The Samsung 2017 QLED TV was a showcase for what metallic quantum points could make for 4K HDR TV. And while we all agree that these TVs were bright, bold and beautiful, they lacked some important components that made rivalry even better in areas such as contrast and off-axis angles.
Because of these issues, Samsung returned to the drawing board and appeared in 2018 with Samsung Q9FN QLED . It packs into a number of panel technologies to fix the places where QLED faltered, like full-scale local dimmering with Q Contrast EliteMax, and the results are truly spectacular.
But unfortunately, not all this image technology did it for Q7F.
Second-tier Q7FN does not, for example, offer full-featured local dimming, and while still releasing a huge amount of light, all of these details can be lost if you move just a few degrees left or right on the screen.
Having said that, while Samsung's second-phase Q7FN is not fully screened, Q9FN showed itself, it's still a bright and formidable telly for 4K HDR enthusiasts.
Price and release date
We & # 39; I would specifically look at the 55-inch QN55Q7FN in this review, but there are a number of other Q7FN models that all use the same panel technology in different screen sizes. For that purpose, it is a 65-inch QN65Q7FN and a 75-inch QN75Q7FN. All models of Q7FN are available now and will drive you $ 1
If you live abroad in Europe, you can find 55, 65, and 75-inch Q7FN QE55Q7FN, QE65Q7FN, and QE75Q7FN Q7FN, and will drive you £ 1,999, £ 2,699 or £ 3,999, depending on which the size you go to.
For Australian TV buyers, QA55Q7FN, QA65Q7FN and QA65Q7FN and QA75Q7FN cost AU $ 3,699, AU $ 5,299 and AU $ 8,199 respectively.
The next step up from Q7FN is Q8FN, available from $ 2999 (about £ 2,200, $ AU4,000) and Q9FN that costs Samsung's Q7FN is not far behind, but LG has a market that is almost the corner invisible frame with its almost borderless W8 OLED. Samsung Q7FN is not far behind. Q7FN uses Samsung's signature T-Bar tripod to hold the TV and cables into the back. This gives a quick layout and clean look when everything is done.
The TV has a silver frame with a thin, eighth-inch frame. It is not invisible to the eye, but it is quite thin all in consideration. Depthwise, the screen is halfway near the top and a full inch near the bottom of the screen.
You will notice that it is larger around the lower half of the TV because it is where the edge-lit LEDs sit. It's also where the only port of the TV is – Samsung's proprietary "invisible" connecting cable that goes to an external processing device that Samsung has called the One Connect box. This is where you connect devices to one of the four HDMI ports, single digital optical audio output or Ethernet ports. When you talk about, the One Connect box is quite big and it may be the appearance of a home theater setup, but because the line that runs between the One Connect box and the TV itself is quite small and quite long, you hide the box in a cabinet , paint the cord in the same color as the wall, and the TV will remain indescribable.
The second unique design feature on Samsung's 2018 QLED TV is Ambient Mode, a low power consumption setting that helps the TV to blend in the background when not in use. While it's hard to describe in great detail, we'll say there's a cross between a standard screen saver and an image you take off the wall behind your TV.
Similarly, it looks like an Apple Watch face – You'll find an entire library of design to choose from when you're in Ambient Mode, and Samsung can always add more of these via software update later. Having said that, right out of the gate, it's a feature that separates Samsung from the competition and really helps the TV look more at home when not in use.
Design TL; DR: Samsung Q7FN is a beautiful minimalist TV – with or without ambient mode turned on. The One Connect box required to connect to the TV is a bit bulky, but you can happily use it in a relatively easy-to-use cabinet.
Smart TV Features
The good news continues with Q7FN's smart TV features. Samsung's Eden-based OS is beautifully designed and user-friendly. Like last year, the apps are lined up along the bottom line, and you'll find all the main blame here – Netflix, Amazon and YouTube will be preinstalled with the TV. (UK owners will also receive capture applications for all four of the country's most important terrestrial TV broadcasters, while US streaming enthusiasts will see Hulu and Sling TV.)
New for 2018 is the integration of Bixby, Samsung's virtual assistant, and Samsung SmartThings, which allows you to control IoT devices around the house using the microphone built into the remote control itself.
