Samsung's QN900D isn't great out of the box, but it is if you change these settings

Samsung QE75QN900D 8K TV
(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Samsung's flagship 8K TV for 2024, the QN900D, has just been subjected to the What Hi-Fi? review treatment, and what a superb TV it is. With its awesome brightness, super-vibrant colours and upscaling so advanced that it makes 4K content look almost 8K, it romped to a five-star verdict (check out the full Samsung QN900D review here).

However, in its default, out-of-the-box settings – which, unfortunately, many people will never change – it has some quite serious flaws. Of course, you are not 'many people'. You are someone who is prepared to put in a little bit of effort to get the best out of your new TV. Thankfully, in this case, the effort required really is small.

Standard mode is the problem

Samsung QE75QN900D 8K TV

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

As is typical of Samsung's TVs, the QN900D defaults to its Standard picture preset (assuming you skip the 'Intelligent' modes which, broadly speaking, you should). In many ways, this is a great mode that really shows off the capabilities of the TV in terms of contrast, vibrancy and, most of all, its incredible 8K-like upscaling. But it also does some weird things that, personally speaking, I couldn't live with.

The first is that it tends to aggressively dim small, bright objects on otherwise black or very dark backgrounds. Think of a white bit of text on a black background or the infamous 'eyes' in the basement at the start of It. That's not an uncommon trait of bright, backlit TVs, which often do this to mitigate the risk of light blooming around the bright object, but it is a bit bothersome, particularly if you're used to the unrestricted contrast of an OLED TV.

Secondly, the 8K upscaling, which is generally stunning, can occasionally be a little over-zealous in Standard mode, creating a little fizz in very complicated patterns and textures that are illuminated by bright highlights.

The final issue is the big one for me, though, because it's obvious enough to completely distract you from what you are watching. Essentially, whenever there is a particularly stark switch from a dark shot to a bright one, the screen darkens or brightens to make the most of it. This isn't an uncommon approach to dealing with this sort of content, but it's made distractingly obvious by the size of the swing and the fact that it's a bit sluggish.

If you've got the TV and want to see this last issue in action, or you have another TV and want to see if it behaves similarly, play the first chapter of It (assuming you can stomach it), where Georgie is talking to Pennywise in the storm drain, and see if you notice obvious brightness adjustments as the camera switches from looking into the storm drain to looking out of it.

An easy solution

Samsung QE75QN900D 8K TV

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

You can solve the issues outlined above by tweaking individual settings within the Standard preset, but this is a slight hassle and introduces some issues of its own. For example, dropping Local Dimming to Low fixes the backlight-related problems but makes the picture too dull overall.

A typical alternative fix would be to simply switch to Filmmaker Mode, and with many TVs this is our go-to. However, this heavily reduces the QN900D's brightness and upscaling, so while it's the TV's most authentic preset, it rather undermines the reasons for buying the QN900D in the first place.

Thankfully, Samsung has clearly put a lot of effort into its Movie preset this year, and on the QN900D it offers a near-perfect combination of the pop and sharpness of Standard and the balance and authenticity of Filmmaker Mode.

The colour balance is cinematically authentic, the image is bright and vibrant, those small bright objects on dark backgrounds are plenty piercing, the distracting switches in brightness are gone and, so long as you also up the Sharpness to about 10, you get that lovely 8K feel without any fizziness.

The QN900D's Movie mode is so good, it's a wonder it isn't the default picture preset, but at least you can switch to it easily and get the very best of this rather brilliant 8K TV.


Read the full Samsung QN900D review

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Tom Parsons

Tom Parsons has been writing about TV, AV and hi-fi products (not to mention plenty of other 'gadgets' and even cars) for over 15 years. He began his career as What Hi-Fi?'s Staff Writer and is now the TV and AV Editor. In between, he worked as Reviews Editor and then Deputy Editor at Stuff, and over the years has had his work featured in publications such as T3, The Telegraph and Louder. He's also appeared on BBC News, BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4 and Sky Swipe. In his spare time Tom is a runner and gamer.