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Samsung Q9F

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Summary

First impressions of Samsung's new flagship TV from CES 2017

Samsung has officially unveiled its latest TVs. To say it’s kicked off CES 2017 in Las Vegas with a bang would be an understatement of epic proportions.

On display were three models, the Q9F (flat), the Q8C (curved) and the Q7 that comes in both flat and curved options. All three looked nothing short of spectacular, but we’re going to focus here on the flagship Q9F.

It will be available in sizes of 55, 65, 75 and 88 inches – look for the Samsung 55Q9F, 65Q9F, 75Q9F and 88Q9F, respectively. The model previewed here was the 88-inch version. This was a limited demonstration, but we came away very impressed.

Related: All the latest news from CES 2017 in Las Vegas

Samsung Q9F – What is QLED?

Before trying to describe first impressions in more detail, it’s worth exploring what’s going on inside these new Samsung TVs.

First, Samsung is definitely switching from the ‘SUHD’ tag it currently gives its premium TVs, in favour of a new QLED designation. The Q in QLED refers to a new standard of Quantum Dot screen design, where wrapping the QDs in a new metal alloy has enabled Samsung to unlock brightness, colour and even viewing-angle possibilities well beyond the capabilities of any previous QD solution we’ve seen.

So, for instance, the 65Q9F is apparently capable of hitting brightness peaks of around 2000 nits – a huge increase on the 1400 nits delivered by Samsung’s KS9500 TVs in 2016. Samsung is also now claiming that its QLED TVs can cover essentially 100% of the DCI colour gamut used by essentially all current Ultra HD Blu-rays.

The new Quantum Dot structure has also enabled Samsung to completely redesign the the Q9F’s LCD panel so that the Quantum Dots no longer have to be illuminated by backlights firing in just one direction. Now they can be hit by lights from multiple angles, with the happy result that the viewing angle before colour and contrast take a hit is greatly increased.

Related: All the latest news from CES 2017 in Las Vegas

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Samsung Q9F – Design

The Q9F gets off to a strong start with its engagingly subtle, well-built bodywork. Curiously, this flagship features a flat screen instead of a curved one. Samsung does like its curved flagship TVs, but the company has acknowledged that people generally prefer flat ones. The Samsung Q9F that we’re talking about was hanging from the ceiling on a wall mount that Samsung says should only take minutes to install.

Not keen on fancy wall/ceiling mounting? There’s the ‘Studio’ stand, which looks like an easel for paintings. There’s also the ‘Gravity’ stand, a curious cone-shaped thing that lets you swivel the TV. If that doesn’t float your boat, there’s also a more traditional bar-shaped stand, similar to what you’d find on Samsung’s 2015 models.

It’s nice to see such choice – much better than the endless parade of Klingon Bat’leth (massive metal arc) stands we’ve come to expect from TV manufacturers these days. Samsung says it wants to give consumers the choice.

If you’re expecting a shot of the connections panel, prepare to be disappointed. The Q9F has a very clean back, just like the current flagship, the UE65KS9500. The reason for this is that Samsung tends to keep its connections separate, so you don’t have a nest of cables going into your TV. The KS9500’s connections box features four HDMI 2.0 ports, all certified HDCP 2.2 – we’re certain the Q9F will have no less than that.

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Samsung Q9F – Picture Quality

It’s a struggle to even notice the bodywork once you clap eyes on the picture quality Samsung is bringing to the table this year. Thanks to the astonishing brightness and colour Samsung’s latest TVs deliver, you pretty much forget everything else in the room, too.

While we’re used to only being able to watch Samsung TVs from around 30 degrees off axis, before various picture quality issues come into play, the Q9F lets you walk in a near 180-degree arc without the image degrading. In fact, where colour consistency is concerned the Q9F actually outperforms 2016’s LG OLEDs. We really didn’t expect to ever be comparing an LCD TV’s viewing angle favourably to an OLED’s.

The Q9F’s most dazzling abilities are its contrast and its colour. Where contrast is concerned, the demo set on show simultaneously managed to hit the brightest whites and colours we’ve seen from any TV (including Sony’s stunning ZD9) and the deepest blacks we’ve seen on any LCD TV.

Notwithstanding the impact of the fairly bright lighting in the venue, it’s possible the Q9F will give OLED a run for its money where black level depth is concerned. It’s also possible that the raw impact of all the Q9F’s brightness sitting alongside the blacks may be exaggerating the sense of depth of those blacks. Though even if this latter possibility turns out to be true, it’s still a pretty damn attractive illusion.

The Q9F’s extra brightness also seemed with the demo material on show to completely remove any signs of HDR clipping, where bright parts of the image can lose gradation and detail.

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Perhaps the single most exciting thing about the Q9F is its brightness – up to 2,000 nits, we're told – and the impact it has on colour volume. Colour volume describes the impact of different brightness levels on the appearance of colours, and while it hasn’t traditionally being measured when discussing TVs, it’s actually a key component of the way our eyes perceive colour in the real world.

All of which is a long way round of saying that the Q9F’s currently unique combination of brightness and colour range makes its pictures look simply more like real life than those of any other TV we’ve seen to date. Samsung says it’s like looking through a window, and for once this sort of hyperbole doesn’t sound too far-fetched.

