Samsung introduces its new top models under the QLED flag. Based on LCD technology and quantum dots, these QLEDs are the successors of what we called SUHD last year. Samsung claims major improvements in terms of color reproduction, light output and viewing angle. We are curious to see how this will come to the fore in our test of the Samsung QE55Q7F (part of the Q7F series).
Samsung QE55Q7F – specifications
- What: Ultra HD Edge LED LCD TV with local dimming (12×1 segments)
- Screen size: 55 inches (139 cm), flat
- Connections: One connect box: 4x HDMI (1xARC, 4x v2.0a), 1x optical digital out, 3x USB, 1x digital optical audio out, 3x antenna, network connection
- Extras: HDR10+, HLG, WiFi (802.11ac) built-in, Tizen Smart Hub, USB / DLNA media player, dual DVB-T / C / S2, CI + lock, Smart Controller, voice control, One Connect Box
- Dimensions: 1,225 x 788 x 304 mm (including foot)
- Weight: 21.2 kg (including foot)
- Consumption: 140/0.3 watt (Energy label B)
- 75Q7F (75-inch): 5,999 euros
- 65Q7F (65-inch): 3,999 euros
- 55Q7F (55-inch): 2,899 euros
- 49Q7F (49-inch): 2,499 euros
Samsung QE55Q7F – design
The view leaves little doubt about it, this is a top model. The ‘zero’ design has no frame around the screen, only a slightly silver-colored edge. Viewed from the side, the screen has a particularly slim profile. The ‘Triad’ foot consists of a large matt silver neck and two long, slender legs.
The back is also perfectly finished, albeit in black plastic with stripe motif. In short, the design gives a very light-footed impression to your television, combined with class and sophistication.
What the design really finishes are the connections. All QLED models are equipped with a One Connect box where you can find all connections. That is not new in itself. What is new is the connection between the One Connect box and the television. That is a 1.8mm thin optical, transparent cable. Samsung delivers a five meter cable, neatly rolled up, and complete with four attachments to take soft turns.
Intention? Samsung wants you to review your living room and place the TV where you want it. The quasi-invisible cable makes it possible to place the One Connect box (and the source devices) a long way from the TV. Moreover, the finishing touch is also on the side of the TV. In addition to the optical cable, you also need to provide a power cable, but they both run neatly down the neck of the stand, so you can hide them almost perfectly. We think it is a very clever concept that certainly deserves to be followed.
On the One Connect box we find four HDMI connections, three times USB and an optical digital output. There are no older analog connections available, not even a headphone jack. The Q7F is equipped with Bluetooth, so you can connect a wireless headset. Attention, the One Connect box requires a separate power connection.
Samsung QE55Q7F – ease of use
The installation procedure of the QE55Q7F guides you effortlessly through the first steps. You select country and language, a network connection and if you use the built-in tuners the TV will load the channels. New this year: the TV is trying to recognize the connected devices. The TV did recognize the connected Blu-ray player, but not our set-top box for digital TV.
We notice no major changes in the settings menus. In the submenus for image and sound, most settings are still a level deeper in the ‘expert settings’. For example, as a regular user, you do not have to plod through an endless series of meaningless options. Settings that you can only switch on or off are now equipped with a graphical on / off indicator in the form of a radio button.
Menus and Smart Hub run like a train. Every interaction goes smoothly and quickly, just as you can hope for from a top model.
The Smart controller fits perfectly with this stylish Q7F series TV. Slim, compact, completely executed in light metal and with a minimum of keys. It feels luxurious in the hand and is particularly easy to operate. Thanks to a minimal relief you can clearly feel which key is under your thumb. Do not worry about the small number of keys, the synergy between the Smart Hub and Smart Controller is excellent and you operate everything very smoothly.
Just like in previous years, you can use the Smart Controller as a universal remote for your peripherals. Since the TV tries to recognize your sources during the installation, you might suspect that this happens automatically, but that is not the case. Open the Smart Hub, go to Sources (penultimate icon on the left) and scroll in the options all the way to the right, to ‘Set universal Remote Control’. You go through a very simple installation procedure per connected device and ready. We were able to control our set-top box for digital TV and Blu-ray player with the Smart Controller.
