The top models of Samsung still carry the QLED flag, and are an evolution of last year’s models. The major improvement of the Samsung QE65Q9FN is the use of a Full Array backlight with local dimming, and a renewed Invisible Connect cable that now also provides power in addition to the connections. Finally, Samsung also has an ‘Ambient Mode’ built in which gives the screen a function if you do not watch TV.
Samsung QE65Q9FN – specifications
What : Ultra HD Full Array LED-LCD TV with local dimming (30 × 16 segments)
Screen size : 65 inch (165 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 : 1,450 x 900 x 353 mm (including foot)
Weight : 30 , 9 kg (incl. Foot)
Consumption : 215/0.5 watt (Energy Label B)
Recommended price : 4.299 euro
A complete overview of all models that Samsung has in 2018 on the market, you can find in the 2018 Samsung lcd led tv line-up. Here you can also find the complete specifications per model.
Samsung QE65Q9FN – design
The Q9 series may not have the characteristic slim profile that we are used to from Samsung, but that is of course because of the full array backlighting. The screen has a black frame; at the front neatly bevelled, and barely five millimeters wide. On the side the frame is about 25 mm wide, the back is nicely finished with a stripe pattern.
The screen stands on a very elegant foot. At the front you see only a narrow black cylinder, 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.
Just like last year, all connections are on the One Connect box. That is a lot heavier and heavier than the previous model. Samsung has opted for passive cooling, so that the One Connect box works completely silently. On that box 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, and the wired network connection and the power supply. There is no headphone connection, but the television does have bluetooth.
The connection between the One Connect Box and the television can be made with one cable. This not only ensures all connections but also supplies power to the television. However, 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 still 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 QE65Q9FN – ease of use
The installation procedure guides you 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. Samsung also has this year a new smartphone app, SmartThings, which you can use to complete the entire installation. That app also replaces the endless row of Samsung apps that they have for all different devices.
The app turned out to be rather changeable. At our first attempt we could not connect to the television. A second attempt worked without problems, but with a third run we had to do some steps with the remote first, before the app could contact the TV. In one case, we also had to enter a Wi-Fi password, whereas that should happen automatically. In short, it seems to us that the app still needs some improvement. Samsung let us know that there will certainly be some attention, since SmartThings is really the central app for all Samsung devices.
Installation is of course a one-off task, but 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 useful 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.
The Smart controller is the same as last year. It is slim, compact, completely made of light metal, and with a minimum of keys. It feels luxurious in the hand, and is particularly easy to operate. Thanks to a fine 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 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 position relative to the devices to be operated. It sends IR signals for operation.
Samsung QE65Q9FN – features
Smart TV platform
We hardly notice any changes to the Smart Hub. 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 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, you choose at the bottom of the sources then you see all possible sources.
The Q9FN is equipped with a dual tuner for all digital TV possibilities (ether, cable, and satellite) but no double CI + lock. You can record to 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 Xvid video formats has 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.
Another 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 in order not to be noticed, and to give the impression of an art frame.
Samsung QE65Q9FN – Image quality
The QLED series use quantum dots in the backlight to achieve a rich color range, but continue to function as a regular LCD TV. Samsung has equipped the Q9FN series with a Full Array backlight with local dimming. We counted sixteen segments thirty times, accounting for just under five hundred segments. That should properly prevent halo-forming and visible segments in dark scenes. The Q9FN is of course equipped with a VA panel.
In our article on the professional calibration of a TV you can read all about the possibilities with a professional to achieve the best picture settings. Here you will find an explanation of the most important picture settings and tips for setting up your TV. With the basic settings we have come to the following settings for this TV.
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
Gamma: BT .1886 / 0 *
RGB mode: Off
Color space: Auto
- The backlight is in the Film mode at 20. This provides a pleasant brightness and you can, when looking at a lot of light, 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 a DVD or other low-quality image. The ‘Auto’ mode also works well with color bands, the ‘low’ mode works a little less hard.
- Because some black detail disappears due to the local dimming, you can increase the range to 1.
- Auto Motion Plus : as always, this is 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. LED Clear Motion is not recommended, 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 and image processing
You can expect excellent image processing from this television. The upscaling of different sources is very good, and the screen provides a lot of detail. Those who want extra emphasis can put ‘sharpness’ between 5 and 10 without worries. The Samsung quickly and accurately detects the various film and video frame rates so that you rarely notice jagged edges.
Last year, the noise reduction (‘Clean Digital View’) was limited to an auto mode or completely off. This year a ‘low’ stand will be available again. That is a good improvement, you can now choose new for a minimum of noise reduction without being handed over to the decision of the algorithm in car. In ‘Low’ the effect is still reasonably clear. In Auto mode, Clean Digital View not only removes random and compression noise, it also removes rather difficult color bands. Because you switch everything on and off at the same time, you keep weighing for yourself what you prefer. For low-resolution sources such as DVD, we recommend Auto.
