This is visible with fine print and text overlays shown during commercials, where the text was just bit more legible and less pixelated than on the Q9’s 4K panel. You can also see the Q900’s better blacks when comparing the ViSA logo in the images shown (above).
Hands on with the Samsung Q9 QLED 8K
Putting aside the 8K question for a moment, we enjoyed our time using the Series 9 Q900, and it has a lot of smart features. Here’s what topped our list:
The overall design of the Series 9 is impressive and has some very clever ‘quality of life’ elements. Firstly, the Q900 has an attractive design that is quite minimalist in terms of a thin bezel around the screen and two uncomplicated ‘feet’ that are high enough to allow for a soundbar. While not a ‘super thin’ panel in terms of overall thickness, a couple of centimetres is no bad thing and provides the space needed for a proper backlight, not the edge-lit kind used in the 2017 Q9.
Also, the ‘Iconic’ black colour is both bold and classic, and there are clever cut-outs in the back of the screen where you can place the two ‘feet’ in case you choose to wall-mount the TV. This is nice as it keeps everything you need together so you don’t have to worry about misplacing the feet if you need them down the track.
One of our favourite features, which was introduced two years ago and gradually refined, is the ‘One Connect Box’ with the ‘One Clear Cable’ feature. No other TV brand does it, and it literally frees up your TV to be placed just about anywhere in a room without having to worry about connecting an ugly mess of cables to the back of the panel. Also good is that the smart remote control uses Bluetooth, not infrared, so doesn’t need a ‘line-of-site’ view of the One Connect box or TV panel to control the menu.
The One Connect Box has grown in size this year. It still consolidates all of your AV connections, as well as power, into a single cable that runs unobtrusively from the box, along the wall and up to the back of the TV. Since it’s sort of translucent, the cable blends into the background and also negates the need to have power or AV cables in your walls and fitted off to the back of the TV. You can even paint over the cable if you want to conceal it more.
In the box you also get Samsung’s special ‘slim-fit wall mount’, which is very flat TV wall mount bracket and easy to install. It also makes the panel look more like a wall-hanging print or painting by eliminating all but a very small gap between it and the wall.
On the connection front, The Q900 can work with whatever ‘Smart Home’ assistant you might use. Google Assistant and Alexa are supported, or you can use Samsung’s own Bixby assistant to turn on the TV, select channels and more with your voice.
Also very surprising and pleasing is compatibility with Apple’s AirPlay 2 ecosystem, which means you can watch movies, video, music or screen sharing from your iPhone, iPad or Mac and home wireless network. There is also a new Apple TV app, which joins Netflix, Stan, ABC, SBS and others in the SmartHub menu. Now, you can access your Apple content library from iCloud and control it via the TVs remote control. This has just launched in Australia as a firmware patch, and it also good because you don’t need to purchase a separate Apple TV anymore to play your content. For the complete story, click here.
We liked the new Adaptive Sound feature too. This ‘intelligent engine’ automatically analyses the scene that you’re watching and adjusts the equaliser settings to produce the best quality sound to match. For example, when watching an action packed movie, it will increase the explosions and bass. Watching an intense drama with low volume at night? It will increase the vocals so you can hear what’s being said without waking everyone up.
Lastly, the SmartHub is already a very good interface that consolidates all sorts of different digital, cable and terrestrial content in one place. The One Remote Control makes it easy to select what you want, and Samsung has tweaked it by adding direct buttons for Netflix, Youtube an Xbox or Soundbar.
The Samsung Q900 8K panel is visibly better than the Q9 4K model, and we came to this conclusion without ever watching native 8K content on it. It’s all about how the Q900 panel handles what’s available to watch today, and it does this very well. While the differences in ‘detail’ are not easy to spot at the best of times, they are there, which is largely thanks to better upscaling. Also, it’s more than just detail – the Samsung 8K panel has inkier blacks, more contrast, higher colour density and more peak brightness.
While the price premium may not make sense for many, 8K is an important consideration for really big screens (such as 65in and above). Also good is that Samsung’s 2019 8K models have already had a price drop by about $2000 to $3000 from the RRP.
So, if watching the ultimate picture on a large screen is at the top of your checklist, an 8K TV makes sense for you right now. You’ll also be ready for 8K gaming, with next-gen consoles due out next year. With more 8K models and brands appearing on the horizon, the 8K story is only going to get better, so early adopters, grab yours today!