it among the best TVs for sound, too. Its built-in 2.2.2-channel speaker system supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, and it uses tweeters built into the sides and top of the TV’s frame for accurate sound placement and spatial audio rendering. An Acoustic Center Sync feature also lets it be used as a center channel speaker with a compatible Sony soundbar or the company’s Bravia Theater Quad wireless speaker system.

Sony’s “One Slate” design for the Bravia 9 gives it a sleek yet substantial look and incorporates four-way support feet to accommodate a range of furniture and soundbar placement options. The TV also comes with Sony’s new Eco Remote, which forgoes batteries for USB-C charging.

The TV’s Google TV smart interface is a reliable option for streaming and offers a good level of customization plus integration with smart home protocols from Google, Amazon Alexa, and Apple HomeKit. It also supports hands-free voice commands and wireless streaming from devices via Apple AirPlay 2 and Chromecast built-in.

Gaming features are solid on the Bravia 9, with 4K 120Hz, VRR, and ALLM support as well as Sony’s Game Menu for making quick gaming-related adjustments. The TV is “Perfect for PlayStation 5,” with optimal picture settings for gaming automatically activated when a PS5 console is connected. The one key drawback for gaming is that the Bravia 9 only features two HDMI 2.1 ports compared to the four HDMI 2.1 ports found on other premium TVs.

While the $2,999 price of the 65-inch Sony Bravia 9 I tested may seem high, it’s less than what you’ll pay for other premium TVs in the same screen size. Given the level of performance and features on offer, it is a relative bargain on the high-end TV scene.

Soony Bravia 9 closeup of bezel frame

The Bravia 9's substantial aluminum frame. (Image credit: Future)

Sony Bravia 9 review: Price and release date

  • Release date: May 2024
  • 65-inch: $2,999
  • 75-inch: $3,499 / £4,499 / AU$6,995
  • 85-inch: $4,799 / £4,999/ AU$7,995

The Sony Bravia 9 series was released in May 2024 in the US in 65-, 75-, and 85-inch screen sizes. It is Sony’s flagship mini-LED TV for 2024 and is followed in the lineup by the Sony Bravia 7 series mini-LED models, which additionally feature a 55-inch screen size.

Bravia 9 series TVs are limited to a 75-inch and 85-inch screen size in the UK and Australia.

The price may seem steep, but it's not out of line with other flagship mini-LED models – the Samsung QN90D 65-inch costs $2,699, for example. On the OLED side, the Samsung S95D costs $3,399.

Sony Bravia 9 review: Specs

Sony Bravia 9 review: Benchmark results

Sony Bravia 9 back panel ports

The Bravia 9's side-mounted connections include two HDMI 2.1 ports and an ATSC 3.0 tuner input. (Image credit: Future)

Sony Bravia 9 TV review: Features

  • XR Backlight Master Drive with High Peak Luminance
  • Wide viewing angle and anti-reflection screen
  • Special features for PlayStation 5

As the flagship TV in Sony’s 2024 lineup, the Bravia 9 is unsurprisingly packed with premium features. XR Backlight Master Drive with High Peak Luminance is Sony’s name for the Bravia 9’s exclusive backlight tech, and it uses a highly miniaturized, 22-bit driver that allows for a greater number of mini-LED modules to be deployed in the backlight and increased local dimming zones along with it (325% more than last year’s flagship Sony X95L mini-LED TV, according to Sony). Along with this sheer boost in backlight horsepower, the Bravia 9 also features a new algorithm that allows for more refined local dimming in the backlight to eliminate light bleeding effects.

Sony’s top XR processor is used in the Bravia 9, and with it comes features such as XR Clear Image 4K upscaling for HD and lower-resolution content and XR Motion Clarity to reduce motion blur and judder. X-Wide Angle helps pictures retain uniform contrast and color even when viewing from off-center seats, and X-Anti Reflection reduces screen glare during daytime viewing or when using overhead lights. The Bravia 9 is also IMAX Enhanced certified (supported by Disney Plus) and features an Amazon Prime Video picture mode.

Sony TVs typically rank high for sound and the Bravia 9’s sound-enhancing features go well beyond what you find in most TVs. The main one is Acoustic Multi Audio+, which uses tweeters in the sides and top surface of the TV to provide spacious and naturally positioned sound. Other features let the Bravia 9 be paired with an external Sony soundbar or speaker system for a more immersive experience, including Acoustic Center Sync, which lets it be used as a center channel speaker, and 360 Spatial Sound Mapping, a processing mode that creates “phantom speakers” between physical ones in the system.

Like other Sony TVs, the Bravia 9 runs Google TV for its smart interface and it supports Google Assistant either through the remote control’s mic or the far-field mic provided on the TV. Both AirPlay 2 and Chromecast built-in are supported for wireless streaming from phones or tablets. All major streaming apps are included in Google TV and there’s a Sony Pictures Core app to stream Sony Pictures Studios movies at a bit-rate equivalent to Blu-ray disc (provided your internet connection is sufficiently robust).

Gaming features on the Bravia 9 include 4K 120Hz, VRR, and ALLM support on two HDMI 2.1 ports and Dolby Vision Gaming. Like other Sony TVs with a native 120Hz display, the Bravia 9 is “Perfect for PlayStation 5,” with Auto HDR Tone Mapping and Auto Genre Picture Mode features, along with an onscreen game menu for making quick gaming-related adjustments. 

  • Features Score: 4.5/5

Sony Bravia 9 showing blue landscape image

Google TV's "ambient" mode gives you a range of nature and abstract images to display when the Bravia 9 is not in use. (Image credit: Future)

Sony Bravia 9 review: Picture quality

  • Powerful brightness and contrast
  • Refined local dimming 
  • Prime Video Calibrated picture mode

Sony is touting the Bravia 9 as its brightest TV yet, and my measurements bear that out. It measured 2,280 nits in Standard mode on a 10% white window test pattern with HDR, and 1,871 nits in Movie mode. Full-screen brightness is also excellent, with the Bravia 9 measuring 708 nits on a white 100% pattern in Standard mode and 495 nits in Movie mode. To put those numbers in context, the Samsung QN900D, that company’s more expensive flagship 8K TV, had a peak light output of 1,979 nits on a 10% window when I measured it and 528 nits on a fullscreen pattern.

The brightness of the best OLED TVs has come a long way over the past year or two, but they still lag behind the Bravia 9. Samsung’s flagship S95D OLED, for example, managed a peak light output in Standard mode of 1,868 nits when we tested it and 327 nits on a fullscreen pattern. Those are excellent numbers for any TV, and having seen the the S95D in person, I can confirm that it is a fantastic-looking set  – just one not as bright as the Bravia 9.

Coverage of the UHDA-P3 color gamut – the one used for mastering 4K HDR movies for disc and streaming – on the Bravia 9 was 95.8%, while BT.2020 coverage was 77.6%. Those results are roughly equivalent to what I measured on the Samsung QN900D, while the Samsung S95D beat both with full P3 coverage and 87.9% BT.2020 coverage. Grayscale and color point accuracy in Movie mode averaged out to 4.7 and 3.6, respectively. Those results are both above the accuracy threshold we expect high-end TVs to clock in under, though Sony’s 20-point white balance and color adjustments enabled me to dial averages back to 1.3 for grayscale and 2.6 for color – so while it was a tiny beat weak out of the box, it was excellent with a bit of tinkering.

Sony Bravia 9 showing image of race car driver

Movies on the Sony Pictures Core app provide a Blu-ray-like streaming bit rate. (Image credit: Future)

Okay, enough numbers – how did movies and TV shows look on the Bravia 9? Watching Ripley on Netflix, the TV’s high peak brightness let the play of light on water take on an extra level of sheen, while clouds in the black and white images showed a strikingly rich range of gray tones. Blacks also looked deep and shadowy images had plenty of above-black detail.

The Trinity test in Oppenheimer is a good sequence for testing black depth and local dimming performance, and I was highly impressed by the Bravia 9’s performance here. Lamps surrounding the compound in the nighttime shots cut through the blackness powerfully with no discernable blooming effects. When the bomb is eventually detonated, the resulting massive plume of flames looked vivid and bright and carried a rich palette of orange and red hues.

Checking out the Spears & Munsil Ultra HD Benchmark 4K Blu-ray for further confirmation of the Bravia 9’s local dimming prowess, I watched the part of the demonstration material section that showcases high-contrast images. White highlights in a shot of a Ferris wheel at night looked detailed with no light bleed into the black background. That’s something I typically see on OLED TVs, but mini-LED sets almost always show some degree of light bleed – until now. An aerial shot of a city at night also displayed powerful contrast between deep shadows and bright highlights, and the fine gradation of in-between tones fleshed out architectural detail in the buildings.

