After a barely underwhelming debut, Samsung’s QLED know-how actually wanted to bounce again in model. It did not shock us within the least, then, to find Samsung threw the kitchen sink in with its new Q9F QLED sequence of TVs.
In addition to being even brighter and extra vibrant than final 12 months’s equal mannequin, Samsung’s 2018 flagship screens use a totally totally different lighting system to fight its predecessor’s distinction issues: Full Array Native Dimming moderately than edge-lit LED lighting. This new lighting system works in tandem with Samsung QLED Quantum Dots to provide an image that is brighter and extra vibrant than close to any we have seen come from the South Korean producer.
This implies they are often pushed tougher with out shedding the plot/ageing too quick, leading to extra brightness and a wider color vary – or, at the very least, extra color quantity — than another sort of client TV know-how thus far.
Do these options alone make Samsung Q9F the most effective TV available on the market? No, however throw in know-how like HDR10+, useful options like Ambient Mode (extra on that later) and a 10-year assure towards burn-in, and there is little or no doubt in our thoughts that that is Samsung’s greatest TV ever.
Value and launch date
Relating to value, the Samsung Q9F QLED TV goes to be costly at any measurement. The 65-inch 4K TV begins issues off at AU$6,999 – and is offered from April 23 onward.
When you’re eager for one thing even greater to your residing space and have the money to again it up, the mammoth 75-inch Q9F will set you again AU$10,499.
Alternatively, Samsung’s personal Q8F series of QLED televisions is terrific, and whereas they don’t seem to be fairly as superior by way of distinction and black ranges because the Q9F, they do provide a lot of the similar options and at a enormously decreased price.
Although it is not the thinnest tv round, at the very least not by fashionable requirements, the Q9F does exhibit a way of smooth sophistication, thanks largely by its minimalist design, single-bar stand and clear cabling answer.
This minimalist method is particularly engaging when involves the Q9F’s well carried out Ambient Mode, which helps you to exchange the same old empty black display you’re confronted with if you’re not watching the TV with one in all a pre-loaded set of digitised artworks, or one in all your personal photographs. In fact, you may at all times select to indicate you different data, like the present climate forecast.
You may even take of your paintwork or wallpaper that sits behind the TV and have that seem on the show, in order that the one a part of the set that stands out when seen from the entrance is that ultra-slender body.
When you’re frightened about enormous electrical energy payments, concern not: the Ambient Mode is designed to eat a naked minimal of electrical energy. Although you too can enhance the display brightness if the image’s influence issues extra to you than your electrical energy consumption.
In fact, all this Ambient Mode cleverness could be significantly much less efficient if the TV had spools of cabling spewing out of it. To get spherical this, Samsung makes use of an exterior connection field that connects to the display by only a single, nearly invisible cable.
In reality, Samsung has squeezed the display’s energy into the connection field this 12 months too, so now there actually is only one cable going into the display. Not solely that, the cable it comes with is 5 metres lengthy, which means you’ll be able to place the connection field a good distance from the TV. If that is not lengthy sufficient, you too can buy a 15-metre lengthy cable.
Design TL;DR: Whereas the Q9F’s fundamental chassis is fairly straight ahead, its anti-cabling measures and distinctive Ambient Mode definitely are leading edge.
Good TV options
Whereas the Q9F’s Good TV system is a refined model of what we have seen from the South Korean producer earlier than, which means apps and enter sources are displayed vertically throughout two layers on the backside of the display in an effort to scroll by means of them with out leaving your content material, anticipate just a few tasty new morsels that add to the expertise with out taking something away.
This two layer presentation continues to be efficient. The Apple TV-like means the highest layer gives direct content material hyperlinks related to the app you’ve obtained chosen on the underside layer proves a good way to offer fast entry to numerous content material with out taking on an excessive amount of display actual property.
It is also appropriate with Samsung’s SmartThings platform now, which gives an onscreen hub for monitoring and even controlling different sensible gadgets (fridges, washing machines, lights and so forth) in your community.
