Hey there! Looking to upgrade to a new high-end TV but feeling overwhelmed by all the options? I‘ve been researching two of the top models on the market — the Samsung QN90B QLED and the LG C1 OLED. I know the feeling. As a self-proclaimed home theater enthusiast, I‘ve spent countless hours comparing specs, features, and performance to find the perfect TV.
In this guide, we‘ll explore how these two flagship TVs measure up to help you decide which is the better fit. There‘s a lot to cover, from design and smart features to display quality and gaming chops. No need to comb through endless expert reviews — I‘ll break it all down for you here!
First, let‘s be clear about the core difference between these two TV technologies. Samsung‘s QN90B uses an advanced form of LED called QLED. This uses quantum dots and backlighting to produce the image. The LG C1 leverages OLED technology, where each pixel is self-illuminating. This means OLED can switch off pixels entirely for true black levels.
With the basics covered, let‘s dive in!
Design – Slim and Sleek Premium Styling
Kicking things off with aesthetics, both TVs sport gorgeously modern designs that will spruce up your living room.
The QN90B uses a striking single-piece central stand dubbed the "monolith" style. This looks almost futuristic while also providing serious stability. The display itself measures just 0.8 inches thick with slim, uniform bezels surrounding the panel.
For measurements, the 65-inch model comes in at 57.1 x 32.7 x 1.6 inches without the stand. Including the stand, that expands to 57.1 x 38.3 x 14.1 inches. It weighs 61.7 pounds total.
The C1 also impresses, using ultra-thin wall-mount style feet near the edges of the bottom. When viewed from the front, the TV is all screen. The panel thickness comes in at 0.9 inches for most of the display, except for a slightly thicker housing along the bottom edge where internal components live.
On dimensions, the 65-inch version is 57 x 32.7 x 1.8 inches (or 57 x 32.7 x 4.7 inches with the stand attached). Weight clocks in at 55.6 pounds total.
Both TVs are fashioned from high-end materials like metal and quality plastics to exude a premium feel. From an aesthetic standpoint, it‘s a toss-up — the QN90B‘s monolith stand looks slick and streamlined, while the C1 impresses by being razor thin when wall-mounted.
- QN90B thickness: 0.8 inches
- C1 thickness: 0.9 inches (except bottom)
- QN90B weight (65-inch): 61.7 pounds
- C1 weight (65-inch): 55.6 pounds
Smart TV Features – Tizen vs webOS
Moving onto the brains behind these stellar displays, Samsung leverages its familiar Tizen smart TV platform while LG deploys its user-friendly webOS interface.
Both platforms provide quick access to all the popular streaming apps like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, and more. Navigation using the included remote is generally snappy. However, in my experience, webOS holds a slight edge.
One advantage is that webOS lacks the intrusive ads that plague the Tizen home screen. Minor gripe, but the cleaner webOS UI looks more polished.
LG‘s Magic Remote also streamlines things with its intuitive point-and-click style controls. Waving the remote cursor around the screen and simply clicking on what you want is easier than constantly navigating a directional pad.
Where Tizen falters is broader ecosystem compatibility beyond Samsung‘s own devices and services. For instance, there‘s no native Apple TV app. WebOS offers wider compatibility — you can access content from Apple, Google, Amazon, and most major platforms without compromise.
From a gaming angle, Tizen does now integrate Xbox Cloud Gaming and Google Stadia directly into its own Gaming Hub, which is great. But webOS levels the playing field with its Game Optimizer dashboard that surfaces key gaming settings and features.
For my money, webOS provides a simpler yet more versatile smart TV experience.
Gaming Performance – Smooth Refresh Rates and VRR
Given how popular console and PC gaming has become, gaming capabilities are an important consideration for any modern TV. Both the QN90B and C1 are very well-equipped here, but a couple factors give LG‘s OLED an edge.
The most critical gaming specification is HDMI 2.1 support. Both TVs include HDMI 2.1 across all four ports, enabling 4K gaming at up to 120Hz refresh rate along with Variable Refresh Rate (VRR). This allows them to fully take advantage of the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and latest GPUs.
However, while the C1 supports both AMD FreeSync Premium and Nvidia G-Sync for buttery smooth VRR, the QN90B only supports FreeSync officially. You can enable G-Sync Compatible mode on the QN90B, but it‘s not officially certified and may be more prone to issues.
The other gaming advantage for the LG C1 is its dedicated Game Optimizer menu. This provides an ideal one-stop interface for tweaking game-related settings. You can dial in genre-specific picture modes, enable VRR and Auto Low Latency Mode adjust input lag, and more. Having all gaming configuration streamlined in one place is extremely convenient.
So in summary, the QN90B and C1 are evenly matched in terms of core HDMI 2.1 specifications. But the C1‘s support for both VRR standards and handy Game Optimizer give it the edge for gaming.
Display Performance – Contrast is Key
Here‘s where the tire meets the road — display quality. After all, a TV‘s picture is paramount. QLED and OLED represent fundamentally different display technologies, each with innate strengths and weaknesses.
OLED utilizes independent pixels that can switch on and off completely. This enables effectively infinite contrast since black pixels are totally black. QLED still relies on LED backlights — even with advanced dimming schemes, the contrast is inherently more limited.
