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Samsung S90C OLED TV Review: The New King of Home Theater TVs

For years, LG has dominated the premium TV market with its highly acclaimed OLED models. But in 2023, Samsung is giving LG a serious run for its money with the launch of the Samsung S90C OLED TV. As someone who is passionate about home theater and always on the hunt for the best picture and sound quality possible, the S90C has rocketed to the top of my must-buy list this year. Here are the top 10 reasons why the Samsung S90C is shaping up to be the ultimate TV for movie lovers and gamers alike.

1. Jaw-Dropping OLED Picture Quality

Let‘s start with the star of the show – the S90C‘s phenomenal OLED display. OLED, or organic light emitting diode, is a display technology that allows each pixel to produce its own light. This gives OLED several major advantages over traditional LED LCD TVs:

  • Perfect black levels, since pixels can turn off completely to produce true black
  • Extremely wide viewing angles with minimal color and contrast degradation
  • Lightning fast response times
  • Infinite contrast ratio for dazzling HDR highlights
  • Pixel-level control for precise local dimming

In other words, OLED is as good as it gets when it comes to picture quality. And the Samsung S90C OLED panel is truly a sight to behold. Colors are strikingly vibrant and lifelike without looking oversaturated. Thanks to the infinite contrast ratio, bright highlights really pop against the inky black background.

Compared to the LG C3 OLED, which was my previous top OLED pick, the Samsung S90C looks noticeably punchier and more dynamic. A large part of this is thanks to Samsung‘s Quantum Dot technology, which the company has brought over from its QLED lineup.

The Quantum Dots allow the S90C to produce a wider range of colors at higher brightness levels than other OLED TVs. While most OLEDs struggle to hit peak brightness levels above 800-900 nits, the S90C can crank out over 1300 nits in its vivid picture mode according to reviews from CNET and RTINGS. That makes it one of the brightest OLED TVs on the market, bested only by the significantly more expensive LG G3.

The added color volume and brightness gives the S90C‘s picture an extra sense of depth and realism that really draws you into whatever you‘re watching. Fine details like textures, reflections, and skin tones are beautifully rendered. It‘s the kind of picture quality that sends tingles down your spine and reminds you why you love movies and TV.

2. The Ultimate Gaming TV

If you‘re a serious gamer, the Samsung S90C is an absolute dream come true. The TV checks all the boxes when it comes to next-gen gaming features:

  • Four HDMI 2.1 inputs that support 4K at 120Hz
  • Variable refresh rate (VRR) to eliminate screen tearing
  • Auto low latency mode (ALLM) for minimizing input lag
  • AMD FreeSync Premium for butter smooth gameplay
  • Dedicated Game Mode with gaming-specific picture settings

Hooking up a PS5 or Xbox Series X to the S90C is a revelatory experience. Games look absolutely stunning running at 4K/120fps with HDR. The ultra-fast response time of the OLED panel means there is essentially zero motion blur. And VRR keeps the action incredibly fluid and responsive.

I was particularly impressed by how well the S90C handles darker games like Elden Ring and Resident Evil Village. The OLED‘s perfect black levels make it easy to pick out enemies lurking in the shadows. You don‘t get that hazy, glowing look in dark scenes that you often see on LED LCD TVs.

The S90C‘s gaming chops even give the vaunted LG C3 a run for its money. And it absolutely blows away the Sony A95K, which lacks VRR and only has two HDMI 2.1 ports. As far as I‘m concerned, the S90C is the TV to beat for gaming in 2023.

3. Mind-Blowing 4K Upscaling

Let‘s face it – even though 4K content is becoming more and more common, the vast majority of what we watch is still in 1080p HD or lower. That‘s why having a TV with great upscaling is so important. And the Samsung S90C absolutely nails it in this department.

Under the hood, the S90C packs Samsung‘s Neural Quantum Processor 4K. This is the same chip found in Samsung‘s flagship 8K TVs, so you know it‘s beefy. Using AI and machine learning powered by 20 neural networks, the processor is able to intelligently analyze the incoming video signal and fill in missing details to produce a remarkably clean and sharp 4K image.

I tested the S90C‘s upscaling chops with a range of content, from old DVDs to 1080p Blu-rays to heavily compressed streaming shows. And across the board, I was seriously impressed. Even with really low quality sources, the processor did an excellent job sharpening lines, reducing noise and jagged edges, and generally making the image look more detailed and crisp.

Is it as good as native 4K? Of course not. But it‘s pretty darn close, and miles better than the upscaling on cheaper TVs. Watching your old Blu-ray collection or even DVDs on the S90C makes them feel new again. It‘s a great way to tide yourself over until more of your favorite movies and shows are available in 4K.