The Sony Bravia 9 has a new Prime Video Calibrated picture mode that automatically kicks in when you stream video from Amazon’s service and can be switched off in the TV’s menus. I got mixed results when comparing this to my own calibration of the TV’s Movie mode. Scenes from The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power looked warmer and darker with Prime Video Calibrated mode active, while a live Yankees vs. Kansas City Royals baseball game came off as cooler and brighter (but generally fantastic in either mode – the Bravia 9, with its high brightness and anti-reflection screen, is a great TV for watching sports). Fortunately, it’s easy to toggle the mode on and off via a small menu at the corner of the screen that lets you see the full picture in the background.

  • Picture quality score: 5/5

Sony Bravia 9 remote control held in hand

Sony's new rechargeable Eco Remote uses a USB-C connection to power up. (Image credit: Future)

Sony Bravia 9 review: Sound quality

  • 2.2.2-channel Dolby Atmos speaker system
  • Enhanced features with Sony soundbars and speakers
  • Impressive overall sound

Sony calls the Bravia 9’s built-in 2.2.2-channel, 70-watt audio system "Acoustic Multi-Audio+," and in this case, that means the TV has “Frame” tweeters positioned in the left and right sides of its frame, and “Beam” tweeters located at the top. There is also 3D Surround Upscaling for non-Atmos or DTS:X soundtracks and a feature called Voice Zoom 3 that uses AI to recognize and isolate dialogue so it can be boosted separately from the rest of the soundtrack for enhanced voice clarity.

Other audio features can be unlocked when the Bravia 9 is paired with a Sony soundbar or speaker system. Acoustic Center Sync lets you connect a soundbar or speakers to the TV so the TV can be used as the center channel speaker in the system. And 360 Spatial Sound Mapping creates “phantom” speakers between the physical ones for enhanced immersion. Voice Zoom 3 can also be used when the TV is connected to an external audio system, with the built-in speakers tasked with carrying – and boosting – the dialogue level.

The sound quality of the Bravia 9’s built-in speakers was well above average. When I watched a scene from Top Gun: Maverick where Maverick first addresses his class of pilots as the team leader, the dialogue was clear and full-bodied and it seemed to be coming directly from the mouths of characters on-screen. Acoustic Multi-Audio+ also created a good sense of spaciousness, with sound effects extending well off from the top and sides of the TV itself.

Few TVs are capable of deep bass, and the same applies to the Bravia 9. Fortunately, Sony also sent me its Bravia Home Theater Quad wireless speaker system ($2,499) and SA-SW5 wireless subwoofer ($699) to test with the Bravia 9. With the Theater Quad’s wireless control box plugged into the TV so the Bravia 9 could be used as the 4.1.4 system’s center channel speaker (thus making it a 5.1.4-channel system), there was bass a-plenty and Dolby Atmos effects were powerfully conveyed. More to the point for this review, the Bravia 9 integrated perfectly with the external audio system, delivering smooth and seamless sound.

  • Sound quality score: 4.5/5

Soony Bravia 9 adjustable feet

The Bravia 9's four-way stand can easily accommodate a soundbar, if you choose. (Image credit: Future)

Sony Bravia 9 review: Design

  • Aluminum pedestal stand
  • Magic Remote with point-and-click capability 
  • Hands-free voice control option

The Bravia 9’s “One Slate” design gives it a monolithic look, with the TV’s dark aluminum frame blending in cleanly with any surface it's set upon. Sony’s four-way support feet can be used for a range of installation configurations, including both flat and elevated heights, and narrow or wide positions to accommodate a soundbar. Removable covers are provided to conceal wires on the TV for a clutter-free look, further enhancing the One Slate design concept.

Connections on the Bravia 9 include four HDMI ports (two of which are HDMI 2.1), optical digital audio out, and an RF antenna  port for the TV’s ATSC 3.0 digital TV tuner. There are also two USB type-A and RS-232 and IR control ports.

Sony says the Bravia 9’s rechargeable Eco Remote is made from 79.7% recycled plastic. It has a slim design, premium feel, and backlit keypad, and is charged using an included USB-C cable.

  • Design score: 5/5

Sony Bravia 9 Google TV interface

The Bravia 9's main Google TV interface. (Image credit: Future)

Sony Bravia 9 TV review: Smart TV and menus

  • Google TV with hands-free voice assistant
  • AirPlay 2 and Chromecast built-in support 
  • Wide array of picture and audio settings

Google TV is Sony’s smart TV platform of choice, and is a good one by any measure. Any streaming app you could ask for is available, along with the ability to customize the placement of apps in the main “For You” home screen. When you’re signed in with a Google account, the For You view will show content recommendations based on your viewing and Google search history, and you can use Google Assistant for hands-free voice commands by turning on the built-in mic via a control switch located alongside the TV’s inputs.

Other smart TV features include a Live TV grid that shows free steaming channels and broadcast TV ones pulled in from an antenna by the TV’s built-in ATSC 3.0 tuner (US-only). Both AirPlay 2 and Chromecast built-in are supported, and the TV also works with Amazon Alexa devices and supports Apple Homekit. A new Sony TV feature for 2024 is the Eco Dashboard, which gives a comprehensive overview of the TV’s power savings settings and can display a detailed graph showing your power consumption over time in kilowatt-hours (kWh).

A fairly huge number of picture and audio settings are available on the Sony Bravia 9, some of which can be quickly accessed on a quick screen by pressing the wrench icon button on the remote control. The Settings option takes you to a more detailed menu for configuring picture, audio, smart TV, and system settings. The picture menu provides a wide range of options for adjusting contrast, black levels, and HDR handling, including Gradation and Brightness Preferred options for HDR tone mapping. 

I found it necessary to visit the Motionflow settings in the Motion menu when watching movies in Dolby Vision, which by default get motion smoothing in the TV’s Dolby Vision Bright and Dark modes. (Future models will hopefully feature the Dolby Vision Filmmaker mode featured in the LG C4 OLED.)

  • Smart TV & menus score: 4.5/5

Sony Bravia 9 game menu onscreen

A pop-up Game Menu is used to make quick gaming-related picture adjustments. (Image credit: Future)

Sony Bravia 9 review: Gaming

  • 2x HDMI ports with 4K 120Hz, VRR, and ALLM
  • Auto HDR tone mapping and game genre picture modes 
  • 17ms input lag is higher than other premium TVs

The Sony Bravia 9 has good suite of gaming features, including support for 4K 120Hz, VRR, and ALLM. That support is only available on two of its four HDMI ports, however, which makes it difficult for gamers with both Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 consoles to get the highest quality gaming experience when a soundbar is also connected to the TV – though at least with this TV, you might not need a soundbar.

Like other Sony TVs with a 120Hz refresh rate, the Bravia 9 is Perfect for PlayStation 5, with Auto HDR Tone Mapping and Auto Genre Picture Mode features kicking in when a PS5 console is detected. It also has Sony’s Game Menu, which lets you easily adjust gaming-related settings such as picture mode, black equalizer, and picture size, as well as select crosshair type. The Bravia 9 also supports 4K Dolby Vision gaming.

I measured input lag on the Bravia 9 at 17ms using a Leo Bodnar 4K meter. That level should be fine for most console gaming, but other premium TVs we’ve recently tested measured under 10ms on the same test.

  • Gaming score: 4/5

Sony Bravia 9 Live TV guide

The Bravia 9's Live TV guide incorporates free streaming and broadcast TV channels. (Image credit: Future)

Sony Bravia 9 review: Value

  • Picture quality helps justify the price
  • Costs less than other premium TV options
  • Not the greatest choice for gamers

At $2,999 for the 65-inch version I tested (and with the 75-inch model that's available globally costing $3,499 / £4,499 / AU$6,995) the Sony Bravia 9 is undoubtedly a pricey TV option. But the 8K Samsung QN900D mini-LED and Samsung S95D OLED, perhaps its closest TV rivals when it comes to performance, are priced at $4,999 and $3,399, respectively, making the Bravia 9 something of a high-end TV bargain.

Samsung’s flagship 8K TV offers excellent picture detail, along with high brightness and refined local dimming. Its flagship OLED offers an equally compelling and nearly as bright picture, plus a highly effective anti-glare screen coating for daytime viewing. Both those TVs are also better options for serious gaming than the Bravia 9.

