For its 2018 TV lineup, Samsung has thrown in as many new options into its new TVs as attainable, from its Bixby voice assistant to SmartThings IoT connectivity, to a smartphone-based TV setup that supposedly takes lower than a minute.
However connectivity is not all this TV can do, clearly, and whether or not or not you need your TV to connect with your good fridge or your smartphone, that you must know the way this newest QLED lineup stacks up towards Samsung’s OLED competitors, and the way the 4 latest fashions – Q9FN, Q8FN, Q7FN and Q6FN – evaluate by way of value, options and processing energy.
The Q8FN is the runner up by way of energy to the Q9FN, however whereas the Q9 has extra superior techniques for bettering distinction, black ranges and HDR streaming, the Q8 has many of the flagship set’s options at a significantly diminished value.
However, with one or two key exceptions, the Q7FN would not lag too far behind the Q8, and each the Q9 and Q7 incorporate a few of Samsung’s newest design tips, whereas the Q8 appears to be like and feels extra conventional.
Must you break open your pockets for Samsung’s highest-end set, or will the Q8FN suit your wants? We’re right here that will help you resolve.
Value and availability
The Q8FN will promote in three sizes: 75-inch, 65-inch and 55-inch. At present, solely the 65” set is on sale, and it’s priced at $2999 (about £2,200, $AU4000). There’s no phrase but on when the opposite two sizes will go on sale, or for what value.
Sadly for our European readers, the Q8FN is North America-exclusive. As a substitute, Samsung is releasing a Q8CN mannequin completely in Europe, with similar specs to the Q8FN apart from its curved body and inferior edge LED lighting (see beneath).
For comparability, the Q9FN 65-inch costs in at $three,799 (about £2,800, AU$four,900), and the Q7FN 65-inch sells for $2,599 (about £1,900, AU$three,300).
Like final yr’s units, Samsung’s QLEDs makes use of Quantum Dot know-how that’s technically extra “LED” than “QLED”. They’re built-in with nano-sized crystal semiconductor particles that ought to theoretically emit their very own mild (like OLED pixels), however as a substitute transmit colours through an LED backlight.
Samsung’s Ambient mode turns this shortcut into a bonus. This cool new function lets your TV mix into the wall behind it, in addition to show smartphone updates or play music, with out consuming full vitality ranges. OLEDs can’t imitate Ambient mode as a result of their pixels would burn-in the patterns of your wall, whereas quantum dots, which don’t produce their very own mild, don’t endure this defect.
The Q8’s has an impressively skinny bezel in comparison with most TVs, which helps it mix into your decor. Although they did select silver for the body and stand shade, which regarded a bit extra flashy and futuristic in comparison with the deep black body of the Q9.
In truth, by way of design, the Q8 doesn’t appear to totally embrace the refined Ambient theme of 2018 in the way in which that the Q7 and Q9 do. Each of those units use Samsung’s One Mount system, which supplies your TV interchangeable and simply detachable stands – together with one which makes your TV appear to be a canvas on an easel – and allows you to mount your TV on the wall simply. The Q8 has a extra conventional four-legged stand.
The Q9 and Q7 even have an “Invisible Connection” cable that carries all energy, video and audio information in a single skinny, nondescript 15-meter twine, making it straightforward to place your TV wherever. For the Q8, you plug them in via the stand, hiding their look considerably. You’ll simply want to stay near the facility outlet.
So the Q8 could also be finest fitted to individuals snug with simply plopping their TV on their leisure heart, and who care extra about its spectacular upgrades on final yr’s QLEDs.
Samsung’s 2018 QLED interface appears to be like lots just like the Eden system from final yr’s QLEDs, with a customizable interface of blocky app icons. The important thing distinction is that the brand new system’s Common Information teams collectively dwell and on-demand content material out of your cable and apps into one searchable interface. Look within the Comedy part, and you may discover Netflix and Amazon exclusives side-by-side as comparable suggestions.
