Samsung QN90C vs S90C – Can Mini LED compete with OLED?

2023-11-17 15:00:00

If you are looking for a new SmartTV to buy, you must have asked yourself: Is it worth buying a high-end QLED TV or spending a little more and getting an OLED panel? Is the difference in image quality really noticeable? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each technology?

To answer all these questions, we set up two incredible TVs here in the studio: On the left, the Mini LED QN90Ca high-end gaming TV launched in 2023. On the right, the S90C OLED, Samsung’s first launch in the OLED market here in Brazil.

Samsung QN90C vs S90C – Can Mini LED compete with OLED?

We chose to compare these two TVs in size 55 inches for three reasons:

Price: Larger models generally cost much more. This is true on all TVs, but on these top-of-the-line TVs, the price takes an astronomical leap. In the QN90C, for example, the price difference between the 55-inch model and the 65-inch model is 3800 reais. And the other models also follow this same price pattern. In other words, the 55-inch models are generally the best value for money.
Size limitation: we also chose 55 inches as this is the minimum size that the S90C can be purchased. Exactly, Samsung does not manufacture this TV in a smaller size, which is a shame, since the OLED market here in Brazil needs more competition in these OLED TVs in smaller sizes, as we only currently have the C2 available to buy from LG.
Variation in specifications between TVs: the QN90C changes specifications depending on the screen size: they are practically two different TVs, the “small” QN90C, measuring 43 and 50 inches, and the large QN90C, measuring 55 and 65 inches. The main difference between the two is the type of panel used. Both use Quantum Dot and Mini LED technology, but smaller TVs have a panel type VAwhile the larger ones use a panel ADS. I won’t go into depth about this, but it’s important for you to know that there are significant changes in image quality depending on the size of the QN90C you buy. With the S90C, this doesn’t happen, we tested the 55-inch and also the 65-inch – both are the same.

Design and construction

Since we are dealing with two high-end 2023 Samsung TVs, I expected to see more similarities in terms of appearance and design, but they are aesthetically very different:

QN90C Mini LED – Structure

When comparing these two high-end Samsung TVs in 2023, I thought they would have the same design and construction style, but I soon saw that they are very different:

The QN90C has a textured plastic construction, while the S90C is all metal. Aesthetically, both are very beautiful and work well, but the QN90C looks like a fragile and cheap TV. In these high-priced models, I prefer a metal construction, as it makes the panel more rigid and stable.

Another difference is the thickness of the screen: the QN90C, with its Mini LED LCD panel, is a very thin TV, but physically it cannot be as thin as the S90C. The reason for this is that OLED technology does not need the layers of backlight and light diffusers present in all LCD panels, allowing the S90C to be as thick as you see there – extremely thin.

S90C OLED – Structure


In these more expensive Samsung TVs they generally choose to abandon the little feet and go for a single base. This is the case with these two TVs, but they are two completely different systems:

On the QN90C, the base is made up of a metal frame screwed to an extremely heavy steel sheet. The size and weight of the base ensure that the TV sits firmly and securely on the furniture, with a very beautiful aesthetic.

QN90C Mini LED – Base

S90C OLED – Base

The S90C has a support that, despite being visually similar to a central base, is just decorative. What really supports the TV’s structure are two plastic feet. To make matters worse, they aren’t even screwed onto the TV, you simply press them in.

Although I’ve never had any problems with this type of support, there’s no denying that the base of the QN90C is more solid and robust.

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In the inputs we have a tie, since the two TVs have exactly the same set. There are two USB inputs, an Ethernet input, optical digital audio output and RF input. In terms of HDMI, same thing, TVs have four outputs in version 2.1, one of them being eARC.

S90C OLED – Entradas

Regardless of the TV you choose, you won’t have any problems with input compatibility. I really like this idea of ​​putting all HDMI in the same version, so you don’t have to worry about which one to use to achieve 4K at 120Hz.

Image Quality – Bright environment

We separated this part of the comparison into two different scenarios, the first is in the room. This is a scenario where we have a lot of natural light entering the environment. To do well here, the TV will need a lot of brightness and good viewing angles.

The QN90C is a Mini LED LCD panel, so you can bet that brightness here won’t be a problem. The background LEDs can reach a power of approximately 2000 nits, ensuring that you can watch sports, soap operas, news, cartoons – any content that we normally watch during the day, without any problems.

