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Samsung S90D review: A mid-tier QD OLED TV with improved AI smarts

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £3099
inc VAT

The Samsung S90D may be a step down from the S95D, but its upgraded processing helps deliver excellent picture and sound quality


  • Superb AI picture and sound processing
  • Bright, saturated and accurate images
  • State-of-the-art gaming features


  • No Dolby Vision

The Samsung S90D takes all that was great about last year’s S90C and adds the upgraded NQ4 AI Gen2 processor.

As a result, the new model is largely the same as the earlier generation in terms of design and features but AI-enhanced processing elevates the picture and sound to another level. I spent two weeks putting it through its paces, so let’s see how it stacks up against the best TVs on the market.

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Samsung S90D OLED review: Key specifications

Screen sizes available:55in QE55S90D
65in QE65S90D
77in QE77S90D
Panel type:OLED
Resolution:4K/UHD (3,840 x 2,160)
Refresh rate:120Hz
HDR formats:HDR10, HLG, HDR10+ (Game and Active)
Audio enhancement:Object Tracking Sound, Dolby Atmos
HDMI inputs:HDMI 2.1 x 4
Tuners:Terrestrial, Cable, Satellite
Gaming features:4K at 144Hz, VRR (FreeSync Pro), Motion Xcelerator Turbo Pro (144Hz), ALLM, Game Bar
Wireless connectivity:802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.2, AirPlay 2
Smart platform:Tizen OS
Freeview Play compatibility:No
Smart assistants:Bixby built-in; works with Alexa

Samsung S90D OLED review: What you need to know

The Samsung S90D is a 4K (3,840 x 2,160) HDR TV that uses proprietary Quantum Dot OLED (QD OLED) technology. The range includes 55in, 65in and 77in screen sizes, and for this review, Samsung loaned me the 65in QE65S90D.

The S90D’s picture is powered by the new NQ4 AI Gen2 processor and the TV runs the latest iteration of Samsung’s Tizen operating system. It also includes a Filmmaker mode and supports HDR10, HLG and HDR10+ (Game and Active) – but sadly the South Korean manufacturer continues to snub Dolby Vision.

The TV sports an ultra-slim design, uses Samsung’s Object Tracking Sound Lite audio system and has onboard Dolby Atmos decoding. All the major content streaming platforms are present and correct, and there’s support for numerous gaming-related features, which will please those who own a PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X or high-end gaming PC.

READ NEXT: The best TVs to buy this year

Samsung S90D OLED review: Price and competition 

The Samsung S90D represents the entry-point into QD OLED. Pricing is a little higher than last year, though, with the 55in QE55S90D retailing for £2,299, the 65in QE65S90D reviewed here costing £3,099 and the 77in QE77S90D setting you back £4,199.

Sony has yet to show its hand and reveal its TV lineup for 2024 but has previously released QD OLED options in the form of the A95K and A95L. Should it release another quantum dot-powered set this year, it’s likely to be more expensive than the S90D and therefore in closer competition with Samsung’s range-topping S95D. The 65in S95D is priced at £3,599, making the S90D a more affordable option for those wanting a QD OLED.

Samsung S90D OLED review: Design, connections and control

The Samsung S90D is identical to last year’s S90C, with the same LaserSlim design, bezel-less screen and super-slim styling.

The Simple Plus Blade stand has two feet that attach without screws, and are strengthened by a plate that slots on top. The stand provides solid support and there’s sufficient clearance to place a soundbar in front of it without blocking the screen. You can also wall mount the S90D using a standard 300 x 200mm VESA bracket or Samsung’s optional Slim Fit support.

The connections are located on the right-hand side as you face the screen, with some pointing sideways and some downwards. There are four HDMI inputs – two sideways and two downwards – and all can handle 4K/144Hz, VRR and ALLM, with HDMI 3 also supporting eARC.

There are also two USB 2.0 inputs at the side, and facing downwards you’ll find twin tuners for terrestrial and satellite broadcasts, an optical digital output, a CI (common interface) slot and an Ethernet port. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections are supported too, alongside Apple AirPlay 2.

As is typical of premium Samsung TVs, the S90D ships with two remotes: the standard black zapper and the Solar Cell controller. The latter is pared-back but has buttons covering all the main functionality and control, plus direct access keys for Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and Samsung’s TV Plus.

Other control options include the SmartThings app and Samsung’s voice assistant Bixby, which is built-in. Amazon Alexa is supported too, but there’s no Google Assistant support on Samsung TVs this year.  

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Samsung S90D OLED review: Smart TV platform

The Samsung S90D runs the latest iteration of the brand’s Tizen operating system, which is one of the best-designed, most intuitive and responsive on the market.

The home user interface has changed a bit since last year and I like the tweaks made. The most obvious update sees three sub-tabs added towards the top of the homepage: ‘For You’, ‘Live’, and ‘Apps’.

The ‘For You’ tab is tailored to your viewing habits and includes recently watched content, recommendations based on what you’ve been watching, apps you use regularly and layers of additional content based on your viewing history. It’s a more personalised approach than previous years and allowed me to access appealing content quickly.

The ‘Live’ tab offers live TV content and includes the electronic programme guide (EPG). The EPG itself is sensibly laid out, with channels, times, information and a thumbnail image easily digestible. Finally, the ‘Apps’ tab provides easy access to various apps within the Samsung ecosystem. 

One of Tizen’s great strengths is its streaming service provision, and TV and film lovers will have little cause to grumble about what’s on offer on the S90D. Supported video streamers include Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV+, Disney+, Now, Rakuten and YouTube, while all the UK catch-up services are present and correct, despite the TV not supporting Freeview Play.

