Note: This article was first published on 14th July 2017.
This year, Samsung's TV division is hell-bent on challenging the notion that OLED TVs are the best TVs money can buy. And the burden of proof has fallen to the company's latest flagship televisions in the new QLED series.
Available in three models, Q9F, Q8C, and Q7F, Samsung's 2017 QLED TVs are still quantum dot-enhanced LED-lit LCD TVs, much like their 2016 SUHD brethren. The difference is that this year's quantum dot material is strengthened by a metal shell and core for improved color stability and purity, which purportedly leads to some significant picture quality gains.
According to the Korean TV maker, the flat Q7F and curved Q8C have a peak luminance of 1,500 nits, while the flagship flat Q9F that I'm focusing on here is able to hit a blinding 2,000 nits! All this is up from the 1,000 nits mustered by last year's SUHD flagship TV. Additionally, Samsung is brandishing another world's first for TVs: 100% color volume.
In short, know that traditionally, a TV's color reproduction capability is graphed in a 2D representation, with a set luminance level. What Samsung is saying here is that its QLED TVs are able to cover the wide DCI-P3 color gamut across the entire range of brightness levels, and not just at a certain luminance level. This is no doubt a swipe at OLED, which tends to drop the amount of DCI-P3 coverage once you crank up the brightness. The flagship Q9F has a near-perfect (99%) coverage of the DCI-P3 color gamut.
Image technicalities aside, the QLED TVs also sport several design updates. For example, the new “Invisible Connection” is a new solution to help you tidy up the space where you're going to put the QLED TV. This is basically a thin and transparent fiber optic cable that transports all the signals from the One Connect breakout box that your AV devices now connect to to the TV. For sure, this helps to minimize cable clutter at the back and around the TV, but just know that the you'll still have to mange the cable clutter from the One Connect Box to the corresponding AV devices that it will interface; this is usually not a problem assuming you've a TV console or AV rack in close proximity. All QLED TVs will come with a 5-meter Invisible Connection cable, but there’s a separately sold 15-meter extension, for those who have their AV peripherals housed in a cabinet across the room.
Then there's the S$249 "no-gap" wall-mount (for up to 65-inch sized QLED TVs) that hides most of its parts in the TV's chassis, thus allowing the TV to sit flush against the wall.
For an entirely different look, the QLED TVs can also be propped up by the easel-like "Studio Stand" or the metal "Gravity Stand" that sell for S$999 and S$1,199 respectively. I'm in the agreement that Samsung has priced these stands too high, but I'll also admit that these are some decidedly premium-looking and superbly built stands. In a way, Samsung is trying to pull off a Bang & Olufsen here.
For those interested in the nitty-gritty of the aforementioned, I've written about them in greater detail here: