Samsung QN85BReviewed at $1,399.00 (55")
Ports & Connectivity9.4/10
OS, Apps and Features9.5/10
Price / Quality9.2/10
- Great peak brightness
- Good out of the box performance
- Four HDMI 2.1 ports
- Tizen 2022
- Visible blooming
- Contrast could be better
- Colors were better last year
- No DTS or Dolby Vision
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Recently we were able to test Samsung’s best QLED for 2022, the Q80B. Today we are taking a step up the performance ladder and we enter mini LED territory with our Samsung QN85B review which by the way is the most affordable mini LED TV Samsung has for this year.
There are plenty of mini LED models this year, with three 8K and three 4K ones. The QN85B feels in many ways a beefed up Q80B because looking at the specs the only two major differences we find is the use of the Neo Quantum Processor 4K and the mini LED backlight. There are a few other differences here and there but these two are what makes these two models apart and we are curious to see how much of a difference in picture quality the new backlight can do along with better processing considering everything else is the same.
Going through the specs real quick here we see that the new QN85B is being offered in four sizes from 55″ up to 85″ with an even bigger 98″ pending release at some point soon. A 100/120Hz ADS panel which is similar to IPS structure is used while we get a mini LED backlight with a Quantum HDR 24X rating. Processing duties are handled by the Neo Quantum Processor 4K. It will support HDR10+, uses the Object Tracking Sound audio system and utilizes the new Tizen 2022. Once again the QN85B comes with four HDMI ports as with many of the other Samsung models this year.
Does the better processor and more capable backlight makes a difference big enough to consider the QN85B compared to the Q80B and how does it fare compared to last year’s QN85A? Let’s begin our analysis to find out.
Unfortunately the QN85B does not use Samsung’s One Connect Box as this is only reserved for the QN95B from their 4K releases. As a result all of the TV’s connections have to be made on the back of the main body as usual.
In terms of design the QN85B is extremely similar to the QN85A we had tested last year. In fact the only thing that gives it away is the slightly different stand design, otherwise you cannot tell which is which. As such the QN85B uses what Samsung calls their NeoSlim Design which basically means that the QN85B instead of using a Full Array with Local Dimming backlight system uses the new mini LED one which helps to minimize its overall thickness to just 1.06″ (2.7 cm) which is essentially the same as last year’s offering.
The entire back face is the same as the QN85A and is covered by a plastic panel that in true Samsung fashion has a brushed texture look on it. All ports are grouped together in an inset that is placed at the left side and all look sideways for easier access, although if you have it on a wall you will not be able to get to them even like that, while on the lower part there are special grooves in order to place your cables and drive them through the central stand. The power connector is placed on the right side while the only other thing at the back is the holes for a VESA wall mount.
As for the stand, this is probably the only aspect of this TV that looks slightly different from the QN85A. The QN85B still uses a central stand but instead of a rectangular shape in the QN85A, here we get an hexagonal one. The base of the stand is made out of metal, probably to give some more weight to it while the connecting part is made out of plastic with the back of it being hollow in order to let the cables go through it for better cable management.
As for the remote that comes with the QN85B, this is the same across the entire 2022 lineup. It looks similar to the year before but with some minor design changes that do not affect its practicality or everyday use. It is still small and uses very few buttons as it relies on the TV’s UI for most of its functions. It is still using a rechargeable battery that can be charged either through a USB-C cable or from its solar equipped back side. The only difference we find this year is that the top side is now seamless while a fourth dedicated button for Disney+ has been added.
Overall not much have changed over last year. The stand is slightly different and the remote got some minor update but everything else looks the same. The QN85B has good build quality overall and it shows.
Processor technology used
While last year all Neo QLEDs were using the Neo Quantum Processor, for 2022 things are a bit different. The 8K Neo QLEDs use the new Neural Quantum Processor while the 4K ones uses the familiar Neo Quantum Processor 4K except from the QN95B which uses the same chip of its 8K counterparts.
As always Samsung does not provide specific details on the chips and so we are not certain if the Neo Quantum Processor 4K in the QN85B is the same chip like last year but its capabilities seems to indicate this.