Samsung QE55Q7F – features
Smart TV platform
We hardly notice any changes in the Smart Hub that we find on the Q7F series. He was already a pleasure to work in since last year. All functions, sources and settings can easily be found in the bar at the bottom. You can adjust the order of icons so that your favorite items are at the front.
Above it appears a larger bar that shows options depending on your selection at the bottom. In Netflix, for example, you get a number of suggestions, if you choose the sources below you will see all possible sources.
The Samsung QE55Q7F is equipped with a dual tuner for all digital TV capabilities (ether, cable and satellite) but no double CI + lock. This means that you can record to a USB hard drive and watch a different channel at the same time, but only if one of the two channels is not encrypted. The media player reads as well as all of our test files, both Full HD, Ultra HD and HDR, and encoded in H.264, HEVC or VP9. Subtitles are no problem. The audio player also reads FLAC and ALAC.
The Smart remote is equipped with a microphone and with that you can give a lot of commands or say queries. Our set, however, seemed confused as to whether we wanted to give Dutch or English commands. In the institutions we had indeed selected Dutch, but most of the commands only responded to an English version. This should probably be corrected with a software update.
Samsung QE55Q7F – Image quality
Samsung wants to compete with OLED with QLED. The name is a clear marketing choice. QLED stands for a television that uses quantum dots . The Q series of this year are still LCD panels, with edge-led backlight and quantum dot foil. Samsung announced that it is using a new quantum dot material this year and that improvements have been made to the LCD panel.
The best choice starts from the movie mode.
|Film Mode – Expert settings||Expert settings|
|Backlighting: 9 *
Tint: G50 / R50
|Clean Digital View: Off / On
Auto Motion Plus: *
Local Dimming: Standard
Contrast improvement: Off
HDR + mode: Off *
Color tone: Warm 2
Gamma: BT.1886 / 0
RGB mode: Off
Color space: Auto
- The backlight is in the Film mode at 20. This provides an enormous clarity, but those who look at the darkening would do well to limit that to 9, for example. An alternative is to use the light sensor, which can be found under General, Eco-solution, Detection of ambient light.
- Clean Digital View contains all noise reduction techniques. It is advisable to activate this if you are watching DVD or other low-quality image.
- Auto Motion Plus: this is always a matter of taste. Car is a good all-round solution. Those who want more control choose Custom and set Haziness Reduction to 10 and vibration reduction somewhere between 6 and 8. We do not recommend LED Clear Motion, the flicker in the image is visible.
- HDR + mode can be activated to taste. It seems to us that you lose some white detail.
General image properties and image processing
The device delivers excellent image processing. It detects all kinds of film and video frame rates quickly and reliably and ensures excellent deinterlacing, so that you are spared from jagged edges. The noise reduction is good, but we regret that it has been simplified. In the menu you can only switch ‘Clean Digital View’ on or off, and this concerns both the suppression of random and compression noise. We would have preferred an adjustable strength, which makes it possible to make a well-considered choice. The screen delivers excellent upscaling of SD, HD and Full HD images.
The movement sharpness seems a bit less good than last year, although the difference with normal use will hardly be noticeable. Here, too, the menus have been simplified. At ‘Auto Motion Plus’ you choose Auto if you do not want too much hassle. If you hate the artifacts of motion interpolation, then choose Custom and set a reduction in haze to 10 and reduce vibration between 6 and 8. Although with ‘Led Clear Motion’ you see extra detail in fast moving images, we do not recommend using it because you visible flicker in the screen.
The Samsung QE55Q7F uses an edge LED backlight, and we suspect that it is subdivided into 12 vertical segments (for comparison, the KS9000 last year had 8 segments). Just like last year, several (we suspect three or even five) columns are active at the same time, in order to prevent clear segment boundaries. You can no longer deactivate the local dimming in the menu, but you did not do that anyway. The screen has a particularly strong black value and thanks to the local dimming, that goes even further. With a final contrast of more than 14,000: 1 as a result, a great achievement. The dimming only causes visible luminance jumps in very extreme cases.
