Samsungs QLED is back with a vengeance!
I took a trip down to my old stomping ground in Norwich to attend Samsungs 2018 road show, with 26 years in electrical retailing I’m not one to be easily swayed by gimmicky features and poor presentations. Following last year’s slightly lacking road show, leaving me unconvinced over the QLED or OLED debate, it was with a certain sense of in trepidation that I arrived at the Holiday Inn, This okay setting, was more than made up for by the enthusiastic and ever engaging delivery from @AntonOlivier!
What I was shown over the next two hours is what I’d hoped QLED would be and with a simple but stunning additional feature. The following is written with eyes on the QE65Q9FNA however most of the features I’ll discuss appear thorough out the QLED range this year, I’ll identify Q9 only features and it’s a game changer, later on.
From the Off:
Out of the box the first thing you’ll find is the new near invisible connection cable now measuring 5m (rather than last year’s 3m) and the new larger One connect box. It again has two remotes one basic setup remote and an improved Smart remote featuring a more defined ambient mode button (more on this later!).
Two people are needed to remove the screen with great care as these screens are getting thinner and don’t want to risk destroying your new pride and joy before you begin by thinking you can hold onto both sides at once. If you’re using the No Gap wall mount WMNM12EA, it should take a whole 10 minutes to get the screen on the wall, make sure you invest in our Grip it kit if you’re fitting to plasterboard or dot and Dab.
Now onto that one connect box and near invisible connection lead. Those who looked at QLED last year will remember this being a great Idea, a small box with all your inputs/outputs on it connected to the screen by the almost invisible connection cable. Surly every wall mounted installers dream? So why, oh why, did it still have a power lead going into the screen?
Well here’s improvement number one! The power for the screen is now run through the near invisible connection cable so it is truly one cable to the screen. As a hand off, the cable is slightly thicker than last year’s but still almost clear and the One connect box is larger to house the transformer. I will take that any day to get over the issues getting power to the screens. For really bespoke installations you can buy a 15m near invisible cable for approx £200.
So you’re on the wall. The one connect box is sitting happily with your new SKYQ box your new HWMS6500 sound bar is mounted to the screen ready to connect itself wirelessly. All you’ve got to do know is turn it on, tune it in and…. oh no….. spend the afternoon putting all your Wifi, Netflix, Amazon video, Deezer passwords into the TV… STOP RIGHT THERE! Before turning the set on Download the Samsung Smart things app and enable it. This clever little app will be detected by the TV and will in-turn upload, via wifi, all your passwords in one go leaving you free to get on with enjoying the stunning picture quality!
Now this really is what we came for. The first thing you notice is all that colour and brightness which is quite spectacular! Q colour from Samsung is all about giving you 100% colour volume by turning light into colour via their quantum dot technology. By adding more light it is possible to create over a billion vibrant colours. To simplify that, imagine you’re standing outside a church looking at stained glass windows. They look dull until you go inside and WOW they burst into life like a vision from the heavens themselves.
The blacks are looked after by Q Contrast, light in the room is absorbed by the ultra black elite panel configuration, giving far less reflection, HDR10+ uses dynamic tone mapping to deal with light and dark saturation points across the picture scene by scene. The big Shout for the Q9 is the Direct Full Array Elite or as it is better know, full LED backlight. Meaning each pixel has its own super bright LED behind which can be turned on or off individually allowing blacks to be true and greatly reducing the light bleed and Haloing that have blighted side lit LED screens for years.
The Q engine chipset backing all this up has enough power to keep up with the high speed demands of modern gaming with extremely low input lag while maintaining the dynamic brilliance demanded of todays 4K games machines.
For my comparison the content was Thor Ragnorok, the scene when Thor goes to see the Grandmaster delivered in crisp 4K HDR. We had the QE65Q9FNA, last year’s Q9FAM and a leading OLED all set on Standard picture mode and all driven simultaneously by HDR rated HDMI splitter. The scene opens with Thor strapped to a chair apparently travelling through time and space to meet the Grandmaster. The picture was very clean and bright immediately, extremely detailed with clear definition across Thor’s armour. Looking to the darker area’s there was clear graduation allowing dark details to be easily visible on the QLED but lost on the OLED, heading through the space time continuum we are treated to colour banding flowing across the screen with lots of motion. The QLED held all of this together with bright vivid colours against the very dark background while the colours on the OLED appeared quite muted. Sudden motion stop and we see Thor in his chair with only space behind him. It was this scene that allowed the OLED to produce its best card, with an exceptional depth of field which wasn’t present in the motion scene’s, the same scene also showed the benefit of the fully back lit panel in the new QLED, space, simply put had visibly more stars than the others.
So, TV’s are getting bigger there is no doubt about that. Samsung now have seven models in the 65” plus range. TV’s are appearing everywhere, office spaces, meeting rooms, if there’s a bare bit off wall a TV will make it something altogether better. However when they are not in use brightening our days they are a really big depressing black rectangle!
Finally this has been properly addressed by Samsung. All 2018 QLED TV’s will feature the beautiful ambient mode. When the TV is not in use you can choose what it displays from, an artistic clock to a mountain range with birdsong playing, pictures of your latest development or a live news feed. My personal favourite, take out your phone, open your Smart things app, take a picture of your TV against your wall paper and like a scared chameleon, the TV will replicate your wallpaper to the best of its ability, or your photography! Samsung has made it incredibly easy to make the TV become part of any room. Using only 40% of the “on” power with my current tariff that’ll cost me a whole £8 a year to run, and if there’s any worries about screen burn, well the 10yr screen burn g’tee will take care of those.
I, for one see this as a feature with so much to come. In this digital age having a screen turned of will be so old hat. It should be a source of pleasure on or off, whether it’s keeping you glued to the edge of your seat, disappearing into the back of a board room or fulfilling every interior designers dream.
From this demonstration I was taken back to the days when Pioneer plasma sets totally dominated the top of the display panel market because where others panels would do one thing really well the Pioneer did everything really well, looked the part and had the best accessories. Well done Samsung, the Q9FNA is all I hoped it would be and more, to get me reminiscing about the days where something stood head and shoulders above the rest is quite an achievement
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