Does the Bravia 9’s compellingly bright, refined picture justify its price tag? As I said, when considered in a high-end TV context, Sony’s flagship TV is something of a bargain. You could spend less on a mid-range OLED or a cheaper mini-LED TV with the same screen size, but if you happen to see the Bravia 9 in action, you may not be as happy with those alternatives.

  • Value score: 4/5 

Sony Bravia 9 showing image of trees and water

(Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the Sony Bravia 9 TV?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if…

Also consider...

Samsung QN900D showing test pattern

(Image credit: Future)

How I tested the Sony Bravia 9 TV

  • Tested over the course of two weeks
  • Measurements were made using Calman color calibration software
  • A full calibration was made before proceeding with subjective tests

When I test TVs, I first spend a few days or even weeks using it for casual viewing to assess the out-of-box picture presets and get familiar with its smart TV menu and picture adjustments. I next select the most accurate preset (usually Filmmaker Mode, Movie or Cinema) and measure grayscale and color accuracy using Portrait Displays’ Calman color calibration software. The resulting measurements provide Delta-E values (the margin of error between the test pattern source and what’s shown on-screen) for each category, and allow for an assessment of the TV’s overall accuracy.

Along with those tests, I make measurements of peak light output (recorded in nits) for both standard high-definition and 4K high dynamic range using 10% and 100% white window patterns. Coverage of DCI-P3 and BT.2020 color space is also measured, with the results providing a sense of how faithfully the TV can render the extended color range in ultra high-definition sources.

For the Sony Bravia 9, I used the Calman ISF workflow, along with the TV’s advanced picture menu settings, to calibrate its image in Movie mode for best accuracy. I also watched a range of reference scenes on 4K Blu-ray discs to assess the TV’s performance, along with 4K HDR shows and movies streamed from the Max, Netflix, and Sony Pictures Core services.

You can read an in-depth overview of how we test TVs at TechRadar at that link.

Samsung QN800D review: an impressive 8K TV that proves they still have a place in the world
6:30 pm | June 13, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Televisions | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Samsung QN800D review: Two minute review

The Samsung QN800D is the entry-level set in the company’s 8K Neo QLED range, offering  8K resolution at a slightly more affordable price than the flagship Samsung QN900D. It’s still a pricey TV, however, with the 65-inch model I tested currently selling for $3,499 / £3,499 / AU$4,799 – a higher price than most premium 4K TVs. 

Samsung makes some of the best TVs and consistently flies the 8K flag as other brands move away from the technology. Based on the performance of the QN800D, it may be justified to fly that flag. 

The QN800D’s picture quality is nothing short of impressive, mainly due to the exceptional 8K AI upscaling and Real Depth Enhancer Pro features of the TV’s NQ8 AI Gen2 Processor. These add incredible depth and refined detail to any textures, and the picture also has rich contrast and impressive black levels for a mini-LED TV. There is some minor backlight blooming and reflections can occur in harsh lighting conditions, but those are the only drawbacks of an otherwise phenomenal picture. 

Gaming features are plentiful with the QN800D, with its four HDMI 2.1 ports kitted out with all the bells and whistles we look for in the best gaming TVs. The QN800D supports 4K up to 165Hz,8K up to 60Hz, VRR including AMD FreeSync Premium Pro and comes with Samsung’s useful Gaming Hub. Gaming performance is excellent, feeling smooth and seamless even in the most intense of FPS games, and with the TV’s 8K AI upscaling, graphically beautiful as well. 

Sound quality is an area where the QN800D stumbles compared to the rest of its performance. A 4.2.2-channel speaker array provides exceptional tracking of on-screen action and dialogue is crisp and clear, but the QN800D’s lean bass means it can’t compete with some of the best TVs for sound such as the Sony A80L and Panasonic MZ2000. As such, it will be worth pairing the QN800D with one of the best soundbars to compliment its picture quality. 

The QN800D uses Samsung’s ‘Infinity One’ design for a sleek, slim appearance with a near bezel-less look that allows the impeccable picture to be the star of the show. It also comes with Samsung’s One Connect Box to house all external source connections, making the QN800D perfect for wall mounting. It does come with a premium metal stand, but be warned, it can be a little fiddly to fit on. 

There’s no getting around the fact that the QN800D is a premium-priced TV, with many flagship 4K models, including some of the best OLED TVs, selling for significantly less while still offering many of the same great features. There’s also a lack of 8K media to make full use of the QN800D’s high resolution. But the QN800D’s impressive 8K upscaling breathes extra life into every source it’s given, especially 4K movies with HDR. If you can stretch your budget for it you won’t be let down. I may have been skeptical about 8K TVs before, but the QN800D has made me a believer. 

Samsung QN800D with Star Wars The Force Awakens on screen

Star Wars: The Force Awakens shows the QN800D's bold colors and highlights.  (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN800D review: Prices & release date

  • Release date: April 2024  
  • 65-inch: $3,499 / £3,499 / AU$4,799 
  • 75-inch: $4,499 / £4,499 / AU$6,499 
  • 85-inch: $5,999 / £6,999 / AU$8.999 

The Samsung QN800D is the entry-level 8K Neo QLED model for 2024 and sits below the flagship Samsung QN900D. It is available in 65-, 75- and 85-inch sizes and was released in April 2024. 

Since its release, we have seen some offers and reductions on the QN800D in its various sizes. The 65-inch model I tested has seen roughly $200 off, with as much as £500 off in the UK for the 85-inch model, though it still carries a high price tag across the board. 

Samsung QN800D review: Specs

Samsung QN800D review: Benchmark results

Samsung QN800D slim one connect box

The Slim One Connect Box handles all external connections to keep things tidy.  (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN800D review: Features

  • NQ8 AI Gen2 Processor with 8K AI Upscaling Pro
  • 4.2.2-channel speaker array
  • One Connect Box    

The Samsung QN800D uses the  NQ8 AI Gen2 Processor, which boasts features such as 8K AI Upscaling Pro to upscale 4K images with up to 84% of the resolution of native 8K (according to Samsung). It also has Real Depth Enhancer Pro and Adaptive Picture, both of which use AI technology to analyze the picture and the surrounding environment to enhance images. The QN800D can display native 8K video, but there are no broadcast or home video 8K options outside of YouTube. 

Like all Samsung TVs, the QN800D supports the HDR10+, HDR10 and HLG HDR formats, but not Dolby Vision. 

For gaming, the QN800D is equipped with four HDMI 2.1 ports that support up to 165Hz refresh rate at 4K, 60Hz at 8K, VRR (including AMD FreeSync Premium Pro), ALLM and HGiG. It also features Samsung’s Gaming Hub that locates everything gaming-related in one handy location, including cloud-based gaming apps from Xbox, Luna, Nvidia GeForce Now and more. 

The QN800D comes with the One Connect Box Slim, which houses all connections and links to the TV with a One Connect cable. This design keeps cables tidy, especially for wall-mount installations. Along with its four HDMI 2.1 ports, connections include optical digital audio out, an ATSC 3.0 tuner (US-only) and aerial and satellite connections for the UK, and three USB ports including USB-C. 

For audio, the QN800D has a built-in 4.2.2 channel speaker array with 70W of power and support for Dolby Atmos. It also supports AI features such as Adaptive Sound Pro and Active Voice Amplifier Pro, which analyze the scene and viewing environment to optimize sound. The QN800D supports Q Symphony, which combines the TV’s audio output with compatible Samsung soundbars when connected. 

The QN800D uses Samsung’s own Tizen smart TV platform, which appears largely unchanged for 2024 except for a new ‘recommended for you’ section that recommends movies and TV shows based on your past viewing. There is also a new 'Recent' window that lets you easily jump back into a movie or TV show you were recently watching. 

  • Features score: 5 / 5

Samsung QN800D with gemstone on screen

The Samsung QN800D's 8K upscaling results in some incredible picture detail.  (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN800D review: Picture quality

  • Exceptional picture detail  
  • Effective 8K upscaling
  • Minor reflections and backlight blooming   

With he 65-inch QN800D’s picture presets in their default settings, peak brightness measured 1,045 nits measured on a 10% HDR window in Standard mode, and 1,126 nits in Filmmaker Mode. 

Those results don't match up to the flagship Samsung QN900D, which clocked in at 1,979 nits on a 10% window in Filmmaker Mode when we tested it. It also isn’t as bright as the Samsung S95D QD-OLED, which gave a result of 1,868 nits peak brightness in Standard mode. But the QN800D did have excellent full-screen brightness results, measuring 626 and 528 nits in Standard and Filmmaker Mode respectively, and such high full-screen brightness makes it ideal for daytime viewing and sports. 

When tested in our lab in varying lighting conditions, including harsh overhead lights, there were some mirror-like reflections on the QN800D’s screen, but they weren’t too distracting, and brighter images weren't an issue at all. 

