The Samsung Q7FN series targets the viewers looking for QLED performance, but the budget for a Q9FN model is a bit excessive. This model Samsung QE55Q7FN shares many features with the top model, but includes the full array local dimming background lighting for an edge version. We look at the impact of that decision.
Samsung QE55Q7FN – specifications
- What: Ultra HD Edge LED-LCD TV with local dimming (6×1 segments)
- Screen size: 55 inch (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, HDR10+, HLG, WiFi (802.11ac) built-in, Tizen Smart Hub, USB/DLNA media player, dual DVB-T/C/S2, 1x CI+ lock, Smart Controller, voice control, One Connect Box, Invisible Connection, Ambient Mode
- Dimensions: 1.227 x 785 x 284 mm (incl foot)
- Weight: 21.0 kg (including foot)
- Consumption: 141 / 0.5 watt (Energy label B)
- List price: 2.199 euro
A A complete overview of all models that Samsung brought to market in 2018 can be found in the 2018 Samsung LCD LED TV line-up. Here you can also find the complete specifications per model.
Samsung QE55Q7FN – design
In contrast to the Q9FN which has a somewhat wider profile due to its full array backlight the Q7FN can work out with the typical ultra-slim look we know from Edge Led televisions. The screen has a small black border in the image (6 mm), and is framed by a thin metallic ribbon. The slightly curved rear is finished in a horizontal stripe pattern. A small discrete Samsung logo is displayed at the bottom of the screen.
The screen is on the same footing as the Q9FN. At the front there is only a small metal cylinder visible, the neck is hidden behind the device so that the screen seems to float above your TV cabinet.
There are no connections at the rear, nor for power supply or external sources. Only the connector of the Invisible Connection that can also be concealed behind a cover plate. The thin cable itself guides you neatly along the neck of the foot.
At the connections you deliver absolutely nothing compared to the Q9FN. All connections are on the particularly bulky One Connect box. Samsung has opted for passive cooling, so that the One Connect box works completely silently. We find four HDMI connections, all ready for Ultra HD and HDR, a digital optical output, and three USB connections on the side. Finally, there are three antenna connections, the wired network connection and the power supply. There is no headphone connection, but the television does have Bluetooth.
You can connect the One Connect Box and the television with one cable. This not only ensures all connections but also supplies power to the television. Nevertheless, Samsung has succeeded in making the cable hardly thicker than last year, it is now about 3.4 mm thick. He is no longer completely transparent but can still be eliminated as well as invisibly. The supplied cable is five meters long, and there is an optional fifteen-meter version available.
This solution gives you enormous freedom of choice when placing the television. For example, the television no longer has to stand against a wall, because you only have to divert one, thin, almost invisible cable. Wall mounting is also super easy for the same reason. Of course not everyone needs that freedom, but it is a very handy option.
Samsung QE55Q7FN – ease of use
The installation procedure is very simple. You can also run them using the SmartThings smartphone app.
The installation via Smartthings offers very few advantages. The app automatically logs you in with your Samsung account, and it is of course easier to type in something here and there. But when selecting a WiFi network, we still had to enter the password manually, while it should be reported that it should be possible to do so automatically. If you want to go through the installation again, the app can not configure the TV from the beginning, and you still have to carry out part of the procedure with the remote. So there is still some improvement work to be done, but installation is normally done once so we do not lift too heavily. You can also use SmartThings to use your smartphone as a remote. Then the app works fine.
The Samsung menus and Smart Hub work very smoothly. You really never have to wait on the menus. Samsung has put virtually all settings for image and sound in the ‘expert settings’. This is convenient for the average consumer who has little message about all these things. Also remember that some image-related settings (such as eco settings, game mode and HDMI settings) are listed separately in the “General” menu.
Instead of getting the luxurious light metal remote from the Q9FN you the ‘normal’ Smart Remote controller. The remote works with Bluetooth so targeting is not an obligation. It is made of black plastic and is slightly curved. It is easy to hold, and the buttons are easy to find because of their soft relief. The combination with the Smart Hub ensures that you rarely feel that there are too few keys.
This Smart Controller also serves as a universal remote for your peripherals. 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 operate our set-top box for digital TV (Telenet digicorder) and Blu-ray player with the Smart Controller.
Make sure that the One Connect Box is not covered on clogged up position in relation to the devices to be operated. It sends IR signals for operation.
Samsung QE55Q7FN – features
Smart TV platform
The Smart Hub we recognize from last year. He is still very handy, and a pleasure to work with. All functions, sources and settings can be found quickly in the bar at the bottom. You can change the order of icons so that your favorite items are at the front.
