As a long-time innovator in LCD screen technology, Samsung has always pushed the limits of what’s possible with the most widely used display tech on the planet. Since the late 1990s, when they were well on the way to selling 100 million TVs worldwide, the company has invested huge effort in refining LCD displays and pushing quality to ever-higher levels.
The pinnacle of those years of experience has been QLED, Samsung’s quantum-dot display technology that vastly improved brightness and colour quality which, when combined with vastly increased resolution, led to some jaw-droppingly lovely TVs to sit in front of for 4K movies, sport, or just everyday viewing.
With 2021’s range of TVs, Samsung’s pushing the limits of technology even further with what they’ve named the Neo QLED display. Neo combines the very latest version of Samsung’s QLED display panels with a new LED backlighting system that’s a massive upgrade to everything that’s come before.
While Samsung’s full-array LED TVs have long been reliably brilliant, the Neo tech ups the ante in a big way. The secret sauce behind it is MiniLED.
In a regular QLED TV with full-array backlighting, there would be hundreds of individual LEDs illuminating the screen from behind, controlled by the TV’s smarts to change brightness in dozens of separate “zones” to make sure that darker areas of the screen didn’t have that “washed out” look that you get with low-end TVs (where the black background to the opening credits of a movie looks a washed-out grey, for example). Neo QLED takes that concept to a new level of precision control with what Samsung’s calling Quantum Matrix Technology. This cutting-edge cleverness involves the use of thousands of tiny LEDs (1/40th the size of regular backlight LEDs) split into hundreds of individual zones across the screen. Combined with the high resolution of the quantum dot panel itself, that means that all four Neo QLED TVs can deliver deeper blacks and a much higher overall dynamic range, meaning spectacular results with HDR content – from streaming to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray to video games.
And the two top Neo models take this tech even further with Quantum Matrix Technology Pro, doubling the amount of individual dimmable zones lighting the screen – with spectacular results.
The four Neo QLED models for 2021 all include features to make the content you’re watching sing, no matter what it may be. Motion Rate 200 ensures that fast-moving content such as sports is displayed with pin-point sharpness and motion, with no blurring or “ghosting.” Advanced Game Mode will be warmly welcomed by everyone with the new generation of game consoles – as well as PCs – with its support for 120Hz gaming at 4K, Variable Refresh Rate, Auto Low-Latency Mode, and the legendary Samsung fast response time of around 6.8 milliseconds. Gaming in multiple aspect ratios is supported, giving you an ultra-wide view of play – and of course, HDMI 2.1 powers all of it across all the Neo TVs.
For those happy just to sit on the couch and take in a movie or binge a series, there’s tech like Intelligent Mode (which monitors the room and adjusts brightness and sound to look its best at all times) and Object Tracking Sound, delivering immersive audio without the need for a sound bar or full audio system – though if you’re using either, there’s full eARC support, letting the TV pass high resolution audio to your devices seamlessly.
Neo QLED TVs all support HDR10+ for precise control over brightness and colour on a scene-by-scene basis during movies and shows, AI-based upscaling to 4K (or 8K on the top two models) and Q-Symphony for seamless integration with Samsung Q-series soundbars. They also come with a universal remote control that handles multiple devices, lets you interact with your choice of digital assistant (Google, Alexa or Bixby) and best of all, is powered entirely by indoor light – no batteries required!
The four Neo models start with the QN85, which can be had in a massive 85-inch screen size that’s the ideal balance between value for money, performance and sheer screen real estate. It may be the entry-level model for the Neo Quantum Matrix range, but Samsung’s packed it full of high-end features that put it miles ahead of both the competition and the non-Neo TVs in Samsung’s own range. It’s especially brilliant for immersive 4K gaming – there’s nothing quite as exciting as your favourite game dominating your entire field of view with pin-point sharpness and real-time HDR.
If you’re looking more for a TV with picture quality that’s well above the pack but don’t want to go giant-sized – something to be the centre of attention but not dominate the room – then the QN90 might be the right pick, with its improved Quantum HDR allowing for more fine-grained control of brightness and colour, and a wider viewing angle letting the entire room get the benefit of the TV’s stellar images.
Both the QN85 and QN90 are 4K displays that are super-thin (only 25mm) and represent incredible value for money. But if you want the very best of the best and are ready to move up to the next generation of TV tech, Samsung’s ready for you. The company that pioneered 8K TVs has done it again in 2021 with its top two Neo QLED models.
The QN800 introduces Real 8K resolution to the Neo range, which has been certified by both the 8K Association and the CEA – if you’ve got an 8K source, this TV will display it perfectly. For everything else, of course – from TV to games to 4K Blu-ray – Samsung’s beefy Neo Quantum Processor 8K will scale it up to make the most of the screen using artificial intelligence. The QN800 also introduces the Infinity Design chassis, making the TV a mere 15mm thin – perfect for wall mounting.
At the top of the range, the QN900 adds improved HDR, sound and overall design, with a screen that’s almost edge-to-edge. 85 inches of anything on the QN900 is likely to be the closest thing to TV heaven many will get!
No matter which one you aim for, Samsung’s come up with something truly impressive with the Neo range, throwing down a very real challenge to OLED more than ever before.