Samsung Q80A vs Sony X90J - Mid-Range Showdown
So you're planning on getting awesome new TV this year, but you're having trouble finding the one that's best for you. Well if you're deciding between the Sony X90J or the Samsung Q80A, then keep watching to see our smackdown between the two. They're both upper mid-range TVs that go for about the same price. And today, we'll go through the pros and cons of each one, and show you how they compare for various uses.
Hi, I’m Brandon, a test developer at RTINGS.com, where we help you find the best product for your needs. In this video, we're going to be comparing two popular 2021 TVs, the Samsung Q80A and the Sony X90J, but we're going to do take a new approach this time around. We'll still
go through each TV's performance, but in the context of how they perform for various uses. These are the use cases you see in our reviews, so TV shows, sports, movies, and HDR. And of course, we'll also touch on gaming performance, and how they perform as a PC monitor. Also, stick around to the end, as we'll be answering more of your questions about these 2 TVs in our AskRTINGS section. As far as sizes go, we bought the 55 inch model for both TVs, so it's a pretty fair comparison. Both models are also available in other sizes as well. For the Samsung, our
results only apply to the 55, 65, and 75 inch models, because the other sizes use a VA panel. As for the Sony, our findings should apply to all available sizes. Heading in, both TVs boast impressive features and specs. The Samsung claims to offer high contrast thanks to it's local dimming, as well as impressive sound and a rich color volume.
As for the Sony, it claims to offer excellent picture quality and motion clarity, because of it's processor. As well deep contrast due it's local dimming feature. We'll see how these claims stack up against our testing, and against each other. The Q80A and the X90J don't look that much different from each other. They're basically two rectangles with thin borders. The main difference is in the stand.
The Q80A has a center-mounted stand, while the X90J has feet that are set near the edges of the TV. Both TVs are sturdy, and they leave enough room at the bottom to fit in a soundbar, so it pretty much comes down to personal preference. The Q80A is going to fit smaller tables, but ultimately, we don't think anyone will make a TV purchase based on the size of the TV stand. The backs are different. The Q80A's ports face the right side, and the Sony's face the left. It doesn't really matter which side they're on as long as they're easily accessible
when wall-mounted, and they both are. Speaking of wall-mounting, they can both be easily wall mounted thanks to their VESA mount. But, if you're just using the included stand, the Q80A's cable management is a bit cleaner because it routes all the cables inside the stand, whereas the X90J just gives you clips that latch onto the feet. From the side, the Q80A does have a much thinner profile, about .4 inch thinner than the X90J.
This means it's not going to stick out as much if you do decide to wall-mount it. As for build quality, the Q80A feels a bit sturdier because there's a lot of flex on the X90J's back, where you can pull the borders from the TV pretty easily. Although to be fair, these aren't things that would affect most people once the TV is installed. Our Q80A has a couple of pixels that turn purple in dark scenes; however, this is likely just on our unit and yours might not have any. Alright, so let's talk about the Smart features. The Q80A is runs on Tizen OS like all other
Samsung TVs, so not much has changed on that front. The X90J, unlike it's predecessor, is actually running Google TV now, which is basically Android TV with a new skin and a few extra features. Between the two, Tizen OS is easier to use in general, but both run just as smoothly. On the Sony, the Cinemotion setting is a bit buggy and turns itself on
and off, but hopefully that will be fixed in a firmware update. Both TVs have ads and suggested content on the home screen and app store. You can opt-out of personalized ads on the Sony, but not remove them completely.
When it comes to app selection, both the Google Play Store and Samsung's app store have tons to choose from, so you should be able to find the ones you need. Apps seem to run smoother on the X90J, but they're still not bad on the Q80A. Both TVs are cast-capable, which means you can cast content from a mobile device to the TV as long as they're connected to the same network. For the remote, not much has changed on Sony's side. There are a couple of new quick access buttons like Disney+, YouTube, and Prime Video. They took out Google Play Movies & TV buttons
since those are now deprecated. The Samsung's remote is roughly the same as previous years, but it no longer uses disposable batteries, and can be charged via the solar panel on the back, or with a USB-C cable. Both remotes can be used as a universal remote for other devices, and both have voice control. The Sony has Google Assistant and the Samsung offers Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Bixby if that's your thing.