QN90C Mini LED – S90C OLED / Paisagem

The S90C, despite being a completely different panel, also had a great result in this scenario. It turns out that these 2023 OLEDs came with a very strong brightness, so what we always said, about OLED not being good in bright environments, is no longer necessarily true. Technology has evolved and OLED screens are as bright as Mini LEDs.

QN90C Mini LED – S90C OLED / Reflexos

Ok, in terms of brightness they are similar, but what about the viewing angles? Well, despite being Mini LED, the QN90C is still an LCD panel, so we do have a small distortion of colors and sharpness in the image when we watch it at an angle, but it’s not annoying. The S90C has perfect viewing angles, a characteristic of this type of panel. However, in this scenario, both suffer a lot from reflections, as both screens have a glossy panel, which reflects a large part of the ambient light. I can’t say if there is a difference in the way these TVs deal with reflections, they are both bad in this regard.

QN90C Mini LED – S90C OLED / Difference in skin tones

But looking normally, straight at the TV, the two panels have very good image quality. In these high-end TVs, we see differences, but it is difficult to choose which of the two has a better image. Skin tones, for example, were redder on the QN90C. And this will be a reality regardless of the content you watch – excess red is always present, but it’s the kind of thing that you can only notice when comparing it side by side with another TV.

QN90C Mini LED – S90C OLED / Lustre dourado

This chandelier scene is an example of where OLED did better than Mini LED. Although our camera is not able to capture the differences well, in person, it is very easy to see that the OLED can achieve a deeper contrast between the shades of gold and the background shadows.

QN90C Mini LED – S90C OLED / Floresta

It’s worth mentioning that, during all the tests, I used the factory default Filmmaker Mode on both TVs – this way, we can ensure that both TVs are trying to transmit exactly the same content, without adding contrast, sharpness, or any other artificial difference that could harm the comparison.

When watching SDR content, such as open TV channels, news, YouTube videos and sports, it is almost impossible to distinguish between the two. In this landscape video on YouTube, for example, we have practically the same result on both TVs. In some scenes, I preferred the way the QN90C transmitted the image, in others, the S90C pleased me more, so it will depend on how the two perform in the second part of the image quality test.

Image Quality – Dark environment

Now, in the second part of the image quality test, we go to a more ideal setting for watching films and series: a dark room, with very little ambient light and all the lights off. This is where we will notice the biggest differences between these two screens.

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QN90C Mini LED – S90C OLED / Lord of the Rings

The first difference here is in brightness: it may seem like the TV on the right is blowing out the image, but this is just the way the camera reacts to the amount of light being emitted by the pixels on the screen. Watching in person, the two are not that different, but it is undeniable that the S90C can achieve a more intense HDR contrast.

QN90C Mini LED – S90C OLED / Brilho

Investigating this, I went to the settings and noticed that the QN90C comes by default with a lower brightness than the S90C, 22% versus 36%, but even when I tried to match the two in terms of brightness, the OLED continued to work HDR better. .

Another important factor to analyze is blooming, especially if you enjoy watching films with subtitles. Both screens perform very well in this regard, showing no light leaks when white text is displayed on a black background. Even so, I identified two situations where blooming becomes visible on the QN90C. One of them occurs when we watch from an angle, resulting in light leaking into the subtitle and a greenish appearance in the image.

QN90C Mini LED – S90C OLED / Bladerunner 2049

A second way to identify blooming is by accessing the settings menu during the movie. It can be clearly seen that, despite the QN90C’s ability to deal with blooming during content display, in some scenarios it cannot escape the fact that it is essentially an LCD screen, even with its numerous lighting zones and control panel. quantum dots.

QN90C Mini LED – S90C OLED / Blooming

Even so, you can’t say that the QN90C’s image is bad. Quite the contrary, I was very surprised by how close Mini LED technology can be to OLED in terms of image quality.

QN90C Mini LED – S90C OLED / Bladerunner 2049

Here a lot will depend on the price difference between the two TVs and how much you enjoy watching movies and series in the dark. Personally, I would choose OLED. Although Mini LED has advanced a lot, in my opinion, it still cannot reach the depth of an OLED screen. In this dark scenario, the S90C dominates.


In terms of games, the QN90C should win in the comparison, since it is sold as a Gamer TV, the point is that all the extra functions that the QN90C has related to games, the S90C also has.