Above that a larger bar appears that shows options depending on your selection at the bottom. In Netflix, for example, you get a few suggestions, choose at the bottom of the sources then you see all possible sources.
The Q7FN is equipped with a dual tuner for all digital TV possibilities (ether, cable, and satellite) but no double CI + lock. You can record to USB hard drive and watch another channel at the same time but only if one of the two channels is not encrypted.
Samsung’s media player has always been an almost universal player. This year, however, we notice that support for Divx and for Xvid video formats have disappeared. Now those formats have long been pensionable, so we do not really like that. What we regret is that the player no longer plays DTS soundtracks. Furthermore, Full HD, Ultra HD and HDR, encoded in H.264, HEVC or VP9 are no problem, just like subtitles. 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. For now, there is unfortunately no support for Dutch.
A new feature that comes over from the Samsung ‘The Frame’ is Ambient mode. With that Samsung gives the TV a function if you are not actively watching.
The intention is that the device does not remain a black area in your living room. Ambient mode can be set to show decorative patterns, information such as time and weather information, or as a large photo frame. The image is deliberately dimmed so as not to be noticed, and to give the impression of an art frame.
Samsung QE55Q7FN – Image quality
The QLED series use quantum dots in the backlight to realize a rich color range, but continue to function as a regular LCD TV. The Q7FN series uses an edge LED with local dimming and we counted (with some effort) 6 × 1 segments, so six columns. That is very little for a television that will generate a lot of light. The Q7FN is equipped with a VA panel, which seems to differ slightly from the version in the Q9FN.
The best choice starts from the film mode.
|Film Mode||Expert Settings||Expert Settings|
|Picture format setting: 16: 9 standard
Fit to screen: On
Tint (G / R): 0
|Clean Digital View: Off / Low
Auto Motion Plus: *
Local Dimming: Standard
Contrast Enhancement: Off
HDR + mode: Off *
Color Tone: Warm 2
Movie mode: Auto2
Gamma: BT.1886 / 0 *
RGB mode: Off
Color space: Auto
Explanation of main settings;
- The backlight is set to 16 in the Movie mode. pleasant brightness and when you look at a lot of light, you can set the setting a whole lot higher. In that case you can also consider 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. The ‘Auto’ mode also works well with color bands, the ‘low’ position works a little less hard.
- Because the Q7FN pushes away some black detail, you can increase the range to 1.
- Auto Motion Plus: this is as always a matter of taste. Car is a good all-round solution. If you 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 image processing on the Samsung QE55Q7FN is excellent. He easily and reliably recognizes the various video and film framerates, and ensures excellent deinterlacing of 1080i sources. Moiré and jagged edges will only see you extremely exceptional. The upscaling of low-resolution sources is excellent, delivering beautiful sharpness and fine detail. You can increase the sharpness, up to maximum 10 to give detail a slight accent.
The noise reduction (‘Clean Digital View’) does a good job, and now Samsung in addition to the ‘Auto’ mode again a ‘low’ position has provided, you have returned a good set of choices. ‘Off’ for the best sources, ‘Low’ if you want to remove some noise, and ‘auto’ for the older sources such as DVD. In the ‘Auto’ mode, the Clean Digital View also removes some color-band effects.
In terms of motion sharpness, the Samsung QE55Q7FN performs well, but clearly less well than the Q9FN. A lot of detail is still visible in fast moving scenes, but here and there you see a clear, wide double or hazy border around moving objects. As a result, not only some detail, but also sharpness is lost. We could not eliminate that with the use of other institutions. ‘Auto Motion Plus’ on ‘Auto’ delivers smooth camera movements but creates clear artefacts here and there. Choose ‘Custom’ if necessary and set blur reduction to 8-10, and vibration reduction between 6 and 8. Although you can see extra detail in fast moving images with ‘Led Clear Motion’, we do not recommend the use because you get visible flicker in the screen.
The QE5Q7FN has an excellent contrast and very good black value, mainly due to the VA panel. The local dimming of the edge LED backlighting can provide little added value. The limited subdivision (six columns) and the focus on avoiding visible segment boundaries and luminance jumps limits the improvement of the contrast. Dark bands above and below full-length films remain slightly too bright. On the other hand, in the most extreme cases (subtitles on black screen) some soft pumping (varying brightness) is visible.