What Samsung has mentioned about this processor is that it uses up to 16 different neural network models, each trained in AI upscaling and deep learning technology, and this way the Neo Quantum Processor can optimize picture quality to 4K picture output regardless of the input quality. Not exactly the most detailed description and borderlines the usual marketing material but Samsung was never very open about the way their processors work.
Also its Real Depth Enhancer, a new feature added in 2022, automatically separates objects in the content from the background and creates 3D like depth in order to make the image even more immersive.
Upscaling on the QN85B was great. Going through various content of various resolutions didn’t show any problems or artifacts from the process. Obviously the better the quality of the source the better the results but from what we saw the TV had no problems upscaling everything we threw at it at 4K resolution with excellent results.
A few features we got the previous years also find their way here and one of them is Adaptive Picture which is a feature that analyzes the light conditions in your room and can calibrate the picture accordingly in order to provide you the best image quality for your specific situation.
As for the sound the Neo Quantum Processor 4K comes Object Tracking Sound (OTS), Adaptive Sound and Active Voice Amplifier (AVA) which can improve the sound outcome in all kinds of ambient sound conditions. We will talk more on these technologies in the appropriate section shortly.
Lighting technology used
For a long time LCD TVs were plagued by mediocre backlight systems and until 2021 a Full Array with local dimming system (FALD) was the best you could get but even this was very much dependent on the number of dimming zones available. The more dimming zones, the more precise light control. But this had a major impact on the final price of the TV.
The QN85B, just like its predecessor, is using a Quantum Mini LED backlight instead which is precisely controlled by Quantum Matrix Technology. The major advantage of Quantum Mini LED is that it has 1/40 the height of a conventional LED. Instead of using a lens to disperse light, and a package to fix the LED in place, the Quantum Mini LED has incredibly thin micro layers filled with many more LEDs. This way Quantum Matrix Technology has much better and more precise control of the densely packed LEDs, preventing what was the most obvious disadvantage of previous LCD backlight systems, blooming.
Keep in mind that while mini LED technology is vastly superior to any other LCD backlight system so far it is not alleviating the blooming problem completely and it is still very much dependent on the number of zones that have been added to each panel along with how efficient the dimming algorithms are.
It seems that not much have changed in the QN85B compared to last year in terms of dimming zone numbers as the 55″ version seems to be using the same zones configuration with 576 dimming zones in a 36 x 16 pattern. Although we couldn’t confirm this, the bigger sizes usually tend to use more zones, like the 65″ that seems to be coming with 720 zones in total.
In our blooming testing we could say that the QN85B fared slightly better than what the QN85A did last year but the difference was not so noteworthy and in general there was still blooming visible but it was more evident in specific scenes and we can say that it is not so much bothering that can ultimately ruin the overall experience.
You are going to notice it mostly with subtitles and some dark scenes with smaller bright objects. We also noticed that the TV tends to crush black colors in some scenes while zone transitioning was fast enough and it was never noticeable.
Overall the backlight performed good enough, very close to the QN85A and in comparison it has its ups and downs so we cannot say that it is a great improvement over last year.
Brightness / Contrast
Brightness is one of the most important aspects of any HDR TV nowadays as with HDR content the need for high brightness output is bigger than ever.
The QN85B comes with a Quantum HDR 24X rating which is exactly the same as the QN85A had last year. This shows that this year’s release uses a similarly capable backlight to last year’s model.
For our review we used the Movie mode and Warm 2 color tone along with Local Dimming set to High. In our SDR brightness test over a 10% white window we got 1084 nits which is great and will render all kinds of SDR content without a trouble. On our HDR brightness test over a 10% white window we got 1099 nits of brightness which is excellent and with such peak brightness all highlights are vivid enough to impress.
In terms of brightness we didn’t notice any major differences from the QN85A and as a result we would say they both perform the same.
Brightness levels followed the EOTF reference values extremely close up to its slow roll-off point with almost no deviations.
