Samsung QLED 4K HDR TVs Get Formal Unveiling and They’re Awesome as Expected
Stephan Jukic – January 4, 2017
Yesterday we covered all of the specs rumors and evidence around the new Quantum Dot/QLED 4K HDR premium TVs that Samsung was expected to unveil at CES 2017 as successors to the superb 2016 SUHD lineup.
Well now the QLED TVs –as they’re formally called—have been formally unveiled and they do indeed offer almost everything we predicted they’d come with and more. What’s more, it’s the little details about these new 2017 4K TV models that do a lot to make them better than their predecessors even if the QLEDs aren’t absolutely revolutionary in their changes.
First, yes, many of the new QLED televsions are curved just like the SUHD models and secondly, yes many of them still come with edge-lit backlighting arrays. Now, moving into their deeper details and starting with their display chops, one of the key pieces of information from a supposed Samsung source about the expected performance of the QLED models was a statement that the new televisions would offer 50% better performance than their 2016 SUHD cousins. We predicted that this performance would almost entirely be confined to the peak brightness capacity of the new premium models and that other specs such as HDR color capability would see only marginal improvements.
Well sure enough, with a peak brightness capacity of between 1500 and 2000 cd/m2 or nits, the QLED models definitely outdo their 2016 cousins by a very wide margin while their DCI-P3 color coverage for HDR color, which Samsung is claiming to reach 99%, only moderately outdoes the 92 to 95% DCI-P3 color space coverage of the 2016 SUHD TVs.
The new models, which come in several series denominated as the Q9, Q8 and Q7 sets, make use of a new and considerably refined quantum dot technology that relies on metal quantum dot nano-particles to deliver their moderately wider color gamut coverage. What the metal quantum dots in the new TVs also do is allow these models to render full color volume and saturation even if their peak brightness is dialed up the very high maximum they’re capable of. This is one enhancement over the 2016 SUHD models, which lost a bit of color saturation at maximum HDR display brightness settings.
What’s more, the new quantum dot technology reportedly allows the QLED lineup to deliver even deeper, richer blacks than were possible with their 2016 or older cousins and as a result these LCD TVs offer a black level that comes closer than ever before at imitating the perfect blacks of OLED display in an LCD/LED panel. While we can’t yet say for sure how deep the black levels of the QLEDs actually go without performing concrete measurements on a review model, the black levels on display in the QLEDs at CES 2017 in Vegas definitely show off some of the best black levels we’ve ever seen in an LCD TV at a glance. However, we still don’t consider it to be the OLED-like “perfect black” that Samsung is promising.
Another truly remarkable achievement that the new QLED TVs pull off is the deliver yof some extraordinarily broad high fidelity viewing angles. Possibly thanks to their metal quantum dot structure and possibly thanks to some truly sophisticated new LED/LCD panel reworking which takes advantage of said quantum dots in new ways, the QLED TVs at CES seem to offer viewing angles that conserve nearly perfect color and contrast quality even way off center. They pull this off in a way that even OLED has a hard time rivaling and that’s one very impressive thing to see in an LCD 4K TV which still manages to deliver deep blacks at the same time. (Most wide viewing angle LCD TVs pull this off by using IPS display and in the process lose a tremendous amount of contrast and black level capability).
Then there are the non-display improvements that Samsung has built into its newest premium lineup of 4K HDR TVs. For starters, there is a new connectivity configuration built into the QLED models. This relies on an “Invisible Connection” fiber optic cable which connects to an external box that houses all of the QLED TVs’ other major inputs for HDMI, USB and so forth. The overall effect of this is to produce a much lower cable clutter level when one of the TVs is mounted to a wall or sitting in a living room. In addition to this effort at smoother, more elegant design, Samsung has given the QLED TVs what it calls a “no-gap wall mount”, which allows for seamless mounting to a wall since the hardware that holds the TV in place is concealed inside the back of a QLED television and also designed to allow for easy tilting of the display as well automatic levelling.
In other words, the 2017 QLED Samsung TVs are showing themselves to be true stunners that are virtually guaranteed to make consumers fall in love in 2017, when they go on sale at some point in March.
Story by 4k.com