While the Q9F’s frankly astounding pictures dominated the discussion at its first big unveiling, it’s worth adding that from the admittedly limited demo material available to us at the launch event, it also seems to have a more powerful sound system than might have been expected from such a slim-looking TV.

Samsung wouldn’t be drawn on likely prices for the Q9F, but the company did tell TrustedReviews that we can expect these TVs to start shipping around March 2017. Naturally, we’ll bring you a full review just as soon as we can.

Samsung Q9F

First Impressions

Samsung had a very successful 2016, but it’s clear the company didn’t take a break to rest on its laurels, as the jump in design and performance is simply astounding, even if our demo was brief. This is now our most-anticipated TV of 2017, so we can't wait to get the final model in for review.

rene

January 4, 2017, 2:51 pm

why people still watch 16:9 is baffling me....

ElectroMotive

January 5, 2017, 12:18 pm

Google is your friend. ;-)

TheRoonDogg

January 28, 2017, 7:09 pm

That's like being baffled by why people breath oxygen. It's the aspect ratio available in 99.9% of displays made since 2000........

rene

January 29, 2017, 3:37 am

I dont quite get that metaphor. You seem to confuse cause and effect.

99.9% of all movies are made in the 21:9 format since.....the 80s?
You dont buy 65" screens to watch the news, right? You dont buy 70", coz your living room is big, right?

Think before you write!

TheRoonDogg

January 29, 2017, 3:41 pm

LOL Oh that was cute. "Think before you write!" Let's allow facts to take precedent here. Firstly, no, 99.9% of movies are NOT in 21:9. A good % yes, maybe around 45, but not almost every one of them. 21:9, or as it's known in film, cinemascope, was started to offer movie theaters something to compete with television, which at the time was more likely to be in a 1:1 or a 4:3 ratio. Even despite that, most films are done in cinema flat (1.85:1). Cinemascope, or the larger Panavision (2.4:1) films, all get cropped eventually to fit 16:9 (1.78:1), as this is the aspect ratio that ALL television is filmed in for the last 20 years, and almost every display not in a movie theater is that. Even cell phones are mostly in 16:9 (1.78:1) when viewed in landscape orientation. Secondly, the size of the screen is irrelevant in regards to it's aspect ratio. An individual buys as big a TV as they want/can afford, and whatever they watch on it isn't justified by it's size. I own a projector and often display a 120" projection, and yes, I watch the news on it... and sports... and movies... it doesn't matter. The whole time however, it's in 16:9 (1.78:1). You being baffled by why people watch digital media in the ONLY readily available aspect ratio is asinine. As of literally right now, there's only two television available in 21:9, and both cost a hundred grand USD. Philips made some 21:9 TVs that were only available in Europe a few years ago, and those are all discontinued. If you own a projector which supports different lens you can do Cinemascope or Panavision for an added cost. 21:9 is only really prevalent in PC monitors, and that's only been for the past 3 years, of which there are a growing, yet limited amount of choices, and they all carry a higher cost then the majority of consumers worldwide are going to pay for a PC monitor. Perhaps, you should think before you write, because it's highly likely that on the internet, connected to the entire world, somebody with actual knowledge, and not a pissy opinion, will come around to set your foolishness straight before you infect others with the misinformation you masquerade your opinion as a fact...

rene

January 30, 2017, 4:15 pm

Gosh.
What you call cute, i call sad.
99.9% of Movies are in an aspect ratio WIDER than 16:9.

TV-content, series, etc is in 16:9. Older TV content usually is 4:3. The broadcast percentage of 4:3 content is less than 2 %.
Thats one down. Just do you homework.

Beamers and ultra large screes prime buying reason is the cinematic experience. Hence size matter as it determines the prime use case.
Two down.

New developments in gaming, are pushing 21:9, again, use case driven. We'll see where is ends. My bet 40" UW.
Three: pending

All flagship products of LG and Samsung, say 100" and above, are in 21:9. Maybe not in UK, but certainly in more advanced markets.

Hence, my original question: 'why people still watch 16:9' is justified.
And your response illustrates the reason: old fashioned types with no real perspective of reality.

TheRoonDogg

January 30, 2017, 11:45 pm

Wait, you're going to reword the points I made (with less detail and more conjecture), and pass them off as your own ideas? And then take a victory stance on it? I already said everything you reiterated, as proving points for why individuals watch 16:9. You've continue to prove a complete lack of understanding into these regards, and keep trying to pass off your lack of knowledge as "homework" (which you clearly haven't done). The niche products I mentioned by Samsung and LG, you'll never lay your eyes on them in person. It's also highly doubtful there will be another UW TV on any markets for several years. I can't explain it any further. If you cannot understand why individuals watch material in 16:9 at this point, after all of the factual information I have provided, then nothing will remove you from delusion and settle you into reality. GL I guess...

rene

January 31, 2017, 1:04 am

try reading and understanding what i wrote.

Vaschamp

February 2, 2017, 3:04 pm

LOL I have to go with TheRoonDogg on this one, he broke that ish down.
I must say interesting battle though rene fought a good fight lol.

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