In our Harry Potter test scene in which Voldemort and his troops approach Hogswarth and deploy the attack in the middle of the night, the subtitles produce a clear, clear column across the screen (effect accentuated in the photographs by overexposure, but also visible in reality). In our test scene from Star Wars where you alternately see the darkness of the starry sky and clear planets, the effect was barely visible.
The screen displays all black details perfectly and has good uniform lighting without bleeding or clouding. The calibration is excellent, in the gray scale only the brightest shades are a bit too bright, but that will not disturb. Color range and color reproduction are top. Strikingly, in the Movie mode, the TV sets the backlight to 20, resulting in a very bright screen (more than 400 nits peak). Great if you look at a lot of light, but those who enjoy their TV with the curtains in the evening do well to set the backlight to 9 or activate the light sensor in the eco settings.
Samsung has always focused on maximum brightness, an important part of HDR rendering. The Q7F should reach a maximum of 1500 nits, a big step forward compared to the 1000 nits of last year. In practice, that is somewhat against us. We do not get the screen past the 1,070 nits in the HDR movie mode. In the Dynamic filmmode we get as many as 1,750 nits, but no film-loving viewer would select that mode. Also the brightness on a completely white screen hardly increased, we measured 512 nits (last year 495).
Samsung places a strong emphasis on color volume, a new measurement method that measures color at different brightness levels, but our measurement software does not yet support this. So we stay with our classic measurements and they show a clear improvement compared to last year: we are at 96% DCI-P3 and 72% Rec2020. The HDR display is excellent, and the screen closely follows the PQ curve. With those rich colors, solid contrasts and high clarity, you can expect beautiful images.
By activating HDR + in the Expert settings of the picture menus, you give SDR content an HDR operation. In general, we were happy with the result, but in scenes that contain many very bright tones (white clouds, foaming waves) you may lose some white detail.
Reflections and viewing angles
Thanks to a new LCD panel, Samsung claims a viewing angle that can be compared to OLED. Unfortunately, we have to contradict that. Especially in dark scenes you still notice that a lot of contrast is lost. The effect is less pronounced in bright scenes.
We do not make hard measurements of viewing angles, so a final pronunciation is very difficult, although it seems to us that the viewing angle has improved slightly. Also this year the top screens (QLED) are equipped with a Moth Eye filter that keeps reflections particularly well under control.
In the film image mode of the Q7F series, we measure an input stroke of 83.7 ms. That is obviously too much for a good game experience. With the game mode active, the lag drops to 19.2 ms and that is another top result. Do not forget to activate that mode, you can find it in the settings, under General, Manage external devices, Game Mode. Formerly it was under the image settings, which was a lot more logical.
Samsung QE55Q7F – Audio quality
The Samsung QE55Q7F compresses quite a bit of volume from its slim chassis. In the sound setting you should experiment with the ‘Optimized’ preset, which gives a bit more punch to the sound. The sound quality is more than decent, but we hesitate to call it really downright good. The first impressions are good enough to tempt us to really open the volume. But then you hear that the sound is sometimes somewhat forced. There is a strong bass and dialogues are ready and clear. Compared to the average TV, we are satisfied with the result.
For the lag measurement we use a Leo Bodnar Display lag meter. For all other measurements we rely on a Spectracal C6 colorimeter, Xrite i1 Pro spectrophotometer, an AVFoundry HDMI Pattern Generator, an HDFury Integral for HDR patterns and the Spectracal Calman for Business software.
Samsung QE55Q7F – Conclusion
The name QLED might suggest all sorts of novelties and Samsung has also changed things compared to last year. But those improvements are less spectacular than expected on the Samsung QE55Q7F. Especially the viewing angle seems to us only slightly improved. The device still uses a edge LED backlight, with local dimming in columns and very exceptional you see it at work.
But there are also many clear improvements. The contrast, precisely because of that local dimming, is very impressive for an edge LED. The light output is excellent and the color range has been considerably extended. Do another excellent image processing and top calibration, and you have a television that settles easily in the head of the peloton. As if that was not enough, this Samsung also comes with a One Connect box and a long quasi invisible optical cable to connect the TV to the connections. This opens up possibilities for installations that would otherwise be more difficult or impossible.
Whoever has a top model like the Samsung QE55Q7F in-house, must take into account solid prices. Unexpectedly the high price is not, but we think it is a bit too high.