There’s additionally a lot better integration of the TV listings and stay broadcasting into the TV’s content material looking options: There at the moment are hour-by-hour present suggestions, as an illustration, in addition to TV reveals getting way more prominence within the content material shopping menus.
Samsung has delivered enhanced interactivity along with your smartphones and tablets too, in addition to some critically cool new gaming associated options.
Already up and operating is an Auto Recreation mode which might detect if you’re enjoying a console or PC recreation and mechanically swap the display into its fast-responding Recreation image mode. This mode may even inform for those who’re utilizing your console to play a recreation or a video app, and alter itself accordingly.
Resulting from roll out later within the 12 months is a Variable Refresh Charge characteristic that may permit the TV to repeatedly alter its body charge to match that being output by no matter recreation you’re enjoying. It will take away the difficulty of display ‘tearing’ related to video games operating at totally different body charges to your display, in addition to apparently lowering enter lag (the time the display takes to render photographs) to a remarkably low 7ms.
Even utilizing the Recreation Mode in its present incarnation delivers a perfectly low enter lag measurement of round 15ms on common. Even for those who select to have interaction a brand new Recreation Movement Plus possibility (which helpfully helps you to retain among the TV’s movement processing whereas gaming), the enter lag solely creeps as much as a still-very-respectable 34ms.
Samsung continues to impress, too, with the amount of apps it affords. The 4K and HDR variations of Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube are current and accounted for, and a lot of the main Australian catchup providers are additionally accessible, together with ABC iview, Foxtel Now, PLUS7 and SBS On Demand, although Tenplay remains to be lacking in motion.
It’s value including, lastly, that Samsung’s voice recognition and management performance continues to be extraordinarily spectacular and useful — even when rivals like LG and Panasonic are set to meet up with their very own Google-powered voice management options.
Good TV TL;DR: A slick, straightforward to make use of and helpfully customisable interface belies the spectacular sophistication and comprehensiveness of Samsung’s newest sensible TV engine.
The Q9F appears to be like nothing wanting sensational with the HD/SDR content material most individuals nonetheless should spend most of their time watching.
Samsung’s upscaling processing does a terrifically convincing job of changing HD to the display’s native 4K display, including element with out introducing new noise or exaggerating any nasties that may be contained within the supply.
It additionally goes past most upscaling engines within the accuracy with which it calculates the color tones of all these tens of millions of additional pixels it’s producing. This ensures the upscaling course of doesn’t create any plasticky pores and skin tones, and underlines the sense that your HD supply has miraculously was 4K.
Attempt to resist the temptation to show the sharpness setting too excessive, although. Creep a lot above the setting’s 20-25 degree and the picture can begin to look noisy.
Screens able to dealing with HDR nicely normally deal with the way more restricted calls for of SDR just about effortlessly — and the Q9F isn’t any exception.
Stunningly wealthy black ranges share display house with superbly wealthy, balanced and finely graded colors, and the display’s mild controls are exact sufficient to ship stunning ranges of element and finesse at nearly all luminance ranges.
We are saying ‘nearly’ as we did really feel the necessity to enhance the brightness or gamma setting by a degree or two to cease the darkest elements of the image from beginning to look a little bit hole.
Whereas AV aficionados will seemingly need to persist with watching SDR content material at its native brightness and color values, the Q9F does carry an HDR+ mode designed to transform SDR to HDR. And really, both due to enhancements within the upgrading algorithms or the enhancements made to the TV’s core image high quality (or each), HDR+ yields way more partaking outcomes than it has on any earlier Samsung TVs.
It nonetheless tends to be a little bit extra aggressive than we’d like, however colors look extra balanced than with earlier iterations, pores and skin tones look much less ‘peaky’, there’s not a yellowy undertone to the whole lot, and noise in darkish scenes is much less exaggerated.
HD/SDR efficiency TL;DR: Apart from having to take care with a few settings, the Q9F’s SDR/HD efficiency is just about flawless.
The Q9F’s mixture of maximum brightness, vast color response, peerless color ‘quantity’ and (because of its new backlight engine) excellent distinction helps it ship HDR photos that may solely be described as jaw-dropping.
