The Samsung Q9F QLED is a great 4k LCD TV with very good picture quality and exceptional rendition of colors. It can display a very wide range of colors and gets bright, making it quite good for HDR. Its input lag is quite low, and fast moving content shows very little blur, making it a good choice for both gaming and sports watching. Unfortunately, though, picture quality steeply declines when the Q9F is viewed from an angle, and its and its screen isn't the most uniform.
- Very wide color gamut
- Low motion blur
- Gets bright
- Picture quality degrades at an angle
- Sub-par uniformity
The design of the Q9F is excellent. It does appear much bulkier than other Samsung TVs without thinning at the borders but also feels much sturdier and the build quality is a big improvement. From the front, the stand is small so the display really stands out. Note that two power cables are required, one for the display itself and one for the OneConnect box which contains all of the inputs.
The TV sits only 1.3" above the table, supported by two T-shaped legs. The foot of the T provides a very stable base, and the stand isn't too visible which is great.
There is an option for two alternative stand designs, the 'gravity stand' and the 'easel stand' which may be purchased separately.
Footprint of the 65" TV stand: 12.0" x 38.5"
The rear of the TV is very simple, as only the fiber-optic OneConnect cable and the power cord is plugged into the TV. As a result, inputs can be kept hidden away and the back of the TV appears very clean. As seen in this photo, it is possible to route the cables through a plastic cover at the back of the TV and down through the stand, but, unfortunately, it appears to be more of an afterthought. The plastic cover sticks onto the back of the TV with double sided tape.
The Q9F is edge lit from both sides so its sides get a little warm to the touch, as do some places on the back. The One Connect box, on the other hand, gets quite warm to the touch, up to 46 ºC, though this isn't warm enough to cause any issues.
- 11% Contrast
- 6% Local Dimming
- 6% SDR Peak Brightness
- 6% HDR Peak Brightness
- 6% Gray Uniformity
- 7% Viewing Angle
- 4% Black Uniformity
- 2% Gradient
- 4% Pre Calibration
- 1% Post Calibration
- 6% 480p Input
- 9% 720p Input
- 11% 1080p Input
- 6% 4k Input
- 4% Color Gamut
- 4% Color Volume
- 1% Image Retention
- 6% Reflections
- 1% 3D
The Samsung Q9F LED TV has a very good picture quality. The excellent contrast ratio, paired with the good black uniformity, make the Q9 a very good choice for a dark home theater setting. It can display very deep blacks and can reproduce dark scenes very well. When set in a bright room, the Q9 is as good as it gets, since it can get very bright to fight glare from a bright lamp of a near sunny window and it can deal with reflections amazingly. Unfortunately, the Q9F's gray uniformity is sub-par and dirty screen effect is visible on wide panning shots or when watching some sports like football or hockey. The viewing angle is also poor and as a result, the Q9's best picture quality is restricted to a narrow zone in front of the TV. Finally, the Q9 can really make HDR content shine with its high HDR peak brightness and large color volume. Small highlights can get very bright and the colors it can reproduce are really a step ahead of the competition. The only downside here is the limitation of the local dimming, which is poorly implemented and can't really help to make black deepers.
The Q9F TV has an excellent native contrast ratio. It is not as high as the 2016 KS Series like the KS8000, but it is still a very good result. This means the TV can produce deep blacks and great dark scene performances, especially when the TV is set in a dark room.
When the local dimming is set to maximum, the contrast ratio is in the same ballpark. This is a bit disappointing from the top Samsung TV of 2017, since it is a sign that the local dimming cannot really make blacks looks deeper than what they already are.
The local dimming feature of the Q9F is bad. The only real advantage over the 2016 KS Series line of TVs, is that on the Q9F, the backlight LEDs are situated on each side of the screen, which means that the local dimming can turn off the whole black bars when watching movies. Besides that, the performance is relatively the same as the 2017 Q7F or 2016 KS8000.
Great SDR peak brightness. Highlights in dim scenes are shown quite bright, thanks to the TV's local dimming. However bright scenes such as our real scene clip are dimmed significantly, and a pure white image is dimmed even more so, which is not good. Many other high end LED TVs such as the X930E are brighter in SDR, though OLEDs like the C7 are dimmer. A plot of brightness over time is shown here.
The Q9F is brighter in SDR than OLEDs like the LG C7, but not as bright as many other high end LED TVs like the Sony X930E, or even the X900E in real scenes.
Outstanding HDR peak brightness. The TV's local dimming is very effective at brightening small highlights in dark scenes, and also brightens the highlights in our real scene test to well above the TV's worst case brightness. The 'Dynamic' picture mode is even brighter than the 'Movie' mode we test, as shown in this plot, but has less accurate picture quality. When shown a static image, the TV's brightness cycles, but this shouldn't be a problem when watching moving content.
Though this brightness is outstanding, and better than OLEDs like the LG C7, it isn't quite as bright as the Sony X930E, X940E and Z9D, mostly because of the larger difference between the best case brightness and the real scene brightness.
