Samsung’s QLED 4K TVs Now Shipping to Consumers and Stores: Our Analysis
Stephan Jukic – March 14, 2017
The 2017 Samsung QLED 4K HDR TV line that made so many heads turn in appreciation at CES 2017 has finally gone on sale and at least one of them is selling for a bit less than the original suggested MSRP prices released by Samsung in February.
The new QLEDs use a refined form of quantum dot technology to give unprecedented new levels of DCI-P3 Wide Color Gamut performance and come with viewing angles that supposedly put their 2016 SUHD cousins to shame. Furthermore, in their basic physical design, they’ve become even sleeker than their 2016 predecessors, with new simplified connectivity layouts and a redesigned smart TV/remote control setup to boot. How much better these new QLED TVs are than their 2016 cousins is something we have yet to know until we review a model but they should at least perform as well as the 2016 SUHD TVs in some areas while exceeding them in others. This would be a minimum to hope for.
As we said, Samsung confirmed pricing for the first-release QLED models back in February and none of them were particularly cheap. The cheapest model, the Samsung 55 inch QN55Q7F flat screen TV model was slated for a release price of $2,799.99 with its 65 inch version costing a hefty $3,999.99 and a giant 75 inch edition going for a whopping $5,999.99. These prices are still better than those of any 2017 OLED 4K TV from either LG or Sony (since the release of its A1E OLED model 4K HDR TV) but they’re not what we’d call cheap by any measure, and nobody had any real business even expecting these top-shelf TVs to go on sale for any sort of budget price.
Nonetheless, now that the QLED models have actually started going on sale for immediate shipping or delivery, their original MSRPs have apparently dropped for the QN55Q7F 55 inch model and sites like Best Buy and Amazon.com are offering this TV for a reduced price of $2,498.90 in some cases. This still means one pretty pricey 55 inch 4K TV but a savings of just over $300 off what you might have thought you’d have to pay to get your hands on a basic QLED model as soon as it hit the shelves.
The Q7 is obviously not the only television in the Samsung QLED lineup and even this same model has its own curved version, as could be expected from the company that started the whole curved display trend. With that we come to the QN55Q7C curved version of the exact same QLED TV, which retails for $2,999.99 for the 55 inch edition and $4,299.99 for the 65 inch edition. This pricier version of the Q7 delivers all of the same performance specs (if what we saw with the 2016 SUHD TVs is anything to go by) but costs between $200 and $300 more just because of its curvature. As we’ve explained in detail before, we’re not fans of curved display and while some consumers might prefer its aesthetic value, the curve does nothing to enhance viewing quality –particularly in smaller 55 inch 4K TVs– and is certainly not worth paying extra for in our view. To each their own preferences however. Note here the absence of a 75 inch model, which is odd considering that curved TVs are supposed to feel more “immersive” with larger display sizes.
Next up the QLED chain is the Q8C range of TVs. These are all curved and pricier due to their supposedly superior display specs. The 55 inch model goes for $3,499.99, the 65 inch TV for $4,799.99 and the giant 75 inch Q8C is retailing for a hefty $6,799.99. What sort of display quality enhancements the Q8 TVs offer over the Q7 models is something we won’t know until we get a chance to review specific units of each but for now, we’re left wondering if the improvements might be small. In the 2016 SUHD TVs, the KS9000 cost a fair bit more than the KS8000 though both TVs offered virtually identical display performance as far as any testing could measure. The same applied to their curved versions the KS9500 and KS8500.
Finally, to top off the Samsung QLED TVs being released for shipping so far, we have the Q9 models that are Samsung’s flagship TVs so far for 2017. These, interestingly come only with flat screen designs like those of the Q7F TVs and thus we get the Q9F flat editions that comes in three sizes: the 65 inch model for $5,999.99, the 75 inch Q9F at $9,999.99 and the monster 88 inch Q9F for $19,999.99. Even in these extremely expensive Q9F flagship models, Samsung hasn’t included full-array LED backlighting but the company does claim that the Q9s are the only TVs in the QLED lineup to offer a new type of edge-lit backlighting technology that Samsung calls “infinite Array”, which reportedly creates extremely deep black levels, specialized micro-dimming technology and levels of peak brightness that reach a stunningly good 2000 nits.
All of Samsung’s new QLED TVs comes with the brand’s new quantum dot technology, which not only enhances color to new levels but also somehow allows for wider-than-normal viewing angles despite the fact that these televisions come with VA panel technology. The QLEDs are also built to deliver extremely high contrast and deep, rich blacks, all of which are conserved even when a QLED display is viewed from well off center.
Q Smart & Q Style
In addition to their new display performance features, the 2017 QLEDs come with Samsung’s new Q Smart modifications to the Tizen smart TV platform that has been in Samsung 4K TVs for years now. With Q Smart, the Tizen Smart Hub comes with some new streaming media options, including Samsung’s own new TV Plus 4K content service. Other modifications include better-than-ever customization options, a music tile for access to streamed tunes from Samsung audio partners and voice control via Samsung’s redesigned One Remote control, which has been modified for greater usability with the smart platform of the QLED TVs.
As for Q Style, it encompasses some new practical design improvements that QLED TVs come with and while it would be convenient to dismiss some of these as frivolously flashy gimmicks, we’re giving Samsung the benefit of the doubt here from what we’ve seen. First of all, there’s the new no-gap mounting system that lets the flat screen QLEDs look almost like snugly placed works of art when hanging from your wall. Behind this there’s the new “Invisible Connection” cable that comes with all the QLED models. This single highly unobtrusive cable runs between TV and the newest edition of Samsung’s One Connect box, where all HDMI, Ethernet and other connectivity ports are. There’s no need to even try hiding the new “Invisible Connection” cable, because it is genuinely designed to camouflage as well as possible into most walls.
For users who don’t want to mount their TVs to a wall, Samsung offers two options: a more conventional but sleek brushed metal entertainment stand for counter tops or tables and a floor stand that basically looks like a very spindly easel and is also designed to not stand out too much, especially in a darkened room.
Finally, we should mention that the Samsung QLED TVs have a couple of serious hardware accessories which are available for them at additional cost. These include a stylish looking new soundbar which is designed to sleekly integrate with any QLED TV model and an updated 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player, the UBD-M9500, which goes on sale in April for $399 and offers new streaming options and content sharing capacity as well.
Story by 4k.com