In terms of contrast the QN85B comes with an ADS panel (for the 55″ unit at least that we had for testing), which basically is a panel very similar in structure to IPS ones, and as a result contrast ratio is mediocre at best. At least with its local dimming feature contrast improves a lot in order for blacks not to appear disturbingly grey.
The QN85B seems to do slightly better here than last year but the difference is small. Nevertheless the numbers are slightly improved.
Keep in mind that as was the case last year the 85″ size use a VA panel and as a result it should behave differently here.
Overall we cannot say we found any meaningful differences between the QN85B and the QN85A here showing that Samsung hadn’t changed much in terms of backlight performance.
The QN85B is using an ADS panel which is some type of IPS panel and this in general means good things in terms of viewing angles. But there is a lot of confusion here as different sizes use different technologies and Samsung is not doing anything to improve this situation and surely casual consumers will have a hard time spotting the differences.
It seems that the 55″ size we have for testing is using the Wide Viewing Angle technology while the 65″ use the better Ultra Viewing Angle technology. Also the 85″ should perform worse here as the VA panel it comes with is not so good when viewed from such extreme angles.
As you can understand with each size using different specs it’s hard even for us to distinguish all different setups available in each market so you have to be extra careful and not expect our test sample to be similar to what is available in your market.
Finally, from what we saw in the QN85B we would say that about 40 degrees angle was acceptable with little degradation in overall image quality. Anything more and the image looses a lot in terms of brightness, colors and black levels. So if you are considering to use this as a family TV you shouldn’t have any problem with various viewing positions.
HDR support is another area where Samsung hasn’t changed anything for 2022. As such we get the most basic HDR10 that is required for 4K UHD playback, there is HLG that is used mainly for broadcasting along with the newer HDR10+ which is the most advanced HDR protocol that uses dynamic metadata in order to provide the best image quality on a frame by frame basis, similar to what Dolby Vision is doing.
The QN85B, as with most mid and top-tier releases, comes also with HDR10+ Adaptive and HDR10+ Gaming. HDR10+ Adaptive uses its AI engine to analyze the viewing environment, including the lighting, brightness and even reflections using the sensors equipped on the TV. The results are then incorporated into the dynamic metadata, and then through four further steps, the brightness and contrast of a scene are optimized. This way you can view HDR10+ movies and television programs in various environments at home.
For one more year there is no Dolby Vision support even though for 2022 Samsung TVs do get Dolby Atmos. Unfortunately with Samsung backing the HDR10+ format we don’t see them including Dolby Vision in their TVs anytime soon which is a shame really.
All QLED TVs, either Neo QLED or simple QLEDs are using the familiar Quantum Dot technology which basically is a special layer on the panel that has nano-sized Quantum Dots, that are finely tuned particles, which can turn light into the billion plus colors you see on the screen. This way you can enjoy colors that have more depth, are more vivid and lifelike.
But while all the QLEDs and Neo QLEDs are featuring similar technology they tend to perform slightly different from one another. Samsung claims 100% coverage of the DCI-P3 color space but you should never take these numbers literally as they are mostly used for marketing purposes. Real numbers usually deviate a lot from these claims.
In our test sample we measured 90% coverage of the DCI-P3 color space which is very good even if slightly lower than last year. On the wider REC.2020 color space we got a coverage of 68% which is still good enough even if not as good as some other releases.
Overall the QN85B seems to be lagging slightly behind the QN85A here although with real content it will be hard to spot any differences unless you have both TVs side by side and even then we are not sure you will be able to tell them apart.
Before calibration the QN85B had good color accuracy but we did notice a few problems. White balance needed adjustment and a few colors had values above the DeltaE limit of three. Both of these were corrected after calibration but we can say for sure that even without any, the TV performed really well and will satisfy most people that do not know how to manage color settings.
Color gradients were very good although some banding was visible in some darker shades which is common in many TVs we have seen. There is also a Noise Reduction function in case banding is bothering you but you are going to loose some fine detail if enabled so use it wisely.
We move on to our next part which includes our motion performance tests. It seems that the QN85B hasn’t changed anything here from last year as it comes with a 100/120Hz panel along with a backlight dimming frequency of 960Hz which is exactly the configuration we saw in the QN85A.
