8K is the new way of future resolutions, and how we consume media. Eventually, 8K will do the same that 4K did to 1080p video, and companies are taking the initiative to create devices and displays capable of running this content. Samsung invited us to their office to check out their lineup of QLED 8K TV’s, and we’ve got our first hand impressions of what the display could mean for consumers. The Q900R comes in three variants, 75-inch for RM 59,999, 82-inch for RM 99,999 and the 98-inch model for a whopping RM 299,999. For the review, we’ve broken it into 4 main areas; Display and Sound, Lifestyle, Smartness, and Gaming aspects.
So with that in mind, sit back, relax, and enjoy our review of the Samsung QLED 8K TV Q900R.
Display and Sound; AI Upscaling and 8K Goodness
Of course, arguably the most important thing about the 8K line up of TV’s, is how their display looks. And of course, it’s gorgeous. It’s 8K, and the Q900R series has 33 million pixels on the screen, making it impossible to see them individually. We’ve come a long way from CRT TV’s, and Samsung’s Q900R is one of the better iterations of 8K integration that I’ve seen. That’s mostly because of the AI built into the machine, which performs AI Upscaling, and brings content such as SD, HD, UHD, and even 4K to better qualities. This is performed via the Quantum processor, and uses AI-powered machine learning to reduce image noise, restore lost detail, and is also capable of sharpening edges around objects and text.
Check out this video from Samsung Malaysia’s Head of AV TV, Vincent Lee, explaining how the Q900R lineup up-scales content.
I actually got to witness it first hand, as they set up two of the units side by side. One, a Q900R, and the other, their older 4K capable TV. The difference was staggering, but I feel, it would be indistinguishable if the displays were not side by side. The edges were smooth, text looks better, even when up-scaling from SD to 8K resolutions. You notice less breaking in pixels, or even the ability to see pixels as there’s literally 33 million of them on the display. The Q900R series features at 7680 x 4320 resolution, so there’s detail, and plenty of it. This is in part because of the Quantum Processor which is responsible for 4 key functions:
- Picture Quality
- Ambient Mode
- Smart Functions
Which basically makes the processor, the most important part of the hardware overall. With that, I do want to add that the upscaling that the Q900R uses, is by far one of the most impressive versions that I’ve seen in awhile. It really makes a difference in a noticeable, and impactful way to how we consume our content.
Another thing about the display, is that it has 100% colour volume because of Quantum Dot technology, and it converts light and turns it to more vibrant colours, and colour that stays true at any level of brightness. This even affects the display when it’s off, or when there’s all black on screen. You’ll notice barely any glare from sunlight, or other lights.
Not to mention colours look vibrant, and almost pop off screen. Blacks are black, and when you increase the brightness, it doesn’t just increase the light on screen, it adapts smartly so that the dark areas are still dark rather than the screen just lighting up. No more dealing with bad picture quality, while sacrificing brightness.
The sound honestly, was a let down. There wasn’t anything special about it, and it made me feel a bit underwhelmed when I checked out the TV’s speakers, without the Q80/Q90 soundbar. When I asked why, they didn’t have much of an explanation, so I kept that in mind.
It’s not that the sound was bad, but I guess showing me what it sounded like with the Soundbar let my expectations get too high. The sound quality is okay, not enough to fill a room by itself, but I will say that even on the highest 100 volume setting, the sound wasn’t unpleasant, or shrilly. However, Samsung has implemented features to bolster the sound experience on the TV.
We talk more about these features in the ‘Smartness’ section of the review, but the gist is that sound isn’t that great on the Q900R without the accompanying sound bar. But there are inbuilt solutions that make sound more clear, audible, crisp sound, more about that below.
Lifestyle; The No Gap Wall Mount And One Invisible Connection
Samsung aren’t only selling a great display. They’re also trying to make these lineup of TV’s a lifestyle choice. Effectively, they want their Smart TV’s to be the Hub of everything connected within the home. You can connect your smart devices, and basically use it as you please. There are several modes and reasons why they’re appealing to the ‘lifestyle’ segment. The first is of course, the ‘No Gap Wall Mount’ a self explanatory device that keeps your TV seamless against the wall.
With such an expensive purchase, the TV should do more than be a TV, which clearly the Q900R lives up to be. The series is in a word, minimalist. And that’s what can attract people to the Q900R lineup. For instance Samsung put well thought engineering into the wall mount, the No Gap Wall Mount fixes the TV on the wall, and there’s essentially no gap between the wall and the TV. So where do the cables go? Three words, One Invisible Connection.
The One invisible connection is basically Samsung’s way of making the TV more accessible, and easier to manage. There’s only one wire actually connected to the display, and the rest of the ports are on this box. It makes it easier to handle, you don’t have to blindly search around the back to put in that HDMI, and it also reduces the heat that the TV emits.
The console acts as the brain of the two, so you can think of it as the TV as the monitor, while the One Invisible Connection is the console from where you control basically everything.
Being that this is the command centre, and without it the TV would be useless, I asked how much it would be to replace it. They had no straight answer, and said it depends on the service charges for repairing, or replacing the unit. Considering that this thing costs at least RM 59,999, you’ll have to take real extra care of this little box too. Otherwise, it’s pretty useful. It has 4 HDMI 2.1 ports, 3 USB ports, optical output, Ethernet, and of course power output. The HDMI 2.1 is going to be the new standard, as it can support 8K at 60 frames a second, or even more.
Work of Art
There’s also Ambient Mode, which essentially turns your TV into something useful when it’s not in ‘use’. Ambient Mode is basically turning your TV into art, a clock, calendar, or just cycling through your pictures that you upload to the TV. The TV when displaying a work of art, it actually looks like the actual art piece. It doesn’t look like a TV showing off a picture of the art, but it’s as if the TV is canvas in itself.
