A quan­tum leap for 4K LCD TVs

Sam­sung Q9F

HWM (Singapore) - - Test - by Ng Chong Seng

This year, Sam­sung is hell-bent on chal­leng­ing the no­tion that OLED TVs are the best TVs money can buy. And the bur­den of proof has fallen to the com­pany’s lat­est ag­ship, the new QLED se­ries.

Avail­able in three mod­els, Q9F, Q8C, and Q7F, Sam­sung’s 2017 QLED TVs are still quan­tum dot-en­hanced LED-lit LCD TVs, much like their 2016 SUHD brethren. The diBer­ence is that this year’s quan­tum dot ma­te­rial is strength­ened by a metal shell and core, which pur­port­edly leads to some signicant pic­ture qual­ity gains.

Ac­cord­ing to Sam­sung, the at Q7F and curved Q8C have a peak lu­mi­nance of 1,500 nits, while the ag­ship at Q9F in this re­view is able to hit a blind­ing 2,000 nits. All this is up from the 1,000 nits mus­tered by last year’s SUHD lineup.

Ad­di­tion­ally, Sam­sung is boast­ing an­other world’s rst for TVs: 100% color vol­ume. This means QLED TVs are able to cover the wide DCI-P3 color gamut across the en­tire range of bright­ness lev­els, and not just at a cer­tain

CON­CLU­SION The Q9F QLED TV of­fers ex­tremely vi­brant col­ors, great HDR qual­ity, and works well in both bright and dark rooms.

lu­mi­nance level. This is no doubt a swipe at OLED, which tends to drop the amount of DCI-P3 cov­er­age once you crank up the bright­ness. Based on my test­ing, the ag­ship Q9F is able to dis­play 99% of the DCI-P3 color gamut.

Im­age tech­ni­cal­i­ties aside, “In­vis­i­ble Con­nec­tion” and “no-gap wall-mount” are two func­tional so­lu­tions that help to tidy up the space where you’re go­ing to put your TV. The for­mer is a thin ber op­tic ca­ble that trans­ports all the sig­nals from the One Con­nect break­out box; the lat­ter an easy to x $249 wall­mount that hides most of its parts in the TV’s chas­sis, thus al­low­ing the TV to sit ush against the wall. Nei­ther is ground-break­ing, but both are ex­am­ples of how de­sign and us­abil­ity go hand in hand.

The QLED TVs can also be propped up by an easel-like Stu­dio Stand ($999) or the metal Grav­ity Stand ($1,199). I’m in agree­ment that Sam­sung has priced these stands too high, but I’ll also ad­mit that these are some de­cid­edly pre­mium-look­ing and su­perbly built stands. In a way, Sam­sung is try­ing to pull oB a Bang & Olufsen here.

On the soft­ware end, the QLED TVs run Tizen and fea­ture largely the same Smart Hub user in­ter­face as last year. The big­gest vis­ual change, how­ever, is the white frosted glass eBect that per­me­ated the whole UI, from the home screen right down to the sys­tem menus.

This year’s smart re­mote still lets you con­trol com­pat­i­ble HDMI-con­nected de­vices from a sin­gle source and oBers voice con­trol for ac­cess­ing com­mon menu op­tions and TV func­tions. The up­dated Smart View mo­bile app can now show con­tent that’s avail­able for the TV, com­plete with a row of icons at the top of the app that mim­ics the TV’s launcher bar. It’s a small touch, but I quite like the idea that I can just se­lect what I want to watch next right on my phone, which is al­ways with me.

With a peak lu­mi­nance in ex­cess of 1,700 nits in Dy­namic mode, the Q9F is cur­rently the bright­est TV I’ve tested to date. Cou­pled with its ex­cel­lent con­trast and very good black uni­for­mity, it works great in both bright and dark rooms.

The high lu­mi­nance also lends well to HDR con­tent: I found the col­ors in The Lego Movie to pop more than Sam­sung’s past ag­ships. And since it uses a VA panel, there’s no worry of im­age re­ten­tion. The Q9F is also a good HDR gam­ing dis­play, thanks to low in­put lag. None of the QLED TVs sup­port 3D though. Sit­ting front and cen­ter of the TV, I found blacks from the Q9F to be about as deep as how I re­mem­ber them on OLED TVs. View­ing an­gles are gen­er­ally bet­ter than last year’s mod­els too, with color shifts only be­com­ing a prob­lem af­ter veer­ing more than 30° at ei­ther side. That said, bloom­ing eBects aren’t to­tally erad­i­cated. The con­so­la­tion is that these are only more no­tice­able at an an­gle.

Con­sid­er­ing that it uses edge-lit rather than a full-ar­ray back­light­ing sys­tem, the per­for­mance of the Q9F sur­prises me. And with lit­tle mo­tion blur and low in­put lag, this is also a very en­joy­able screen to watch foot­ball or play games on. So yes, there’s a strong case to be made for the Q9F be­ing the most well-rounded 4K LCD TV out there right now.

You can con­trol mul­ti­ple de­vices from a sin­gle TV re­mote con­troller.

A near-in­vis­i­ble op­ti­cal ca­ble car­ries all the AV sig­nals from the One Con­nect box to the TV.

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