Having said that, while Bixby has the ability to track down, manage the clear home and answer questions that rarely do any of the above phenomena. Search for "Thor", for example, and Bixby will insist that it heard "Four" or search for "Star Wars The Last Jedi" and it's likely to hear "Star Wars Las Jedi" – that sounds like the name of a Star Wars theme bar and grill in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Because this is Samsung's first year of Bixby integration, it's ok to cut them a bit in this department. Hi, Siri has been in Apple devices for a better part of a decade, and it still interferes with continued words all the time. The opposite is that LG has chosen to use Google Assistant in its latest version of WebOS, and it is a much better experience.
If you can see past occasional misinterpretation, you are dealing with phenomenally robust, flaming fast OS. Navigation in the towers and towers of Tizen feels like an exciting treasure hunt, as you never really know what goodness you will reveal next.
Smart TV TL; DR: Tizen is one of the best smart platforms on the planet. Now, if only Samsung would have used Google Assistant instead of Bixby …
HD / SDR Performance
As Q7D Q7, Samsung Q7FN, like the rest of its siblings, offers seriously good HD upscaling / SDR content. The result is an image that has added details with very little image noise. (It's still there, but it's minimal at distances beyond a few meters away.)
The big advantage of HD / SDR performance, and probably the biggest boon period of the TV, is the brightness. Surely, HD / SDR content only requires 300 to 400 headlights to show all details, but it's no harm that this TV can be much, much brighter.
In order to take advantage of this extra HD / SDR content, each new 2018 Samsung 4K HDR TV has a mode called HDR + that expands colors and opens the contrast on the screen. It's not good to have content shot in native HDR, but with HDR +, HD / SDR content will not see half of its age and you get more of a dramatic contrast when watching older movies that were not shot in it last format.
A disadvantage here and that's what we pointed out in our review of the Samsung NU8000 series earlier this year is that HDR + changes the hue to heat, adding a sepia-like hue to the image. It's not a big deal, but if you want to return the screen to a cooler, more normal look, you must go into settings and manually reset the color tone.
The second, much bigger problem, and something we talk about more in the next section is that Q7FN uses an edge light, VA LED panel instead of going full array. This is not something you want to notice in HD / SDR content – since the contrast ratio between the brightest whites and the darkest blacks is not so pronounced – but it may sometimes affect the image here too.
HD / SDR Performance TL; DR: While HDR + Mode dramatically enhances the color and contrast of HD / SDR images, AV-purists will find a lot to love with Q7FN's strong performance with native HD / SDR content.
4K / HDR Performance
We've covered brightness in the above section, but it's worth repeating here, since the blow in nits really helps Q7FN utilize the High Dynamic Range content.
According to Samsung, the Q7FN is capable of brightness in 1400 to 1600 nit range, making it twice as strong as competing LED LCD monitors and well above the recommended 1000-nits set by the UHD Alliance. This extra brightness makes it great for daytime viewing, giving Q7FN close-OLED levels of contrast.
Unfortunately, there is still a edge-lamped VA LED panel.
This means that the TV has a good contrast – especially in dark rooms, and especially when sitting right in front of the screen – but still requires a rear-panel LED panel, unlike OLED, and therefore does not deliver the same black level performance or large off-axis view.
When you talk about off-axis viewing, if you're sitting a few degrees to the left or right of the screen, it's quite easy to notice some desaturation. Although we do not have precise measurement, you should definitely avoid sitting more than 30 degrees in both directions and if you can help it, even less than 15 or so degrees. That rule applies both horizontally and vertically if you decide to mount the monitor on the wall.
However, it is not that bad. Due to the massive brightness, these televisions can broadcast in HDR, they look great even in wide daylight. Add the benefits of quantum dot technology that enhances color volume and you've got a really big picture – even though it's not exactly the best image performance on the market.
With regard to HDR, it is worth noting that from now on, the Samsung Q7FN only supports HDR10, HLG and the prominent HDR10 +. Samsung has not yet adopted Dolby Vision, which means that most Netflix original shows will appear as standard HDR instead of Dolby Vision – which is a bit bummer.
