Published On: June 24, 2022

Samsung 65" Neo QLED 8K QN900B Review: The Best Gaming TV

Published On: June 24, 2022
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Samsung 65" Neo QLED 8K QN900B Review: The Best Gaming TV

The ultimate way to play in 4K or 8K

Samsung 65" Neo QLED 8K QN900B Review: The Best Gaming TV

By Author: Mark Henninger


Samsung's flagship TV, the QN900B, is a remarkable piece of technology, delivering state-of-the-art visuals and audio capabilities in a sleek, minimalist design that befits its status at the top of the Neo QLED lineup.

For 2022, the QN900B notably gains 14-bit processing for greater precision in 4K and 8K, plus the ability to reach a 144 Hz refresh rate with 4K resolution for those times when speed is the most important factor.

Ever since 8K came to TVs, people have asked, "where's the content," and if we're talking about shows and movies, the answer is there's not much available outside of some travel and nature videos on YouTube. The same goes for high frame rates in 4K; aside from Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk—which is filmed in 4K at 120 Hz—you don't see Hollywood jumping on the 120 frames per second video bandwagon.

But the 8K situation is different with video games, with today's latest-generation consoles supporting 4K up to 120 Hz thanks to HDMI 2.1. And crucially, in the world of PC gaming, 8K is already here, and so is 144 Hz 4K, plus the hardware to run it is available, and plenty of modern games support these bleeding-edge resolutions.

A conversation you repeatedly see regarding 8K is the screen size and whether anyone sits close enough to a 65" TV to make 8K resolution worthwhile. While there is a separate discussion to be had about the visual benefit of 8K viewed at a distance, the key to seeing the mega-resolution served up by any display is found in the angle of view, which is how large the screen looks based on how close you sit, relative to the size.

That's the cool thing about the 65" QN900B ($4999.99) featured here: If you view it as an enormous 8K gaming monitor—one that also supports 4K at 144 Hz—what you've got is a display where you can sit close to the screen and as a result experience full visual immersion. Its capabilities are profound, and with its 8K resolution, the gaming experience it provides is unparalleled.


Features and Specifications

The QN900B is an 8K Neo QLED TV, so it does a lot more than act as a huge gaming monitor. As you'd expect, it has smart features and picture modes to accommodate various uses and viewing environments. From movies and home theater to streaming 4K HDR shows on Netflix and Amazon to watching sports and making the most of live TV feeds, it's a hugely adaptable TV that makes the most of your content.

The first thing you'll notice about this TV before you even turn it on is its striking good looks and the incredibly high build quality. The way Samsung used the bezel as a perforated speaker grill is brilliant. There's not a single wasted square inch on this minimalist and perfectly flat slab, and with the One Connect cable, the overall look of this TV is futuristic industrial minimalism, an evolution of the Bauhaus aesthetic and philosophy.

A detachable One Connect Box houses the QN900B inputs, Neo Quantum Processor 8K, and power supply. This allows a single cable to carry the video signal and power to the screen. The result is a clean install without HDMI cables and TV power cords. The One Connect Box has HDMI 2.1 for all four inputs, allowing you to connect an 8K AVR, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, and PC with an 8K video card simultaneously.

This HDMI 2.1-equipped TV is a Neo QLED, which means it uses an array of thousands of mini LEDs to light up an 8K panel featuring quantum dot color. The result is literally brilliant, with saturation and brightness to spare, which is key to getting an impactful image in a bright room. The upshot? Day or night, this TV renders brilliant HDR that makes the scenery, machinery, and characters in modern games look hyper-real, or hyper-surreal, depending on the game you play. And it takes full advantage of the advanced lighting effects found in modern games.



Whether or not you are a gamer, there are advantages to the QN900B that go beyond high frame rates and 8K pixels. For one, this Neo QLED easily outshines OLED—it's twice as bright, both peak and full-screen—and it has a highly effective anti-glare/anti-reflective coating. A few quick peak highlight measurements using Portrait Displays Calman color calibration software and a calibrated colorimeter confirmed that this TV delivers brightness levels that most other TVs cannot touch, and far beyond what OLED can reach.

Oh, and unlike OLED TVs, it is impervious to burn in, which can be a concern for gamers who put hundreds or even thousands of hours into the same game.

One major key to the TV's image quality is the Neo Quantum Processor 8K, it is the QN900B's picture-quality hero. It offers 14-bit processing, which gives it greater accuracy in rendering details, especially in deep shadow areas where subtle gradations are often lost. The 14-bit processing even improves the Neo QLED full array local dimming, resulting in improved contrast and an increased sense of depth to the image.