How does this translate to real-world picture quality? The starkest difference is black level performance. On the QN90B, blacks appear more grayish with light bloom around bright objects. With an OLED like the C1, blacks look perfectly inky and infinite thanks to those self-emissive pixels.
According to DisplaySpecifications.com, the QN90B achieves a contrast ratio of 20,000:1 compared to the C1‘s infinite contrast. Night scenes and horror/sci-fi content really showcase OLED‘s advantage.
Color reproduction is equally stellar on both TVs. They each support wide color gamuts like DCI-P3 used in cinema for lush, nuanced color. Measured against DCI-P3, DisplaySpecifications reports 93% coverage on the QN90B and 97% coverage on the C1.
Brightness specs are comparable at around 1000 nits peak, meaning HDR content really pops on either display. OLED has gotten much brighter over the years, narrowing this gap.
Motion handling is also strong on both models. The QN90B‘s higher 120Hz and 144Hz refresh rate options do provide an edge here for fast-action sports and gaming.
Upscaling lower resolution sources to 4K is achieved through AI processing. This works admirably on both TVs but may be a touch more refined on LG‘s a9 Gen5 chip vs Samsung‘s Processor 8K.
In summary, while the QN90B produces beautiful colors and searing highlights, OLED rules contrast thanks to per-pixel lighting control. This gives the C1 the picture quality win.
Audio Performance – Crank It Up
Even the best 4K TV usually requires an external sound system for room-filling audio. But decent built-in speakers remain important for everyday TV viewing. Here‘s how the audio shakes out.
With ultra-thin display panels, it‘s challenging to fit serious speakers inside. The QN90B houses 20-watt speakers which certainly get the job done. Samsung includes some cool audio enhancement features like Object Tracking Sound+ which makes on-screen effects more immersive.
However, the C1 bumps the audio game up to 40 watts total. When cranked up, you can feel the improved power and bass versus the QN90B. AI-powered tuning modes optimize audio based on content type as well.
Both TVs support Dolby Atmos for more cinematic, spatial sound when watching supported movies. But the extra juice behind the C1‘s speakers gives it another win, providing bolder, richer audio without a soundbar attached.
Sizing Things Up
With premium TVs like these, you‘ll want to consider what screen size is right for your room. Here‘s a quick comparison of what‘s available:
The QN90B offers more size flexibility on the small end, starting at 43 inches. The C1 tops out at a massive 83-inch screen compared to 98 inches for its QLED rival. Keep room dimensions and viewing distance in mind when choosing.
Current Models vs Predecessors
How do the latest 2022 QN90B and 2021 C1 models stack up versus their predecessors in terms of meaningful improvements?
Samsung QN90B Upgrades
- New Neo Quantum Processor 8K provides better upscaling and deep learning optimization
- 144Hz panel options for smoother, clearer motion on select models
- Object Tracking Sound delivers more immersive built-in audio
- Brighter panel with enhanced anti-glare and wider viewing angles
While not a radical change, these updates do meaningfully build upon and improve the viewing experience compared to prior Samsung QLEDs.
LG C1 Enhancements
- Brighter Evo OLED panel with boosted peak brightness up to 1000 nits
- Upgraded a9 Gen4 AI Processor powers better upscaling and processing
- webOS platform overhaul with redesigned interface and features
- Four HDMI 2.1 ports vs only two on past models, enabling more devices
As with Samsung‘s update, the C1 refinements feel incremental yet still offer compelling improvements over earlier LG OLED generations.
The Future of TV Technology
Television tech is constantly evolving. Let‘s crystal ball gaze at what the future may hold for Samsung, LG, and TV displays in general.
MicroLED – Seen as the holy grail display, MicroLED uses tiny self-illuminating pixels like OLED but without any burn-in risk. MicroLED promises stunning picture quality without compromise. Samsung and LG are investing heavily in this tech, though mainstream adoption is still further off.
8K Resolution – With 4 times the pixels of 4K, 8K promises insane levels of detail perfect for large screen sizes. 8K content is still limited, but expect more 8K TV options on the horizon.
Dolby Vision IQ – This auto-calibration feature optimizes Dolby Vision HDR content playback based on current lighting conditions in the room. Smarter HDR experiences could be on deck.
VRR Support – Variable refresh rate sync eliminates screen tearing and stuttering for gamers by adjusting the display‘s refresh rate to match the source. If not supported already, future TVs will likely include VRR.
Beyond these enhancements, we can expect continued slimming down of sizes, new display shapes like curved or flexible screens, and innovations not yet dreamed of!
The Verdict? LG C1 Wins By a Nose
When pitting two flagship models head-to-head, even small differences take on greater meaning. In this case, the LG C1 just barely nudges out the Samsung QN90B. With slightly better contrast, gaming support, smart features, and audio, the C1 wins by a nose.
That being said, both TVs deliver world-class 4K performance that I‘m confident any buyer will adore. You really can‘t go wrong. But if you‘re keeping score, the LG C1 is History-Computer‘s top recommended option for a premium 4K TV this year!
I hope breaking down this comparison of the Samsung QN90B vs LG C1 proves helpful. Let me know if you have any other questions! Time to kick back and enjoy next level picture quality.