Vizio H1 OLED and Samsung Q90T QLED impressions

Discussion in 'Technology' started by AKS, Nov 30, 2020.

  1. I have the curious experience of setting up and calibrating both my new Vizio OLED and a relative's flagship QLED yesterday. I set up 3 TVs last weekend.

    Vizio H1 OLED 55"
    Most of the attention I've seen directed towards this television pertains to the recent sale for $899 at Best Buy and the HDMI 2.1 features and FreeSync currently being bugged. I don't even have a console or graphics card that can use them, so I'm not terribly upset about this right now. Vizio has publicly stated that they are working on firmware updates to address these problems, suggesting that it's eventually going to happen. Most of the setup wasn't too bad, although the one thing that really irritated me was the back panel designed for better cable management but executed quite poorly. You have to remove panel coverings that twist and contort in a manner that gives you the feeling you are about to break something very expensive similar to trying to cram a new graphics card into a motherboard. You also have to plug the cables up rather than towards the panel, which is not pleasant for the fingers or wrist. The out of the box calibration looks quite bad, so I'd recommend addressing this right away. After tweaking the settings, it looked shockingly similar to LGs in image quality in most respects.

    The only disappointing aspect is the brightness is lower than I expected and is similar to LG's B-series OLEDs, which is currently at BX. I've read that this TV is a more susceptible to image retention than the other new OLEDs on the market, so I'm going to be cautious in my viewing and gaming habits until I've broken this in for awhile at lower brightness and run the pixel refresher routinely. The sound quality is pretty lousy, but Best Buy also happened to be running a substantial sale on the high end soundbar system that is designed to be used with this TV, so I bought that and shouldn't have any worries on that front other than how to cat-proof it. I've seen a lot of criticism about Vizio's SmartCast operating system, and I have to assume that was of older versions of it because I really don't see any major issues with it other than including advertisements you can't opt out of (I do hate that). SmartCast is otherwise pretty easy to use. I'd say it's maybe 80% to 90% as good as webOS, just a bit slower and with ads I can't get rid of. I didn't have any problem watching Netflix, Disney+, or whatever, and it shows the specs that I'm watching at a given resolution with Dolby Vision or whatever. I've tried a few games with a PS4 Pro, and Ghost of Tsushima and Grand Turismo Sport look beautiful in 1800 checkerboard and HDR. Borderlands 3 is decidedly less breathtaking, but that is due to the developer, not the television. Overall I think it was a steal for $900. The image quality is extremely close to LG, and I should have the audio issues addressed by Friday when the Elevate is supposed to arrive at a local Best Buy for me to pick up.

    Samsung Q90T QLED 55"
    I selected this particular television for an elderly relative because she has begun to have issues with macular degeneration and has difficulty seeing with dark images. QLEDs have no problem blasting out brightness. I spent a bit of time tweaking the settings further, but it looked pretty good. It has a weird adaptive system I turned off and tweaked it manually. We watched the latest issue of The Mandalorian to test it out, and she said she could see it much better than on her antiquated plasma it replaced. The image quality was very impressive, and the exceptional brightness really makes the HDR highlights stand out. Samsung has a pretty solid reputation for quality, so I am hopeful it doesn't give her any problems. This QLED handled blacks and detail better than I expected, but on the other hand this TV is normally around $1700 to $1800, not $1300 when I bought it on a massive sale. I won't disclose spoilers about the latest Mandalorian episode, but I'll just say it was very well suited for testing highlights and detail. I don't like that this television does not include Dolby Vision, but it still looked quite impressive overall.

    The most significant negatives are the remote and operating system, which I found to both be awful. I had read this was the favorite TV OS of a lot of people. They must be Apple fans. There are only a few buttons and a lot of weird shit like Ambient Mode I had difficulty even exiting. I thought I was going to break the remote in half trying to get it open to insert the batteries. It has a bizarre design that requires you to slide half of it off instead of an obvious compartment for batteries. It was surprisingly difficult to open, and comments I read online expressed similar frustrations, including a few that even considered returning the TV due to getting so frustrated with the remote. The OS was much harder to navigate than expected and required me to create a Samsung account and log in to even use the YouTube app. Ridiculous. I'm going to have to spend more time messing around with this OS before I can really teach the new owner how to use it. Samsung has been the market leader in TVs for awhile, so I'm assuming I'm missing something regarding the OS, which quite a few people are using. I have zero complaints about how it looks playing a movie or TV series, which is the most important thing, but I can't say it's been a pleasure to operate it so far. I didn't have an opportunity to try any games on it, but I've read Samsung's QLEDs are good for gaming. I plugged in my old PS4, and it recognized it as a PlayStation immediately.