Samsung QLED TVs 2018: Every new Samsung 4K TV explained

Samsung QLED TVs 2018: a complete guide to every new Samsung 4K TV. We run through everything you need to know before you buy one.

What follows is Samsung’s 2018 TV lineup. This list focuses on QLED models for now. We’ll update this page once we have all the details of the more affordable models at hand.

Usually, we’d run through the list of TVs and explain the differences. This year though, Samsung hasn’t only shared its 2018 plans with Trusted Reviews but revealed its battle plan for how it aims to fight the growing OLED market.

So what’s the deal on Samsung 2018 QLEDs? And what does Micro Full Array and Micro LED tech mean? Here’s Samsung’s plan to beat OLED in 2018.

Samsung QLED 2018 models

In 2017, Samsung went big with QLED – the latest iteration of its Quantum Dot-toting LED LCD TVs. The plan involved building TVs that had 1000+ nits brightness and colour volume – the lofty heights that LCD TVs can reach, but where darkness-loving OLED can’t.

While Samsung did manage groundbreaking levels of luminance and saturation, it stuck with edge-lit LCD designs and ran into that technology’s limitations. When you push brightness as high as 2000 nits, edge lighting and zonal dimming aren’t enough to stem the tide of lighting artefacts. The above issues were compounded with large price tags, plus OLED’s creeping gains in highlight and mid-tone performance.

The 2018 lineup consists of:

Samsung Q9FN
Samsung Q8CN / Samsung Q8DN / Samsung Q8FN (US only)
Samsung Q7FN
Samsung Q6FN

What do those numbers mean? Firstly, Samsung is sticking to its ‘Q’ labelling system, but adding an ‘N’ to separate the 2018 range from the 2017 range.

Last year, the Samsung QLED models were limited to the 9, 8 and 7 Series TVs. Now there’s also a 6 Series QLED. That means models further  down the range benefit from the lovely colours. There are more screen size options, which is great for those tight on space or with more sizeable homes.

Samsung QLED 2018

Samsung Q9FN – 55, 65, 75 and 88 inches

  • Samsung QE55Q9FN – £1799
  • Samsung QE65Q9FN – £2399
  • Samsung QE75Q9FN – £4699
  • Samsung QE88Q9FN

The single most important thing about the 2018 Samsung QLED range is that it is bringing back backlighting, not just relying on edge lighting. That’s important since this Q9 also offers a peak brightness of 2000 nits. The Q9FN will offer full-array local dimming (FALD) with hundreds of dimming zones. This represents a huge upgrade in lighting management.

In a bid to ramp up black performance, the company is employing layers of black and anti-reflection filter, designed to minimise internal light leakage and external glare. The panel also includes a layer with a prism-like structure, which aims to improve viewing angles and stop the picture washing out when viewed from the side.

In addition, the TV will run an anti-blooming algorithm, which identifies bright areas and dims their boundaries to avoid halo effects.

Review: Samsung QE65Q9FN

It works. The combined efforts of these black-improving measures are hugely effective. I viewed the new panel next to a 2017 LG OLED, and alongside the Sony ZD9 from 2016. The Samsung panel demonstrated noticeably better lighting localisation than the Sony, with less blooming.

Against the OLED? I struggled to notice a difference from a ‘normal’ position, sat down a few metres away. It was only when I walked closer to the TV that I saw some very slight blooming on the LCD. Due to the structure of LED LCD TVs, it’s unlikely that they’ll ever match the look of emissive tech such as OLED. But that doesn’t mean the improvements aren’t significant.

Right now the company’s LED LCD tech is now a lot closer to OLED’s black levels.

Related: LG C8 vs Samsung Q9FN

Samsung QLED 2018

There’s more. Samsung is paying extra attention to the style element of TVs, taking steps to ensure your TV blends better into your living room. First, there’s a new ‘Invisible Connection’, or a single super-thin cable that will be hard to spot unless you’ve got the eyes of a hawk. The idea is that your mains cable and nest of HDMI cables will go into the standard, separate connections box, and then a single, barely there cable will take that to the TV. Samsung has done something similar before, but this is the first time such a thin cable has handled both data and power duties.

The final upgrade will appeal to those who don’t want a big blank screen in the living room. Samsung is bringing in the Ambient Mode from its Frame TVs, which essentially gives your TV a low-powered screensaver mode. You can have art on display, or the weather, or you can even display a picture of your wallpaper. It sounds power-hungry, but Samsung estimates that it will come to $0.59 or £0.68 a month, based on three hours’ use a day.

And note the introduction of the 55-inch option. This is the first time there’s been a ‘small’ version of the flagship model, although it’s only available in Europe at the moment.

Related: Sony ZF9 vs Samsung Q9FN

Samsung QE55Q8CN

Samsung Q8CN – 55 and 65 inches

  • Samsung QE55Q8CN – £1719
  • Samsung QE65Q8CN – £2899

Samsung is still pushing curved screens. Not a lot of them, mind – the Q8CN is the only one in the QLED range.

The Q8CN retains most of the features of the Q9FN, with a few exceptions. Firstly, peak brightness drops to 1500 nits. Second, it loses the full-array local dimming – Q8CN, Q7FN and Q6FN will be bottom-edge lit. But they benefit from the Q9FN’s black filters and advanced dimming algorithms.