After cycling through picture presets, Filmmaker Mode was the most accurate. Standard will suit people looking for a brighter image, although textures don’t look as natural in that mode as in Filmmaker. 

Upscaling on the QN800D is incredibly effective. Starting with broadcast TV viewing, in both standard (SD) and high-definition (HD), images looked crisp and clean. Even SD TV shows didn’t have the common fuzzy texture issue that regular LED TVs suffer from. 

Moving onto a 4K stream of Star Wars: The Last Jedi on Disney Plus, the characters’ facial features were incredibly detailed, with Real Depth Enhancer Pro adding even greater refinement for a lifelike appearance. The throne room fight scene features lots of red tones and the QN800D displayed them in a bold, vibrant fashion, with lightsabers in particular taking on a shimmering brightness. When I measured the BT.2020 and UHDA-P3 color gamut coverage using Portrait Displays’ Calman software, it gave results of 69% and 94% respectively. Those numbers were lower than expected, but didn’t take away from the QN800D’s impressive color rendition. 

Demo footage from the Spears & Munsil UHD Benchmark 4K Blu-ray disc revealed all the QN800D’s strengths. The outstanding level of detail demonstrated itself once again, with forest landscapes and sunsets on sea horizons looking incredibly realistic and animals appearing true to life. The 8K upscaling added an extra layer to these images that I’d seen so many times on 4K sets but importantly didn’t over-sharpen the textures for a fake-looking style. 

Close-up studio images with fully black backgrounds demonstrated the QN800D’s superb contrast and black levels, with the bright objects well-balanced against the dark backgrounds. Some backlight blooming was visible, but it was minor. Scenes of a Ferris wheel and city skyscape at night also showcased the QN800D’s excellent local dimming, revealing only the slightest hint of backlight blooming once again. 

Moving onto a 4K Blu-ray of The Batman, the QN800D displayed deep blacks and excellent shadow detail. In a scene where Batman walks down a gloomy hallway lit only by bright wall lamps, the QN800D kept the gloomy, grainy tone of the film while maintaining superb backlight control for spectacular contrast with only minor blooming. Once again, detail was impeccable with a close-up shot of Batman showing stubble I hadn’t noticed before on a 4K screen. 

Motion handling on the QN800D was effective. Viewing the opening test flight sequence in Top Gun: Maverick, the long, panning shot that follows the Darkstar jet showed minimal judder even with motion controls turned off, although motion smoothing controls can be adjusted if you wish.  

I decided to test the QN800D’s intelligence mode settings (its Adaptive Picture) which adjust brightness and color based on lighting conditions. In Optimized mode, I found that textures in Top Gun: Maverick were too sharp, taking away their natural look. An Eye Comfort mode adapts the color temperature based on the scene (cooler for bright, warmer for dark) to reduce eye strain, but unfortunately, this once again made textures too sharp. Thankfully these settings are switched off by default, allowing the more effective AI features to do their work. 

Despite some backlight blooming and occasional screen reflections, the QN800D has an impressive picture overall, with outstanding detail, incredible 8K upscaling and spectacular color and contrast. 

  • Picture quality score: 5 / 5

Samsung QN800D rear drivers

Part of the Samsung QN800D's 4.2.2 channel speaker configuration.  (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN800D review: Sound quality

  • 4.2.2 channel speaker configuration 
  • OTS+ (Object Tracking Sound Plus)  
  • AI Adaptive Sound Pro 

The QN800D has a 70W, 4.2.2 channel speaker system that supports Dolby Atmos. I found dialog to be clear across all sources, whether it was broadcast TV news or action-filled movie sequences. The TV’s Object Tracking Sound Plus feature is incredibly effective, with the sound closely following the action on screen. During the batmobile chase in The Batman, each screeching tire, explosion or crunch was naturally placed, and in Top Gun: Maverick, jets soaring in all directions were easy to follow. 

Bass on the QN800D was solid enough, though it sounded thinner than the surround effects and dialog. Compared with other sets, there were only two sound presets: Standard and Amplify. Amplify provided the most accurate sound profile and was the mode I used for testing. In some instances, Atmos reproduction wasn’t the most effective, with the rain in the batmobile chase scene from The Batman being barely noticeable. In Top Gun: Maverick, however, there was a sense of spaciousness during any flight sequences.  

The QN800D’s Adaptive Sound mode was more trebly and surround-focused, sacrificing the already lean bass. Adaptive Voice Pro as expected prioritized speech above all else and although effective in some scenarios, it wasn’t the best for movies. 

Sound on the QN800D will be perfectly fine for most and is impressive in some areas, but this TV could benefit from one of the best Dolby Atmos soundbars to complement its fantastic picture quality. 

  • Sound quality score: 4 / 5

Samsung QN800D stand

The Samsung QN800D's stand feels premium but might be tricky to install for some people.  (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN800D review: Design

  • Slim One Connect Box  
  • Infinity slim design  
  • Fiddly stand installation 

The QN800D has a premium ‘Infinity One’ design, with a solid, silver, metal frame and a trim bezel that allows the picture to become the main focus without any borders. It also measures a razor-thin 0.7 inches (17.2mm) without its stand. 

An external One Connect Box houses all inputs, with a single cable connecting to the QN800D. It's a good design that keeps cables from sources tidy and is especially useful for people looking to wall-mount.

The QN800D also comes with a weighty, black metal stand that feels suitably sturdy and gives the TV a floating appearance when viewed front on. However, it’s worth noting that the stand was very fiddly to install, with me and a colleague needing to hold the stand in place while trying to line up and tighten the screws. Make sure you have another person with you when installing this TV. 

Samsung’s SolarCell remote draws power from surrounding light and can also be charged using USB-C, making it significantly more eco-friendly than remotes with disposable batteries. Although on the minimal side, with settings, volume and app shortcut buttons for Netflix, Disney Plus and Prime Video making up the majority of buttons, it should suit most people. 

  • Design score: 4.5 / 5

Samsung QN800D with Tizen home page on screen

Tizen's 2024 version focuses on customization and personalization.  (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN800D review: Smart TV & menus

  • Tizen smart TV platform
  • Different portals for Gaming, Daily and more   
  • Customization options 

The QN800D uses Samsung’s Tizen system as a smart TV platform. Although its overall design remains largely unchanged from 2023, there have been updates for 2024. 

The home menu is now split into three categories: For You, which bases recommendations on apps and viewing history; Live, showing live TV; and Apps, which displays your installed apps. Navigation is easy enough across any of these menus, but For You is likely to be the most used. 

There are also several ‘portals’ that can be accessed, with each housing a different category. Daily+ aims to be a day-to-day portal, encompassing apps such as Samsung Health, workout tracking and a video calling app. There is also Ambient, for displaying artworks and images, and Gaming Hub for everything gaming. 

There are plenty of picture settings to play with for those who like to tweak and experiment and these are all easily accessible, allowing for high levels of customization. A fair amount of sound settings are provided as well, but as stated above, Standard and Amplify are the only sound presets. 

  • Smart TV & menus score: 4 / 5

Samsung QN800D with Battlefield V on screen

Gaming features and performance are incredibly strong on the Samsung QN800D.  (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN800D review: Gaming

  • Four HDMI 2.1 ports
  • Gaming Hub  
  • Low 9.8ms input lag   

The QN800D is equipped with all the gaming features you would need, including 4K 165Hz and 8K 60Hz refresh rate, VRR with AMD FreeSync Premium Pro, and ALLM across all four HDMI 2.1 ports. The Gaming Hub portal houses everything gaming in one handy location, including links to popular live Twitch streams and cloud-based gaming apps including Xbox, Luna, Nvidia GeForce Now and more. 

With Battlefield V on Xbox Series X, the gameplay felt incredibly smooth and free of any screen judder or tearing, and switching between targets in a vast landscape on a desert mission was seamless and easy. This is probably due in part to the QN800D’s ultra-low input lag, which I measured at 9.8ms using the Leo Bodnar HDMI 4K input lag tester – a number that rivals many of the best 120Hz TVs. 

Graphically, the QN800D is extremely impressive. Using the same phenomenal 8K upscaling it does for movies, every detail in Battlefield V was amplified – the large desert landscapes took on a realistic look and the intricate details of the various weapons were more pronounced. The QN800D added depth to every aspect of the game, and I could adjust its game-related settings on the fly to enhance things even further by calling up the onscreen game menu. 

