Samsung QN85A vs QN90A for desk monitor gaming display

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It looks like the 55" QN85A and QN90A are pretty similar in specs, price is only usually about $100 difference, same number of miniLED zones. It seems like the main difference is IPS vs VA. Ideally I would want something like a 43" but it doesn't look like there is anything with VRR, 120hz 4K available. (Previously had a 4k 43" Korean display that died).

RTings seems to think the QN85A is a better PC display. I'm slightly leaning towards the 85A right now because from what I can see they both seem to perform relatively similarly for games and desktop use, and the IPS panel won't suffer from VRR Gamma Shift and will have more natural looking colors by default, and the IPS panel looks like it has less reflection issues than the VA in a dark room, and no rainbow reflections. I suppose the downside is the blacks wont be as black compared to the VA panel.

Any ideals which you would rather get? The price difference is pretty negligible right now, looks like $1133 for the 55" QN85A and $1255 for the 55" QN90A from Samsung.com right now if you use EDU discount and the cancel trick, so about a $120 price difference.
 
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Meh I will just get a 90A and test for myself I suppose. Main thing I'm looking at is RTINGS rated the QN85A as a better PC monitor (presumably because of RGB vs BGR), and apparently scored the local dimming the same with Game Mode on.
 

Senn

Limp Gawd
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The 85A wasn't an option over the 90A for me because the 50" is already pushing the limits of my desk space and 55 would be too much. I also sit a bit close - again, 50" is already a bit silly to most people looking at my setup. I love it though. I tend to use it as 2x2 1080p unless I'm working on CAD things or playing games.

The RTINGS review of the 85A also flagged up some black uniformity issues that look kinda bad but it might just be exaggerated on their photo. Combined with the much lower native contrast of the panel, it could potentially bug me.

I'm personally not too bothered about BGR - On KDE, running either BGR subpixel rendering or plain anti-aliasing without subpixel rendering, text looks perfect. I can't speak for Windows past 7 (I have actively avoided 10+) but whether it's RGB or BGR I've never found the text rendering implementation to be as good on there.

There is gamma shift on mine, of course. The 50" doesn't have the "ultra wide viewing angle" filter - something the 55" and above have - but I prefer that. Pixel clarity is unharmed and the viewing angles are actually still quite good for a VA, much better than the FV43U I was using before which tended towards inverted colours when looking from the sides.

Out of pure interest I'd like to give the 85A a go just to compare. For me the only reason to go for it would be the potential viewing angle improvement. Other things aren't quite enough to persuade me away from the 90A, a screen I am content with until display technology takes a non-OLED related leap.
 
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The 85A wasn't an option over the 90A for me because the 50" is already pushing the limits of my desk space and 55 would be too much. I also sit a bit close - again, 50" is already a bit silly to most people looking at my setup. I love it though. I tend to use it as 2x2 1080p unless I'm working on CAD things or playing games.

The RTINGS review of the 85A also flagged up some black uniformity issues that look kinda bad but it might just be exaggerated on their photo. Combined with the much lower native contrast of the panel, it could potentially bug me.

I'm personally not too bothered about BGR - On KDE, running either BGR subpixel rendering or plain anti-aliasing without subpixel rendering, text looks perfect. I can't speak for Windows past 7 (I have actively avoided 10+) but whether it's RGB or BGR I've never found the text rendering implementation to be as good on there.

There is gamma shift on mine, of course. The 50" doesn't have the "ultra wide viewing angle" filter - something the 55" and above have - but I prefer that. Pixel clarity is unharmed and the viewing angles are actually still quite good for a VA, much better than the FV43U I was using before which tended towards inverted colours when looking from the sides.

Out of pure interest I'd like to give the 85A a go just to compare. For me the only reason to go for it would be the potential viewing angle improvement. Other things aren't quite enough to persuade me away from the 90A, a screen I am content with until display technology takes a non-OLED related leap.

So I grabbed a 55" QN90A and have it next to my 55" QN85A right now.