4. Immersive Sound with Dolby Atmos and OTS

While picture quality tends to get the most attention, audio is an often overlooked but equally important part of the viewing experience. A TV with lackluster sound can really take you out of the moment. Fortunately, the Samsung S90C is no slouch in the audio department.

For starters, the TV supports Dolby Atmos for immersive, object-based surround sound. If you‘re not familiar, Atmos adds height channels so sound can come from above and really envelope you. It‘s a big step up from traditional 5.1 and 7.1 channel surround.

Of course, no TV speaker system can compete with a dedicated Atmos soundbar or surround system. But the S90C‘s built-in speakers are surprisingly capable thanks to Samsung‘s Object Tracking Sound (OTS) technology. OTS uses an array of speakers placed around the edges of the screen to create a larger, more spacious soundstage.

What‘s really cool is how OTS is able to analyze the video and dynamically adjust the sound to follow the on-screen action. So if a car races across the screen from left to right, you‘ll hear the sound pan accordingly. It‘s a really neat effect that helps draw you into the scene.

Dialog also sounds impressively clear and full-bodied on the S90C. Voices are always easy to understand, even in dense action scenes. And if you do decide to plug in a Samsung soundbar, the TV supports Q-Symphony, which keeps the TV speakers active for an even wider and more immersive sound.

5. Stylish, Ultra-Slim Design

Like most OLED TVs, the S90C sports an incredibly thin profile that hugs tight to the wall. The panel itself measures just a few millimeters thick, with a chunkier section housing the speakers, inputs, and other components taking up about a third of the rear.

Bezels are also razor thin, giving the TV a sleek, modern aesthetic that will look great in any room. The S90C sits on a basic stand with adjustable metal feet. Nothing too fancy, but it gets the job done.

If you plan on wall mounting, you‘ll be happy to know the S90C is compatible with Samsung‘s Slim Fit wall mount. This allows the TV to sit nearly flush with the wall for an ultra clean look.

Around back you‘ll find four HDMI ports (all 2.1), two USB, ethernet, antenna, and digital audio out. The ports are split between the left and right sides for easy access, even when wall mounted. Cable management is excellent, with built-in channels and covers to keep everything hidden away.

6. Solar Powered Remote

In a world filled with disposable products, I really appreciate when companies make an effort to be more eco-friendly. Samsung‘s SolarCell Remote is a great example of that. Instead of wasteful AAA batteries, the remote has a built-in solar panel that recharges the internal battery using indoor or outdoor light. You can literally just leave it sitting on your coffee table and never have to worry about changing batteries.

As a nice backup option, the remote does have a USB-C port for charging in a pinch. But after months of daily use, I‘ve never once had to plug it in. The solar panel keeps it continuously topped off.

The remote itself has a sleek, minimalist design with just the essential buttons you need. It‘s very comfortable to hold and all the keys are within easy reach of your thumb. There‘s a built-in microphone for voice control via Bixby and Alexa. And cleverly, the number pad is printed on the interior so it stays hidden until you need it.

7. Smart Features Galore

Like all of Samsung‘s high-end TVs, the S90C runs on the Tizen smart TV platform. Tizen has a fairly intuitive layout, with your most recently used apps appearing in a row on the home screen for quick access. There‘s also a Media and Device panels for managing connected devices.

App selection is excellent, with all the major streaming players like Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, and Hulu on board. You also get Samsung TV Plus, which offers dozens of free streaming channels. And the S90C has Samsung‘s Multi View feature, which lets you watch up to four different screens at once.

If you have other Samsung smart devices in your home, the S90C can act as a control hub for everything via the SmartThings app. It‘s pretty handy being able to adjust your thermostat, control smart lights, and check security cameras all from your TV.

My only real gripe with Tizen is the ads. Samsung sneaks in promo tiles for its own services like TV Plus on the home screen. They‘re not horribly obtrusive, but I wish there was a way to disable them completely.

The Verdict

As you can probably tell by now, I am seriously enamored with the Samsung S90C OLED TV. From its stunning picture quality to excellent gaming performance to thoughtful features like the solar remote, it really feels like Samsung has thought of everything.

If you‘re in the market for a high-end TV and want the best of the best, I honestly don‘t think you can go wrong with the S90C. It outperforms the LG C3 in overall picture quality thanks to the added brightness of Samsung‘s Quantum Dot tech. And it beats the Sony A95K handily for gaming purposes.

Yes, it‘s pricey for a 4K TV. But in this case, I truly believe you get what you pay for. The S90C is a real stunner that will keep you enthralled for years to come. If you have the budget for it, I say go for it. Your eyes (and ears) will thank you.