If you happen to lose the remote or can't find it, you can still access basic functions on both TVs with the physical button, and they're both located in the center, below the branding. You can turn the TV On and Off, as well as change the channel, input, and volume. Now let's move on to the performance of each TV by usage. We'll see which one performs better in the various usages presented. We'll show you which aspects of the TV are considered important for each usage, and their performance will be shown in a graph like this. Let's start off with one of the most important usages for many of you, movies. Here, you mostly care about picture quality, and contrast ratio is a large contributor to that. A display's
contrast ratio is basically the difference between the blackest black and the whitest white, and it has a huge impact on picture quality. A TV with a high contrast ratio can produce deeper blacks and is better at reproducing dark colors. This matters more if you tend to watch movies in the dark. For contrast, the X90J wins, simply because it uses a VA
panel. VA panels generally have a much higher contrast ratio than the IPS-like panel on the Q80A, which uses an ADS panel. So it's expected that the Sony would be better. Another way of improving contrast is to use local dimming, which turns off the backlight in certain areas of the screen. Both TVs have a full-array local dimming feature, but Sony's implementation seems to work better here. There's less blooming around objects in dark scenes, and it doesn't crush blacks, so you still get a fair amount of details in dark scenes. This is not to say that the X90J's local dimming is perfect, it's just that the flaws are not as noticeable. As for Samsung's claim of deep blacks, we're assuming that
they're referring to the VA models or with local dimming enabled. But even with local dimming enabled, the perceived contrast on the Q80A is lower than the X90J. Another important aspect for movie usage is black uniformity, which applies to dark room viewing, and can be affected by the panel lottery. If you've ever wondered what bad
black uniformity looks like, the Q80A is a good example. To be fair, this is actually typical of IPS-like panels, another reason they're not as ideal for watching content in the dark. The X90J's uniformity is significantly better. There's still a bit of clouding and some blooming around the test cross with local dimming on, but it's not overly distracting like on the Q80A. Again, uniformity varies between units, so yours might be different. So overall, the X90J is a better TV for movies because of the belter contrast, local dimming and black uniformity. Ok, so we covered movies, but what about HDR movies and content. Just like when watching SDR movies, contrast and local dimming are very important, and we've established that the Sony is better in both aspects. There are also other factors that contribute to
a better HDR experience, such as the color gamut and HDR brightness. Color gamut is how vibrant and saturated the colors look on the TV. In terms of coverage, the Q80A edges out the X90J just by a hair. Some of you may have seen in our X90J review that it doesn't meet
our threshold to be considered a wide color gamut, but only barely and the difference would be hard to notice. The Sony actually edges out the Samsung in terms of color volume, which looks at color preproduction at different brightness levels, thanks to it's higher contrast ratio As for brightness HDR, the Q80A is the winner here. It gets brighter overall, which means you get brighter highlights that can really pop. The X90J is not far behind and very respectable though. Overall, watching movies in HDR will still be preferred on the X90J because of the much higher contrast ratio and less distracting local dimming.
Ok, now let's see how these two stack up for watching TV shows. Here, we focus primarily on what it's like to use a TV in the daylight in a wide open room. Lets begin with the SDR brightness, which is important if you need the screen to get bright enough to combat glare. If you only watch in a dark room, then this doesn't matter as much. Overall, both TVs get bright enough for most lighting conditions. But the Q80A is the brighter of the two and provide better visibility in a bright environment. Also important for daytime viewing is the reflection handling. This is something that's
situational, so it depends entirely on the placement of your TV and lighting conditions. If you have a window with no curtains or blinds, or a bright light directly opposite the TV, then this matters. Overall, they're pretty similar in how they handle reflections, but the Q80A is again a bit better. You can see in the picture that the reflected light is not as prominent. It's still there, just not as much as on the X90J. Now, let's check out the viewing angles, which is how accurate the picture is when viewing the TV from the side. This can be important if you have a wide seating area, or say, you
have a stationary bike in the corner and you want to watch TV while exercising. Here, the Samsung clearly outclasses the Sony, as the image remains much more accurate from the side. This is one of the main benefits of the ADS panel in the Q80A, and is a known weakness of VA panels, like the one found in the X90J. That said, if you only watch TV from directly in front, then this is not important, but if you often watch at an angle, the Q80A is better. So overall, the Q80A is a better TV for daytime TV shows because it combats glare better, and has wider viewing angles. The next category is sports. For daytime sports viewing with friends and family, you care
