Sound controls

2022 Samsung Neo QLED TVs in Singapore, promising better sound and easier interface

Samsung’s new Neo QLED TVs for 2022 are now available in Singapore, promising better Dolby Atmos sound and a revamped interface for easier interaction.

The high-end TVs, unveiled online about a month ago, are part of a range of a few dozen models expected to hit stores this year.

This year’s flagship model, for Singapore at least, is the 85-inch QN900B 8K TV which costs $19,999. A 75 inch costs $13,999 while a 65-inch model goes for $9,999.

For that price, Samsung is launching its new Q990B soundbar, which the Korean manufacturer claims will bring movies and TV shows to life with more immersive sound.

The main speakers in the new Neo QLED 8K range, which include the QN900B and the less expensive QN800B (S$8,299 to S$10,999) are among them.

These speakers mimic the ceiling speakers that a “real” or ideal Atmos setup will need, pulling sound upwards and seeking to bounce it from the ceiling to your ears.

During the media demos yesterday, the audio was enveloping, in the sense that it wasn’t just on a 2D plane. There was a 3D feel to things.

The question that can be asked is how well the audio is integrated on the different channels. Do they feel cohesive or piecemeal? There, it’s hard to say, because yesterday I didn’t have time to listen carefully.

That said, the surround sound improvements of TV-plus-soundbar setups have been very impressive in recent years. For small apartments in Singapore, they seem like the perfect setup without the need for lots of cables and amplifiers, for example.

The other big new thing from Samsung’s launch is the new Smart Hub interface on the new TVs. Now the look is much more like Netflix and other streaming services, with rows of TV shows and movies lined up for every app you have on the TV.

This replaces the old interface that tries to get out of the way and only shows small previews of the shows you’re browsing. With the new Smart Hub, you’ll see a whole catalog of shows from all your streaming apps on the entire screen.

Better? Yes, probably, since you get a lot more information on the big screen. This means easier navigation, especially for users unfamiliar with a smart TV.

So far, we haven’t talked about image quality yet. The good news is that the 2022 Neo QLED TVs promise to improve on the breakthrough from last year’s much-loved versions.

That means cramming even more tiny (or mini) LEDs into a backlit panel that allows for precise control and improves picture quality so much it’s approaching OLED TVs.

To speed things up even further, Samsung is using a new Neural Quantum 8K processor to run its so-called Real Depth Enhancer, which scans the screen and enhances an object while keeping the background unprocessed to make the object stand out.

For people connecting their game consoles and PCs to their TVs, Samsung’s high-end lineup will feature four HDMI 2.1 ports, with support for refresh rates up to 144Hz for fast-paced action.

It all sounds like an exciting lineup, although it’s interesting that Samsung didn’t show off its Quantum Dot-OLED (QD-OLED) TV, the S95B, which marks the company’s return to OLED TV technology after having given up on it years ago. It was due to be released in the United States this month.