We examined the Q9F with probably the most excessive distinction, excessive color 4K HDR content material we had entry to, together with Thor: Ragnarok and Netflix’s Misplaced in House reboot, and the outcomes actually reminded us emphatically of the significance of brightness to the HDR expertise: Samsung’s new star delivers such excessive photographs with a degree of dynamism and depth we simply haven’t seen earlier than, unlocking extra of HDR’s gorgeous potential than another TV.
In the course of the opening scene of Thor: Ragnarok, we have been handled fiery reds and oranges that exhibited no indicators or bleeding, as an alternative promoting us on the movie’s fireplace and brimstone look in an completely convincing method.
Moments later, in a scene which sees Thor, Loki and antagonist Hela journey by means of the Bifrost to Asgard, a face-melting flurry of colors whizz by that acts as a pure demonstration of what the Q9F is able to by way of color efficiency and brightness.
Likewise, whereas watching Netflix’s new Misplaced in House sequence in 4K HDR, we have been blown away by the degrees of darkness achieved in blacks, and once more by the snowy white environment the Robinson household discover themselves in inside the present’s opening minutes.
It’s not simply that the Q9F’s photos are vivid, although. It’s additionally the way in which the display’s new direct lighting and native dimming can ship its competition-crushing ranges of peak brightness with out compromising darkish elements of the image.
There’s not one of the mild/darkish compromise normally seen with LCD TVs. Nor, much more excitingly, is there any of the backlight ‘striping’ or haloing round stand-out vivid objects that you just’d usually anticipate to see on an LCD TV when watching contrast-rich HDR photographs.
The distinction on this key respect between the Q9F and final 12 months’s equal mannequin is night time and day, leaving little question as to the advantages of utilizing direct lighting with numerous dimming zones for those who’re actually critical about doing HDR on an LED TV.
In reality, the backlight administration of Samsung’s new flagship TV is so excellent that contrast-rich scenes look nearly OLED-like of their black degree uniformity — besides, in fact, that the brilliant elements of such scenes look far brighter on the Samsung than they will on any present OLED.
Even Sony’s excellent ZD9 LCD TVs aren’t capable of preserve backlight blooming right down to the tiny quantities the Q9F will get away with.
It’s not simply black ranges and backlight clouding that profit from the Q9F’s backlight prowess, both. Colors additionally look richer, extra strong and extra constant, since they’re not being ‘bleached’ by undesirable surplus backlighting each time they seem in shut proximity to a very vivid picture component.
We have been additionally impressed by how nicely the Q9F retained the depth of the lightest colors, even when displaying vivid HDR photographs. That is presumably as a result of (in contrast to OLED TVs) QLED know-how doesn’t should work with white sub-pixels.
Samsung’s display has seemingly no bother reaching gorgeous ranges of each finesse and visceral influence from the broader HDR color spectrums of at this time’s leading edge sources.
There’s nothing compelled in regards to the boldness of the Q9F’s color efficiency, although. Quite the opposite, for the overwhelming majority of the time you merely really feel such as you’re truly seeing HDR trying extra prefer it was initially designed to look.
The Q9F’s excessive brightness and seemingly ultra-smart tone-mapping processing additionally implies that it does a greater job than another HDR TV thus far of avoiding the clipping drawback seen on most rival TVs. In different phrases, it retains element in even the very brightest picture areas, moderately than ‘flaring out’.
Add this achievement to the picture’s outstanding color finesse and lightweight management and also you’ve obtained arguably probably the most pristine, detailed 4K photographs we’ve seen from a client TV thus far.
4K/HDR TL;DR: A couple of smallish (and doubtlessly fixable by way of future firmware updates) issues do nothing to change the truth that the Q9F delivers the most effective trying 4K HDR photos we’ve seen on a client tv.
A be aware on HDR10+ and a few potential weak spots
We felt we should always add a fast phrase right here on HDR10+.
Sadly, on the time of writing solely Amazon Video affords help for this new larger high quality HDR platform — and it gained’t allow you to swap between watching HDR10+ and non-HDR10+ streams of the identical reveals. So meaning we couldn’t do any direct HDR10+ vs HDR10/Dolby Imaginative and prescient comparisons.