about many of the same things you would for TV shows. So brightness, reflection handling, and viewing angles, and we've determined the Q80A is the better pick for that. But also important for sports are aspects like gray uniformity and response time, so let's jump into those. Gray uniformity is somewhat similar to black uniformity in that it can be affected by the panel lottery, so it varies from one unit to another. Uniformity is actually very similar on both TVs in that they both have corners and edges that look darker, but the Q80A has more dirty screen effect, or DSE, in the middle. DSE can be pretty distracting when watching sports, especially on big surfaces of a uniform color, like an ice rink. The X90J fares a
bit better in this regard, but again, your experience may vary. If watching sports, there's going to be a lot of fast motion screen, so you want a TV with low motion blur. A major contributor to motion blur is the response time, which is the time that it takes for a pixel to change from one color to another. A slow response time will result in a blurry trail behind fast moving objects, known as ghosting. They
both have pretty good response times, so there will minimal ghosting during fast movement. Between these two, the X90J performs better, but only slightly and the difference isn't really noticeable. So Just like with TV Shows, the Samsung Q80A is the better choice for sports, thanks to it's wider viewing angles and better performance at combating glare. By the way, before we get into the gaming performance of these TVs, if you enjoy our content please make sure you subscribe to our channel, and check out our website for the full review and more! By subscribing, you're helping us reach a wider audience and in turn helping you find the best products for your needs! Also, visit the product Deal Page on our website, linked below. You'll find all available sizes
from our affiliates presented in a convenient way, along with a nifty price tracker. Now let's see how these two match up in the realm of gaming. There are a couple factors that make a TV good for gaming, and one of the most important ones is input lag. This is the time between performing an action on your mouse, keyboard, or controller and seeing it on screen. You want the input lag to be as low as possible for a smooth and responsive gaming experience. The Q80A is faster across the board, regardless of which resolution
in you're in. So gaming may feel a bit snappier on the Samsung, although it would be hard to notice a difference between the two. Along with having low input lag, a fast response time is important to keep motion blur low so games don't look smeary when the action heats up. As we discussed earlier, these two TVs perform similarly with the Sony having a slight edge. Another feature you want to look for in a gaming TV is variable refresh rate, which reduces screen tearing when gaming. As of now, only the Q80A has VRR support,
and it works well. Sony advertises VRR support on the X90J, but it's not available yet and will only come in a firmware update. Maybe. Someday. We are still waiting for VRR support for the X90J's predecessor, the X900H. If you have or plan on getting a PS5 or Xbox Series X, there's a couple of things you need to know about. Both TVs have a 120Hz refresh rate and HDMI 2.1 support, but the Q80A has better compatibility overall with both consoles. The main thing to know is that the X90J can't display a 4k @ 120Hz signal in Dolby Vision, so you have to choose between playing at a high refresh rate or in Dolby Vision. And on the Q80A, it actually doesn't support Dolby
Vision at all, only HDR10+, so it won't have compatibility with Dolby Vision games on the Xbox. So between these two, it seems like the Samsung is the better choice for gamers, thanks to it's lower input lag, VRR support, and better compatibility with the new consoles. However, it's not that easy, because many gamers may prefer picture quality over raw performance, and the Sony offers much better contrast and dark room viewing. Let's take a closer look with the HDR gaming performance. HDR Gaming is quickly becoming more mainstream, so how do these TVs compare in this regard? Obviously, the same rules apply here as for gaming in general. You want low input lag, fast response times, a high refresh rate, and VRR support, which we just established the Q80A is better in these aspects. For the HDR part of HDR gaming, you also want a high
contrast ratio, local dimming, a wide color gamut, and a high peak brightness. In this way, the X90J is much better thanks to it's higher contrast ratio and better local dimming. Some TVs may also take a hit to picture quality when in game mode. The X90J's local dimming in and out of game mode is nearly identical, but on the Q80A it's worst because it lights up more zones and makes the whole screen look more gray. The Q80A still gets brighter than
the X90J, but there's some frame dimming in game mode in the 2% windows. This means that small objects in dark scenes appear much dimmer, which some people don't like. So as for which is better for gaming, it's a tough call. It depends on what you value. The Samsung Q80A will offer a smoother experience thanks to the lower input lag and VRR support, but the Sony X90J will have a better looking picture because of the higher contrast.
Lastly, let's see how well these two work as a PC Monitor. If you're planning on using the TV as a PC monitor, one of the most important thing is viewing angle. The Q80A wins this round, mainly because it has an ADS panel, which is a type of IPS panel. This means the image remains accurate at the sides when sitting up close. So, let's say you sit in front of the TV at the same distance you would a monitor. At this distance, you're essentially looking
at the sides at an sharp angle. If you're on a TV that has narrow viewing angles like the X90J, the sides look inaccurate and drastically different from the center of the screen. So, the Q80A is better in this regard.
