After an underwhelming debut, Samsung Q9FN QLED expertise 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 Q9FN QLED Collection of TVs.
In addition to being even brighter and extra colourful than final yr’s equal mannequin, Samsung’s 2018 flagship screens use a very completely different lighting system to fight its predecessor’s distinction issues: Full Array Native Dimming moderately than edge-lit LED lighting. The FALD panel works in tandem with Samsung QLED Quantum Dots to supply an image that is brighter and extra colourful than close to any we have seen come from the South Korean producer.
This implies they are often pushed tougher with out dropping the plot/growing older too quick, leading to extra brightness and a wider shade vary – or, at the least, extra shade quantity – than another kind of shopper TV expertise up to now.
Do these options alone make Samsung Q9FN one of the best TV available on the market? No, however throw in expertise like HDR10+ and Q HDR EliteMax – what Samsung payments as its most Excessive Dynamic Vary expertise that’s unique to the Q9FN – and there is little or no doubt in our thoughts that that is Samsung’s greatest TV ever.
Price and launch date
Samsung’s 65-inch Q9FN TV is thought by completely different names relying on the place you reside. Within the US, it is name the Samsung QN65Q9FN QLED TV, whereas within the UK you may see it listed because the Samsung QE65Q9FN.
Do not let a number of letters mess you up – you are in the appropriate spot if you happen to’re on the lookout for shopping for recommendation on Samsung’s flagship TV.
Relating to value, the Samsung Q9FN QLED TV goes to be costly at any measurement. The 65-inch 4K TV starts things off at $3,800 (about £2,720, AU$4,835) – and is accessible from March 25 onward.
The 75-inch Q9FN isn’t out there to order simply but. However final yr’s Q9F is at the moment on sale for $7,000 (about £5,000, AU$8,900), and that’s after a large low cost. Sadly, there is no cheaper 55-inch Q9FN measurement with a extra tempting value.
The subsequent step down, the Samsung Q8FN, by comparability, is $2999 (about £2,200, $AU4,000). If it helps, Samsung’s ‘No Hole Wall Mount’ comes included with the dearer Q9FN. That’s a separate buy on different fashions.
At first look the 65Q9FN doesn’t essentially appear to be a flagship TV – it’s unusually chunky by fashionable requirements, and though the body immediately around the display screen is extra on-trend, it’s moderately understated with its darkish coloring and muted end. Its single bar-style stand can also be extra about minimalism than displaying off.
The longer you reside with it, although, the extra the 65Q9FN’s design grows on you. Particularly when you determine that there’s really an excellent motive for its overtly minimalist method within the form of a brand new Ambient Mode.
This allows you to change the same old empty black display screen you’re confronted with whenever you’re not watching the TV with one in all a pre-loaded set of digitised artworks, or one in all your personal photographs. You may even take a photograph of your paintwork or wallpaper and have that seem on the display screen, in order that the one a part of the TV that stands out when seen from the entrance is that ultra-slender body.
In the event you’re fearful about large electrical energy payments, concern not: the Ambient Mode is designed to devour a naked minimal of electrical energy. Although you can even improve the display screen brightness if the image’s impression 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 screen by only a single, skinny cable. In truth, Samsung has squeezed the display screen’s energy into the connection field this yr too, so now there actually is only one cable going into the display screen.
This has meant that the exterior connection field has needed to develop vastly in contrast with final yr’s model. However I suppose it may possibly simply sit in your package rack alongside your 4K Blu-ray participant and video games console.
Design TL;DR: Whereas the 65Q9FN’s fundamental chassis is nothing to jot down dwelling about, its anti-cabling measures and distinctive Ambient Mode actually are.
Good TV options
Whereas the 65Q9FN’s Good TV system is based mostly intently across the Eden platform Samsung has been busy refining for the previous couple of years, count on a number of tasty new morsels that add to the expertise with out taking something away.
For starters there’s now compatibility with Samsung’s SmartThings platform, which supplies an onscreen hub for monitoring and even controlling different sensible units (fridges, washing machines, lights and so forth) in your community.
There’s additionally significantly better integration of the TV listings and reside broadcasting into the TV’s content material looking options: There are actually hour-by-hour present suggestions, as an illustration, in addition to TV exhibits getting way more prominence within the content material looking menus.
Samsung has delivered enhanced interactivity together 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 whenever you’re taking part in a console or PC sport and routinely change the display screen into its fast-responding Recreation image mode. This mode may even inform if you happen to’re utilizing your console to play a sport or a video app, and regulate itself accordingly.
