REVIEW: Samsung Q9 Significantly Enhanced Viewing, Even In Bright Light
Right now, is a crucial time for Samsung, they are the market leader in premium TVs and when you’re leading a race by a slender margin and have some very powerful brands contending for the crown you have to be confident that your latest offering is simply the best.
Known for being an innovative brand Samsung gave us access to their all new 75” Q9 which is a worthy contender in the battle with the new TV technology kids on the block with their impressive OLED TV offerings.
The new Q9 has stylish looks and athletic picture performance and could well see Samsung hold onto their crown as brands such as LG, Panasonic and Sony challenge the Korean TV maker.
Also taking a stab at Samsung’s market share are cheap bottom end brands such as Hisense who are using price as opposed to a quality hardware offering to try ad position themselves in the fast growing 4K UHD market.
I reviewed the new Q9, which is considerably cheaper than last year’s model, in a multimillion dollar Bondi penthouse that was bathed in light and despite this the picture was as good as any OLED TV in these conditions.
Anyone can get a good picture in a dark room but to get a great image in a room bathed in light is another thing.
The engines built into the Q9 combines direct backlighting with arguably the most comprehensive and impressively controlled local dimming engine the TV world has seen.
What the new Samsung display processor delivers is a significantly enhanced processing technique that enables it to reduce the intensity of the light produced by a particular dimming zone as it spreads away from that zone’s brightest point, thus reducing the obviousness of any blooming effect.
This was clearly evident in the top floor apartment that not only had light streaming in via front facing sliding glass doors but from a big wide skylight.
The experience of watching contrast-rich HDR images on the Q9 suggests that what Samsung has delivered with this new model is a new generation of seriously good TV technology.
The image delivered to the screen whether it be from a Blu ray DVD or from Netflix as well as Live TV is immersive, with minimal opportunity for the TV’s lighting technology to distract you from what you’re watching.
The black level performance is all the more remarkable because Samsung’s latest TV can serve up brightness peaks measured (on a 10% white HDR window) of 2413 nits in dynamic mode, or around 1940 nits in Standard mode. These are huge numbers for today’s TV, they are also numbers that brands such as Hisense struggle to deliver.
What I was not able to test was live sport because stupidly Foxtel has pulled the plug on TV manufacturers having access to their Foxtel App.
The cheaper prices of the 2018 Samsung TV line up and the significantly improved backlight and the use of direct rather than edge LED lighting make this TV a standout model.
Another big contributor is the ease with which one can manage not only the content offering this TV delivers but the sound and attached Blu ray using the redesigned Samsung ‘smart’ remote control.
And before you toss the idea of a Blu ray player you may want to take a look at the same movie delivered via Netflix and then watch it delivered via a Blu ray disc, the difference is chalk and cheese in favour of the Blu ray content.
And if you really want to see this TV performing in all Its glory, slide in a really good Blu ray action movie such as Fast & Furious or the BBC Blue Planet Series and what you will see is that the dark areas of the picture look spectacular and convincingly black rather than washed out and grey which we have found to be prevalent on cheap 4K UHD TV’s.
Even better, the beautifully deep blacks are no longer spoiled by large areas of backlight clouding.
In fact, there’s no clouding at all.
As with last year’s QLED models, the Q9 uses an external connections box to reduce cable clutter, the big difference between last years model and this year’s model is size with Samsung deciding to include the power supply in the box as opposed to an attached power supply as well as a box.
A big new feature is ambient mode which comes into play when you switch the Q9 on.
On the screen you have the choice of pre-loaded artwork or one of your own photographs, so that you can see this rather than a black screen when you’re not actively watching the TV.
The Ambient Mode setting uses a bare minimum of power, and it seems that Samsung will open up access to more paid-for art works – much as it does for its 2017 ‘Frame TVs’.
One option being touted by Samsung is that you could, photograph your wallpaper or paintwork and have this appear as the Ambient Mode image, so that it blends almost completely into your living room.
What’s interesting is that despite more Australian’s moving to streamed content Samsung has made it a lot easier to also manage and record live TV content with new features integrated into the TV’s content browsing features.
A new Smart Things app enables you to monitor and communicate with other compatible products on your home network, such as, potentially, fridges, washing machines and even robot vacuum cleaners.
The combination of outstanding backlight management new content systems coupled with new processors that deliver a gorgeous and immersive HDR TV viewing experience makes the Samsung TV offering the best the world has seen.
I honestly believe that side by side no one will pick the difference between an OLED TV display and the new Samsung quantum dot TV’s.
As for weaknesses dynamic and natural mode are good however movie mode leaves a lot to be desired with the image in movie mode becoming muddy and the colours diluted as opposed to the rich colour dynamic mode.
I am also not into deep rich artificially enhanced colours which the dynamic mode delivered.
In the natural mode the colours delivered to the screen, looked beautifully balanced at all times, flesh tones were consistently realistic.
The output sound is best through a Samsung soundbar as well as via a pair of AKG noise cancelling headphones.
All you have to do is connect the headphones to the TV via Bluetooth and what you will find is that dialogue is significantly enhanced.
I even tried it with a pair of Jabra in ear buds.
This TV has been designed from the ground up to unlock 4K’s Ultra High Definition sharpness and advanced detail.
It delivers a great picture in even the most trying of light environments because the processor technology built into this TV delivers the the bandwidth and detail even in the brightest HDR areas.
The ambient mode delivers new design opportunities and the new remote makes managing this TV, the Blu Ray player and the soundbar from one control system incredibly easy.