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Samsung S90D OLED review: Image quality

Like all Samsung TVs, the S90D ships in the Eco Mode. This is the most energy-efficient mode but it disappoints where image quality is concerned. The greyscale has too much blue, which skews all images towards that colour, images are oversaturated and the gamma tracking is way off.

Those issues are easily addressed by switching to the Filmmaker Mode, in which the out-of-the-box accuracy is superb. I measured an average DeltaE (error) of 0.5 for the greyscale, colours with an average error of 1.59 and a gamma closely tracking the target of 2.4. These measurements are well below the visible threshold of three, making professional calibration unnecessary. However, if you want to tweak the picture, Samsung includes a full set of calibration controls.

The SDR performance is fantastic, with deep blacks, excellent shadow delineation, precisely rendered details and natural colours thanks to both the quantum dot filter and the wide viewing angles associated with OLED televisions. The S90D is also equipped with a screen filter, and I was impressed by how effectively it rejected ambient light.

The new NQ4 AI Gen2 processor with its 20 neural networks is remarkable, producing four times the processing power of the previous generation. AI upscaling is second to none and brings out a great amount of detail regardless of the native resolution of the content.

The Real Depth Enhancer Pro feature adds more three-dimensional space to images by detecting the areas of focus and enhancing the layers through active control of the QD OLED panel. The resulting images enjoy sensational depth, greater impact and an improved sense of definition.

Motion handling also benefits from all this processing power, with movement free of artefacts with film content. The Auto mode frame interpolation delivers all the lines of resolution in tests making it ideal for sports, while the Custom mode can be used to create personalised settings.

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Samsung S90D OLED review: HDR performance

The Samsung S90D delivers nearly identical HDR measurements to last year, reaching 1,100cd/m2 on a 10% window, and 230cd/m2 on a full-field pattern during my tests. While not quite as high as the S95D, these numbers are still impressive, with HDR graded at 1,000 nits requiring minimal tone-mapping.

I measured DCI-P3 coverage at 123% and the BT.2020 coverage at 89% and the colour tracking of DCI-P3 within BT.2020 was also excellent, with the perceptual colour mapping ensuring rich, nuanced and accurate colours.

The HDR greyscale tracks red, green and blue almost exactly, and the EOTF maps the PQ target precisely. This ensures artistic choices are maintained, regardless of whether the grade is 1,000, 4,000 or 10,000 nits.

The S90D supports HDR10, HLG and HDR10+ (Game and Adaptive) and Samsung includes a choice of Static or Active HDR settings for content delivered in HDR10 or HLG. The Static option tracks the PQ target precisely, thus retaining the original creative intent, while the Active option analyses the incoming HDR signal and adjusts the tone mapping accordingly.

The Active mode has been upgraded and its dynamic tone mapping works exceptionally well without introducing any unwanted clipping. This feature proved useful for watching HDR during the day, or with very dark HDR grades like certain episodes of House of the Dragon.

Watching The Batman perfectly demonstrates the S90D’s HDR prowess, from the deep blacks and rich colours to the outstanding shadow detail. The fight in the pitch-black hallway only illuminated by the muzzle flashes of machine guns looked particularly impressive, with the blackness pierced by the sudden bursts of light in a way that only an OLED TV can handle correctly.

To test the Samsung S90D we used Portrait Displays Calman colour calibration software.

Samsung S90D OLED review: Gaming

The S90D is an excellent choice for gamers as it supports every current-gen feature. If you’re a PC gamer there’s Freesync Premium Pro and Motion Xcelerator Turbo Pro 144Hz, while the HDMI inputs support console features like 4K/120Hz, VRR and ALLM.

The Gaming Hub allows you to choose from several game streaming apps, while the Game Mode delivers a lightning-fast input lag of 9ms. As a result, gameplay is extremely responsive and motion is handled excellently, even at the highest frame rates.

Samsung’s Game Bar, which serves as a hub where you can view key settings and access myriad customisation options, further strengthens the S90D’s gaming credentials. The new AI Auto Game mode was also useful, with the TV automatically adjusting settings based on the type of game I was playing.

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Samsung S90D OLED review: Sound quality

The Samsung S90D delivers impressive sound quality considering it’s very thin and only has downward-firing speakers. The mid-range and treble are both good, and there’s a surprising amount of bass. The 2.1-channel system with 40W of amplification has sufficient power to go loud without distorting and delivers a solid front soundstage that separates stereo effects convincingly.

The inclusion of onboard Dolby Atmos decoding, along with the ability to send Atmos back via ARC, is also effective. However, the absence of dedicated height channels means the sense of immersion isn’t as impressive as on a TV like the S95D. The psychoacoustic processing does add a greater dimensionality, however, with more height, width and depth to the soundstage with Dolby Atmos content.

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Samsung S90D OLED review: Verdict

The Samsung S90D remains an excellent 4K TV and the cheapest way to enjoy the benefits of QD OLED. Deep blacks, brighter highlights and spectacular HDR are all present and correct, while the image accuracy is also impressive, and the wider colour gamut is gorgeously rendered.

The upgraded AI processor delivers exceptional upscaling, while general image enhancements are equally impressive thanks to features like Real Depth Enhancer and AI Picture Customisation. The motion handling is also excellent for film and sports.

An attractive design, a comprehensive smart platform and the AI-enhanced sound system all add to the appeal, while the gaming functionality is awesome thanks to cutting-edge features, an incredibly low input lag and useful tools like the Game Bar and AI Auto Game mode.

The S95D may be the superior TV but if you can’t stretch your budget to afford it, I’m happy to recommend the S90D as a capable alternative.

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