Attributable to roll out later within the yr is a Variable Refresh Charge function that can enable the TV to repeatedly regulate its body price to match that being output by no matter sport you’re taking part in. This may take away the difficulty of display screen ‘tearing’ related to video games operating at completely different body charges to your display screen, in addition to apparently lowering enter lag (the time the display screen takes to render pictures) 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 if you happen to select to have interaction a brand new Recreation Movement Plus possibility (which helpfully allows you to retain a number of the TV’s movement processing whereas gaming), the enter lag solely creeps as much as a still-very-respectable 34ms.
The 2 layer presentation of the Eden 2.zero homescreen continues to be efficient. The Apple TV-like means the highest layer supplies direct content material hyperlinks related to the app you’ve received chosen on the underside layer proves a good way to supply fast entry to plenty of content material with out taking up an excessive amount of display screen actual property.
Samsung continues to impress, too, with the amount of apps it gives. The 4K and HDR variations of Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube are current and proper, for starters, plus UK house owners get the catch up apps for all 4 of the nation’s important terrestrial TV broadcasters.
It’s value including, lastly, that Samsung’s voice recognition and management performance continues to be extraordinarily spectacular and useful – even when rivals are this yr look set to catch up.
Good TV TL;DR: A slick, simple to make use of and helpfully customizable interface belies the spectacular sophistication and comprehensiveness of Samsung’s newest sensible TV engine.
The 65Q9FN seems nothing in need of sensational with the HD/SDR content material most individuals nonetheless need to spend most of their time watching.
Samsung’s upscaling processing does a terrifically convincing job of changing HD to the display screen’s native 4K display screen, including element with out introducing new noise or exaggerating any nasties that is perhaps contained within the supply.
It additionally goes past most upscaling engines within the accuracy with which it calculates the colour tones of all these hundreds of thousands 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 became 4K.
Try 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 effectively often deal with the way more restricted calls for of SDR just about effortlessly – and the 65Q9FN isn’t any exception.
Stunningly wealthy black ranges share display screen area with superbly wealthy, balanced and finely graded colors, and the display screen’s gentle controls are exact sufficient to ship lovely ranges of element and finesse at nearly all luminance ranges.
We are saying ‘nearly’ as we did really feel the necessity to improve the brightness or gamma setting by some extent or two to cease the darkest elements of the image from beginning to look a little bit hole.
Whereas AV aficionados will possible need to stick with watching SDR content material at its native brightness and color values, the 65Q9FN does carry an HDR+ mode designed to transform SDR to HDR. And truly, 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 colours look extra balanced than with earlier iterations, pores and skin tones look much less ‘peaky’, there’s now not a yellowy undertone to all the pieces, and noise in darkish scenes is much less exaggerated. In consequence, I can simply think about many individuals who purchase a 65Q9FN deciding to make higher use the HDR+ possibility to present themselves a close to fixed ‘HDR’ expertise.
HD/SDR efficiency TL;DR: Apart from having to take care with a few settings, the 65Q9FN’s SDR/HD efficiency is just about flawless.
The 65Q9FN’s mixture of utmost brightness, large shade response, peerless shade ‘quantity’ and (because of its new backlight engine) excellent distinction helps it ship HDR footage that may solely be described as jaw dropping.
Whereas watching probably the most excessive HDR motion pictures we will discover – predominantly Warner Brothers titles mastered to 4000-nit brightness peaks – the 65Q9FN reminded us emphatically of the significance of brightness to the HDR expertise: Samsung’s new star delivers such excessive pictures with a degree of dynamism and depth we simply haven’t seen earlier than, unlocking extra of HDR’s gorgeous potential than another TV.
It’s not simply that the 65Q9FN’s footage are vivid, although. It’s additionally the way in which the display screen’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 gentle/darkish compromise often 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 count on to see on an LCD TV when watching contrast-rich HDR pictures.
The distinction on this key respect between the 65Q9FN and final yr’s equal mannequin is night time and day, leaving me in little question of the advantages of utilizing direct lighting with plenty of dimming zones if you happen to’re actually critical about doing HDR on an LED TV.
In truth, 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 intense 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 in a position to preserve backlight blooming all the way down to the tiny quantities the 65Q9FN suffers with.
It’s not simply black ranges and backlight clouding that profit from the QE65Q9FN’s backlight prowess, both. Colours additionally look richer, extra strong and extra constant, since they’re not being ‘bleached’ by undesirable surplus backlighting every time they seem in shut proximity to a very vivid picture aspect.
