Innovative Samsung Q900R QLED 8K TVs (QN85Q900RAFXZA) Review

In five years, the authoritative international technical IFA exhibition in Berlin will celebrate its 100th anniversary. Curiously, the first prototype of the TV was presented at this exhibition in 1928. Today it remains one of the main global platforms for demonstrating achievements in the field of electronics.

2018 is no exception. Samsung introduced the innovative Q900R QLED 8K TVs series. In the US, the TV is called Samsung QN85Q900RAFXZA.
This series contains a new generation of TVs, including models with a diagonal 65, 75, 82 and 85 inches and a resolution of 7680 × 4320 pixels. 8K AI Upscaling system and a specialized Quantum Processor 8K chip provide enhanced image resolution. In fact, the new 8K AI Upscaler creates several millions of additional pixels that convert HD / 4K video to 8K resolution.

Peak brightness reaches an unprecedented 4000 nits. All models support HDR10 + standard.
In addition, TVs use the One Invisible Connection system, which combines a power cable with an optical signal cable. Its length reaches five meters.

In fact, the Samsung Q900R is the first serial 8K TV. Of course, its relevance may be questionable, since today many experts note a deficit of even 4K content in HDR quality. But the Japanese NHK company already starts broadcasting in 8K format. In addition, the leaders of streaming, Netflix and TV France, already have experience shooting in this resolution. But the performance of the Q900R provides an excellent 8K image even without the native 8K format, transforming available content to it. Of course, such a solution to the problem of content deficiencies can be a revolutionary breakthrough.

Design

The Q900R series has a very stylish design in the form of a thin dark frame around a huge screen with a pair of elegant legs in the corners of the panel.

Of course, the large size and shape of the stand have certain requirements for the TV installation. But the superb image quality easily compensates for this slight inconvenience. In addition, the design of the model partially simplifies this task.

Additionally, Ambient mode adapts the screen design to the color and texture of the wall.

Smart TV

As known, today all Samsung Hi-end TVs, including the Q900R, use Eden 2.0, which is perfectly balanced, has an easily customizable interface, supports a large number of apps and voice control.

The main apps in the latest versions of Amazon, Netflix and YouTube support 4K HDR. Moreover, the YouTube app plays even native 8K videos. But, of course, the Internet channel must support this format.

The new Samsung processor better eliminates instability or freezes compared to even the flagship 4K Samsung TVs, including the QLED Q9FN, despite a twofold increase in the number of pixels. Overall, this Samsung smart platform today is one of the best.

Operation principle

In fact, the 8K AI Upscaler system automatically analyzes and adds the required points to the HD video, transforming the image into 8K.

Samsung’s Machine Learning Super Resolution (MLSR) technology uses artificial intelligence (AI) to compare versions of the same content with different resolutions to create a database. In fact, the program analyzes millions of pieces of video content and calculates the required correlation for its optimal conversion to a higher format with minimal distortion of brightness, black levels, etc.

MLSR uses three steps to improve image quality. First, “Detail Creation” improves the detail to areas with low definition due to file compressing. Second, “Edge Restoration” additionally highlights the edges of text, people or objects in a video, moving pixels on the borders. Lastly, «Noise Reduction» gets rid of static noises generated during high compression or recompression of files.

As a result, upscaling up to 8K practically does not distort the contours of the images and does not form other undesirable effects, including Mpeg noise, lag or image grain.

HD / SDR playback and brightness

In general, the quality of work 8K AI Upscaler today corresponds to the maximum level. However, the system requires some settings.

First, it requires the activation of the noise cancellation in the settings to smooth out possible distortion of the contours. But this mode slightly reduces the image sharpness.

Secondly, of course, a scaled image from HD quality is not analogous to native 8K content. Actually, it looks like an ultra-smoothed 4K image. But adding a huge amount of virtual pixels provides an excellent result.

Thirdly, the processing of standard images in the dynamic range does not provide the maximum brightness of 4000 nits. It’s designed to provide the required light levels of an HDR image. Therefore, SDR content partially loses the detail of shadows in the darkest areas of the image. HDR10+ also converts SDR to HDR without the required peak brightness. However, the inclusion of standard pre-settings without Eco function partially solves this problem, automatically reducing the backlight level.

Of course, the Q900R reproduces an unprecedented range of colors with extreme brightness. But the maximum brightness can adversely affect the service life of the QD matrix.

The maximum brightness for HDR in a 10% window (white background on 10% of the screen) reaches 4000 nits. In fact, today this series is the brightest. Optimized backlighting, improved local dimming and powerful processor processing ensure unprecedented playback of deep black tones in HDR content. This TV provides excellent uniformity and depth of black shades even around a bright object in the middle.

Direct Full Array Elite technology provides excellent contrast and precise backlight control.

Moreover, input lag does not exceed 20 ms in the gaming mode even when HD is scaled to 8K.

Some features

But too much brightness also has disadvantages. First, the combination of light and dark is sometimes reproduced in gray tones. Secondly, chroma processing is reduced in large areas of the image. This effect can occur, for example, for parts with low brightness in a dark frame on a light background.

In general, TVs provide the correct color reproduction. But sometimes colors may appear more faded in frames with light-dark content due to backlighting.

In addition, the delay in adjusting the backlight brightness sometimes appears when changing bright and dark frames. As a result, the brightness of the image decreases slightly after a dark frame appears.

Unfortunately, the power of the built-in speakers corresponds only to the average level. But Samsung Smart Sound system perfectly optimizes audio settings for any type of content, eliminating distortion and automatically adjusting to the size of the room.

Connections

Q900R uses One Connect box with HDMI 2.0 specification, three USB and Bluetooth interface for connecting headphones. Of course, TVs support a wireless network. But most importantly, the company promises to provide a version of One Connect box with HDMI 2.1 protocol, which provides a higher data transfer rate.

In fact, it can provide playback speed of 60 fps for 8K format, instead of 8K @ 30p for HDMI 2.0.

As known, HDMI 2.0a interface is an improved HDMI 2.0 with support for High Dynamic Range. It provides HDR EOTF signal and static metadata. But dynamic metadata support is only possible with HDMI 2.1. In fact, HDMI 2.1 is another generation of the popular interface that supports dynamic metadata in HDR. It has many new features, including support for Dynamic HDR, 4K @ 120fps, 8K @ 60fps, and virtual reality in Game Mode VRR.

Using dynamic metadata provides the ability to optimize image quality depending on the specific scene. HDMI 2.0a only supports static metadata. Therefore, it provides only one level of quality throughout the entire film, for example, when viewing a UHD Blu-ray disc. The use of dynamic metadata provides a change in the quality level depending on the current content on the screen. In addition, HDMI 2.1 supports object-oriented audio signal.

Conclusion

PROS

– magnificent 8K image;

– unprecedented brightness and color range;

– excellent upscaling.

CONS

– very high price;

– slight distortion of color saturation in some cases;

– insufficient power built-in speakers;

– no support for Dolby Vision.

This video illustrates the great features of 8K AI Upscaler technology.

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