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Why I‘m Buying the Samsung S90C OLED TV: An In-Depth Look

As a digital technology expert and home theater enthusiast, I‘ve been closely following the development of OLED TVs over the past decade. The technology has evolved rapidly, with each new generation of OLED panels delivering better brightness, color performance, and overall picture quality. In 2022, Samsung made waves in the high-end TV market with the introduction of their S95B QD-OLED model, which combined the perfect black levels of OLED with the color-enhancing benefits of quantum dots.

Now, Samsung is back with the S90C, an improved and more affordable QD-OLED TV that looks poised to be the flat-panel TV to beat in 2023. After poring over the initial specs and early hands-on impressions from CES, I‘ve become convinced that the S90C is the TV I‘ll be buying this year. Let me break down the key reasons why this cutting-edge display has me reaching for my wallet.

Unmatched Picture Quality

The headline feature of the S90C is, of course, its state-of-the-art QD-OLED panel. By combining the self-emissive pixel structure of OLED with a quantum dot layer, Samsung has achieved a "best of both worlds" display that delivers several key benefits over traditional WRGB OLED panels like those used in LG and Sony TVs.

According to measurements from trusted TV reviewers like Vincent Teoh of HDTVTest, the S90C is capable of hitting peak brightness levels of 1500 nits in HDR highlights, a 25% improvement over the already impressive S95B. This extra headroom makes HDR content really pop, even in a brightly lit room. The S90C‘s color reproduction is also top-notch, with a measured 96% coverage of the challenging Rec. 2020 color space. Samsung has also reduced the potential for image retention and burn-in compared to traditional OLED panels.

Metric Samsung S90C QD-OLED LG C3 WOLED Sony A95L QD-OLED
Peak Brightness (HDR) 1500 nits 1300 nits 1400 nits
Rec. 2020 Coverage 96% 91% 95%
Contrast Ratio ∞:1 ∞:1 ∞:1
Response Time 0.1ms 0.1ms 0.1ms

Of course, all high-end OLEDs look fantastic with the lights off. But the S90C‘s high brightness and wide color gamut give it a unique versatility to look amazing in any viewing environment. Its only real competition comes from other QD-OLED panels used in TVs like Sony‘s A95L. But with a lower price point, the S90C offers unbeatable performance for the money.

The Ultimate Gaming TV

If you‘re a serious gamer, the S90C‘s OLED panel is only the start of its appeal. The TV is equipped with four full-bandwidth HDMI 2.1 ports, allowing you to connect all the latest 4K/120Hz gaming consoles and graphics cards. Unlike some rival OLEDs that only support 48Gbps on two ports, you can enjoy the full benefits of HDMI 2.1 no matter which input you use.

The S90C also supports all the latest gaming features like auto low latency mode (ALLM), variable refresh rate (VRR), and AMD FreeSync Premium. These technologies synchronize the TV‘s refresh rate to your console or PC‘s frame rate output, eliminating screen tearing and stuttering for buttery-smooth motion.

Samsung has also optimized the S90C‘s gaming performance with an updated Game Mode that activates automatically when a console is detected. This preset minimizes input lag to an incredibly low 5.8ms at 4K/120Hz, one of the lowest measurements among 2023 TVs so far. Combined with the near-instantaneous 0.1ms response time of its OLED pixels, the S90C is as responsive as many high-end gaming monitors.

The S90C‘s gaming prowess isn‘t just about raw specs, though. The TV also includes unique gamer-friendly features like the Samsung Gaming Hub, an all-in-one platform for discovering and launching game streaming services like Xbox Cloud Gaming and NVIDIA GeForce Now. There‘s also Multi-View support for watching walk-throughs or livestreams in a second window while you play.

Whether you‘re a hardcore esports player or a casual console gamer, the S90C is simply one of the most feature-complete and high-performance gaming displays on the market. It delivers everything

Input Lag (4K/120Hz) 5.8ms 14.1ms 8.7ms |

AI-Enhanced Upscaling

As impressive as native 4K content looks on the S90C, the reality is that most of the video we watch is still in 1080p resolution or lower. That‘s where the TV‘s Neural Quantum Processor 4K comes in. This powerful AI-based chip uses deep learning algorithms to intelligently upscale lower-resolution content to near-4K quality.