Having such a high frequency ensures that flickering is completely invisible but this also depends on the picture mode you will be using as in some of the them and also depending on the backlight setting the frequency drops to 100/120 Hz.
We also get motion interpolation which is named Motion Xcelerator Turbo+. The QN85B is no different from other top releases and is capable of removing judder but we did notice many artifacts during action oriented scenes with fast camera movements while interpolation was active at all times, a behavior we had seen in other Samsung models also. Some stutter was also noticeable during low frame rate content which could only be eliminated by enabling motion interpolation.
Enabling motion interpolation can be done, in the same way as with all other Samsung models, by going in the Picture Clarity settings in the menu and by adjusting the two sliders for blur or judder. Keep in mind that very high values in the sliders and the “Soap Opera Effect” will appear so if you want to improve motion but you hate the SOE effect keeping minimal values in these two sliders, like 1 or maximum 2, is your best bet.
Black Frame Insertion (BFI) is also available as usual which can be enabled in the menu with the LED Clear Motion option. BFI is a technique that inserts a black frame in between two individual frames in order to smooth out motion. Although the end result is very good, it has a couple of side effects. First due to the black frames, brightness takes a visible hit while due to the lower frequency used which can be either 100/120Hz or even 50/60Hz some flickering may become noticeable.
Having tried various scenes with the QN85B we can say that not much have changed here. There are a few differences from the QN85A but overall, from what we saw, they performed very close to each other.
Onto our input lag tests now and here we are expecting really low values as is the case with most TVs the last few years.
According to our measurements the QN85B measured an average of 10.8ms input lag in both 1080p and 4K resolutions at 60Hz with the use of Game mode. At 120Hz we measured 5.9ms in both 1080p and 4K resolutions which is really as good as it gets.
With such low values, gaming can be a pleasant experience but in order to get such a low value you have to keep in mind that you need to use the available Game mode as outside that the input lag will greatly increase to around 85.2ms which may be too much for fast paced online games but can still be considered adequate for slow offline ones.
We should also not forget to mention that the TV supports Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) that can be used with any devices that support that like the PS5 and Xbox consoles and can greatly benefit users.
The QN85B, as with many Samsung TVs this year, also supports FreeSync Premium Pro which can vastly improve your gaming experience if you have a device that also supports AMDs solution. Along with it we get support for all other VRR technologies including HDMI Forum VRR and NVIDIA G-Sync which can be enabled from the now updated Game Bar 2.0.
For this specific test we used our PS5 and Call of Duty: Vanguard and the results were amazing. No delays and instant response times resulted in a perfect gaming session. Not much else to say here, the QN85B is really good for gaming and we can suggest it for such use without any hesitation.
Image quality impressions
Comparing the QN85B with last year’s release we cannot say that one is better than the other. Each one has some strengths and weaknesses but overall we cannot suggest one or the other as the numbers were not so far off to indicate a clear winner.
The QN85B seems to have a slightly better backlight and a bit better contrast but on the other hand the QN85A had better colors. In many categories both of them behaved almost the same.
Onto our audio tests and analysis and here we experienced more or less exactly the kind of performance we were expecting. Manufacturers have tried various tech and tricks in order to make audio more immersive but to be honest there is so much you can do with such a slim design in terms of hardware.
It’s been a couple of years now that Samsung has developed their own audio system for many of their top tier and mid offerings called Object Tracking Sound and as of 2021 there are four variants of this system depending its capabilities. We have the OTS Pro, OTS+, OTS and OTS Lite and for the QN85B Samsung has once again used the OTS variant. So basically nothing seems to have changed from 2021.
So what we get is a 2.2.2 channels audio system with a power rating of 60 watts in total which is sufficient for casual viewing. The difference compared to the OTS+ is that the latter uses 4.2.2 channels instead making the sound be more accurate when tracking what is on screen. All sizes use the same variant so audio output is the same across the board.
Once again the TV can get very loud, although some compression is heard at high volume. Dialogue was clear and distinct and the audio really follow the action. What is missing is any kind of surround activity. The TV may use various tricks like virtual sound but it cannot do anything to simulate over the shoulder activity.
