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”