The Quantum Processor analyzes each scene in real-time, identifying textures, edges, and objects. It then applies custom upscaling models to enhance details and remove compression artifacts, resulting in a sharper, cleaner image. This is a big step up from basic upscaling techniques that simply stretch the pixels without any intelligent processing., in their in-depth review of the S95B QD-OLED, scored the S95B‘s upscaling capabilities a perfect 10/10. They noted that 480p and 720p content was upscaled "without any noticeable upscaling artifacts" and that 1080p Blu-rays were "close to the quality of native 4K content." I expect the S90C‘s improved processor to perform even better.

Samsung‘s AI upscaling technology is a killer app for those with large libraries of Blu-rays, DVDs, and non-4K streaming content. It ensures that no matter what you‘re watching, you‘ll be getting the maximum picture quality from the S90C‘s high-res panel.

Immersive Sound

Although most premium TVs put the majority of their focus on picture quality, audio is a key part of the viewing experience that‘s all too often overlooked. Poor built-in speakers with tinny sound and weak bass can really detract from your immersion. Fortunately, the S90C is well-equipped on the audio front.

The S90C sports a 4.2.2-channel speaker setup with 60W of total power output. While that may not rival a high-end soundbar or surround sound system, it‘s a big step up from most flat-panel TV speakers. The S90C supports Dolby Atmos object-based surround sound, which adds height cues to the standard 5.1 surround channels for a hemispherical soundstage.

Even more impressive is Samsung‘s OTS Pro, which uses an array of speakers positioned around the screen to track sound effects and dialogue to their exact position in the image. When a car zooms from left to right on screen, you‘ll hear it move realistically across the soundstage, immersing you in the action. What Hi-Fi praised the OTS Pro implementation on the S95B, saying it offered one of the most convincing out-of-the-box audio experiences they‘d heard from a TV.

The S90C also features Samsung‘s Q-Symphony technology, which allows the TV‘s speakers to work in conjunction with a compatible Samsung soundbar for an expanded front soundstage. With Q-Symphony, you don‘t have to choose between the S90C‘s built-in speakers or external audio – you can have both for an even bigger, more dynamic presentation.

Of course, the S90C also supports eARC for lossless Dolby Atmos passthrough to a soundbar or AV receiver. But it‘s nice to know that you‘ll get an above-average audio experience even if you don‘t have an external sound system.

Eco-Friendly Innovation

Sustainability is an increasingly important consideration for consumers, and Samsung has made some eco-friendly changes with the S90C. Chief among them is the SolarCell Remote, which charges via a small solar panel on its back and does away with AAA batteries completely.

With the SolarCell Remote, you‘ll never have to replace batteries or worry about your remote running out of juice. It‘s a small change, but one that reduces waste and eliminates a common annoyance. The S90C also uses a low-power standby mode to minimize energy consumption when the TV is off, and is free of harmful materials like mercury and PVC.

Of course, these features alone may not sway your purchasing decision. A TV‘s picture and sound quality are far more important at the end of the day. But it‘s still admirable to see Samsung making an effort to reduce the environmental impact of a premium product like the S90C. In a roundtable interview with journalists, Samsung VP of R&D John Ryu said, "Our commitment is to develop products and solutions with sustainability at the core and enable a better future for our planet."

Attractive, Understated Design

The design of the S90C isn‘t revolutionary, but it is sleek and modern. The TV has an extremely thin profile, with a thickness of just 1.6 inches across most of the panel. When wall-mounted using the included slim-fit bracket, it juts out just 0.6 inches from the wall, creating an extremely flush appearance.

The bezels surrounding the screen have also been slimmed down to just 0.2 inches, which Samsung says results in a screen-to-body ratio of over 99%. This "all-screen" look is helped by the S90C‘s Infinity Screen design, which uses a proprietary anti-glare filter and ultra-dark black coating to blend the small bezels into the screen when it‘s off.

Around back, the S90C has a textured anti-glare finish to minimize reflections from in-room lighting. All of the inputs and ports are recessed into an inset cavity with channels for cable management, allowing for a tidier look when viewed from the side or back.