The TV supports Dolby Audio but even with a system like OTS you shouldn’t expect much out of it. If you want something better you will certainly need a dedicated audio system or at least a soundbar with surround speakers. Dolby Atmos can be passed-through the included eARC to some Dolby Atmos soundbar or dedicated sound system in this case.
DTS support is completely absent once again this year as it is not only missing from native support but it cannot also be passed-through from any of the available ports which is rather disappointing. And this applies for all Samsung TVs, either low cost or top tier premium ones.
The QN85B also comes with some added features we saw in previous models. The first one worth mentioning is called Adaptive Sound+ with which the TV analyzes the content being played and for each scene can identify and render the best sound type. This whole process starts by separating and classifying audio input signals. Key characteristics are then pulled out and rendered to best suit the scene.
Another feature is Active Voice Amplifier (AVA). With it the TV can detect environmental noise and enhance the voice output of the content you watch for a more pleasant viewing experience.
Lastly we get Q-Symphony which is a feature that you can use to combine the TV’s audio system with an appropriate soundbar that also supports that. This way the audio will be synced and output from both devices for an even more immersive audio experience. Samsung has released a whole lineup of soundbars that support Q-Symphony in case you are thinking of getting one.
The QN85B behaved very much the same as previous models utilizing the OTS system. It is good enough for casual use like talk shows, sports, news broadcasting along with casual viewing of movies but if you really want immersion then a soundbar or a dedicated audio system is a must.
Ports and Connectivity
Many of Samsung releases use the same king of ports layout. And the QN85B is no different as it is similar to both the Q80B we tested recently but also the QN80A from last year.
Starting from the top right we find two USB ports, a single digital optical output, four HDMI ports, an Ethernet port for wired connection to your local network, an Ex-Link port and the usual antenna/cable connector.
The major update in the QN85B, which is a fact in many of Samsung TVs this year, is that all four HDMI ports are version 2.1 with 48Gbps of bandwidth due to the use of Samsung’s own SoC, unlike Sony that still has to rely on MediaTek chipsets with all the problems these have. This is a major change from the single HDMI 2.1 port of the QN85A and surely if you have multiple gaming devices the QN85B offers a lot of freedom that was not possible before as last year you had to go for a more expensive model to find four HDMI 2.1 ports available.
Having HDMI 2.1 means that the QN85B supports all new and old features including 4K@120, ARC, eARC, ALLM, VRR, G-Sync, FreeSync Premium Pro, HFR and HDMI-CEC.
Unfortunately for one more year the Ethernet port will only support up to 100Mbps which is a real shame but not entirely surprising given the fact that all manufacturers still include 100Mbps adapters in their TVs. Hopefully this will change in the future as Gigabit adapters should be the standard.
And since we mentioned online the Samsung QN85B comes with built-in wireless capabilities as it supports WiFi 5 (802.11ac) along with Bluetooth which in 2022 has been updated to version 5.2.
OS, Apps and Features
Being a Samsung TV means that for its OS we find the usual Tizen platform which has been updated to its 2022 version and what we have here is basically the same OS we have seen in the other Samsung reviews we have done for this year. It seems that Samsung decided to follow Google and LG and made the new Tizen occupy the whole screen instead of being a tile based row at the bottom of the screen, exactly as Google TV and webOS are this year.
It seems that smart TV platforms opt for a more personalized experience and as such the new Tizen 2022 tries to provide you with options that are tailored for your viewing habits. As such there are personalized ads, recommendations based on your viewing patterns both for streaming services and broadcasting channels and even shopping suggestions.
If you have used Tizen before, the new version may feel a bit chaotic at first. This was the same with Google TV and webOS and certainly you will need to spend some time with it to get your bearings. But once you get the hung of it, it is easier to navigate than it may seem.
The new Samsung Smart TV Hub is separated in different sections and it allows you to navigate easily through all of them. At the left of the screen there is a single column with a few central selections including Media, Gaming and Ambient while the rest of the screen is divided in rows with streaming services, apps and other functions and features available.
