The Samsung Samsung QN85C TV is one of the most affordable models by 55-inch Mini LED TV standards. One troubling fact is that the Samsung QN85C uses an IPS-type LCD panel rather than the VA panels that Samsung typically uses on its premium TVs.
This circumstance raises one of the important questions. Is Samsung’s new Mini LED technology good enough to overcome the usual drawbacks of IPS technology? Should I buy Samsung QN85C?
Samsung QN85C review
Although the Samsung 55QN85C TV is not as thin as Samsung QD-OLED TVs , it is still much thinner than you would expect from a TV that uses mini-LED direct backlighting. The back part sticks out only a little in comparison with the central part.
So the TV still has the same design that Samsung’s flagship LED TVs have for generations. The build quality is also impressive. The TV has a shiny silver metal frame and a heavy stand. Such a stand should indicate that the TV will not tip over at the slightest touch.
The Samsung QN85C TV comes with two remote controls. One of them resembles a conventional remote control with many buttons. The other remote is sleeker, with fewer buttons and a built-in voice mic. This second smart remote is solar powered, eliminating the need for any other batteries.
Mini LED backlight
QE55QN85C TV uses Mini LED backlight. The key to this backlight is that illuminating the screen with much smaller LEDs than conventional LED TVs allows greater control of contrast. This is especially effective when Mini LED is combined with the advanced FALD local dimming system .
The 55QN85C has just over 500 dimming zones, which is really impressive for a 55-inch TV at a relatively low price. The number of zones can be further increased with the Samsung Shape-Adaptive Light Control (SLC) feature. This system is able to intelligently adjust how light interacts with each zone.
This adjustment potentially improves the brightness of the peak light points while reducing so-called backlight blur. This feature has shown impressive results in Samsung’s latest higher-end Mini LED TVs. It remains to be hoped that everything will also work well on the basis of IPS.
Neural Quantum Processor 4K
The Neural Quantum Processor 4K chip that drives the local dimming and SLC systems also draws on the collective know-how of numerous neural networks. This allows you to optimize images of any type.
The processor applies adjustments to a huge range of different picture elements in real time. In addition, the QN85C has both a fairly accurate Cinema mode preset and a very accurate Filmmaker mode preset .
HDR support on the Samsung 55QN85C TV covers HDR10, HLG and HDR10+ Adaptive. That’s not bad, but it’s disappointing that Samsung is still dropping support for the popular Dolby Vision format. Content encoded in Dolby Vision will simply play back in HDR10 without the additional frame-by-frame image data provided by Dolby Vision.
The smart features of the QN85C are a mixed bag. The amount of content that the Tizen 7.0 based system delivers is impeccable. All popular streaming services are supported. Tizen includes applications for all major terrestrial broadcasters.
The more and more informative and well-chosen list of Samsung TV Plus streaming channels is getting even more interesting. There is also excellent voice control support with multiple voice platforms available. In addition, the TV is easier to connect to external smart/network devices. The disadvantages are the lack of an application for Freeview Play.
The sound in the 55QN85C is much better than in many models in Samsung’s current TV lineup. The TV is equipped with a version of the Samsung Object Tracking Sound audio feature, which in this model delivers a maximum output of 60 watts through six speakers, including upward facing speakers for a height effect.
So if a speeding object moves along the screen or up/down the screen, the sound will reflect its movement. The device has OTS mode, Dolby Atmos and Samsung Q-Symphony. The latter allows you to combine the speakers in your TV with the speakers in a compatible Samsung soundbar for a larger soundstage.
The power of sound combines forces with impressive clarity and tracking effects, while creating a clear and engaging soundstage. The speakers are almost immune to hum and distortion when playing heavy bass.
In most cases, the Samsung QN85C sound system is a competent and even rather elegant “audio performer”, making it a better choice than some of the cheap Samsung soundbars.
How well does the Samsung 55QN85C with Mini LED plus local dimming work with an IPS panel? In short: very good. This time around, there’s an IPS panel TV that handles contrast issues well enough to show dark scenes that actually look convincing and appealing.
Key to this is the fact that black levels, which we haven’t seen before on any IPS TV, are extraordinarily good. It does not include black levels to compete with OLED TVs or last year’s Samsung QN90B and QN95B models . However, these levels are good enough to make dark scenes not only watchable, but actually enjoyable.
What’s more, the depth of black levels makes it hard to believe that you’re viewing an image on an IPS panel. It should also be added that the Samsung 55QN85C TV is very bright. Content with a wide dynamic range is reproduced with sufficient brightness and intensity.
This is what makes HDR content special, adding extra sparkle and dimension to vibrant colors and creating a more accurate representation of the real world in both bright artificial light and natural light. The QN85C TV series continues Samsung’s reputation for delivering some of the sharpest 4K images.
The display shows every detail and texture down to the pixel. Samsung’s latest AI processor also does a great job of converting HD sources to 4K, adding texture and depth without making the edges of objects look grainy or overly hard.
Added to this is the 55QN85C’s considerable talent as a responsive and dynamic gaming monitor. In other words, the TV does more than enough to justify its price tag and rewrite the IPS TV rulebook. Still, the picture issues are enough to give this TV a badge of quality in the picture area.
Twinkling stars, street lights against the night sky, candles on a distant dark window sill – all these mini-flares can look pretty flat in HDR images. And that’s because the QN85C dims the bright elements quite a bit in these scenes to stop the backlight from blowing out.
That being said, it should be noted that muting small bright highlights is less distracting than blooming and uneven screen. But that doesn’t change the fact that the TV reduces the peak bright highlights of HDR images. The anti-bloom system also sometimes makes adjustments to the brightness, which can be seen in real time.
Also, footage containing a rich mix of bright and dark content can appear slightly washed out and flat as the screen struggles to balance keeping brightness and black levels at the same time. Some shadow detail may sometimes be lost in very dark areas of an image, especially when viewed in Standard and Dynamic modes.
Activating Game Mode results in slightly more backlighting than other modes. Apparently the TV is trying to scale down the local dimming system to create images faster. And the last. While the 55QN85C’s images usually appear very sharp, they can soften a bit when dealing with scenes that show fast movement.
All of the QN85C’s connections are built into the TV, rather than one of the external One Connect boxes found on some of Samsung’s flagship TVs. The patch panel has an optical audio output, two USB ports, an Ethernet network port, antenna inputs, a CI+ slot, and Bluetooth BT5.2 and Wi-Fi5 wireless connections. All four HDMI ports are equipped with the full range of HDMI 2.1 features.
The latter means gamers can enjoy 4K resolution graphics at 120Hz frame rates, as well as VRR and ALLM. There is also a feature that automatically switches the TV to the fastest responsive game mode when a game source is detected. This game mode delivers an ultra-fast 10ms response time, one of the best the TV world has to offer.
The bright, colorful and surprisingly high contrast image quality of the mini-LEDs makes the QN85C a strong all-rounder for its price. Samsung QE55QN85C pleasantly surprises not only in this respect.
The quality of the audio shows that Samsung can actually play audio quite well even from a thin screen. At the moment, the QN85C series is a strong competitor among Mini LED TVs at a relatively low price.