This TV supports 8K Multi View, which opens up new ways to use a TV by showing two sources simultaneously. With an 8K screen, multi-view windows have excellent clarity. You can watch 4K content in a larger window while sharing other sources in smaller windows (there are several layout options). The smaller windows can even contain text (like sharing a phone's screen or a PC desktop), each with clear and sharp text plus graphics, thanks to the high pixel density.

The QN900B comes with Samsung's battery-free, solar- and RF-powered Eco Remote. This sleek remote self-charges using WiFi, which is now in most homes. The remote is probably charging even in a dark room. A USB charge will do if RF and visible light aren't enough to charge the remote. Samsung wants to replace disposable batteries.


Setup

I installed the QN900B as the primary display in my living room, paired with a full-size, 7.2.4 surround-sound system featuring Klipsch Reference Premiere II speakers. I used a 30-foot FIBBR 8K fiber-optic HDMI cable to connect my Lenovo Legion PC to the TV.

My Lenovo Legion gaming PC is a fairly recent acquisition. It is equipped with nothing but SSD drive storage, Windows 11 Pro, 64 GB RAM, and a Core i9-10900K 10-core CPU (@3.7GHz). The most important point, though, was a couple of months ago, I upgraded the video card from an NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super, which is a good 4K card, to an RTX 3080 Ti, which is a top-tier 8K card.

The QN900B is quite smart and can figure out what sort of source you connected, so it knew I hooked up both a PC and an Xbox Series X and assigned its default picture modes to these sources. This immediately made features like low latency and variable refresh rate available, as confirmed by the Xbox Series X settings.

One crucial piece of setup is HDR calibration on gaming devices like PC and gaming consoles. HDR for games is different than with movies. Movies are mastered to a specific level of HDR peak luminance, typically 1000 or 4000 nits, and that's what gets sent to the display. The display's built-in tone mapping takes care of the rest. But with video games, the console pre-processes the HDR. A quick calibration routine tells the gaming device the capabilities of the display, allowing the source to serve up pre-optimized HDR.

Running the HDR calibration produced a distinct improvement in the Xbox Series X's calibration "before and after" image. On PC, an "HDR Content Brightness" slider is useful to tweak HDR, so it has similar overall brightness (as opposed to peak brightness) versus SDR content. It's easy enough to do and helps get the best results.

For sound, I had the TV send audio to an 8K Onkyo AV receiver via eARC, a connection that supports lossless surround sound, including Dolby Atmos. I also listened to the TV sound on its own. In the near future, I will review a Samsung Dolby Atmos soundbar with Q Symphony, used in conjunction with this TV.


Hands-On


I've never enjoyed reviewing a piece of AV gear more than the hands-on gaming experience with the QN900B. I did not realize how complacent I'd become about gaming in 4K at 60 Hz and it being "good enough." In reality, both 8K at 60 Hz and 4K at 144 Hz blow it away!

While in the past I have experienced gaming in 4K at 120 Hz (and faster) and appreciate the smoothness, the sense of connectedness, the ultra-low input lag, and the enhanced motion resolution, those were in demos. And sometimes, the demos were not with games that I felt skilled playing and with my profile and preferences. In order to appreciate the difference high resolution combined with a high frame makes, you need to possess some skill at the game you are playing.

At home and with 4K 144 Hz, I knew I was in a good place once I started winning online race after race, which I always find a lot easier with a fast display, usually a gaming monitor. But in this case, the wins came courtesy of the Samsung QN900B which is unquestionably the best gaming TV I have ever used.

4K at 144 Hz is a thrill, although one you can also get on the 4K QN90B Neo QLED. This QN900B review represents the first time I've played 8K video games using a system that can handle it, logged in with my gamer profile, and with games that I'm good at. These are the factors that make all the difference!

Even with the limitation of a 60 Hz frame rate, the clarity of 8K is truly striking. It's the combination of detail that seems to go on forever, and the total absence of visible aliasing that elevates 8K graphics to a new and frankly sublime level of visual fidelity.

Anyone who reads my reviews already knows that I spend most of my gaming time in the world of Grand Theft Auto online, with the occasional diversion of other driving games like Forza Horizon 5. What I did not realize is that the game has so much more detail to show you than comes through in 4K. The most profound is the perceived realism of textures; simple stuff like pavement, dirt, and stucco walls take on an uncanny and three-dimensional realism. Vehicle paint jobs look slick and glossy.

