Excellent, but not a quantum leap
Samsung QLED Q8C detailed review
Samsung’s hold on television has been quite strong over the years. Globally, Samsung is a market leader, which means it can create trends instead of following them. In 2017, this is being done through QLED branding, eliminating the previous SUHD branding. Sony and LG are both changing the base for their flagship TVs using LED panels, an exciting move by Samsung.
With the QLED line, Samsung claims better picture quality than OLED televisions, which is a really long claim. Can Samsung live up to it? Most likely. We’ll soon be comparing the QLED Q8C to LG and Sony’s OLED televisions, but as a standalone TV, Samsung makes an impressive case for a large portion of your savings.
The new Q line is certified with a ‘C’ or ‘F’, indicating the type of display – the curve of the plane. So, Q8C is part of the curved line, and despite its price, it is not the most expensive television sold by Samsung today. The curved design has been a staple for Samsung over the years, and the Q8C looks no different from the KS9000 we reviewed last year. But the differences are enough for a personality of Q8C’s own. It looks smooth and concise and will look good in any media center setup.
Although the Q8C is meant to be placed on a table, Samsung offers a new “no-gap” wall mount for wall installation. This allows the television to almost flush with the wall. This makes the setup more seamless and interesting to look at. This is important for those who really take the time and effort to design their media center.
Next, to keep things uninterrupted, the Samsung Q8C has an “invisible cable” that prevents wiring. It is a transparent cable that connects the OneConnect box to the television. One end of this transparent cable connects to the television, the other end goes to OneConnect. The cable is wound into a circular disk-like object to further reduce clutter. The idea here is to give the user access to the OneConnect box, which holds all ports, hiding unnecessary cables.
Port and remote
Audio out: 1
The OneConnect box has all the ports for this TV, denying the need to reach the back of the TV whenever you connect something new. Samsung’s solution here is more efficient and superior than any other television in the market.
The company has also redesigned its Tizen remote, giving it a chrome finish. The overall design is still simple, with round dial housing forward, back, up and down buttons. There is another button for voice-based navigation, while the back button does what it is supposed to do. The power button is at the top of the remote, while you get the volume and channel controllers in the middle. The bottom half of the remote is empty.
Like the KS9000, we still miss a touchpad or Wand-like mechanism like AndroidTV and WebOS Remote. Typing on a Samsung TV is a pain, as you have to navigate all the way to each letter to type words.
The good thing though is that Samsung uses RF technology to pair with remote televisions. This means you don’t have to direct it to the TV and it will work even across the room. In addition, the remote now syncs with other devices connected to your television, including Chromecasts, consoles and more. So, you can control them using Samsung Remote, although it seems that most of these controls come through voice function.
QLED or Quantum dot technology is to improve the color volume. Quantum dot crystals absorb light from the LED line behind them. QLED TVs are the first to achieve 100% of the DCI-P3 color space This is an important difference that even OLED technology has not yet been able to achieve. DCI-P3 is an RGB color space used for movie projection, etc.
Also, QLED technology boasts of superior brightness, which is quite evident when looking at the QLED Q8C. While it doesn’t play a big role in regular viewing, it’s important for better HDR playback. High brightness is one of the key requirements for HDR playback. Samsung QLED Q8C is UHD certified and offers support for HDR10 playback.
For the user, all of these combine to create a nice viewing experience. We’ve never fully agreed with the so-called viewing angle feature of curved panels, but the Q8C doesn’t lack for viewing angles either. The power of the TV lies in the vibrant and bright colors of Uber that make it. If you’re looking for high quality content like Netflix or Amazon Prime, you’ll probably be amazed at how good the colors can be. They are highly saturated to an extent, but most viewers should like it nonetheless.
On the other hand, as we mentioned with the KS9000 last year, the TV still lacks some sharpness. Dominant colors make it very easy for you to ignore it, but a nitpicker or trained eye will definitely notice it.
The contrast of the Samsung Q8C is nice again, and it is well protected with brightness changes. So, if you are going for 25% to 50% brightness settings, the contrast will not stop suddenly. This is quite effective because many users change the brightness when the lighting conditions in the room are changed. The TV is somewhat autonomous in controlling the contrast with increasing and decreasing brightness. TV keeps the best picture quality of its power pleasing.
Samsung puts all this off with a pleasing upscale experience. That is, as long as you are watching content in 720p or higher resolution. Even at 720p, compressed content can sometimes look unnatural. Speaking of which, we recommend turning off the TV’s smoothing effect, as it also creates a rather unusual experience.
After all, Samsung uses 12 auto-dimming zones on this television and you can choose between low, medium and high settings for it. A minimal number of dimming zones would be used to choose less and under that setting the TV looked best to us. Although local fading is generally a very useful feature, we would prefer a setting to turn it off completely, as many others would.
Overall, the Samsung Q8C has exceeded our expectations in every way, headlined by its impressive presentation of color. It is definitely one of the best TVs on the market right now.
Where image quality is excellent, audio quality could ideally be better. To be clear, the Samsung QLED Q8C is loud enough for small to medium sized rooms, but the audio quality is a bit low. Samsung has increased the height in terms of dialogue delivery in movies, etc., but the base has remained a bit low. So, scenes with explosions and something like that will sound offensive, and we recommend using speakers for that. That said, if you’re not a net picker, the audio quality is easily up to acceptable standards.
Samsung’s smart OS hasn’t seen much change in the last year. Its app support seems decent, with all the necessary streaming apps available on television. Additionally, the Tizen seems a bit faster now, but that’s probably because the QLED itself is a faster television than last year’s variants.
The last row
If you want to drop four lakh rupees on a television, then Samsung QLED Q8C should be on your list of options. It is an excellent television for the premium buyer, and it will win the most through its lively and bright presentation of color. This is for those premium shoppers who spend not only on television but also on getting good quality content.