What we will say is that every one the HDR Amazon streams we performed on the Q9F seemed improbable — the most effective we’ve seen, in truth.
However with out with the ability to examine towards the identical content material in different codecs on the identical display, it’s inconceivable to make certain how a lot of the additional Amazon image high quality is right down to the TV’s inherent image skills, and the way a lot is right down to HDR10+’s further layer of scene-by-scene image information.
That mentioned, other than the HDR10+ dilemma and even with a TV as gifted because the Q9F there’s nonetheless a little bit room for enchancment. As with SDR photographs, as an illustration, very darkish areas can look barely wanting element until you marginally enhance the set’s brightness or gamma.
Movement suffers with shimmering edge noise utilizing the auto movement processing setting, and when you can enhance issues by way of some even handed tinkering with the Customized movement choices, we didn’t really feel movement ever seemed fairly as pure as it may well on the Sony XF9005 Series TVs.
In reality, a viewing of Transformers: The Final Knight on 4K Extremely HD Blu-ray had us digging into the Q9F’s settings to modify auto movement off totally, because the shakiness of the movie’s cinematography was having the alternative of the mode’s desired impact, making the movie appears uneven and blurry throughout motion. That mentioned, the movie appears to be like way more pure as soon as the mode was switched off.
Whereas the Q9F gives a slight viewing angle enchancment over 2017’s fashions, shade saturations scale back and also you begin to see extra pronounced backlight blooming round vivid objects for those who watch from horizontal angles of greater than round 30 levels. This blooming additionally turns into extra exaggerated for those who watch from a vertical viewing angle of greater than round 15 levels. One thing to remember for those who’re considering of mounting your subsequent TV on a wall above your eyeline.
Though the Q9F’s audio isn’t as stand-out superior as its photos, it’s nonetheless the most effective sound we’ve heard from a Samsung TV for years.
It’s highly effective sufficient, for starters, to mix fairly excessive volumes and a large dynamic vary with out sounding muffled or distorted. It additionally manages to undertaking its sound away from the TV’s bodywork, making a three-dimensional audio house that has depth, width and peak.
At one level, this reviewer needed to cease and verify that there wasn’t a soundbar hidden away within the cupboard the tv was resting on.
Dialogue sounds clear and locked to the display, the place it ought to be, and you may hear loads of delicate detailing – even supposing the set’s just about invisible audio system additionally ship extra bass than most in-built TV sound techniques.
Properly value a point out right here, too, is Samsung’s new Good Sound characteristic. This analyses the incoming sound and mechanically adjusts the standard of the sound to go well with the kind of content material you’re watching. As an illustration, it should undertake a stadium-style sound tone for those who’re watching sports activities, or a movie-friendly tone for those who’re watching a movie. The system additionally equalizes sound ranges throughout totally different inputs.
Gimmicky although it sounds on paper, Good Sound seems to be an unexpectedly sensible characteristic, making the whole lot you watch sound palpably higher with out you needing to the touch any sound adjustment menus.
Our solely criticism in regards to the Q9F’s audio is that very shrill tones could cause a momentary buzz from the TV’s chassis. When that is the worst you’ll be able to give you on a flat TV’s sound efficiency, although, you understand you’re typically in fairly constructive territory!
Sound TL;DR: The Q9F sounds impressively highly effective, nicely rounded and dynamic – and its new Good Sound characteristic is a revelation.
Apart from not supporting Dolby Imaginative and prescient, with the Q9F Samsung has taken on board just about all of the criticisms levelled at its 2017 QLED debutantes.
It’s launched direct lighting with native dimming. It’s remembered that distinction and black degree efficiency is at the very least as vital to your viewing expertise as brightness. And it’s remembered that stay TV remains to be an enormous a part of most households’ each day viewing, nevertheless in style streaming could have change into.
The Q9F additionally makes the QLED color efficiency much more spectacular than it was earlier than, and introduces a wide range of options that make it uniquely achieved as a gaming monitor. The result’s the all-round most spectacular TV we’ve ever examined. Rumours of LED TVs demise, it appears, have been enormously exaggerated.