When I said yes to the QN900B review, I had my doubts I'd achieve a steady 8K 60 Hz. But with the Grand Theft Auto benchmark set to 8K, and all the graphics settings at Very High (but using less anti-aliasing than I would with 4K), the RTX 3080 Ti kept going at 60 fps, beginning to end. I was amazed! When I played GTA Online in uncompromised 8K, I saw Los Santos in a light I'd never experienced before, with more detail than my eyes can make out, and at a screen size that fully puts me inside the action.

8K's ability to render razor-sharp lines also affected the perceived realism of vehicles like cars and airplanes. Ultra-resolution makes these virtual vehicles look almost like 3D objects, physical items practically ready to pop off the screen. It's not stereoscopic depth, but your brain definitely does something special with the fine textures and lighting, the high contrast and rich colors. One of the awesome things about the QN900B is how it maintains its Neo QLED qualities of rich, accurate colors and stunning HDR contrast, even when in one of the dedicated PC or Gaming Console modes.

Going back to 4K resolution was surprisingly jarring, because of I quickly got used to the extra detail of 8K (at that distance) and the resulting sense of depth that comes with it. 8K sharpness and clarity is the sort of thing you don't notice strongly at first, but then you get used to it, and when you try to go back, you can't unsee it. This is the same effect as with digital cameras, you get used to the ever-higher resolutions.

To understand the value of 8K and a 65" screen for gaming, let's spend a moment discussing the viewing angle, which is how large the screen looks, based on how far away it is relative to its size. If I sit 12 feet away from a 65" 8K TV, it is true that most of the visual benefit of 8K is lost. The viewing angle is a paltry 22 degrees, which is like sitting in the back row of a movie theater. But from 4 feet away, the viewing angle is about 60 degrees, which is more like IMAX movie theater territory—it is incredibly enveloping and immersive.

The point is when you game with a 65" 8K TV and sit close enough that the image largely fills your vision, the extra detail of 8K is quite clear. Or if you want to look at it another way, with this TV the limitations of 4K—the loss of both texture and hard-edge definition vs. 8K—become readily apparent.

But here's the thing. This TV is also masterful at rendering gaming graphics in 4K at 144 Hz. And with a variable refresh rate, it's possible to enjoy smooth gaming on the RTX 3080 Ti with all the graphics settings maxed out. The one caveat is you'll need an HDMI cable that can support this speed, which is not the case with the FIBBR 8K fiber-optic HMDI cable I tried at first, it limited me to 4K at 120 Hz. But when I swapped it out for an SVS SoundPath 8K certified HDMI cable, the option popped up on my PC. The reason is that fiber-optic HDMI cables rely on a chip, and in the one that I used the chip does not support 4K 144 Hz. With copper HDMI, the only limitation is the bandwidth of the cable itself.

Sometimes it'll hit 144 fps and stay there, and if the going gets tough, the VRR function keeps the on-screen image flowing by smoothly ramping it up and down to accommodate what the GPU is able to deliver. It's how dedicated gaming monitors work, but here it's found in a hyper-powerful 65" 8K HDR TV that truly makes most gaming monitors look like toys.

If there's one game that really brought the QN900 B's superiority for gaming home for me, it's not some crazy action shooter like Doom Eternal. It's the 2017 South Park video game, The Fractured But Whole. In addition to being a hilarious and fun role-playing game, it supports 8K. As a result, I witnessed something I'd never seen before, South Park rendered in pristine 8K. Not compressed streaming YouTube 8K. Picture-perfect, digitally rendered 8K. It's amazing because it essentially looks perfect.

The sharpness of the lines, the minute details that hold up to scrutiny, even if you get within a couple of feet from the screen, the ultra-rich but accurate colors, and most impressively, the profound contrast that includes fine details even in the deepest shadow regions. Which, in The Fractured But Whole, allows you to see the signature paper textures even in dark areas (the characters were originally construction paper cutouts, then drawn, and now created digitally for the actual show). There are no words to describe what it feels like to be in control of a South Park character in a world that looks even more detailed and true to the artwork than the show itself. All of it blew my mind.

With NBA 2K22, I was split between 8K and 4K 144 Hz, with the smooth motion of 144 Hz feeling a bit better, but the inescapable allure of 8K graphics making a counter-argument. For replays, I could not get over the clarity of 8K. But in the end, when you need to have fast reflexes to win, the higher frame rate wins out, and by any reasonable standard, the picture quality in 4K is already so high, it's pretty ridiculous.

There's zero question this TV makes any 4K or 8K game look its best. It's up to the gaming device to keep up with the TV, not the other way around. Make no mistake, you'll have to invest heavily in a PC to get to the point where its capability is a match for what the QN900B offers. But, it is possible!