While Dolby Vision was not available, HDF's Netflix defender still looks incredible: character costumes so crystal clear and colorful, and dark scenes retained details even in the midst of massive combat sequences. Similarly, Planet Earth 2 was outstanding in 4K HDR, although we noticed a distinctive green hue that made jungle scenes look lusher if they are a little overpowered.
Last but not least, players will find a lot to love about Samsung's 2018 Q7FN lineup as it automatically supports game mode that can detect when playing a console or PC game and automatically switches the fast game mode screen. Samsung also plans to add Variable Refresh Rate once in a way that will help with any screen wounds that you may have noticed in the past of the year, as well as bringing the input to a remarkably low 7ms. (We measure Q9FN on adjustable 34ms, for reference.)
4K / HDR performance TL; DR: Bright and colorful Q7FN is a great 4K HDR TV. Just be sure to sit right in front of it.
To enhance Q7FN's image performance is a surprisingly powerful sound system. It's more than that you need to hear most TV and movie dialogs over the background noise, and it makes a respectable job of music – even if it's not our first choice for a house party setting.
As said, while the sound performance is quite strong, it's the features that Samsung packs into the Q7FN which makes it worth its weight in amplifiers. Namely, the easy-to-use Bluetooth pairing allows you to use the TV as a speaker for your phone or tablet, and the inclusion of Chromecast built-in that lets you throw a drop.
In addition to all that is Samsung's Smart Sound feature, a unique software algorithm Samsung TV division has lifted from its California-based audio lab that analyzes incoming sound and automatically adjusts it to the type of content you're looking at.
In practice, Samsung's TV hardware and software produce a strong audio performance, one that will easily fill most rooms with high, clear dialog and realistic sound effects. Will it replace the sound bar or surround sound speaker system? No. But can Q7FN stand alone without the help of an external audio setup? Absolutely.
Other Panels to Consider
Know that Samsung's Q7FN is not a cheap TV – at $ 1,799 (£ 1,999, AU $ 3,699), it's only entry level in name. If the money is tight, you can fall down to Samsung Q6FN, but you're better off sticking with Q7FN if you can afford it.
However, it would be better if you could upgrade to Samsung Q9FN – we're not kidding when we say it's the best TV in the market in 2018. It offers a complete panel that means even better contrast and more accurate HDR- images. It's an expensive investment, yes, but in this case you get what you pay for.
If you are looking for something closely priced for Samsung Q7FN, many of LG's Super UHD TVs fit the bill, including the LG SK85 (SK8500) and the LG SK95 (SK9500). Both of these televisions use a variant of quantum points and provide better viewing angles than Samsung QLED. What we did not like about these TVs when we saw them is that they have problems with uniform black level. Can not win all of them, I suppose.
Your other option would be Sonys X900F (XF90) series. It's full range and offers amazing upscaling for HD / SDR images, as well as world-class motion management. It has similar problems with light bleeding like LG's Super UHD TV and the limited viewing angles found on the Q7FN, but distinguishes everywhere else.
Last but not least, if you do not mind any compromises in total color volume and accuracy, we will be referring not to mention the TCL 6 Series 4K Roku TV. These are ultra-affordable HDR monitors that pack in Dolby Vision on top of a well stocked OS that has all streaming services under the sun. The price of the 55-inch TCL 55R617 TV starts at just $ 649.
While Samsung's Q7FN is one of the better screens available this year, it's not the peak of QLED technology – the honor is reserved for Q9FN. Q7FN is a big compromise between price and performance that gives a light display, three kinds of HDR and incredibly accurate colors for $ 1,799 (£ 1,999, AU $ 3,699), yes, but there is still some room for improvement on this year's Q7 series .
Having said that, while the Q7FN is bright, colorful and beautiful, many of these properties lose the moment you change a few degrees off axis. This is not an area where some of Samsung's competitors – like LG OLED or Super UHD TV – stumble and it makes it difficult to give a full unadultered recommendation.
If you can overlook these features, Q7FN has a lot to offer. Ambient Mode adds a design aesthetically, making sure you're fond of the eyes, and the low latency game mode makes it a competent companion for the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro. HDR + mode helps to increase the HD / SDR content and of course, 4K / HDR content has an eye-waving gloss when viewed on this set. Although Q7FN is not quite homerun, there is still a solid turn in the middle.