  • Gaming score: 5 / 5

Samsung SolarCell Remote

The Samsung SolarCell remote is a more eco-friendly approach to remote controls.  (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN800D review: Value

  • Very pricey compared to 4K models 
  • Unique 8K features 
  • Limited 8K content  

With the QN800D being an 8K TV (even a mid-range one by 8K standards) it unfortunately carries a high price tag. For the 65-inch model I tested, you’ll pay $3,499 / £3,499 / AU$4,799. To put that in perspective, you can buy the Samsung QN90D (Samsung’s upper mid-range 4K Neo QLED), which has many  of the same gaming and smart features as the QN800D, in a 65-inch size for $2,699 / £2,399 / AU$3,995. 

The QN800D does offer unique features compared to 4K models, most notably the 8K AI upscaling and the NQ8 Gen2 AI Processor. However, there are no real 8K sources outside of YouTube to make use of the QN800D’s native 8K display But if you can stretch your budget to make use of the 8K upscaling and processing chops the QN800D provides, I’d recommend it. Just keep in mind that you can buy a mid-range 4K OLED TV such as Samsung’s own S90C and one of the best Dolby Atmos soundbars for a good deal less.

  • Value score: 3.5 / 5

Samsung QN800D with reptile on screen

The Samsung QN800D shows off its spectacular contrast and image detail.  (Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the Samsung QN800D?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider...

Samsung QN800D with testing equipment attached

(Image credit: Future)

How I tested the Samsung QN800D

  • Tested in lab with varying light conditions
  • Tested using a variety of SDR and HDR sources
  • Measurements made using Portrait Displays' Calman software

I tested the Samsung QN800D in our lab, which allows me to view in conditions including harsh overhead lighting, dimmed lighting, and pitch black to test a TV's handling of reflections and the effectiveness of its backlight. 

After an initial run-in period with some casual viewing to determine the most accurate picture mode, I then tested the QN800D using standard and high-definition broadcast TV, 4K Blu-ray, and 4K streaming apps such as Disney Plus and Prime Video, using reference scenes from TV shows and movies that I regularly use fo testing.

To test the QN800D's picture, I looked at contrast, color, brightness, backlight control, and motion. I also evaluated its sound quality, checking for object placement, speech clarity, bass levels and virtual surround sound delivery. 

For objective testing, I used specialized equipment including a test pattern generator, colorimeter and Portrait Displays' Calman calibration software. I tested the QN800D (like all TVs) for SDR and HDR brightness, grayscale and color accuracy, and color gamut coverage. 

For gaming performance, I used an Xbox Series X to test gaming features, graphics and overall quality. I also measured the QN800D's input lag using the Leo Bodnar HDMI 4K Input lag tester. 

For a more detailed breakdown, check how we test TVs at TechRadar at the link. 

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: a feature-rich TV that suffers from mini-LED’s biggest flaw
9:00 pm | June 2, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Televisions | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Two minute review

The LG QNED91T, the company's flagship 4K model in its mini-LED ‘QNED’ range, is a TV with mixed performance. It’s stacked with smart and gaming features that will keep many people happy, but the picture and sound quality are inconsistent, succeeding in some areas, but failing in other crucial ones. It’s worth noting that in the US, this TV is called the LG QNED90 and comes with a pair of feet instead of a central pedestal stand.

Priced at $1,799 / £1,699 / AU$2,995 for the 65-inch version I tested, this is roughly in the same category as many other mini-LED sets of this size, meaning the QNED91T has plenty of competition. 

Picture quality is the most inconsistent aspect of the QNED91T. It has fantastic picture detail and colors that stand out in brighter scenes, but poor backlight control results in blooming issues that are especially visible in darker scenes. Off-center viewing also results in faded contrast and even more obvious backlight blooming. Unfortunately, this keeps the QNED91T from fulfilling its true potential, falling short of some of the best TVs such as the Samsung QN90C, another mini-LED model. 

Audio quality on the QNED91T is again mixed, with meaty bass and clear dialogue having to coexist with average virtual surround sound performance and an uneven sound balance. The TV’s AI Sound Pro mode can improve the balance but sacrifices bass performance in turn. Some may find the QNED91T’s built-in sound adequate, but most would benefit from adding one of the best soundbars

Design-wise, LG took a simple approach with the QNED91T, favoring functionality over looks. Its bulky weight makes it feel reassuringly solid but adds a more old-school appearance. That’s not necessarily bad, but it’s something for those who place design high up in their list of requirements to bear in mind. 

LG’s smart webOS smartTV platform continues to be one of the best. The version on the QNED91T, webOS 24, presents a sleek home menu with plenty of opportunities for customization and organization, and it’s both visually appealing and user-friendly. Not much has changed since last year’s webOS 23. There are new features such as an AI Chatbot and customizable profiles, though the latter feature is currently only available in the US. 

The QNED91T is a great performer when it comes to gaming, and has all the gaming bells and whistles you could need. Gameplay is smooth and responsive in any situation. But the QNED91T is sadly held back from greatness by the same picture issues that plague it with movies and, despite valiant effort, won't find itself amongst the best 120Hz TVs

Although it has some great features, the QNED91T's picture quality issues are hard to overlook. It thrives in some settings, but ultimately there’s too much inconsistency for the QNED91T to rank among the best TVs. 

LG QNED91T with satellite on screen

The LG QNED91T has excellent picture detail. (Image credit: Future)

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Prices & release date

  • Released May 2024 
  • 65-inch: $1,799 / £1,699 / AU$2,995 
  • 75-inch: $2,399 / £2,499 / AU$3,995 
  • 86-inch: $3,299 / £3,799 / AU$5,445  

The LG QNED91T (QNED90 2024 series in the US) is LG’s flagship 4K mini-LED model for 2024, with the LG QNED99 8K TV serving as the overall flagship. Available from May 2024, the LG QNED91T comes in three sizes: 65-, 75- and 86-inch. The LG QNED91T’s pricing puts it in competition with mini-LED TVs such as the Sony X95L (its 2023 flagship) and the Hisense U9N (its 2024 flagship). 

We’ve already seen price drops as much as 20% on the QNED91T across multiple sites. Whether these discounts are permanent or will disappear remains to be seen.

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Specs

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Benchmark results

LG QNED91T connections panel

The LG QNED91T's connection panel, with four HDMI 2.1 ports (Image credit: Future)

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Features

  • Built-in with LG’s a8 AI Processor 4K 
  • Mini-LED backlight with LG’s NanoCell layer 
  • Dolby Vision support 

Serving as the flagship QNED, which combines a mini-LED backlight with LG’s quantum dot NanoCell technology, the LG QNED91T aims to deliver bold brightness and color while maintaining good contrast – something it does with mixed results. 

The QNED91T features LG’s a8 AI Processor, the same found in other 2024 models including the LG B4 and LG QNED87/85, that aims to emulate the performance of last year’s LG C3, particularly in terms of brightness – which it achieves. 

The a8 AI Processor enables features for AI Picture Pro, including AI Super Upscaling and Dynamic Tone Mapping, and AI Sound Pro, including Virtual Surround and AI Clear Sound. It’s also responsible for AI Picture Wizard, which helps you create your preferred picture settings. This is done by choosing your favorite images from a group of different types such as bright landscape, sunset, nighttime and more, which Ai Picture Wizard uses to create your personalized setting. 

For HDR, the QNED91T supports Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG formats, but not HDR10+. 

The QNED91T is well stocked with gaming features, with four HDMI 2.1 ports supporting 4K 120Hz, VRR including AMD Freesync, and ALLM and HGiG support. It also features LG’s Game Optimizer, which activates the optimum settings for gaming and allows customization of gaming settings on the fly such as black level, genre and more. 

Audio is provided by a 2.2 speaker system totaling 40W of power with support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. While it's not the most mind-blowing of speaker configurations, it provides sufficient punch and there are several preset sound modes including AI Sound Pro. 

The QNED91T comes with the latest iteration of LG’s smart TV platform, webOS 24. While there haven’t been any major changes, the home page has been redesigned. It still has Quick Cards, which enable you to organize apps into categories such as Music, Sports, Games and more. It also supports all major apps including Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus as well as Freeview Play and its apps in the UK such as BBC iPlayer and ITVX.  

New features in webOS 24 include an AI Chatbot assistant and the ability to create up to 10 profiles that store each user’s settings and personalized TV and movie recommendations. LG has also committed to five years’ worth of updates on select TVs, including the QNED91T, meaning the latest iteration of webOS will appear via a firmware update for the next five years. 