With the RTX 3080 Ti, I have the luxury of maxing out all the settings and enjoying gameplay that's almost always running at 4K and 144 Hz using high or very high graphics settings. This is the fastest and smoothest 4K I’ve experienced on a TV, it's an experience unto itself that is the best of big-screen envelopment along with small screen speed.

To me, the best use for this speed is to make driving simulation look and fee as real as possible. This was achieved in all the driving games I tried, from Grand Theft Auto 5 to Forza Horizon 5 to Dirt 5, the effect of 4K 144 Hz was to keep me locked in and able to execute moves that feel natural, thanks to the image’s responsiveness.

I even found this extra speed useful for my older pinball simulations, where fast reflexes are what really matter, and the graphics don't support 8K anyhow. For this sort of experience, and any old-school arcade games, which work great in 4K 144 Hz—as long as the resolution is supported by the game itself. For arcade games like Pac-Man or Galaga, I found it pleasing to move back some distance from the TV, versus the close distance I found ideal for playing a modern immersive game.

The effect of moving back is to decrease the angle of view to something like what you see when using an arcade machine and is a fun couch activity. When 4K at 144 Hz is supported, as is the case with Pac-Man Musem+ (2022) I've never seen that classic—which I surely played plenty as a kid and is the most popular arcade game of all time—look so good.



The ultimate way to play in 4K or 8K e79fc198 pac man 4k scaled
Pac-Man in 4K 144 Hz (from Pac-Man Museum+ 2022)

If I was competitive gaming from my couch (12 feet away), 4K 144 Hz is the mode I'd use, for sure! Depending on your PC, your gaming card's abilities, and your specific needs, you can even drop down to HD resolution at 144 Hz and get a great picture from this TV. It will make sure that with a midrange PC and graphically complex games, you get a continuous 144 Hz, and the feeling such speed conveys and sitting a bit further back counters some of the softness. But if your card can do 4K at 144 Hz—more and more will—then you’ll want to use that setting.

One thing I did not touch upon is the audio offered by the QN900B. But, as Samsung's flagship, it has relatively excellent built-in sound (for a TV). Indeed, with no added speakers, it offers 6.2.4-channel sound and supports Dolby Atmos. But the really cool thing is the Q Symphony feature that uses the TV's built-in speakers along with compatible Samsung soundbars. The result is a combined audio system that offers remarkable synergy and envelopment. I'd heard this demoed and in the near future, I will do a review of a Q Symphony capable soundbar paired with this TV. For now, what you need to know is the QN900B has your audio needs taken care of, regardless of whether you use it on its own, with a soundbar, or as I did, with a full-size home theater sound system.

There's so much more to this TV than what I've covered here, but the point of this review is to highlight its ability to serve up state-of-the-art video gaming experiences, especially if you have an 8K-capable gaming PC.


Conclusion

Simply put, you will not find a TV better for gaming than the Samsung QN900B. No other TV has the depth of gaming features, the 8K resolution, and the HDR with rich colors and the striking contrast offered by this Neo QLED masterpiece.

Here's the amazing thing: With video games, not only does 8K content exist already, you'd be surprised how far back support for 8K resolution goes. South Park: The Fractured But Whole is five years old. Grand Theft Auto V came out nine years ago. And both offered incredible gaming experiences with the QN900B. Remastered classics extend the reach of 8K gaming even further back, you can even play Myst in 8K.

For gamers on the cutting edge, this TV turns out to be a perfect match for a high-powered PC and a top-tier video card. Yes, it can handle 144 Hz in 4K and much to my surprise, it also provides rock-steady 60 Hz in 8K. It'll even support ultra-wide aspect ratio graphics on PC, offering the same visual perspective as dedicated ultra-wide gaming monitors.

When it comes to the selection of resolutions and frame rates, the QN900B is unparalleled.

I certainly prize the smoothness of the high frame rate 4K, which this TV handles perfectly. But, because it lends itself to the incredibly detailed, visually immersive worlds of modern games, 8K has a seductive quality all its own: These are the cleanest and sharpest video game visuals I've ever laid my eyes upon.

I've spent over 4 decades watching video game graphics steadily improve, coming from a childhood playing Breakout, Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Centipede, and Missile Command, to where we are today. But it's 8K HDR that finally delivers the microscopic detail, color, and contrast needed to make virtual worlds truly look real, almost like you can touch them.

Considering the totality of its capabilities, the QN900B is currently the best TV there is for gaming. It is already an Editor's Choice for its overall capabilities as an 8K smart TV, and now it is our pick for Best Gaming TV of the Year.



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