There’s also a flat Q8FN model with full array backlight. Initially it was going to be exclusive to the US, but after some pressure Samsung has agreed to bring it to the UK. It’s called the Q8DN.

Related: Samsung QE65Q8DN review 

Samsung QLED 2018

Samsung Q7FN – 55, 65 and 75 inches

  • Samsung QE55Q7FN – £1299
  • Samsung QE65Q7FN – £1819
  • Samsung QE75Q7FN – £3499

Want a flat QLED without paying top money (well for any model smaller than 75in)? The Q7F of 2017 did the job nicely, and now we have the Q7FN. It has the same 1500-nit peak brightness as the Q8CN. There’s also a new 75-inch option.

Despite being lower in the range, the Q7FN packs the same number of connections as its bigger siblings: four HDMI and three USB ports.

Samsung QLED 2018

Samsung Q6FN – 49, 55, 65, 75 and 82 inches

  • Samsung QE49Q6FN – £899
  • Samsung QE55Q6FN – £999
  • Samsung QE65Q6FN – £1499
  • Samsung QE75Q6FN – £3499
  • Samsung QE82Q6FN – £4499

Now we get into a slightly confusing territory. The Samsung 6 Series were lower-end models, but now Samsung has brought the QLED range down. Essentially, you’ll be able to enjoy the colours and brightness of QLED at a lower price.

Peak brightness drops to 1000 nits, which is less than what’s offered on by higher QLEDs, but it’s more than you’d get on a 6 Series model. We also lose the Ultra Black technology, but this shouldn’t be a concern – the Q6FN is half as bright as the Q9FN, so its dimming tech doesn’t need to be quite as powerful.

Four HDMI ports remain but USB ports drop down to two. The design is more basic too – you don’t get the premium metal trimmings.

Samsung 8K QLED with AI upscaling

Coming Soon: 8K Micro Full Array – the Samsung Q9SN

In the second half of 2018, we will see a new tech called ‘Micro Full Array’ (MFA). There will only be one model, the 85-inch Samsung Q9SN (QE85Q9SN).

MFA is basically FALD tech on steroids. Brightness up to 4000 nits, with black levels plunging to an OLED-matching 0.001 nits.

And if the 2018 QLED having hundreds of dimming zones is a good thing then how about over 10,000 zones? That promises a level of lighting control never before seen on an LCD TV.

This tech doesn’t just have a massive number of zones; it is also physically massive. It will only be available at 85 inches. That’s bound to be impractical and insanely expensive.

Related: OLED vs QLED

As for resolution, this TV won’t be in 4K. Because it will be a native 8K effort.

But why? Bringing out an 8K screen seems an odd move when the blossoming 4K market has yet to become mainstream. And there’s virtually no content out there – mostly test footage from Japan, where broadcaster NHK has been testing the waters of 8K.

Samsung says it’s first and foremost a means of retaining sharpness and clarity, finer details and gradations. After all, if you bump a 4K resolution from 55 inches to 82 inches, the latter is going have a lower pixel density and look a little softer. Samsung’s approach is to feed in 4K video and upscale it to 8K. Samsung calls it ‘AI Upscaling’, a fancy term that doesn’t seem far off what some TVs do to bring standard definition up to 1080p, or from HD to 4K.

‘AI Upscalng’ will employ noise reduction to preserve details, edge restoration to prevent jagged contours. It also compares incoming video with an image database to make calculations – not far off what Sony has been doing with its highly effective X-Reality Pro upscaling.

Samsung’s The Wall – 146-inch modular Micro LED

The next stage: Micro LED

Samsung are also working to bring a new tech called Micro LED to market.

This is where Samsung finally drops LCD and adopts an emissive technology, similar to OLED and plasma before it. Samsung says it will be less power-hungry than OLED, with less potential for degradation over time. This is about as close to the ‘true’ QLED that folks on the internet have been speculating about for years, before Samsung decided to use ‘QLED’ to brand its Quantum Dot LCD TVs.

Micro LED stems from Samsung’s existing LED Cinema technology, which uses modular LED panels pieced together to create a gigantic picture. The theory here is the same: at CES 2018 Samsung is showing off a 146-inch modular version that it calls ‘The Wall’. It’s not been announced how the modular system works, or what sizes will be available, but it’s safe to say Samsung is starting big before working down to sensible (affordable) sizes.

When? The estimates are anywhere from one to nine years…

Samsung’s future is bright. And crazy

I’ve got to give it to Samsung. The 2017 QLED plan didn’t go as intended, but the guys in Seoul clearly weren’t disheartened. It’s quite the opposite – they’ve doubled down on their commitment to fight OLED on several fronts. Some of the plan is practical. Some of the plan is plain mad. But from what I’ve seen, all of it is hugely impressive.

It’s clear that to Samsung, the big ‘OLED vs QLED’ debate is only just beginning.

Since you’re looking at TVs, check out our coverage of the other brands:

Sony TVs 2018: What you need to know before you buy Bravia
Panasonic’s 2018 4K HDR and HD TV lineup explained
LG’s 2018 OLED TVs

What do you make of Samsung’s OLED-fighting plans? Tweet us @TrustedReviews