The Q9's overall gray uniformity is sub-standard. Looking at our 50% gray uniformity picture, it is very easy to see that the the borders of the screen are a bit darker than the rest, which in turn is affecting the standard deviation number. This is the main reason why the gray uniformity score is so low. As for the dirty screen effect, even though the DSE number is not that high, dirty screen effect was visible when watching sports like football or hockey.
Looking at our 5% gray uniformity, the result is much better and not many uniformity issues can be noticed, which is good.
Bad viewing angle, but fairly typical for a VA panel. Blacks turn gray and colors shift when the TV is viewed from even a small angle, while brightness decreases more gradually. An OLED TV like the LG C7 and Sony A1E, or an IPS TV like the LG UH8500 will be better suited for a room where people often view the TV from the side.
The Q9 has a good native black uniformity and it is very similar to the Q7F Uniformity. The only blooming visible on the test pictures is horizontal blooming at the same level as the white cross. This is due to the fact that the local dimming zones span horizontally rather than vertically.
Note that usually for the native black uniformity test, we turn off the local dimming feature to really show the true black uniformity of the panel used in the TV, but like we saw on the Q7F, the local dimming can't be completely turned off on the Q9F. Instead, you can only put the local dimming to the 'Low' setting. This is one of the reasons why the native black uniformity results is about the same as the one with local dimming.
The Q9F has an excellent result in our test gradient. No banding normally seen on 8-bit panels is visible and overall, even if there are some small imperfections in the darker shades, this is a good result. We did not notice any problematic banding looking at normal content and here one again, those results are in line with the rest of Samsung high-end TVs.
The out of the boxes accuracy is good for the Q9. Looking at the grayscale part of the accuracy test, we can see that the TV is a bit warmer overall. With a white balance dE of 3.91, this is a region where true enthusiasts could start to noticing some small imperfections, but for anyone else, it is still pretty accurate and should not be a problem.
Looking at the gamma, here it is a bit more problematic since the gamma is not tracking our target very closely, especially in the low end. This could cause problems like black crush in darker images.
After calibration, which is relatively easy to perform, most of the issues we had out of the box were fixed. The white balance dE was brought down to a mere 0.33 with the gamma being flattened and tracking much closely our target.
The color dE was also cut by half, which is also very good. All the colors are tracking the target pretty well. Overall, this is a great result.
You can see our recommended settings here.
When viewed from up close, some minor artifacts are visible in some scenes. This is mostly noticeable with the 'Warm' color temperature for PC use and is the same result as the Q7F. It is caused by the sub-pixel dimming algorithm and occurs with images of low APL but some bright areas. This video of the sub-pixels of the Q7F showing the effect was taken by increasing the brightness of a static image.
Excellent wide color gamut, wider than its competitors, the Sony Z9D, A1E and LG C7. The deep green performance is especially notable, which is something most TVs struggle with. The accuracy of the colors is excellent too, so colors in HDR content should be well represented.
The TV's EOTF follows the PQ curve almost perfectly until it clips at its peak brightness, when in the Movie picture mode at our recommended settings. The EOTFs in Game and PC mode are also fairly accurate, with the game mode EOFT noticeably brightened, possibly to make HDR games more playable in bright rooms.
Good color volume, only really limited by the TV's color gamut and black level. The TV can show its wide color gamut throughout almost its entire brightness range, though its gamut narrows slightly for extremely dark colors.
Perfect result for the Samsung Q9F on the image retention test and in line with other Samsung TVs tested recently. This is a good result, especially for gamers.
Note that the strange pattern of the vertical lines is more obvious on this test picture than what you really see in person, because of the longer 1/2 time exposure needed to correctly take this picture.
The Q9 has a slightly different screen finish to the Q7. This is still excellent at handling reflections but has much less of a purple tint. Reflections are smeared somewhat horizontally, but this isn't very distracting. Even in a bright room the performance is superb.
The Q9F doesn't support 3D.
The motion handling of the Q9 is excellent. It has a fast response time, resulting in only a short trail of motion blur following fast moving objects. The backlight uses PWM to dim so motion isn't quite as smooth as some other TVs but this isn't much of an issue. Unfortunately, the backlight is not able to lower the flicker frequency to clear up persistence blur in fast-paced content. Movies played from any source are smooth which is great, and the 120Hz panel is able to interpolate lower refresh rate content.
When in the 'Movie' picture mode, the backlight uses PWM dimming to limit the backlight, even at the maximum backlight setting. As a result the oscilloscope results above are using the 'PC' icon, which doesn't limit the backlight. Although the 'LED Clear Motion' option exists in the TV menu, it doesn't actually reduce the flicker frequency of the backlight. The backlight off time increases and the peak brightness increases to avoid reducing overall screen brightness, but the backlight continues to flicker at 120Hz. This is a similar result as the Q7F from 2017 and the KS9000 from 2016. Samsung models from 2017 that we have tested so far all exhibit this behavior, but the KS8000 from 2016 uses BFI that reduces the backlight flicker frequency, resulting in clearer motion when using the 'LED Clear Motion' option.