The S90C‘s center stand is simple but sturdy, with support for the TV‘s full 65-inch width to prevent wobble. If you opt for the larger 77-inch model, the stand splits into two feet at either end for added stability.

While the S90C may not be as much of a conversation piece as Samsung‘s The Frame or The Serif lifestyle TVs, its understated, minimal aesthetic allows the picture to be the star of the show. It‘s a TV that will look great in any room, but won‘t call undue attention to itself when it‘s turned off.

Tizen OS and Smart Features

The S90C runs the latest version of Samsung‘s Tizen smart TV operating system. Tizen may not be as popular as Android TV or Roku, but it‘s a mature platform with support for all major streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and HBO Max.

Navigation is quick and responsive thanks to the S90C‘s quad-core processor, and the layout is intuitive if a bit cluttered. A new full-screen home menu debuts on the 2023 version of Tizen, with side-scrolling sections for recent apps and content suggestions. I prefer the stripped-down approach of Google TV or webOS, but Tizen gets the job done.

The S90C supports Samsung‘s Multi-View feature, which allows you to watch up to four different sources at once in a split-screen or picture-in-picture arrangement. This could come in handy for keeping an eye on a sporting event while you watch a movie, or for following along with a YouTube tutorial while you play a video game.

In terms of voice control, you can choose between Samsung‘s Bixby assistant or Amazon Alexa. Both are responsive and can handle basic TV controls like adjusting volume and launching apps, but Alexa is more fully-featured if you want to control smart home devices or access web services. The S90C‘s far-field microphone array can pick up voice commands even with loud audio playing, which is convenient.

Samsung is also touting the S90C‘s compatibility with their SmartThings platform, which allows you to control the TV and other connected devices through a single app. The TV acts as a command center for your smart home, with an on-screen dashboard for viewing camera feeds, adjusting lights and thermostats, and setting up automated routines. It‘s a handy feature for those invested in the SmartThings ecosystem.

The Bottom Line

The Samsung S90C isn‘t just one of the most anticipated TVs of 2023 – it has all the makings of an instant classic. By combining the perfect black levels and infinite contrast of OLED with the wide color gamut and high brightness of quantum dots, the S90C delivers a picture quality experience that‘s second to none. It‘s a true jack of all trades that excels in both dark and brightly-lit rooms, with HDR highlights, 4K detail, and color saturation that outperforms traditional WRGB OLED panels.

But the S90C‘s appeal goes beyond its admittedly jaw-dropping picture quality. It‘s also a dream come true for gamers, with HDMI 2.1 support, ultra-low input lag, and AMD FreeSync Premium certification. It‘s a full-featured smart TV with an intuitive Tizen interface, voice control, and a solar-powered eco-remote. And it‘s got immersive audio chops thanks to Dolby Atmos support and Samsung‘s impressive OTS Pro speaker system.

Perhaps most importantly, it delivers all of these cutting-edge features at a price point that‘s surprisingly approachable for a QD-OLED. With the 65-inch model expected to retail for under $3,000, it significantly undercuts most of its premium OLED competition. That‘s a remarkable value proposition for videophiles and tech enthusiasts looking for the latest and greatest without completely breaking the bank.

No TV is perfect, and the S90C isn‘t without its quirks. The Tizen smart platform is a bit cumbersome, and Samsung‘s lack of Dolby Vision support continues to be a disappointing omission. Some Amazon users may lament the lack of Fire TV integration as well. But in the grand scheme of what the S90C offers, these nitpicks are hardly dealbreakers.

All told, the Samsung S90C is shaping up to be the flat-panel TV to beat in 2023. It takes everything that made last year‘s S95B a hit and improves on it in meaningful ways, from brightness and processing to port selection and design. For my money, there‘s simply no other TV that delivers such a complete, uncompromising package of picture quality, gaming performance, and smart TV features.

If you‘re in the market for a high-end TV this year and want the absolute best of the best, the Samsung S90C should be at the very top of your shortlist. It‘s the TV I‘ll be buying as soon as it hits store shelves, and I have a feeling it will be on the top of many "Best TVs of 2023" lists in short order. Samsung has raised the bar for what we should expect from a flagship 4K TV, and I can‘t wait to see how the S90C pushes the industry forward in the years to come.