The Q8FN comes with 4 HDMI ports and three USB ports together with ethernet, which ought to meet hardcore avid gamers’ wants. And as a cool perk for PC avid gamers, the 2018 QLED line comes inbuilt with Steam Link, so you possibly can solid your library to your TV with out having to purchase something.
You too can solid content material out of your smartphone to your Q8 when you’ve got a Samsung machine – unique Samsung-device options was a serious theme of the occasion.
Final yr’s TVs had a voice assistant, however it was restricted to controlling your TV with easy phrases. Now, by incorporating Bixby, your Q8 can reply questions like a wise speaker, besides it will possibly additionally pair its solutions with graphics. Your Q8 also can function a wise house hub in your linked merchandise; in Ambient mode, you possibly can pull up notifications from all of your SmartThings gadgets utilizing their new app, discovered on each Android and iOS.
In case you have the app downloaded whenever you take your Q8 out of the field, it can sync with the app and log into your Wi-fi community with out you having to enter a password. Then, it’ll troll your telephone apps and spotlight those it has accessible for obtain; select to obtain Netflix, for instance, and it’ll import your login data out of your telephone so you might have prompt entry.
The Q8FN has a 3840 x 2160 decision, and it helps Movement Fee 240, Samsung’s fancy method of claiming a local 120Hz refresh fee. Plus its new Q Engine will take your non-4K content material and push it as much as UHD ranges, and is able to upscaling HDR10 streams to HDR10+ high quality in actual time.
Like final yr’s Samsung Q8C QLED, the Q8FN reaches 1500 nits of brightness. However they’ve upgraded from bottom-edge LED lighting to direct backlight LEDs, which permits for full-array native dimming and improves deep black shade efficiency.
One of many greatest complaints we had concerning the outdated QLED TVs was that in low-light settings, the sting lighting would trigger backlight clouding and grey banding. However at the hours of darkness convention corridor, the HDR10+ content material regarded flawlessly uniform.
One other concern was that except you have been instantly dealing with the TV, colours would lose their distinction as a result of the display was too reflective. Perhaps Samsung learn our opinions, as a result of the Q8FN has a brand new anti-reflective “Extremely Black Elite” display. Even standing at 45-degree angles, there wasn’t a noticeable drop in shade high quality.
We didn’t get one of the best take a look at how the Q8 handles darkish colours: all of Samsung’s promo photographs have been of vivid colours, exhibiting off the identical 100% DCI-P3 shade vary as final yr’s units. As an alternative, they confirmed off the Q9’s fantastically deep blacks. Each units have native dimming, however the Q9 has extra zones, so that you’ll get a lot much less mild blooming on these units. Till we get a extra in-depth look, we are able to’t vouch for a way authentically the Q8 will deal with black and white distinction.
However that’s the most important distinction between the 2 fashions. Each have the identical shade vary and determination, assist HDR10+ streaming and SD-to-UHD upscaling, and spectacular brightness (although the Q9 apparently hits 2000 nits). Customers have to decide on whether or not these deeper blacks are value the additional $800.
In comparison with the Q7, your predominant acquire is the LED backlighting. The Q7 has an Extremely Slim Array as a substitute of the Direct Full Array that has a few of the similar unavoidable issues we noticed in final yr’s lineup. However you’ll nonetheless be getting HDR10+ content material and a full shade array, for less expensive than most status units.
If you happen to have been impressed by QLED final yr however waited to purchase one, you made the proper name. Other than uncooked brightness, the Q8FN is a transparent step up from Samsung’s premier Q9F set from 2017, for round half the opening-day value.
Irrespective of which 2018 set you get, you’re getting a formidable interface for controlling a wise house and consolidating your entire apps’ content material into one handy location. And with the Q8FN, you’re getting a set that can look remarkably colourful and 4K-crisp at any angle.
You merely need to resolve how a lot you care about versatile TV placement, full array distinction zones and deep blacks, the best benefits that the Q9 gives over the Q8.