  • Feautres score: 4.5 / 5

LG QNED91T with hot spring on screen

The LG QNED91T's colors and textures are highlights, though picture quality is inconsistent. (Image credit: Future)

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Picture quality

  • Excellent detail and bold colors 
  • Backlight blooming issues  
  • Limited viewing angle  

The LG QNED91T faces much competition in the mini-LED TV category from the likes of Samsung, Sony, TCL and Hisense, with the latter two providing more budget-friendly options. Sadly, it falls short of some of its major rivals. 

Mini-LED TVs tend to excel at brightness and the QNED91T on the surface has a bright picture, particularly when displaying HDR images. When I measured it on a 10% HDR white window, the results were 1,274 nits and 1,132 nits in Standard and Filmmaker Mode respectively. It also yielded 671 and 601 nits respectively in those modes when I measured a 100% full-screen HDR white window. Those are good numbers overall, but they fail to match the likes of the Samsung QN90C, Sony X95L and Hisense U8K

After some casual viewing with both HD and 4K HDR sources and cycling through the various picture presets, I established that the most accurate picture mode was Filmmaker Mode, although Standard and Cinema are two alternatives that deliver a brighter image. 

First starting with broadcast TV, the QNED91T did an effective job of upscaling, but lower-resolution pictures still had a comparatively fuzzy appearance. HD broadcast TV had cleaner textures overall with good contrast and color, and when viewed in Standard mode, a brighter look as well. 

Moving onto 4K HDR movies with Filmmaker Mode’s default settings active, the QNED91T demonstrated excellent image detail in faces and clothing when watching Top Gun: Maverick. This impressive detail carried over to demo footage on the Spears & Munsil UHD Benchmark Blu-ray. Rocky landscapes and forests had refined edges and a good sense of depth. Studio shots of owls and lizards again showed realistic detail, with feathers and scales having a 3D-like quality. 

The QNED91T also excelled when it came to color. Viewing the throne room lightsaber sequence in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, streamed through Disney Plus, the vibrant reds carried plenty of vivid punch and never looked overblown. Lightsabers took on a bold, glossy sheen that showcased the QNED91T’s HDR highlights. Turning back to Spears & Munsil, green trees and blue skies popped off the screen. 

When measuring the QNED91T’s UHDA-P3 and BT.2020 color gamut coverage using Portrait Displays’ Calman calibration software, the QNED91T yielded 96%  and 72.2% respectively. Those are both good results so it’s no surprise colors in 4K HDR programs looked good. Color accuracy Delta E values averaged out to 1.1 (we typically look for below 3) in Filmmaker Mode, which is an outstanding result. 

When viewing both the opening Darkstar flight sequence in Top Gun: Maverick and the Batmobile chase sequence in The Batman, the QNED91T demonstrated excellent motion handling, even in Filmmaker Mode with all motion settings turned off. Quick panning shots and long left-to-right sequences showed little to no sign of judder or stutter and motion was incredibly smooth. 

The Batman is also where the QNED91T started to show weaknesses in the picture department. Black levels were decent in some cases and contrast was rich enough, but when viewing dark scenes such as the first crime scene investigation, backlight blooming was very apparent. Lights in the darkened hallway had a clouding effect that changed the deep, black shadows to a dark gray. 

Changing the Local Dimming,  set to Low by default, to High in the TV’s Brightness settings reduced some backlight blooming issues. But this also resulted in some black crush, with objects in dark scenes such as the bat symbol on Batman’s chest in The Batman starting to disappear. Even then, some backlight blooming was still present. 

An issue that some mini-LED TVs suffer from is poor viewing angles, although models such as the Samsung QN90C and Sony X95L have features to improve this. Unfortunately, viewing angles were an issue with the LG QNED91T. When viewed off-axis, backlight blooming, particularly in dark scenes, became apparent, with large, blocky squares of the backlight shining through at extreme angles. Contrast and color saturation also faded when the TV was viewed from off-center seats. 

Finally, although I didn’t expect the LG to beat the Samsung S95D’s OLED Glare Free screen or the anti-reflection features of its more premium mini-LED sets, I expected the QNED91T to handle reflections better than it did. Under harsh lighting conditions in our testing lab, mirror-like reflections were an issue, which made darker scenes very difficult to see. And with the overhead lights dimmed, other light sources in the room were still reflected on the TV’s screen. 

  • Picture quality score: 3.5 / 5

LG QNED91T with butterfly on screen

The LG QNED91T suffers from reflections, even when displaying bright HDR images.  (Image credit: Future)

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Sound quality

  • Decent bass levels 
  • Clear dialogue  
  • Average virtual surround sound 

With a 40W, 2.2 speaker configuration and Dolby Atmos/DTS support, the QNED91T has perfectly adequate built-in audio, though it lacks the sound prowess of rivals such as the Sony X95L. The QNED91T’s speakers may suit some, but generally one of the best soundbars would be an improvement. 

I found Cinema with its warmer profile to be the best sound preset. The QNED91T displayed strong dialogue clarity across most movies and TV shows I watched, from broadcast TV to intense action movie sequences. During the chaotic Batmobile chase in The Batman, speech came through clearly despite loud background noise and a driving score. 

Bass was another highlight, aided by the Cinema sound preset’s warm profile and the QNED91T’s deeper design. Even with the QNED91T’s relatively average power, the rumble of the Batmobile from The Batman and jets in Top Gun: Maverick had plenty of heft and weight. 

Despite Dolby Atmos support, I found the QNED91t’s effects processing to be average. Some effects were present, such as screeching wheels in the Batmobile chase in the Batman but the pounding rain was missing altogether. And in Top Gun: Maverick, background effects from within the cockpit were lost behind the rumble of the engines. 

With AI Sound Pro active, the overall volume and surround sound effects were heightened, but I found dialogue to be on the harsher side and bass reduced. While some may prefer this brightening of the mix, I preferred the Cinema sound preset. 

  • Sound quality score: 3.5 / 5

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Design

LG QNED91T Stand

The LG QNED91T comes with reassuringly solid stand in the UK. (Image credit: Future)
  • Solid, central stand (on model tested in UK) 
  • Chunkier than other TVs 
  • Somewhat old-school, basic look 

The QNED91T has somewhat of an old-school design, with a deeper-than-average body and matte gray appearance on the back that harks back to older LCD models. It isn’t the deepest TV on the market (look at the Panasonic MZ2000 for that) but it's still surprisingly chunky. The bezel is trim, however, giving the picture nearly the full scale of the screen. 

With a central, metal stand (on the 65-inch version I tested in the UK), the QNED91T feels reassuringly solid and sturdy. However, it’s worth noting that this is a weighty TV at around 35 kg with the stand attached. In the US, the QNED90 comes with support feet and while I can’t comment on their appearance, the TV itself weighs in at 69.2 lbs with its feet attached. 

Connections are housed in a rear panel and feature four HDMI 2.1 and three USB ports, optical digital audio, and an RF for broadcast and satellite TV. The QNED91 also has  Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities as expected. 

Like most LG TVs, the QNED91T comes with LG’s Magic Remote. This has a central wheel and arrows for scrolling and navigation, or its pointer can be used instead. It also has a built-in mic for voice control and quick access options for apps including Netflix and Prime Video. 

  • Design score: 4 / 5

webOS 24 home page on LG QNED91T

webOS 24 has a tidier home screen menu and is still incredibly user-friendly.  (Image credit: Future)

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Smart TV & menus

  • LG’s webOS 24 smart TV platform
  • Quick Cards for app organization
  • Home menu trimmed down from previous generation     

The QNED91T features webOS 24, the latest iteration of LG’s smart TV platform. The home menu has been trimmed down and tidied compared to previous versions, with a smaller top banner allowing more space for apps and tailored recommendations. All in all, it’s a welcome redesign. 

Carrying over last year’s Quick Cards, which lets apps be organized by category such as Music and Office, there is the introduction of a more refined Sports card and an an Accessibility feature. The Sports card features the useful My Team function that allows you to receive live updates, scores and recommended videos based on your chosen team from sports such as baseball, basketball, soccer, American football and more. Accessibility includes the AI Chatbot, which can be used to diagnose and solve technical issues such as ‘The screen is too dark’ or ‘The volume is too low’. I found it effective enough, brightening the screen when asked, but it did seem on the basic side. 

LG's webOS 24 continues to be amongst the best smart TV platforms for settings and menus, with the Quick Menu providing an easy way to change important settings such as picture and sound modes without having to navigate away from the screen. There are also plenty of advanced adjustments for those who like to play with picture and sound settings. 