Having tried both the latest Google TV and webOS we can say that the new Tizen is not all that different. Obviously the layout is tailored to Samsung’s needs but in essence it offers the same thing. Navigation was smooth enough and jumping from one app to the other was relatively fast and with no obvious lags or delays.
Except from the visual overhaul the new Tizen comes with a few updates although fundamentally it offers the same kind of functionality we had experienced last year.
The Super Ultrawide GameView & Game Bar that was introduced last year makes a return but now it is called Game Bar 2.0 and got an update along the way. This is an on-screen menu that lets you make real-time adjustments to screen ratio, input lag check, FPS, HDR, wireless headset settings and more. This can be a really handy feature to gamers as you don’t have to mess with menus every time you want to check on a specific setting. With this quick feature you have everything in front of you with the click of a button.
When it comes to content the Tizen platform is famous for it’s enormous support from developers. The QN85B comes with practically all known services and platforms you can think of with Netflix, Apple TV, Disney Plus, Youtube, Amazon, Hulu, Rakuten, Demand 5 and BBC iPlayer just a few of the big names available. There is also Samsung TV plus which offers hundreds of subscription-free channels to choose from. Many of these services can playback in both 4K with HDR like Netflix and Amazon but this is very much app dependent.
A function that has been retained from the last few years is SmartThings integration. With it you can make your TV the central hub of all your smart houses devices. These can be lights, electronic locks, alarms, vacuum robots, thermostats and everything that supports the SmartThings platform.
Obviously another feature that could not be missing is voice control. It seems that Samsung is really trying to market their own Bixby service but even if you are not very fond of that there is Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant to choose from. While if you are an Apple guy then don’t get disappointed as there is also Airplay 2 support and you can use Siri through it for your voice commands. Unfortunately while Airplay is available HomeKit is not.
Another feature that was introduced a couple of years ago and seems to be a standard now is Multi-View and although at it’s core it’s not something entirely new Samsung took it a step further. Multi-View is basically a more advanced screen mirroring and with it instead of just simply projecting the screen from your mobile device on the TV you can choose to have two screens showing both TV content and what your mobile device shows.
In addition to Multi-View there is also Tap View and with it you can mirror your phone on your TV with just a tap to continue enjoying movies, music, and apps on the bigger screen within seconds.
Another returning feature is Ambient Mode+ which is a slightly enhanced version of the Ambient Mode we get in many Samsung models for the last few years. With the plus version now except from the ability to display various images on the TV when not in use it can also project various information including weather updates, news headlines, photos and music.
Samsung Health is another returning feature from last year. Last year with the coronavirus pandemic many people were staying indoors so Samsung thought that exercise at home would be on the rise. So many of their TVs came with Samsung’s program in order to stay in shape. It seems that Samsung liked it so they kept it in for another year.
No surprises here. The QN85B comes with the full Tizen suite for 2022 and includes everything new Samsung has brought in 2022 along with all previous additions.
The QN85B is not much different from last year, excluding the upgrade to four HDMI 2.1 ports, and it is your best bet if you want an affordable TV with the new mini LED backlight system. It surely has its own set of problems but overall it is a very strong release and will surely find a big audience that will appreciate its virtues.
Its major strengths include solid upscaling abilities, good out of the box performance, very good brightness in both SDR and HDR content, acceptable viewing angles and excellent gaming capabilities with four HDMI 2.1 ports, low input lag and a full suite of gaming features. Add a great new Tizen with practically all the support you can ask for and you get a really good deal for your money.
On the downsides we will mostly repeat what we said for the QN85A last year. Even the new mini LED backlight cannot completely erase visible blooming, contrast could be better, the audio is good enough only for casual use even with the inclusion of Dolby Atmos support while we are still critical of Samsung not adding Dolby Vision.
If you already have the QN85A then you are not missing much, although the four HDMI 2.1 ports is a nice upgrade, but if you are looking for a new TV and you have to find the right balance between price and performance the Samsung QN85B is certainly a very interesting proposal and should be perfect for either movies, gaming or both.