The Samsung Q9FN is the most impressive new QLED TV you can buy and the second best 4K display we saw at its First Look event next to the ambitious 146-inch MicroLED TV which Samsung has appropriately dubbed The Wall.
The 2018 Q9FN comes in 75- and 65-inch sizes (called the QN75Q9FN and QN65Q9FN, respectively) that combine the powers of bright, direct backlit LEDs infused with Quantum Dot technology and OLED-level contrast ratios via full-array local dimming zones.
With HDR10+ and Q HDR EliteMax – what Samsung bills as its maximum High Dynamic Range experience that’s exclusive to the Q9FN – this acts as the company’s flagship 4KTV for 2018.
Its over-the-top visual performance is coupled with all of the hallmark features you’ll find on the slightly cheaper Q8FN, Q7FN and Q6FN, sets that lack its Q HDR EliteMax and intense local dimming perks.
Samsung’s improved one-cable solution now provides both A/V and power in what the company says is an ‘invisible’ cord (it’s just incredibly thin). Its ambient mode helps the set blend in with your wall in a low-power state instead of turning it completely off.
The Samsung Q9FN comes big, bright and beautiful, and it’s enough to rival OLED televisions that have previously wowed us with better contrast ratio and deeper blacks. Is it the right TV for you? Let’s dive into it the first impressions.
Price and release date
The Samsung Q9FN QLED TV is going to be expensive at any size. The 65-inch 4K TV starts things off at $3,800 (about £2,720, AU$4,835). It starts shipping on March 25 in the US.
The 75-inch Q9FN isn’t available to order just yet. But last year’s Q9F is currently on sale for $7,000 (about £5,000, AU$8,900), and that’s after a sizable discount. Sadly, there’s no cheaper 55-inch Q9FN size with a more tempting price.
The next step down, the Q8FN, by comparison, is $2999 (about £2,200, $AU4,000). If it helps, Samsung’s ‘No Gap Wall Mount’ comes included with the costlier Q9FN. That’s a separate purchase on other models.
The Q9FN takes on Samsung’s boundless design ethos that reduces the thin bezels to the point that you’re only seeing what’s on the screen, not the distracting frame.
It’s like a super-sized Galaxy S9 with Samsung’s unmistakable ‘Infinity Display.’ The company also incorporates what it calls a 360 design, just in case you want to marvel at the bumpy back. That’s aesthetically pleasing too, riding the television of an plain industrial look in back.
Samsung bundles the Q9FN with its No Gap Wall Mount that makes the skinny bezel look like you’re staring at a floating picture all day. But you can get ever artsier with the stands: Its Studio Stand puts the television on a big easel, while the Gravity Stand lets you swivel the TV on what looks like a minimalistic upside down metal funnel. Both are separate purchases.
Samsung’s most interesting new feature in its 2018 QLED TVs is Ambient Mode. It’s a new trick that has the screen absorb characteristics of the wall behind it to blend in like a chameleon.
We got to demo a Q9FN against a brick wall design, matching the exact pattern that was behind the screen. It’s all done through image analysis by taking a picture with a phone. Because of the low-power state, Ambient Mode can stay on without racking up a huge energy bill.
Ambient Mode is more than just for decoration, as cool as that is. It can also display photos and information cards for news and weather. There’s even the ability to add faint background music. All of this is much more exciting than seeing a blank television screen when not in use.
Further driving home that picture-on-a-wall effect is Samsung’s improved one cable solution. Its 2018 QLED televisions can now supply both power and A/V content through a 5m or 15m cable, or as Samsung refers to it ‘an invisible connection.’ It’s very close to that.
Don’t worry if you want to plug everything directly into the back of TV. You can still do that with four HDMI ports, 3 USB ports and an optical out port and ethernet port for good measure.
All of Samsung’s new QLED televisions look impressive, but it’s the Q9FN that stands ahead of the 2018 lineup. And for good reason – it has the bleeding-edge tech for the ultimate picture.
It has exclusive perks you won’t find on Samsung’s lower-end QLEDs this year: more full-array local dimming zones and the new Q HDR EliteMax.
We need to see more of it outside of Samsung’s looped video demos, but it’s clear the Q9FN is going to offer you peak brightness at 2,000 nits, yet the deepest blacks outside of an OLED.
We also enjoyed Samsung’s app-like interface, which is further polished by the fact that content is now grouped together more naturally. This is because its new Universal Guide can pair shows from different streaming platforms into one menu. Coming in a few months, you’ll also be able to sync apps from your phone into your TV and automatically be logged in.
New this year is Samsung’s intelligent voice assistant, Bixby, a familiar Siri-like helper for anyone who has tried a recent Galaxy smartphone. Bixby on your TV can find content, answer questions, and even change the channel for you. Samsung’s interface has come a long way.
The Samsung Q9FN QLED is the best-looking, but also the most expensive 4K television we saw at the company’s First Look event for 2018. The picture really pops in this particular model, especially at the bigger 75-inch size.
What sets it apart is the additional zones of local dimming that fix the light bleeding issues we had with LEDs and QLEDs in years past. There’s more: QHDR EliteMax, Ambient Display Mode and the one cable solution are just icing on the 4K cake.
Samsung is really chasing the deeper blacks of the LG OLED C7, and bringing along with it the better brightness levels that its QLEDs are known for. It’s the best-looking QLED we’ve seen yet.