  •  Smart TV & menus: 4.5 / 5 

LG QNED91T with Battlefield V on screen

Gaming performance on the LG QNED91T is good, but games suffer the same picture quality issues as movies. (Image credit: Future)

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Gaming

  • Four HDMI 2.1 ports
  • LG Game Optimizer 
  • Picture still affected by backlight blooming  

The QNED91T has a good stock of gaming features across its four HDMI 2.1 ports, including 4K 120Hz, VRR with AMD FreeSync support, ALLM and HGiG. LG’s Game Optimizer also provides the best settings for gaming and allows adjustment on the go using an easy to access and navigate menu. 

Playing Battlefield V on Xbox Series X felt smooth and responsive on the QNED91T. When in graphically intense battle sequences or when quickly scoping across landscapes to spot enemies, I saw no signs of tearing, stuttering or judder. Setting the game genre to FPS on the Game Optimizer enhanced this further by smoothing out quick camera cuts. 

When I measured the QNED91T’s input lag using the Leo Bodnar 4K HDMI input lag tester, it gave a result of 15ms at 4K 60Hz. Although still an acceptable result, that’s higher than what you typically find on the best gaming TVs

For graphics, the QNED91T excelled and suffered in the same areas as it did with movies. Colors in brighter sequences were still vibrant and punchy, and textures were clear on every part of the weapon and surrounding environment. But backlight blooming was still an issue, and that meant night missions in Battlefield V took on a gray rather than a black tone, and lamps within a stealth mission had a halo around them that bled into the night sky overhead.  

  • Gaming score: 4 / 5

LG magic remote 2024

The LG QNED91T as always comes with LG's Magic Remote. (Image credit: Future)

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Value

  • Competitive mini-LED market 
  • Good range of smart features 
  • Inconsistent picture affects value  

The QNED91T is priced at $1,799 / £1,699 / AU$2,995 for the 65-inch version I tested, though there are price reductions available (up to 20% off in some cases). At that price, there is plenty of new TV competition in 2024 such as the 65-inch Hisense U8N, which is priced at $1,499 / £1,799 / AU$2,795 (although we’ve seen it as low as $1,099 in the US). And there’s also the Samsung QN90D, though it's priced at a much more premium $2,699 / £2,699 / AU$3,995 for the 65-inch model.

Despite a good list of smart and gaming features, it’s tough to overlook that the QNED91T’s picture is similar to a budget TV due to its backlight blooming and viewing angle issues. It’s also tough to overlook that 2023 TVs such as the Hisense U8K and Sony X95L offer better performance and are available for less. 

  • Value score: 3 / 5

LG QNED91T with ferries wheel on screen

The LG QNED91T's backlight blooming is more visible when the picture is viewed from an angle. (Image credit: Future)

Should you buy the LG QNED90T/91T?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider...

LG QNED91T with calman and testing equipment

The LG QNED91T with testing equipment, including Portrait Displays' Calman calibration software to record measurements.  (Image credit: Future)

How I tested the LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T

  • Tested using SDR and HDR sources
  • Tested in a lab with varying lighting conditions
  • Measurements taken using Portrait Displays' Calman Calibration software

After some initial causal viewing, I determined the LG's Filmmaker Mode picture preset was the most accurate. I used this for my subjective testing and for measurements using specialized equipment.

For subjective testing, I viewed both lower-resolution and high-definition broadcast TV, and HDR sources such as 4K Blu-ray. I used reference scenes from several movies to test for black levels, contrast, color, motion and more. I also used these same reference scenes to test the QNED91T's built-in audio performance.

To test gaming performance, I used an Xbox Series X and used Battlefield V, looking for smoothness of gameplay while analyzing graphics quality. I also used a Leo Bodnar 4K HDMI Input Lag Tester to test the QNED91T's input lag. 

For objective testing I used specialized equipment including a test pattern generator, colorimeter and Portrait Displays' Calman calibration software to record the results. I tested SDR and HDR brightness levels, color and grayscale accuracy and color gamut coverage.

For a more detailed breakdown, check out our guide on how we test TVs at TechRadar

LG S95TR soundbar review: Dolby Atmos immersion done right
2:00 pm | May 26, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Soundbars Televisions | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

LG S95TR Soundbar: Two minute review

LG S95TR in living room

The LG S95TR soundbar system fresh out of the box (Image credit: Future)

I’ll cut to the chase: The LG S95TR is a fantastic soundbar system. In fact, it might be among the best soundbars available right now. And that’s without considering its first-party feature set when paired with certain LG TVs – something I’ll touch on but won’t dive into too deeply.

Overall, there’s very little to dislike about the LG S95TR. Just about everything that keeps it from being perfect, besides its high price, is due to how basic the LED display is or the fact that some features require opening the app. Having to reach for the phone to turn on “Night Time” mode is a bit of an inconvenience, especially when that setting could have been made available on the remote, for instance.

However, the positives here far outweigh the cons. Even though this is a 9.1.5-channel system, for example, setup and even calibration were about as streamlined as it can get when multiple units are involved. And the feature set is about as deep as one could expect from a system competing with the best Dolby Atmos soundbars. None of that matters if the sound quality isn’t there, but the LG S95TR delivers in that regard as well with its immersive, engrossing, and engaging audio.

In the grand scheme of things, the LG S95TR’s $1,499 / AU$1,699 (about £1,200) price is actually not bad when compared to the competition. And if you were to buy a separate Dolby Atmos speaker system with one of the best AV receivers, you would spend even more. So, despite the high asking price, the S95TR’s cost does seem reasonable when you put it in perspective.

Whether the LG S95TR is for you will depend on your needs. If you’re working with a small room or setup, this system is probably too much for you. You might be happy with something that only costs a couple hundred dollars. However, if you want to match the convenience of a soundbar system with the immersive performance of a true home theater speaker setup, you can’t go wrong here.

LG S95TR in living room

The LG S95TR's front panel LED display provides insufficient visual feedback, forcing you to rely on the app for settings and adjustments (Image credit: Future)

LG S95TR Soundbar review: Price & release date

  • Released in March 2024 (US and Australia)
  • $1,499.99 / AU$1,699.01 (about £1,200)

As part of LG’s 2024 AV lineup, the LG S95TR is fairly new. It isn’t even available yet in the UK, where the previous generation, the S95QR, is still on offer for £1,699. However, those in the US and Australia can get it right away as of May 2024 for $1,499.99 / AU$1,699.01 (about £1,200).

Considering that the LG S95TR is a 9.1.5-channel system, its price tag is not as exorbitant as it might seem. After all, a regular home theater audio setup can get much more expensive when you take into account the need for at least five quality speakers, a subwoofer, and an AV receiver. And, that’s even before accounting for the upward-firing Dolby Atmos speakers (the “5” in 9.1.5).

LG S95TR Soundbar review: Specs

LG S95TR in living room

Dual HDMI 2.1 ports with 4K 120Hz support are provided on the soundbar (Image credit: Future)

LG S95TR Soundbar review: Features

  • Some features meant specifically for LG TVs
  • Wi-Fi streaming and voice assistant support
  • AI Room Calibration is a revelation

Let’s first discuss the LG S95TR features that owners of the LG B4, LG C4, and LG G4 Series OLED TVs may enjoy. These include WOW Orchestra (uses the TV’s built-in speakers in conjunction with the soundbar system for an even fuller sound), WOW Interface (lets you use one remote for both the TV and soundbar, with setup available on the TV), and WOWCAST (lets you pair the soundbar with the LG TV wirelessly). I didn’t have access to an LG TV during my review and could not dig into those features. But even so, I found the LG S95TR soundbar still very feature-filled.

For instance, even if you can’t take advantage of WOWCAST, the rear speakers and subwoofer still pair wirelessly to the soundbar. So, outside of the power cables, the only wire you’ll see is the HDMI or optical cable connecting the soundbar to the TV.

The LG S95TR is also plenty room-filling without WOW Orchestra. Not only do you get full surround sound, but five upward firing speakers that work with both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks. It should also be noted that you can listen to stereo content as if it’s in surround sound. That’s not to say that the soundbar’s processing will remix the music so that a saxophone (if you listen to music with a saxophone) only comes from the back left speaker, but, you will get an immersive sound presentation.

Some other critical features include Wi-Fi streaming so you can play music from your favorite streaming service without having to use a lower-quality Bluetooth connection (though you can do that as well). You can also use Alexa or Google Assistant for voice control. 

My favorite feature, however, is LG’s Advanced AI Room Calibration. Speaker placement is critical for getting good sound, and a feature that can adjust how sound is projected based on speaker placement is key, especially when one of your rear speakers is literally sitting on an old chest. It’s a quick process as well that is available through the app.

My neighbor’s favorite feature, though they don’t know it, is the Night Time mode, also only available in the app. This feature makes everything sound a bit flatter as the audio gets compressed to keep sound peaks from getting too loud. It’s a useful feature for when you’re worried about waking someone up when watching a movie late at night.