I would say the first major thing I noticed was the backlight glow is gone. For some reason QN85As have bright white backlight glow at the bottom right of the screen, I tried 3 different panels and they all had this issue. Not sure what was the cause. Now they had some glow in all four corners, but the actual color of the glow was some kind of dark brown that's hard to see most of the time. On the bottom right corner, it's a searing white light, so it's obnoxious in a black background. The picture I provided was from the best of the 3 QN85As I found. On the worst, the white backlight glow that emanates from the bottom of the screen will go all the way up to the middle half of the screen. Now this glow is angle and distance dependent. If you are sitting directly in front of the screen within 25 inches you will see it. However if you sit on a deeper desk, at say 30-35" sitting distance, the glow mostly disappears. This is probably why no one noticed this during most reviews outside of RTings since they probably all watched the screen from regular viewing distance.

The other thing I noticed solid colors looked dirtier on the QN90A, so RTINGS was correct about DSE being much more noticeable on the QN90A.

Text looks about as good honestly, so I can't tell, but I do have text at 150%.

Big difference seems to be the anti-reflective coating is comparative terrible on the QN90A. You can visibly see a rainbow effect reflecting off the screen even in a moderately lit or dim room and no light source directly behind the TV, just overall diffuse light from the room seems to be causing these reflections. On a white background, you can see rainbow colors, so on a white website it's really distracting. Also the antireflective coating seems to create dark columns on the screen as well as the rainbow effect when you move your head and eyes around the screen. In general it just causes the image to look inferior to the QN85A.

While bright objects on a black background bloom about the same as the QN85A (a little less), you don't have to deal with IPS glow that's present off-angles or the obvious backlight bleed from the bottom right. The main problem with the QN90A is unfortunately, VRR flickering. I'm not sure if this is what they call VRR gamma shift or if this is just typical VA VRR flickering, but basically the colors get brighter and dimmer constantly in games which is ridiculous.

So I'm gonna keep the QN85A. Overall as a desktop monitor, the QN90A is inferior--BGR subpixel, VA colors are a bit less accurate (you can see in my gaming video the black castle icon looks purple, completely wrong color), and the anti-reflective glare is annoying, and the overall dirtier look of the image (can't display solid colors as cleanly as the 85A), but I think the lack of IPS glow is a huge plus for content. I feel the QN85A is a bit deficient in gaming or movies compared to the 90A because of the IPS glow issues. While it's not a big deal, the backlight glow from the bottom right corner of the screen is really obnoxious for content with a dark background. On the other hand, I would rather have backlight glow than the entire screen flickering with VRR on, which is a complete no-go for me. So After comparing QN85A, QN90A, and LG C1, I ended up settling with the QN85A as a PC monitor.

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QN85A bottom right corner backlight glow

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QN90A blooming around the white objects but no corner backlight glow.

So in the end, my decision broke down to VRR flickering is worse than backlight bleed/glow, since I value gaming with VRR performance more than deeper blacks and backlight glow on darker backgrounds. And of course, the colors are just more accurate with the QN85A.

Samsung QN90A - 55" VRR flickering



Samsung QN85A - 55" No VRR flicker
 
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Senn

Limp Gawd
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Interesting... it really does seem the different panel sizes give completely different experiences thanks to the mishmash of manufacturers taking part in the range.

I'm not sure what sort of anti-reflective surface the 50" has but it's not showing any rainbowing artifacts on any content or the minor reflections on the surface during the day, though there are no lights or windows behind me - I have the back of the screen facing across the room rather than backed up to a wall (it's not as awful as it sounds... ;)). If I shine my phone's flash directly at it there are diagonal rainbows coming outward from the reflection but my old Sony W9 from 2012 does the same thing. I believe that's the pixel mesh rather than the front-facing surface. Definitely not seeing the extended line of rainbows shown on the RTINGS review.

I'm also not seeing any colour issues on mine. Things that are supposed to be black or grey, are. Though I agree those colours in your video are way off. I don't know if that can be fixed in settings or if it's an artifact of the coating and viewing angle filter on the 55" and up. I only have experience with the 50" QN94A UK model which has neither. Technically speaking VA itself shouldn't lead to such colour inaccuracy so something else is going on there I think. Even VAs with poorer viewing angles (hello FV43U) just gamma shifted. Certainly didn't make black/greys into purple like that. Considering the usual compromises that are to be expected with VA viewing angles, this panel is honestly impressive given it doesn't have the filter. And I don't have to deal with IPS glow, something I'm sure I'd see at least some of as I'm forced to sit somewhat close most of the time.

Unfortunately I don't have the ability to test VRR, I'm still running on an older incapable GPU and Sony still needs to add it to the PS5. I can always report back when I have the chance to test.
 
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