Labs Product Review: Samsung S90C 55 OLED Smart TV

Samsung S90C 55 OLED Smart TV

by Joe Lonergan

Product Description
The Samsung S90 C 55 OLED smart TV is a 4K OLED smart TV, with a neural quantum processor, anti-reflection screen, and laser slim design to help blend in with your environment. It has Dolby Atmos sound and can be linked with the Samsung Q symphony sound bar if you want even better sound. It has 4 HDMI ports. It is a smart TV built on a platform called Tizen, which has accessibility options available such as voice guidance and Zoom.

The Smart TV allows you to download all your favourite streaming platforms such as Disney Plus, Netflix, Apple TV Plus and Amazon Prime, and more. It has the Smart Things app which helps you control your smart home from your TV. It comes with Two remote controls, a mini remote that is solar powered and that has shortcuts for most used apps and a bigger remote with many more buttons and options. The TV has access to The Alexa virtual assistant, or the Samsung-driven built-in virtual assistant called Bixby So you can control it with your voice. The TV is 55 inches in size and comes in other sizes up to 77 inches. The screen is very bright and has a great contrast of colours and can be adjusted to suit your viewing needs.

What did I like?
When I set it up first, I liked the slim look of the TV even though it was 55 inches it suited the size of an average sitting room. The setup was OK for me as I had a Samsung account already and with a little help from sighted assistance, I was able to scan the QR code on the screen to link to my account. Then I had to wait a while for the settings to sync and the TV to install an update. After that, I held down the long button in the middle of the mini remote to bring up the accessibility menu. The first option was voice Guidance, so I turned it on.

Then I was able to discover the TV with the remote as voice guidance was reading the menus out to me. I also discovered the Mic button on the top right of the remote, so I was able to test that too. I liked the simple solar cell remote and in the accessibility settings there was a section called learn remote, this was very handy as I could learn the remote by pressing a button and then hear it being called back to me. The remote is solar-powered, but if it goes dead it needs to be recharged with a USB-C cable.

I could also operate the TV hands-free with voice commands, I could turn up and down the volume, turn the TV on and off, and ask it to play a video on YouTube all with a voice command. You can download hundreds of apps from the app store, but not all of these are accessible with voice guidance, so it is a bit hit-and-miss. Most of the popular streaming apps like Netflix and Apple TV Plus are quite good with voice guidance with some slight lag but in general, they are very useable. I liked having 4 HDMI connections as this allowed me to connect multiple devices like my Firestick, Apple TV, and Sky Q box.

What didn’t I like?
I did not like the fact that Audio description was disabled in the accessibility menu and there did not seem to be a way to enable it. So, I could not get audio description to work for now on the Saorview channels (Ireland Free to Air Offering). Inside apps like Netflix and Apple TV Plus, I was able to turn on audio description separately so that was no problem.

Accessibility from a low-vision perspective
There are many options for someone with low vision to use such as zoom menus and text, magnifier, high contrast, and invert colours. The sharpness of the picture is very good, and it is a good option for someone with low vision to browse photos through their Apple TV or other platform such as Google Photos which you could download onto the TV. There is also an ambient mode which you can set to show Art or photos when the TV is not in use.

Accessibility from a no-vision perspective
It has Voice Guidance so you can navigate the TV menus successfully and, in most cases, this will read the information inside the apps as well. You also have the option to use Alexa or Bixby to launch apps and perform other actions with the TV such as lowering and higher the volume, playing music, and even asking about the weather and seeing or hearing it appear on the screen.

Also, there is an option to have the screen off while still listening to the TV, this is in the accessibility menu and is similar to the screen curtain on your iPhone. I mentioned earlier that the audio description is disabled in the accessibility menu for some reason but hopefully, this will be fixed as the TV gets regular updates. Fortunately, most apps have the option to turn on audio description inside the playback menu.

€1,399 from various retailers.

Learning curve
The TV has a medium learning curve, it has some helpful options in the accessibility menu to help you learn the remote and a learn the menu section. I thought this was really good.

For whom would I recommend this product?
I would recommend this TV for anyone upgrading their TV to a smart TV or for someone looking for a TV with really good picture quality and good sound. It is suitable for both low-vision and blind users due to the TV’s many accessibility options.

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