You must give it to Samsung, they are a powerhouse when it comes to consumer electronics innovation and this is no more evident than with their new QLED TV range.
Australia’s #1 TV supplier has not invested in OLED TV’s for the simple reason they believe that their QLED TV technology is as good “if not better” than what LG is currently offering and in the past, it has been significantly cheaper.
Among this year’s 2017 Samsung TV offering is the Q7 flat TV and the Q8 curved which will be available in 55-inch, 65-inch and 75-inch models.
There is also the premium Q9 TV Which will be available in 65-inch, 75-inch and 88-inch screen sizes.
The cheapest Q7 costs $4499 and the most expensive Q9 TV is $39,999. The Q8 that we tested is $7,499.
The below picture features an optional Samsung stand.
So, is QLED as good as OLED?
We got our hands on a new curved 65″ Samsung Q8 QLED TV and while we had a few teething problems connecting the preproduction model to a Wi Fi network, we were impressed by the image quality and ease by which one could navigate around this TV which has a host of features and unique capabilities such as their app management offering.
At the end of the day there is one colour that must work on a TV and that is black. Pioneer proved this with their unique plasma TV Kuro engine which was snapped up by Panasonic.
With the new Samsung QLED TV black is seriously black.
It’s quite clear that Samsung, has significantly improved the delivery of black to their QLED TV’s while also improving the overall picture image to deliver extremly high quality colour to the screen whether it be the breathtaking African Jungle shots in Tarzan or the brilliant colours in Netflix Marco Polo.
Apart from HDR and Quantum Dots the QLED display drops the dimming blocks to 12, and while the Q8 is not quite as well equipped as the top end Q9, it still offers outstanding visuals and like the flagship Q9, this TV will give you around 1500 nits brightness, which I defy anyone to say is not enough.
In fact, the image to display screen is so good that one must question how much room is left for Companies like Samsung to deliver improved picture quality.
With the new QLED technology there’s several changes happening under the bonnet to make that happen, not to mention an anti-reflective coating on top of the display system, that enables the top end Q9 for example, to achieve 1,500 to 2,000-nit peak brightness, 100% reproduction of the DCI-P3 colour range and some of the darkest blacks this side of an OLED.
With QLED TVs, the dots are contained in a film, and the light that hits them is provided by an LED backlight.
That light then travels though, a few other layers inside the TV, including a liquid crystal (LCD) layer, to create the picture. The light from the LED source is transmitted through the layers to the screen’s surface.
What Samsung has done is significantly improve the pass through of light resulting in a much-improved display over their 2016 SUHD offering.
For me the big question is do you get a truly great picture experience with Samsung’s QLED technology?
The answer is yes, in fact it is among the best I have ever seen from a Samsung TV.
This significant improvement was very noticeable when we streamed 4K UHD content from Netflix Vs upscaled and remastered contend from a Blu-ray Disc.
The Netflix content filled more of the screen and the colours were richer which is why I highly recommend a subscription to Netflix if you are investing in this level of Ultra High Definition TV technology.
Another big plus is the significantly improved navigation system found in the new TV.
All you have to do, is press the home button and you get instant access to the smart hub which appears across the bottom the screen
This bar that displays your most used apps, along with settings, sources and search. You can add or delete apps so that your most used apps are right at your fingertips.
I find lot of people won’t admit it, but there are tens of thousands of consumers out there who still struggle operating a TV management system.
With the Q8 scrolling through the menu system is easy, however I strongly recommend that you take a bit of time and practise with the new Samsung remote which is rich in new features and capabilities despite it being a small handheld remote.
The new 10-button metallic remote control can also operate ?connected devices such as the Blu-ray player and Xbox One console, along with the attached sound bar volume.
This new Samsung Q8 is also a significant step up from the 2016 SUHD model, with a premium metal back Vs the big plastic panel on the rear of the 2016 model.
It also offers an invisible connection to the One Connect box and like the other TVs in the QLED family, there’s a choice of stands, with built-in cable management.
The Q8 has 60W of sound on board in a 4.2 configuration however this becomes redundant when you attach the new Samsung MS650 soundbar that has a sleek “one body” design, which loads the bass drivers directly into the bar, eliminating the need for a separate subwoofer, the sound output was significantly better than what we expected from such a small compact attach soundbar.
This High Res Audio device also delivers sub-bass frequencies at 38Hz due in part to the use of “anti-distortion technology”, the tweeters are mounted at the top and front of the bar, alongside midrange drivers arranged in a five-channel setup. There is also 9 speakers with dedicated amps.
Also built is Wi-Fi music streaming, Bluetooth 4.0, 4K pass through and a smart sound mode that
Continuing with the minimalist design, the bar can sit below your TV or be mounted directly to the base of your TV with an optional bracket.
In addition, the TV itself can plug directly into the bar, eliminating the need for an extra wall outlet.
At one stage, we had problems getting the TV to identify the soundbar, to fix this problem we had to reset the outsource and manually direct it to the soundbar HDMI connection.
Pricing for this new soundbar is set to be around $900+
Connection to the TV is primarily via a power cord and a translucent, 5m optic cable that links the TV to the connector box.
A big advantage with the latest Samsung TV offering is the added advantage that the QLED TV’s are specifically designed to work with Samsung made devices whether it be one of their smartphones, smartwatches, VR gear, sound system or a Samsung Galaxy table. Connection is simply an app away and I think this is becoming more important as new content viewing is built into attach devices.
You have got to give to Samsung, they are real innovators. The new Q8 T while being pricey at $7K is light years ahead of the old $12,000 42″ plasma TV’s that were 720P.
What you get is the latest in display technology, packed into a minimalistic display screen.
The quality is as good as you get and on par with the current OLED technology. Under the bonnet the processors deliver smooth management of content and the bottom of screen smart management system is extremly easy to navigation. There is a lot packed into this TV and once you have learnt to navigate this system and got use to the artificial intelligence that automatically detects what you are attaching you will get hours of enjoyment out of this TV.
All I wanted to do was take one home.
On the downside, I am not a big fan of the one connect box. I still prefer to have a direct HDMI connection into a TV as in the past we have had a lot of problems with the Samsung one connect box.