If you're going to be using the TV with a mouse and keyboard, then you want it to feel responsive to your inputs, just like with games. As we discussed earlier, the Q80A is slightly better here, so it may feel a bit snappier between the two. And if you plan on playing games, response is again important, and these two TVs have similarly good performance. The last thing we're going to talk about for PC monitor use is supported resolution. For general desktop use, most of you are likely to run the desktop at the native resolution, and play with the scaling as needed. It matters more for some situations, like if your graphics
card can't maintain a playable frame rate at 4k when gaming, and you want to drop the resolution to lighten the load on the GPU. For that, the Samsung is better because it supports 1440p natively, whereas the Sony can only do 1440p at 60Hz, and that's only if you force a custom resolution. For chroma subsampling, they're the same. Both TVs support chroma 4:4:4 at all natively supported resolutions, except for 1440p, so text should look good. So between the two, the Samsung will be the better pick as a PC monitor because of it's wider viewing angles, VRR support, and better support for alternative resolutions. Before we get to our final verdict, let's just take a look at mixed usage score, which is the combination of all the various usages in this breakdown. This is what we think most people use their TVs for, but it might be completely different for you, so take this with a grain of salt. Overall, we score the X90J an 8.4, and the Q80A a 7.8. The main
differences here mostly come down to panel technology. The Sony has much better contrast thanks to it's VA panel, whereas the Samsung has wider viewing angles because of it's ADS panel. But we suspect most people are willing to sacrifice viewing angles for contrast when it comes to how they use their TV.
So, let's break this down. If you mainly watch movies, whether it's in SDR or HDR, the Sony X90J is the winner. The X90J's main advantage is that it has a much better contrast ratio, local dimming, and black uniformity, which are among the most important aspects of picture quality and dark room performance. Next, if you watch TV shows or sports, go with the Samsung Q80A, but the X90J is good too if you don't need wide viewing angles for your particular setup. For PC use, the Q80A is preferable. It has lower input lag, it supports 1440p natively, and the wider viewing angles means you can sit up close without losing image accuracy at the sides. And finally, for gaming and HDR gaming, it depends. The
Q80A supports VRR right now, as opposed to a vague promise from Sony to implement VRR support in the future. Also, it has better compatibility with the new consoles. The downside is that you lose the X90J's better dark room performance. The X90J is good for gaming too, as long as you're willing to wait for VRR support. Now, it's time for our new #AskRTINGS section where we answer your questions pertaining to those two TVs. In this case, we were curious to know what questions you had regarding the Samsung Q80A and the Sony X90J. Let's take a look at some of them now:
First, We had a couple of you ask why compare these two TVs, since they are obviously using different panels and geared towards different use cases. Well, we wanted to make this comparison because we expect these two TVs to be quite popular, and they're nearly identical in price. So it can be helpful to show those who may not be as knowledgeable on panel technologies, what the strengths of weaknesses of each TV is.
A couple of you also wanted to know more about how the local dimming compares on these two TVs. It's a good question, since the Q80A is using an ADS panel with a lower native contrast, but with 50 zones. Whereas the X90J is using a VA panel with a higher native contrast, but with only 24 zones. It can be hard to quantify how good the local dimming is by just counting the number of zones, as it also heavily depends on the algorithm driving those zones and the native contrast of the panel. Because of this, we subjectively score the local dimming performance of each TV after watching a variety of content. We just recently
started posting videos showing how the TVs local dimming performs with realistic dark scene content. You can see how the two compare by watching the video on our website. In this case, we scored the X90J higher than the Q80A for a variety of reasons. You can see in the fight scene here, there's much more noticeable blooming around his body on the Q80A than on the X90J. Also, you can see in the fireworks scene, there's much more blooming around them on the Q80A, despite it having more zones. The X90J has larger zones, but they aren't as aggressive in this case, so the firework scene looks good and fairly distraction free unlike the Q80A Lastly, saeedmo92 from Instagram asks, "" Is there a comparison b/w Android TV OS and other ones like WebOS or others on your website? Why yes, there is. And you can check it out here, or linked below. So that's it! What do you think of the Samsung Q80A and the Sony X90J? And what do you think of our new video format? Let us know in the comments below.
Also, we're a growing company, and are expanding into other product categories. As a result, we are currently hiring in our offices in Montreal for various positions. So, if you want to help people find the best product for their needs, have a look at the careers page on our website. So that's it! Thank you for watching and see you next time.