Samsung's QLED TVs tend to cop a lot of slack due to the rather obvious similarity their name implies with OLED TVs. Now lets be completely honest here, OLED technology is certainly superior to Samsung's QLED in almost every aspect from black levels, contrast, colour accuracy and amazing off axis viewing angles. But there is one benefit of the LCD based QLED, and that is it's brightness. Currently QLED can easily produce more light intensity than OLED which means they are great for bright rooms, and also provide lots of HDR impact. The newest versions for 2018 add in some useful and some gimmicky improvements on last years versions but it's not without a significant price premium.
“IT WOULD only be a man compensating for something who would spend that much money,” was the emphatic response from a female co-worker to my latest recommendation.
It was clear from the murmured agreement that spread across the office floor that her view was shared — spending almost $6999 on a television, not matter how good, was crazy.
Buying a top-of-the-range TV over a cheaper model is a no-brainer for a self-proclaimed geek like myself. But I know a lot of people, both men and women, are not so easily persuaded.
So to support by case — and defend my manhood — here’s why I think you should consider dropping more than a month’s wage on a new TV.
I’m using Samsung’s new 2018 QLED TV range, in particular the Q9, to make my case.
The 2018 QLED range avoids any over-the-top Samsung branding distracting from the sleek and modern design.
The quality build starts with the tiny bezel around the frame of the screen, which barely stands out when watching.
The Q7 or Q9 has Samsung’s One Mount system — interchangeable and easily removable stands. Likewise, users can wall-mount the TV.
The Q7 and Q9 come fully integrated with Samsung’s One Connect Box and One Connect Cable as they did in the 2017 models.
But this year’s super-thin invisible cable that connects the external input box for all your standard connection ports also carries power, meaning you no longer need to figure out what to do with that ugly black power cord when wall-mounting the unit.
The cable is 5 metres long (or 15 metres as an optional accessory), which is important because it means you can position the breakout box and all of your devices almost anywhere you want in the living room. (I told you I was a geek).
QLEDs have never been the thinnest TVs around and this year’s range is no exception, but the tactile texturing on the rear means the unit is anything but an eyesore.
In terms of competitors, last year I would’ve argued that LG’s razor-thin OLED beat Samsung on looks. But in an effort to increase brightness, LG has ever so slightly increased the thickness of their screen, meaning the two products are now hard to separate.
While Sony’s 2017 OLED was a beautiful TV let down by a hideous kick stand, the company has overhauled the design for the 2018 models coming later this year, so it could be worth the wait to see how that looks. My guess is it will be a real contender.
As well as hiding ugly connection cables and the power, the 2018 QLED range takes things a step further with a feature that helps it remain almost hidden from the naked eye.
Known as Ambient Mode, it requires you to take a picture of the wall the television unit will be mounted on. This image is then used as the TV’s background picture.
The idea is that you can blend the TV almost seamlessly with the wall. The only noticeable aspect being the small bezel that surrounds the unit.
Samsung tries to further disguise it by casting a digital version of the shadow this rectangle would create on the background.
There are also practical features like showing the time or weather over the blended background. My personal favourite was the water design, which offered an illusion that a fish tank of sorts had been built into my wall, not a large LED panel sitting in the middle of the metal border.
Of all the premium TVs currently on the market, Samsung’s is the only to offer this feature.
The closest competitor to offer such a minimalist design is LG’s “wallpaper” TVwhich measures just 2.57-millimetres in thickness, weighs only 7.7kg and is mounted directly onto the wall with magnetic brackets — David Jones is selling these $13,000 units for $7500.
But it’s worth knowing the “wallpaper” TV doesn’t work the same as Ambient Mode because the OLEDs self-lighting pixels don’t let you have a permanent static image — the images have to rotate or the pattern can become “burned” into the background of the television.
Each of the five QLEDs in the range use alloy coated Quantum Dot technology — tiny semiconductor particles around one billionth of a metre in diameter, engineered to emit light in its purest possible form.
In short, this improves the TV’s range of colours and better peak brightness — QLEDs can produce 100 per cent colour volume and have a brighter display than its competitors.
Having a larger amount of colours that can be displayed and higher brightness means the TV has more realistic, accurate and vibrant images, in both bright and dark scenes.
The 2018 range has implemented a new anti-reflective layer to help weaken a white halo from appearing around distinct edges of images being displayed — an effect caused when a LED-backlit TV displays a bright object against a dark background.
Samsung’s Q9 and Q8 QLEDs also include full array local dimming, which dims the backlight behind parts of the screen that are displaying black to make them appear deeper and darker.
While this isn’t going to match LG’s perfect blacks due to self-lighting pixels, it’s very impressive and offers the best possible contrast and maximum possible brightness for high dynamic range (HDR) performance.
Other than deep blacks, the television other colours with solid brightness and warmth.
The contrast and picture quality of the 4K Ultra High Definition TVs are also have the industry standard HDR (high dynamic range) 10 compatibility — and this matters because the latest Hollywood films are mastered with HDR 10.
While there were also some cases in lowlight settings where there was backlight clouding and grey banding, these were very minor it’s hardly worth complaining about.
The QLED range also offers upscaling — presenting lower-resolution in a higher quality.
There is also the addition of a new “Game Mode” that minimises input lag and offers lightning-fast refresh rates.
The Q9 range is nothing short of amazing and I would recommend it for anyone in the market for a new TV.
With spectacular picture quality and design, plus an easy to use operating system, you would not be disappointed with this as your next upgrade.
And if the price tag is still a little daunting, Samsung’s Q8 and Q7 QLEDs offer the same benefits for a slightly cheaper price point.
Of course, if you want the benefits premium TVs have to offer but can’t afford one of the 2018 models, there are currently big reductions of up to $2400 on 2017 ranges discounted to make way for this year’s collections. Check out a full list of the savings here.
2018 QLED PRICING AND AVAILABILITY
• Q9F 75-inch $10,499
• Q9F 65-inch $6,999
• Q8F 65-inch $5,899
• Q8F 55-inch $4,099
• Q7F 75-inch $8,199
• Q7F 65-inch $5,299
• Q7F 55-inch $3,699
• Q6F 75-inch TBC
• Q6F 65-inch TBC
• Q6F 55-inch TBC