Tech review: Samsung Q8C QLED

Impressive new generation model ticks all the right boxes – but at a price

The screen quality is impressive. The colour reproduction is excellent, and on 4K native content, you’ll see a real difference.

Product name: Samsung Q8C QLED TV

Price: €3250.0

Where to buy: Currys.ie

Website: www.samsung.com

Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 06:42

   

I am happy with my TV. It’s a few years old, it’s a decent size and while it connects to the internet, it doesn’t have an array of confusing menus and services to navigate because I mainly use a pay TV service.

But a few weeks ago, a Samsung TV with a whole pile of acronyms attached temporarily landed in my living room for review. And now my TV looks a bit second rate.

If you’ve been paying attention to the industry, you’ll know that list of acronyms. We’ve moved on from LCD to LED, OLED and now QLED. We have 4K, UHD and HDR to deal with. Basically what they mean is your TV screen looks good. Very good. Well, in most cases anyway.

So, on to this new TV. It’s the Samsung QLED 55-inch Q8C. The Q refers to Quantum Dot technology, tiny particles in the TV display that eliminate the need to use white LED backlights and colour filters, and allow for brighter displays and better colours. The C means it’s curved.

Curved TVs never really interested me. I saw it more of a gimmick than a must have feature in my TV, and truth be told, I never really noticed the curve on this particular one. I’m told it makes it more immersive, but given the size of the TV, I don’t think it can be anything but immersive.

Because no matter what way you look at it, 55 inches is massive in the average Irish living room. The TV dominates the corner of the room, albeit in an elegant way. There’s a super thin bezel, so it’s almost all screen.

High definition, bright, colourful screen.The Q8 also supports high dynamic range (HDR) and 4K resolution. That means it will not only have a higher resolution, but it will look better; 4K gives you about four times the current HD resolution on your screen, and HDR makes those pixels look better.

So overall, the TV looks impressive. My three-year-old clapped eyes on it and asked it we could keep it (No. No we can’t). It takes a bit of getting used to though. Everything looks different on it, in a weird, hyper-real way. Obviously the best content to watch is 4K, with support for HDR. Sky and Netflix both offer ultra HD services, there is 4K console gaming if that’s your thing, and there are ultra HD DVDs out there too.

Very bright

For everything else, there’s upscaling. High definition content meets software that makes it look better than HD but not quite 4K. The end result is good for the most part, but unsettling at times. Familiar films take on a different look. Previously seamless special effects are a bit more noticeable, though that may have something to do with the size as well as the technology crammed inside. Some standard definition content looked utterly horrible too (Friends reruns, I’m looking at you).

The Q8 is bright. Very bright. I eventually had to turn the brightness down, because quite frankly, I was starting to fear for both the toddler’s eyes and my own. Have you ever seen Hey Duggee in 55-inch high definition? Colourful doesn’t even begin to describe it; it’s like an assault on your senses.

There are other things that make this TV a good bet. That cable snarl you usually have snaking around the back of your TV is gone. Samsung gives you a set top box with its top end TVs; everything connects into that box, and the box connects to the TV with a single fibre optic cable. You can put that box anywhere within the cable’s range, so you can wall mount the TV without having to worry about the aesthetics of multiple cables hanging down the back. Be careful though; if you catch that cable in the back panel of the TV or bend it in anyway it doesn’t like, it’s an expensive mistake to fix.

It’s internet connected too, so if you have services such as Amazon Video, Netflix or Spotify, for example, you can sign in on the TV and access everything from the menu, pinning your favourites.

For the review period, we had the full set up including sound bar. But you can do without it. The sound that emanates from the built in speakers is better than you’d expect from a TV, and I was waiting for complaints from the neighbours on more than one occasion about the bass.

The good:

The screen quality is impressive. The colour reproduction is excellent, and on 4K native content, you’ll see a real difference.

The not so good:

If something isn’t shot for HD, or you’re watching a standard definition channel, you’ll notice. And those special effects you thought blended so well in films? They don’t. Also, this is one pricey TV.

The rest:

The online element of the TV is easy to work through, and you can rearrange the entire menu of sources to your liking.

The verdict:

If you are willing to spend a considerable sum of money on a TV, the Q8C ticks all the boxes. For many people, that’s a big “if” though.