The screen provides a very good motion sharpness, as can be expected from a top LCD model. All detail is visible, even in fast moving images. Nothing has changed in the simplified menus. Setting ‘Auto Motion Plus’ to Auto provides good detail and beautiful, smooth pan images, but creates visible artefacts here and there. Who wants to avoid the side effects of Motion Compensation, chooses ‘Customized’ and puts blurring at 8-10, and vibration reduction between 6 and 8. Although with ‘Led Clear Motion’ extra detail in fast moving images, we advise against the use because you get visible flicker in the screen.
The full array backlight of the Q9FN is subdivided into 480 zones. That delivers absolutely fantastic results. The black value can in some cases compete with OLED. The Film setting provides very dark black values and excellent contrast. The local dimming hides the segment boundaries perfectly, and you have to look for extreme images (like the fireworks below) to see them. (photo overexposed to make the segments visible). Yet we clearly see the improvement over the much more limited local dimming of the Sony XF90.
In Film mode, too much shadow detail disappears, due to a combination of the local dimming and a very high gamma value. You can move Local Dimming to the low setting, and the gamma setting to 1, to show a little more detail. Also keep in mind that dark scenes with subtitles can vary very slightly in brightness (so-called ‘pumps’) when the subtitles appear on the screen. That should have been avoided by Samsung with such a well-segmented backlight.
The uniformity of the screen is good. The film mode delivers excellent results, with a fairly neutral, albeit somewhat dark gray scale. The color reproduction is good, but they are sometimes a bit too dark. The errors flared with the visible limit, and we might have expected a slightly better calibration from a top model. Yet you do not have to worry, the images look natural, and thanks to the good contrast they are very lively and a pleasure to watch.
Samsung supports HDR10, HLG and HDR10 +. LCD televisions are still the crown when it comes to clarity, and Samsung is only too happy to deal with that. The Q9FN delivers a maximum luminance of 1,410 nits in Film HDR mode, and even 613 nits on a completely white screen. These are excellent values, and you notice that. HDR images splash from the screen. We notice that the television gives the middle and clearest shades of gray a push so that they are brighter than necessary. All white detail is also clearly visible up to 1,500 nits. Combined with the clever color range of the quantum dot backlighting that reaches 97% DCI-P3 and 73% Rec2020, HDR viewing is an impressive experience.
By activating HDR + in the Expert settings of the image menus, give your SDR content is an HDR operation. The images then become very clear, so it seems especially useful if you have a lot of sun in the living room.
Reflections and viewing angles
Samsung has equipped the Q9 with a special anti-reflection film. It certainly does not completely remove environmental reflections, but again they are decent. For the viewing angle there is a slight improvement, as long as the image is not predominantly black. In the latter case you will see the contrast drop even with a relatively small step aside, and areas of the background lighting will become clearly visible. This remains a weak point of VA panels. With more typical clear images, the result is much better. You lose a bit of contrast, but the color reproduction remains good.
In the film image mode we measure a lag of 84 ms. That is obviously too much for a good gaming experience. With the game mode active, the lag drops to 28.5 ms and that is an excellent result (but higher than the 16 ms that Samsung itself claims). 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. It used to be under the image settings, which made it a lot more logical.
Samsung claims support for VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), a very good feature for hardcore gamers, but we could not verify them. If you want to read more about the games you need to play right now, check out our extensive overview.
Samsung QE65Q9FN – Audio quality
The Q9 can place itself next to comparable top models of competitors in terms of audio performance. In many circumstances the sound is excellent, with a lot of volume, clear dialogues and a decent amount of bass. As soon as you turn up the volume too high, the bass will be lost, and you will hear the speakers reaching their limits. Still, we could really enjoy the audio performance, both for film and music.
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 QE65Q9FN – Conclusion
If we had a criticism of the QLED models of 2017, the lack of a local dimming top model. With the Q9FN series, Samsung now has a clear answer to that. With almost five hundred zones and an excellent algorithm to control them, you are guaranteed a deep black and beautiful contrast on this television, which can compete with OLED. The main weak point remains the viewing angle, but mainly for dark images. The high price tag must of course be taken for granted in this category, but compared to other top models it is very well priced.
Furthermore, the Q9FN especially impressive assets. The Invisible Connect cable and One Connect box are very clever solutions to make installation easier. The Ambient mode is a nice extra if you want to give the TV a function when you are not actively watching. With its rich colors and enormous clarity, HDR is a real top experience. In short, a television that will please both the sports fan and the film fan.