Here is where I feel the real lifestyle value of the Q900R is realised, because it utilises the TV when it usually doesn’t get a second thought. It’s a neat feature, which I feel in the right hands and household, would make for an excellent addition.
Smartness; Like Having Your Own Artificial Assistant
The TV in and of itself, is really ‘smart’. It has all the latest functionality and features of a modern era Smart TV, with a bit extra. There’s a choice of 3 assistants that will serve as your command centre. That being Samsung’s own Bixby, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Assistant. But mind you, Bixby will have certain functionality and control over the Q900R series, that the others don’t.
This functions as a voice assistant, similar to the ones that are available on your phone, and you control this via the remote. There’s a mic on the top of the remote, and it will wake up when you say “Hey Bixby”. From there, it can control pretty much any aspect of the the TV. It can also listen while the TV is off, and will turn itself on when it hears the command. It really does make the Q900R like something out of the future. Even their remote is something else. It’s compact, small, and functions well. It also doesn’t look like the rest of the other remotes, so you’ll definitely won’t confuse this one for the rest. The voice activation worked fine at the very least.
While I was testing out Bixby, it barely understood me, or could even hear me in the first place. On average, it would take me 2-3 tries of saying ‘hey Bixby’ before it would appear. While not exactly the most scientific method, it’s the most practical one I could think of. (note to user, voice recognition will require regular usage for the AI to learn your tone and speech)
Something to note, Samsung’s lineup of 8K TV’s doesn’t use the Google Play Store, and rather they’ve opted for their own marketplace for apps and games. I’m not entirely sure on whether this changes anything as a whole, and due to limited time I couldn’t test out whether casting straight to the TV would make the Play store being missing, irrelevant. This does make it lose out on a couple of points, because that means there’s less apps that are compatible with the TV, and that makes the whole ecosystem less attractive as a whole. The Q900R uses Tizen OS, so that could responsible for the missing Play store.
However, the Q900R lineup did have everything I could possibly think that someone using the TV, would need.
But what it loses with the app market, it makes up for with Intelligent Brightness and Sound. The TV will automatically ‘adapt’ to whatever’s going on around you, and on screen.
With Adaptive brightness, the TV will of course through sensors, ‘sense’ the environment, and adjust brightness accordingly. It’s a neat feature that when coupled alongside Intelligent Sound, and Adaptive Volume makes for a neat experience.
Adaptive sound will change the sound’s focus depending on the content. For example, there’s a Dialogue mode which emphasises on the central sounds to highlight the voice. Or if you’re watching a football match, Sport mode will emphasise on the background sounds to create a greater sense of realism. It also refers to the position and size of the room the TV is in. It will automatically optimise for a better, more immersive viewing experience. All in all, the audio from the TV is lacklustre, but little features like this can make the overall ecosystem more enjoyable, and simpler to use.
Gaming Mode; My Very First 8K Gaming Experience
Gaming on 8K feels somewhat surreal. The clarity and the overall performance of it, was great. I didn’t expect any less based on the 8K panel on the Q900R, but I was pleasantly surprised at the focus on gaming that the series has. Considering that the next gen lineup of console devices will be the PS5 and tentatively Xbox Scarlett, both of who have announced their new systems will be capable of 8K gaming, this isn’t a surprise. Samsung probably wants to keep the series future proof for likes of these 8K consoles, which are slated to arrive very soon.
Beyond the future proofing with their 8K compatibility, the TV comes with a Game Mode. This Game Mode is accessible through quick settings, but it can also auto detect when a console is connected, and turn on by itself. In it’s bare essence, it’s a pretty customisable, and user friendly Game Mode. Simple enough for anyone to use, but also advanced enough for people who want to get into the settings and change what they’d like. The one thing of course, that many display manufacturers are integrating into their systems, is the Dynamic Black Equalizer.
Many have their own variations of it, but Samsung’s Q900R one, is a bit overkill. It effectively lights up darker areas, without making it uncomfortable to look at. This is again, attributed to the 100% Volume Colour, and it does make a huge difference. It’s a bit of a cheat, but if everyone’s got a display capable of it, it isn’t really cheating, I guess?
The Q900R is also capable of Freesync and Variable Refresh Rates, depending on if the game is compatible with it. Of course, the gaming mode also helps improve the performance of the game. With the new lineup of QLED TV’s, there’s now an input lag of only 13.5 ms. Safe to say that Game Mode does affect gameplay, and not just how it looks. It’s also capable of 4K content playing at 120 fps.
There isn’t any 8K content to fully embrace and utilise all that this TV has to offer, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy this impressive piece of hardware that upscales any content to 8K with its sophisticated AI technology. It does everything you could possibly think of, and more. The Q900R is just a glimpse into the future of what we as consumers will have in our homes.
It’s a precursor to what will soon control our entire household, and Samsung’s trying to get in early. The Q900R’s display is beautiful, intuitive smart features, and overall has an aesthetically pleasing design. Sadly, Samsung paid less attention to the inbuilt speaker, maybe because they figured if you’re going to pay RM59,999 for a 75″ TV you would probably invest in a good soundbar.
The Q900R is for the exquisite few who relish the finer things in life, along with a Ferrari in the garage and the living hall overlooking the private swimming pool, the Samsung 8K on the wall will complete any debonair’s abode.
Samsung QLED 8K Q900R
The Samsung 8K Q900R's display is beautiful, has intuitive smart features, and overall aesthetically pleasing design. For a piece of the future you will have to pay RM 59,999.