Here it is, the first 8K TV for the general public. With this Q900R with a definition of 7680 x 4320 pixels for a price of 4250 euros in 65-inch version, 5950 in 75-inch version and not less than 15,000 euros in 85-inch version, Samsung hits very hard. While this product is aimed at enthusiasts, those who do not look at the expenses to afford the ultimate in image technology, the Korean giant has nevertheless managed the feat of marketing the smallest of Q900R at a lower price than some OLED 4K 65 inches of its rival LG, like the OLED65W7V or the OLED65G8.
At the moment, launching an 8K TV seems premature since there is no compatible content (or almost) available. Samsung therefore relies on an artificial intelligence algorithm doped with machine learning to digitally improve the quality of 4K sources, Full HD or SD. But does this TV of more than 33 million pixels really keep its promises? Will it really make us put our 4K screens in the closet? This is what we will see.
Design, less finesse
First of all, know that we tested the 75-inch version of the Q900R. Samsung had us used QLED televisions rather thin, which is not the case here with 3.5 cm thick. The new 8K tile seems to occupy a lot of space. Korean has taken over the lines of its The Frame range, black metal contours and a flat back that displays raised streaks. In back there is also an M-shaped space for storing your feet if you decide to hang the TV on the wall.
If not, Samsung offers two positions to install the 75Q900R feet: near the center of the slab or at the ends. It therefore fits the majority of TV furniture. You will note in passing the lack of connectivity, at least in appearance, but we will return. The front reveals a frame a little thick, but do not spoil the fun. The matte slab benefits from a very good antireflection treatment, a point on which Samsung is particularly efficient.
The Samsung logo is very discreet, which is always appreciated. Last words on the feet: if they are very well machined, they occupy space with 34 cm deep. As a result, it is difficult to install a sound bar when the feet are positioned in the center, and when they are at the ends this limits the maximum size of the sound bar.
Installing the Samsung QE75Q900R really requires you to be two. This is mainly a question of size, the TV is not so heavy (30.5 kg). A single cable, very thin and 5 meters long, connects the TV to an imposing black box (39 x 17.5 x 8 cm), the OneConnect box that includes all the connectors. On the menu, we have four HDMI 2.0 inputs (note that Samsung will change the OneConnect case for free as soon as the new version with HDMI 2.1 ports is ready), an optical output, an Ethernet port, a PCMCIA port and the TNT, cable and satellite.
There are also three USB 2.0 ports on the side of the case. Of course, Wifi and Bluetooth are also at the rendezvous. We tested the case in a TV stand and outside. In the first case, the heating is really impressive and the active cooling generates an audible noise noise. In the open air we did not notice anything like it. The cable management is so much simplified thanks to the very practical OneConnect box, but think of the organization behind it.
Ergonomics: fluid and intuitive
As for the Samsung Q9, everything relies on a single remote control and the Tizen operating system. For the remote control, no complaints, it is solid and ergonomic. We are dealing with a very simple product that meets all our needs. Only the numeric keypad for channel numbering may be missing, but it can be displayed on the screen via a dedicated button. It is also very intuitive and includes a microphone for voice control. By cons, still no button to choose the source, and still no backlight.
The interface is architected around a single bar that appears at the bottom of the screen. It gives access to all the quick and deep parameters.
The applications are also present and to add via the application store is done in a few seconds. The essentials are there, like MyCanal, Amazon Prime Video or Netflix. The set is very coherent, simple to take in hand and especially very responsive. Actually, Tizen is an OS that we really like for these reasons.
From the art of miniaturization
The Samsung QE75Q900R is architected around a VA 10-bit 120 Hz slab. To reach 8K, Samsung has further miniaturized the sub-pixels of its slab (logic). The display becomes so thin, that even by gluing our eyes on the screen, the pixels are almost indistinguishable. High Dynamic Range side, compatibility with HDR10 and HDR10 + is assured. To improve the contrast, Samsung applies a 480-zone FULL-LED backlight. The result is very good, with some small defects all the same, but we will come back to it.
Upscaling: effective scaling
The engine in charge of the upscaling is clearly one of the best we have seen. We used some of the few 8K videos available. A tour by France Télévision and others proposed by NASA and available on YouTube. We then converted its 8K sources into 4K, Full HD and SD (580p), to see how this AI-based upscaling system works (note that it will improve over time as it uses as we told you at the beginning, machine learning).
The native 8K rendering is simply stunning, the details are obvious, captivate us. We must approach to fully comprehend the image. By moving from the 4K to the 8K, we get an almost identical result with slightly less precise details, but that remains satisfactory.
The upscaling of the FullHD to the 8K is clean, but not transcendent, while the transition from 1080p to 4K can bring a perceptible gain in the rendering of the image. The transition from Full HD to 8K seems to be too big a leap forward to improve the image as it may be the case with high-end 4K TVs. The SD is definitely banned however with a display that can not really compensate for the poor quality of the source, we can not do miracles either.
In the end, it's difficult to really criticize the upscaling engine. It performs almost perfect scaling in all situations, but crudely points to the lack of details of Full HD and SD sources.
An image as stunning as it is luminous
We appreciate the QLED tiles, but we must admit that they can not reach the level of the OLED. Here, Samsung has put the dishes in the big. Thanks to its full-LED backlight, we get a very good contrast ratio (12035: 1), the nuances are as numerous as precise and the brightness level is excellent, much higher than that of an OLED.
The blacks are very deep, but the QE75Q900R retains the flaws of its technology. Thus, there are effects of halos on the film subtitles for example, and the viewing angles are not very wide. We lose quickly in image quality if we get off a little. The lightest shades of gray are also the ones that lack the most nuance because of this luminous power. Pumping effects are also visible on the abrupt passages of light to black, but it does not happen fortunately all the time.
By watching TNT programs, we get a very clean rendering. But 4K Blu-ray really is the one that delivers the best rendering, of course. The excellent contrast and rendering blacks associated with the HDR let appear more details. The upscaling also helps. Take Blade Runner 2049 in 4K, the scenes in chiaroscuro gain in depth and brilliance at a time. The structures of the buildings reveal more relief, details.
The animation is not left behind thanks to the 120 Hz slab and AutoMotion Plus technology. The fluidity is total, almost excessive. Do not hesitate to customize it according to the program being watched. You can fully activate it for video games and avoid or limit it for cinematographic works.
Video games take full advantage of this image quality and even by activating the Games display mode, the color rendering remains excellent. The animation is flawless and the response time is positioned as one of the best of the moment. In Forza Horizon 4, the animation of sets and vehicles bring a sensation of striking speed.
The Samsung QE75Q900R is an excellent TV, the best QLED and the only one able to approach, without equaling, the quality of an OLED. Samsung's bet was to bring 8K image quality to the general public in the almost complete absence of compatible content, and on this point the company's AI-based upscaling system has kept its promise. Although of course the rendering is not worth a native 8K image, this is one of the best systems we've seen, and as it continues to learn it should even improve in the future. On the other hand one always finds the classic defects of the LCD slabs, in particular effects of pumping, luminous leaks (halo effect) and restricted angles of vision.
In short, for all that, should you switch to 8K right away? No, for the moment we always advise you to go to a 4K models like the OLED LG B8 or the Philips 803, in addition you will save money. If you are absolutely keen on the Samsung design (very practical, you have to admit it with the OneConnect box) and the Tizen functions (very good too), we recommend the Q9 2018.