For example, the Game Bar, which is activated when we hold down the play button on the controller. Here we can make some changes to the image, choosing defined presets or user-created profiles. There is a way to artificially change the screen aspect ratio too, if you want to have that ultra wide experience. But for me, the best part of the Game Bar is being able to see whether HDR is on or not, and also the panel’s refresh rate. It’s a quick way to see if the settings are enabled.

QN90C Mini LED – Gamebat is also present in the S90C Oled

It is worth mentioning that to make the most of 4K resolution at 120 Hz, you will need a last generation console, such as the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X. Another alternative is to use a computer, but it has to be very powerful, like a notebook Storm Two gamer that Avell lent for testing. Of course, if you don’t have a current console or a cutting-edge gaming PC, you can still enjoy it, but you’ll need to lower the graphics or play lighter games.

QN90C Mini LED – Playing Dirt Rally 2 in 4K 120Hz

Another feature that was exclusive to Samsung Gamer TVs but is now present in several of the brand’s models is the Gaming Hub. Here we can play via the Cloud, through the paid services GeForce Now and Xbox Cloud Gaming. Regardless of the TV you use, the performance of these cloud services will largely depend on your proximity to the server and also the internet speed. Here we live in the countryside, so the delay and input lag are too high to enjoy most cloud games, but it can be an interesting option for those who live in a big city and have good internet.

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S90C OLED – Gaming Hub contains a huge catalog of cloud games

But after all, which of the two is better to play? In terms of image quality and response time, both are perfect, so it will depend on your use: If you are an intense gamer and play 8 hours a day or more, I don’t recommend any OLED TV. Games generally have several static elements such as life bars, speed counter, minimap, in short, these pixels can end up using up faster than others, generating the infamous burn-in.

There is also the fact that Samsung’s OLED TVs have not yet been on the market long enough to be sure whether they present more or less burn-in than LG’s. To be safe, if you play all day, the best option is the Mini LED TV. Now, if you only play a few hours a day, the risk of burn-in is practically irrelevant.

Operating System and Performance

Both TVs run exactly the same operating system. It’s Tizen, a system divided into 3 hubs: environment, games and media. Regarding performance, Tizen is quite heavy, so not just any processor will be able to run it well, but fortunately, we are dealing with two high-end TVs, so I didn’t notice any crashes while browsing. In terms of operating system and performance, the two TVs are identical.

QN90C Mini LED – Tizen Operating System


The control is also exactly the same, Samsung’s Solar Cell. On both TVs it already comes in this updated version, in a reduced size. In case you’ve never seen it before, Samsung puts this control charged by ambient light on all its new TVs, you don’t need to do anything as it’s always recharging, which is really cool. Otherwise, it’s the same control as always – here we have some shortcuts to access streaming services, channel buttons, volume and voice commands, Bixby, Alexa, and so on.

Solar Cell control is identical on both TV models


Sound is a very important parameter, as many people choose to just use the TV speakers, without connecting external audio.

According to the specifications, the sound of the QN90C must be superior, as it has 60W of power in 4.2.2 channelsagainst the 40W em 2.1 channels on the S90C.

Putting the two side by side, we notice that the QN90C has more bass, but other than that, I didn’t see that much of a difference. Both are above average when we talk about sound on TVs, but I still recommend you invest in an external audio system, it’s really worth it.


But is Mini LED better than OLED? Look, it depends. In terms of image quality, I say that it is impossible for an LCD panel to be better than OLED – no matter how many lighting zones Samsung places on an LCD panel, OLED managed to achieve considerably greater color depth, especially in the dark test.

QN90C Mini LED – S90C OLED / Cidade

But Mini LED does have its positive points: in the past it was brightness, but that’s no longer worth that much, as all the OLED TVs we’ve analyzed recently came with a lot of brightness, like Toshiba’s X9900LS, LG’s C3 and the S90C itself. .

The second positive point of the Mini LED is the price – and in this they win. The QN90C is currently costing R$ 6174 at sight in the 55-inch model, while the S90C is coming out for R$ 6953. It will depend on your use: if you are bored with image quality, and want to have the best possible experience watching movies and series in the dark – I say it’s worth spending more for OLED.

But if you use the TV more in the living room and don’t want to think about burn-in, it’s impossible not to be satisfied with the QN90C.

Other than that, type in the comments which of these two TVs you found more interesting, whether you agree or disagree with my opinions here in the video. It was a lot of fun to make this comparison, so also leave suggestions below about which TVs you want to see. Thank you very much for watching and see you next time.

#Samsung #QN90C #S90C #Mini #LED #compete #OLED

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