Like the other Samsung devices we saw this year, the Q7FN hides a bit too much black detail in the film mode. You improve that by changing the gamma value to 1 (or even 2 if you really look at a lot of ambient light). The image is already very clear, and in the brightest hues it tends to make it even brighter so that the gray scale becomes slightly cool (light cyan tint).
The color reproduction is fine, but also here most colors are too bright. The errors are on the border of what is visible. The overall picture enjoys the combination of a good contrast, with intense colors and lots of light. Just as with the Q9FN, we have the objection that these top models deserve a slightly better calibration.
If the Samsung QE55Q7FN can work out something, it is its peak brightness. We measure a maximum of 2269 nits, a new record. However, this can only hold the device for a limited time, and the maximum falls back to 840 nits, still a very good value, especially since it can also show it on a completely white screen. Combined with its enormous color range (also a record) of 76% Rec.2020 and 99% DCI-P3, the Q7FN has the required potential to really bring HDR images to life.
Unfortunately, Samsung is a bit too enthusiastic with all that brute force. Where the Q9FN gave its midtones and brightest shades a slight push, those on the Q7FN are really too bright. Instead of following the PQ curve neatly, this Samsung is as good as ever and quite strong above, and it shows images that are much brighter than necessary, especially on content that was mastered on a 1000 nits screen. On content that was created on a 2000 or 4000 nits screen, the result is slightly better, but the Samsung QE55Q7FN continues to insist on a too bright picture. That can slightly dilute colors.
The combination of the enormous brightness and the limited local dimming also means that you can occasionally see dimming effects, although that is especially a problem if you are not right in front of the screen. In short, yes this device has a lot of potential, but it is too enthusiastic about it. HDR images are particularly impressive, but occasionally just too intense.
Samsung supports HDR10, HLG and HDR10+. By activating HDR + in the Expert settings of the picture menus, you give SDR content an HDR operation. The images then become very clear, so it seems to us especially useful if you have a lot of sun in the living room.
Reflections and viewing angles
The Samsung QE55Q7FN has, like the Q9FN, a special anti-reflection film. It certainly does not completely remove environmental reflections, but again they are decent. The viewing angle seems to us to be somewhat more limited than on the top model, and especially in dark content, it is the watchword, because segment boundaries of the local dimming on this very clear screen are then easily visible.
In the film image mode measure we have a lay of 77.2 ms. That is too much for a good game experience. With the game mode active, the lag drops to 27.8 ms and that is a great result. Do not forget to activate that mode, you can find it in the settings, under General, Manage external devices, Game Mode. Samsung has also added Motion Plus settings so you can now also edit the motion sharpness in game mode. If you set the Motion Plus setting off, the lag will even drop to 16.4 ms, a very good result.
Samsung claims support for VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), a very good feature for hardcore gamers, but that we could not verify. The feature would be in a next firmware upgrade.
Samsung QE55Q7FN – Audio quality
The sound performance is decent, with a lot of volume, audible bass and clear dialogues. At very high volumes you hear the traditional limitations: the bass disappears or is squeezed and slight distortion is then audible. For many viewers, the Q7FN will provide sufficient and excellent sound.
Samsung has built in a new ‘auto volume’ function that makes the volume of different programs and different sources somewhat equal. Do you regularly hear loud advertising, or the difference between some of your sources, that provides a good solution.
For the lag measurement we use a Leo Bodnar Display lag meter. For all other measurements we rely on a Spectracal C6 HDR2000 Colorimeter Xrite i1 Pro spectrophotometer, a VideoForge Pro pattern generator, and the Spectracal Calman for Business software. To analyze any HDR problems we use HDFury Vertex .
Samsung QE55Q7FN – Conclusion
The Samsung QE55Q7FN illustrates that you can also go too far with clarity in HDR playback. The device has enormous peak brightness and color range, but uses it too enthusiastically and the resulting HDR image is just too bright. In contrast to the Q9FN, it has to do with an edge LED with very limited local dimming, and a somewhat more limited viewing angle. So those who are not at the center of the screen can see the segments of the backlight at those very bright images.
Of course, the television is not without merit. The trump cards of the QLED range are the Invisible Connection and One Connect box, and if you want to use the TV as a design piece, the Ambient mode. The screen has excellent contrast, good uniformity, and solid color rendering (especially in SDR, calibration seems to be required in HDR). The ease of use of the Smart Hub and Smart Remote also remains an excellent asset. The price is a lot more accessible than the Q9FN series, but remains high, especially if we take into account that you have to remain on a calibration for good HDR display.