  • Features score: 5 / 5

LG S95TR rear speakers on floor in living room

The LG S95TR's rear-channel speakers feature up-firing drivers for immersive Dolby Atmos sound (Image credit: Future)

LG S95TR Soundbar review: Performance

  • Clear sound, even at low volume
  • Very good Dolby Atmos immersion
  • Slightly forward mid-range response

With 810 watts of power, the LG S95TR has more than enough volume on tap. Loudness doesn’t necessarily equal good sound, but thankfully the LG S95TR sounds very good.

When testing, I watched movies and shows including Everything, Everywhere, All At Once, Shogūn, and Psych, and listened to plenty of music. Also during testing, I used different audio modes including the AI mode from the room calibration feature.

When watching Everything, Everywhere, All At Once, the LG S95TR was in Cinema mode. Not only did I feel the rumble from the subwoofer every time there was some low-end information, but it came through clearly (some cheaper soundbar subs often produce a flabby bass response). And the same held even when I lowered the volume.

In fact, I did a lot of listening on this soundbar at a lower volume. Why? Because at lower volumes, TV audio is often uneven and tinny with some sound getting swallowed up. But the LG S95TR soundbar reproduced everything in a way that I could have the volume just above audible and still make out every sound and nuance.

The system’s surround and Dolby Atmos capabilities are very robust. Shogūn has a lot of dialogue inside traditional Japanese homes overlooking gardens. Watching it, I at first wasn’t sure if I was hearing anything, but when I put my ears to the rear speakers, I realized that there actually was a lot going on because I heard the ambient sounds of a garden and pond. The ambient sound also had a sense of dimension thanks to the upward-firing Atmos drivers in the rear speakers.

Night Time mode was effective in that if flattened the sound (it’s compressing the audio after all) but in a way that made everything still very audible. I had no issues hearing anything even with the feature on and the volume low. Compared to similar modes on TVs when using the TV’s built-in speakers, the S95TR’s Night Time mode was superior.

Lastly, the LG S95TR’s stereo up-mixing is a treat when listening to music. You still get a stereo image, but all of the speaker drivers on the soundbar and rear speakers are engaged. It’s not as detailed as what you would hear with audiophile speakers, but unless you’re deep down that rabbit hole, you’ll be very happy. As far as its overall frequency response, LG’s soundbar has a slightly forward mid-range, and it’s a profile that lends itself better to audio from movies, TV shows, and games.

  • Performance score: 5 / 5

LG S95TR subwoofer on floor in living room

LG's wireless subwoofer adds real low-end rumble to soundtracks (Image credit: Future)

LG S95TR Soundbar review: Design

  • Discreet and mostly wireless design
  • LED indicators don’t provide enough information
  • Many features and controls require app

 The LG S95TR soundbar’s looks aren’t going to wow anyone. It looks like a basic matte black soundbar with a subwoofer and two slightly strange-looking wedge-shaped rear speakers, all with some extra upward-facing grilles (well, except the sub). But even though it doesn’t have the mid-century chic of a Bang & Olufsen soundbar, which would cost almost twice the price, it fits in discreetly enough – something helped out by the wireless subwoofer and rear speakers.

However, any complaints I have about the LG S95TR will be in this section. Three LED indicator lights near the right side of the soundbar take the place of an LED display. You’ll see a red light when you power down, some green lights when adjusting the volume, and three blinking white lights when trying to pair with a Bluetooth source. Considering how many features are on hand here, there just isn’t enough information on the soundbar that's visible at a glance.

The remote, for instance, has a button to toggle through different sound modes such as Cinema, Music,Game, etc. But not only do you not know which mode you’re on, but you don’t know which one you’re switching to just by looking at the soundbar or remote, and the same goes for the volume level. 

The only way to get that information is to download, pair, and open LG’s control app – my second bone of contention. The app itself is perfectly fine. However, some features, such as Night Time mode are only available in the app, when they could have had their own button on the included remote control. Overall, these are far from dealbreakers, but they still are little annoyances.

As far as ports go, the selection is pretty minimal, with two HDMI ports (one with eARC), a USB port, and an optical digital input. The HDMI ports at least support 4K 120Hz and HDR10 passthrough, something PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X gamers will appreciate.

  • Design score: 4 / 5

LG S95TR packaging on chair

LG's packaging for the S95TR is mercifully free of styrofoam, using mostly recyclable paper and cardboard (Image credit: Future)

LG S95TR Soundbar review: Setup & usability

  • System is well packaged
  • Setup is quick and easy
  • App is intuitive to use

The LG S95TR is a soundbar system and not just an all-in-one soundbar, so getting it out of the box is somewhat overwhelming. The box is big, but that’s partially because of how well-packaged everything is. I also appreciate that LG didn’t use styrofoam for its packaging.

Once everything is unboxed, you need to scope out where to place the rear speakers and plug in the various speakers in the order specified in the manual. Interestingly, when I first plugged everything in, the soundbar announced via a voice prompt that the rear speakers were on the wrong sides. Plugging everything in took five or ten minutes, which is quite convenient compared to a standard home theater system.

With everything set up, using the system is very easy. With the soundbar connected to the HDMI ARC port, I could use my TV’s remote to control volume. The app is also very easy and intuitive from adjusting volume, switching modes and sources, to setting up the various features. You can even manually adjust sound settings per speaker, which is a nice touch.

  • Setup & usability score: 5 / 5

LG S95TR on table top surface shown

Three up-firing Atmos drivers are located on the LG S95TR's top surface, with the center driver also helping to elevate dialogue to screen-level (Image credit: Future)

LG S95TR Soundbar review: Value

  • Pricey
  • Reasonable compared to high-end competition
  • Stiff competition from Samsung and JBL

Although the LG S95TR is pretty expensive, this is a 9.1.5-channel system, so you’re getting much more than just a soundbar. If you want detailed sound with some dimension but don’t care about a true surround sound experience, you can get a standalone soundbar and save money. Even the Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar, which is still relatively pricey at £899 / $899 / AU$1499, will set you back much less (and take up less space). 

Of course, if you want the rumble of a subwoofer and real surround sound – basically, the home theater experience – you’re going to have to spend more. For instance, the flagship Samsung HW-Q990D, a 11.1.4-channel soundbar system, retails for even more than the LG at $1,799 / £1,699 / AU$1,995.

Or consider the JBL Bar 1300X with its rechargeable rear speakers. At $1,699 / £1,299 / around AU$2,570, it also costs just a little more than the LG system but doesn’t have 4K 120Hz HDMI passthrough for gaming.

  • Value score: 4 / 5

Should I buy the LG S95TR Soundbar?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

LG S95TR Soundbar review: Also consider

How I tested the LG S95TR Soundbar

LG S95TR on table with subwoofer on floor

(Image credit: Future)
  • I used the LG S95TR Soundbar for a few weeks
  • Tested with both TV, movies, and music

I used the LG S95TR Soundbar regularly for a few weeks with TV, movies, and music. I compared it to just my TV’s speakers alone, listened to the different sound modes, and tested the various features.

As expressed in the review, this is a powerful, immersive system that delivers a true home theater experience in a convenient soundbar package.

I’ve tested a lot of tech gear over the years from laptops to keyboards and speakers, and use my expertise to give an honest, fair, and informed opinion on any product I test.

Read more about how we test

  • First reviewed: May 2024
Android 14 for TV adds picture-in-picture mode and reduces power consumption
2:07 pm | May 16, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: | Comments: Off

Google I/O brings a new version of the Android TV OS, which is based on Android 14. Just like the new Wear OS 5 (which is also based on Android 14), there is a focus on reduced power consumption. But the most interesting feature for users is support for picture-in-picture mode. This enables a form of multitasking with one app running in full screen and one in a small window. This will enable several use cases: ticker: live sports scores or stock tickers smart home: showing connected doorbells or baby monitors communication: running video or voice calls while watching TV ...

Apple issues apology statement over new iPad Pro ad, will not air it on TV
9:53 am | May 10, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: | Comments: Off

Apple makes some of the most memorable video ads but it got a lot of bad rep for its latest iPad Pro ad. The video shows a plethora of creative tools and instruments being crushed by a hydraulic press with an iPad Pro emerging at the end. The ad caused backlash on social media which led Apple issue an official statement response. Creativity is in our DNA at Apple, and it’s incredibly important to us to design products that empower creatives all over the world. Our goal is to always celebrate the myriad of ways users express themselves and bring their ideas to life through iPad. We missed...

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