Additionally on the color entrance, we had been struck when watching very vivid HDR content material by the way in which the 65Q9FN can retain the depth of the lightest colours. That is presumably as a result of (not like OLED TVs) QLED expertise doesn’t need to work with white sub-pixels.
Samsung’s display screen has seemingly no bother in any respect getting gorgeous ranges of each finesse and visceral impression from the broader color spectrums nearly at all times discovered alongside HDR on right this moment’s leading edge sources.
There’s nothing pressured concerning the boldness of the 65Q9FN’s color efficiency, although. Quite the opposite, for the overwhelming majority of the time you merely really feel such as you’re really seeing HDR trying extra prefer it was initially designed to look.
The Q9FN’s excessive brightness and seemingly ultra-smart tone-mapping processing additionally implies that it does a greater job than another HDR TV up to now of avoiding the clipping drawback seen to some extent on nearly all 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 shade finesse and lightweight management and also you’ve received arguably probably the most pristine, detailed 4K pictures we’ve seen from a shopper TV up to now.
4K/HDR TL;DR: A couple of smallish (and probably fixable through future firmware updates) issues do nothing to change the truth that the Q9FN delivers one of the best trying 4K HDR footage we’ve seen on a shopper 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 gives help for this new larger high quality HDR platform – and it received’t allow you to change between watching HDR10+ and non-HDR10+ streams of the identical exhibits. So which means 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 Q9FN regarded incredible – one of the best we’ve seen, actually.
However with out having the ability to evaluate towards the identical content material in different codecs on the identical display screen, it’s inconceivable to make certain how a lot of the additional Amazon image high quality is all the way down to the TV’s inherent image skills, and the way a lot is all the way down to HDR10+’s additional layer of scene-by-scene image information.
That stated, aside from the HDR10+ dilemma and even with a TV as ground-breakingly proficient because the Q9FN there’s nonetheless a little bit room for enchancment. As with SDR pictures, as an illustration, very darkish areas can look barely in need of element except you marginally improve the set’s brightness or gamma.
Movement suffers with shimmering edge noise utilizing the Auto movement processing setting, and whilst you can enhance issues through some considered tinkering with the Customized movement choices, I didn’t really feel movement ever regarded fairly as pure as it may possibly on the Sony XF9005 Series TVs.
Whereas the 65Q9FN supplies 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 if you happen to watch from horizontal angles of greater than round 30 levels. This blooming additionally turns into extra exaggerated if you happen to watch from a vertical viewing angle of greater than round 15 levels. One thing to keep in mind if you happen to’re considering of mounting your subsequent TV on a wall above your eyeline.
Though the 65Q9FN’s audio is just not as stand-out superior as its footage, it’s nonetheless one of the best 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 mission its sound away from the TV’s bodywork, making a three-dimensional audio area that has depth, width and top.
Dialogue sounds clear and locked to the display screen, the place it must be, and you may hear loads of refined detailing – even though the set’s just about invisible audio system additionally ship extra bass than most in-built TV sound methods.
Effectively value a point out right here, too, is Samsung’s new Good Sound function. This analyses the incoming sound and routinely adjusts the standard of the sound to go well with the kind of content material you’re watching. For example, it would undertake a stadium-style sound tone if you happen to’re watching sports activities, or a movie-friendly tone if you happen to’re watching a movie. The system additionally equalizes sound ranges throughout completely different inputs.
Gimmicky although it sounds on paper, Good Sound seems to be an unexpectedly good function, making all the pieces you watch sound palpably higher with out you needing to the touch any sound adjustment menus.
Our solely criticism concerning the 65Q9FN’s audio is that very shrill tones could cause a momentary buzz from the TV’s chassis. When that is the worst you may give you on a flat TV’s sound efficiency, although, you realize you’re typically in fairly optimistic territory!
Sound TL;DR: The 65Q9FN sounds impressively highly effective, effectively rounded and dynamic – and its new Good Sound function is a revelation.
Apart from not supporting Dolby Imaginative and prescient, with the Q9FN 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 least as vital to your viewing expertise as brightness. And it’s remembered that reside TV remains to be an enormous a part of most households’ day after day viewing, nevertheless in style streaming could have turn into.
The Q9FN additionally makes the QLED shade efficiency much more spectacular than it was earlier than, and introduces a wide range of options that make it uniquely completed as a gaming monitor. The result’s the all-round most spectacular TV we’ve ever examined. Rumors of LED TVs demise, it appears, have been drastically exaggerated.