I tested Samsung’s QN85B Neo QLED 4K TV, and it’s not pulling me away from OLED-Newshubweek

Samsung QN85B in living room
Written by Arindam

There’s always a gap between ‘in theory’ and ‘in practice’ – everyone understands this. So it’s not damning the technology to point out there’s a gap between the theoretical advantages of mini-LED technology and the way it performs in practice – or, to be specific, there’s a gap between what the Samsung QN85B I’ve been testing promises, and what it delivers.

I wrote a whole guide on what mini-LED is, but for the ‘TL;DR’ among us, let’s have a little overview. Mini-LED uses much smaller LEDs than is usual for the backlighting behind an LCD TV screen. Because they’re much smaller, there can be many more of them and, consequently, many more individual dimming ‘zones’ that can be switched on or off as the on-screen content requires. So, in theory, the overall brightness of the panel can be improved, and the areas where it needs to dim can be more precise.

And in practice, the QN85B makes good on the theory in some ways. Certainly it’s much brighter than the best OLED TVs it’s meant to be usurping – brighter even than LG’s vaunted ‘EX’ panels and the QD-OLED screen used on the Samsung S95B. And there’s no arguing with the relative accuracy or responsiveness of the backlighting when you compare it to a (suddenly antiquated) screen that’s backlit by LEDs of more usual size. 

Samsung QN85B in living room

(Image credit: Samsung)

And though it doesn’t achieve the areas of almost spooky slimness that OLED TVs are capable of, Samsung has managed to make the QN85B an extremely svelte and entirely consistent 27mm thick, which means it’s a more realistic proposition for wall-hanging than an OLED alternative that balloons from 6mm at the top to 43mm at the bottom because it’s got to keep its electronic doodads somewhere.

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