Sam­sung QE55Q7F

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Contents -

If you see your neigh­bours peep­ing out from be­hind the cur­tain as you’re cart­ing this lot up your drive, don’t be sur­prised to find a for-sale sign on their lawn in the near fu­ture: a quiet night in will prob­a­bly never be quite as quiet again.

Vi­su­als first, then, and there’s no get­ting around the fact that the Sam­sung Q7F ap­pears un­spec­tac­u­lar next to the su­per-slim pan­els of the OLED crowd, but that isn’t to say it’s not a smart­look­ing set in its own right. The thin bezel leaves you feel­ing al­most as if all you can see from the front is screen and, at 45mm from front to back, it’s slim by the stan­dards of back­lit TVS.

It’s neat, un­clut­tered and stylish, and those are also traits of both Sam­sung’s cur­rent TV op­er­at­ing sys­tem and the sleek sil­ver re­mote con­trol that comes bun­dled with the Q7F and its QLED brethren. In tan­dem, they cre­ate a slick, snappy user ex­pe­ri­ence, and get you to the con­tent you’re af­ter quickly.

A world of con­tent

When it comes to con­tent, there’s cer­tainly plenty of it, with Net­flix and Ama­zon tak­ing cen­tre-stage and the usual ar­ray of catch-up ser­vices en­sur­ing you never need miss an­other episode of Love Is­land. Un­like many ri­vals, the Sam­sung also in­cludes Now TV in the mix, giv­ing you a route to Sky con­tent with­out the need for a dish or con­tract.

Most im­pres­sive, though, is the pic­ture this TV emits. The big­gest ad­van­tage an LCD TV with LED back­light­ing has over an OLED TV is bright­ness, so it’s lit­tle won­der this is the most striking dif­fer­ence be­tween the Q7F and the best OLED competitors.

The pic­ture al­most shines, man­ag­ing to com­bine nat­u­ral­ness and sub­tlety with punch, vi­brancy and ex­tremely sharply de­fined de­tails that give it in­cred­i­ble so­lid­ity and depth. It does mean blacks are made brighter than on an OLED, but the Q7F im­ple­ments its back­light ef­fec­tively so they aren’t sac­ri­ficed nearly as much as they are on many ri­val LCD sets – and there’s none of the cloud­ing of­ten as­so­ci­ated with back­lit TVS.

Get the source right

Though the Q7F does a su­perb job of up­scal­ing, there’s no doubt it works best in tan­dem with the finest 4K HDR source ma­te­rial – for that, we’re sug­gest­ing Oppo’s UDP­203 Blu-ray player.

The UDP­203 will play 4K and Full HD Blu-rays (2D and 3D), DVDS and CDS, and even Dvd­au­dio and SACDS, mak­ing it a uni­ver­sal player in ev­ery sense. No stream­ing apps are in­cluded, but when you have those on your TV, you can’t re­ally fault a Blu-ray player in that sense.

Im­por­tantly in this pair­ing, The Oppo matches the Q7F’S su­perb lev­els of de­tail and clar­ity, and feeds it with rich colours the tele­vi­sion can re­ally make pop.

Equally im­por­tantly, the UDP­203 digs a sim­i­larly crisply de­tailed, dy­namic sound from your discs – one de­serv­ing of the full sur­round-sound treat­ment.

So you’ll need a multi-chan­nel amp. The Sony STR­DN1080 can play Dolby Atmos soundracks up to a 5.1.2 speaker con­fig­u­ra­tion – it’s the com­pany’s first Atmos amp – and also sup­ports the new DTS:X for­mat. All six HDMI in­puts are HDCP 2.2 com­pli­ant, too, sup­port­ing full play­back of 4K HDR con­tent.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Sony prod­uct with­out some serious hi-res mu­sic sup­port. The amp can play up to 24-bit/192khz files in all pop­u­lar for­mats, and will also play na­tive dou­ble DSD files across HDMI, USB and wi-fi.

It’s fur­ther kit­ted out with the most pop­u­lar stream­ing fa­cil­i­ties – Blue­tooth, Air­play, Chrome­cast and Spo­tify Con­nect are all built in to the STR­DN1080. The amp’s DLNA cer­ti­fi­ca­tion means you can play hi-res mu­sic files from any NAS de­vice or lap­top on the same net­work.

And let’s not for­get multi-room: you can con­nect the amp to other com­pat­i­ble Sony prod­ucts us­ing the Mu­sic Cen­ter app to stream mu­sic around the house.

How does it sound? Stun­ning. With a suit­ably tal­ented set of speak­ers, you’ll get tons of in­sight and pre­ci­sion, au­thor­i­ta­tive heft de­liv­ered with sur­pris­ing agility and con­tour­ing dy­nam­ics. Yes, up­siz­ing to an amp and sur­round pack­age is about get­ting more mus­cle than a hum­ble sound­bar, but the Sony deals just as much in sub­tlety as it does brute force, im­mers­ing its au­di­ence in mo­rose docu­d­rama as much as balls-to-the-wall block­buster.

And when we talk about suit­ably tal­ented speak­ers, Dali’s Zen­sor 1 5.1 pack­age is never far from our minds. A multi-award win­ner, twice as our speaker-pack­ages Prod­uct of the Year, its de­tailed, punchy per­for­mance has yet to be bet­tered at this price.

The fa­mous 5.1

In the pack­age are two pairs of Dali Zen­sor 1 stand­moun­ters – for­mer Award-win­ners in their own right that will of­fer as im­mer­sive a stereo per­for­mance as they do sur­round sound. Ac­com­pa­ny­ing them is the Zen­sor Vokal cen­tre and E­9F sub­woofer. To­gether they run like clock­work, for ar­guably the most stun­ningly en­ter­tain­ing sound this money can buy.

Yes, get­ting overly fa­mil­iar with the vol­ume dial while driv­ing this quar­tet might mean a visit from the au­thor­i­ties, but at least you can bet they’re more likely to stay and watch the rest of the movie than pur­sue the noise com­plaints.

“Get­ting overly fa­mil­iar with the vol­ume dial might mean a visit from the au­thor­i­ties, but at least they’re likely to stay and watch the rest of the movie”

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