The Q9F can play 24p movies without judder from 24p, 60p, and 60i sources. For this, you need to set the 'Auto Motion Plus' to 'Custom' and leave the sliders at 0 for both the 'Blur Reduction' and 'Judder Reduction'. Note that when both sliders are set to 0, no soap opera effect is added.
The Q9F has a 120Hz panel which is able to interpolate lower frame rate content. Add the soap opera effect by setting 'Auto Motion Plus' to 'Custom' and increasing the sliders. The 'De-judder' slider works on 30fps and lower content, and the 'De-blur' slider works on 60 fps content. Note that any motion interpolation will introduce artifacts, so use a small value unless you really like the soap opera effect.
The Q9F QLED can play almost any content, including HDR. It has low input lag that should please all but the most competitive gamers.
- 20% 1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
- 20% 1080p @ 120Hz
- 20% 4k @ 30Hz @ 4:4:4
- 20% 4k @ 60Hz
- 20% 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
Most common resolutions are supported. 4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 color are only supported when 'HDMI UHD color' is enabled for the port used. 4:4:4 color is only properly displayed when the input's icon is set to 'PC' (aka PC mode). HDR is played properly in PC mode.
Note that PC mode is not supported for some input refresh rates, such as 24 Hz. The input's icon may show PC, but the settings that are normally disabled in PC mode are not disabled, and 4:4:4 color is not shown properly.
The OneConnect box requires a separate power cable and is much larger than the OneConnect mini found with 2016 models such as the KS8000.
Only one of Dolby Digital or DTS can be enabled at a time. The TV will not change between the two automatically.
The Samsung Q9F sounds quite poor, which is unfortunate for a TV of this status. While it isn't unbearable, it is worth spending on a set of speakers for an upgrade to the audio experience.
The Q9F's frequency response is sub par. It isn't particularly flat, and it suffers from a great amount of compression and pumping at greater volumes. Strangely, the response changes depending on the volume even up to 80dB.
Poor distortion performance. While THD is acceptable at a lower volume, it steeply rises with the levels. Fortunately, it is free of aliasing artifacts.
The Q9F uses Samsung's 2017 Tizen platform, also called Smart Hub, which is very simple and easy to navigate and has a powerful voice command feature. The TV's remote has a built-in microphone for these voice commands, which can do many things like changing inputs and settings and searching for content. The center of the TV's interface is the Smart Hub itself, which provides access to apps and settings in an easy to navigate fashion. Menu animations sometimes have frame drops and lag, worse than last year's Smart Hub. The remote unfortunately has very few buttons, requiring the user to use voice commands or navigate the Smart Hub to do most things. Smartphones and tablets can cast content to the TV's apps, and content can be played from a USB drive in one of the TV's three USB ports.
The TV comes pre-loaded with many popular apps like Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Video. More apps can be downloaded from the App menu. Apps run fairly smoothly with minimal lag or frame drops.
There is a Samsung Smart View app that can launch the TV's apps and act as its remote, but it's very basic compared to the sophisticated apps for the Roku and Vizio SmartCast platforms.
The TV did not show ads during our testing. However, ads on Samsung TVs are often inconsistent. It can be assumed that the TV has ads because every Samsung TV we tested since 2016 had ads. If anyone finds ads on their Q9F, please email us a photo and we'll update the review.
The remote is fairly simple but has an amazing metal build. There are very few buttons so most actions require the user to navigate the Smart Hub or use voice commands.
The voice commands are a very powerful tool and can do many things in the interface, more than on any other smart platform we've tested. Apps, settings, inputs, content and text entry can all be handled by voice.
The remote can be used as a universal remote for other devices, even if they do not support HDMI CEC, using Samsung's OneRemote feature.
Differences between Sizes and Variants
We tested the 65" (QN65Q9F) version AA01. For the most part, we expect our review to be valid for the 75" version (QN75Q9F).
If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their Samsung Q9 doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we will update the review.
Compared to other TVs
The Q9F is a very well performing LED TV, but it is very difficult to justify at its price range. Better TVs can be found for cheaper, some of them at a significantly larger size.
The Sony X940E 4k LED TV is a 75 inch high-end model with one of the best local dimming we've reviewed. Its blacks are deeper and more uniform than the Q9F, and it can get noticeably brighter with most content, making it a better choice for HDR. It does have a bit more motion blur, and it cannot reproduce quite as wide a gamut as the Q9, but the very large price difference cements it as a better pick over the Samsung.
The LG C7 is an entry-level OLED TV. It can reproduce the same perfect blacks and excellent picture quality of the more expensive models in the range, but for a much cheaper price. Compared to the Q9F, it beats it on almost all fronts. Picture quality is better on the C7, and it maintains it much better at an angle. The C7 TV doesn't produce any motion blur, but some might prefer the smoothness of the very slight blur found on the Q9. The Q9F does have better colors, being able to reproduce a larger volume. Unless you're planning on using your TV in a very bright environment at all times, you should be buying the LG C7 over the Q9F.
The Z9D is Sony's flagship LED TV. It features the most complex local dimming feature we've reviewed and is also one of the brightest TVs available. While it can't quite produce the same range of colors as the Q9F, it gets significantly brighter and has much better local dimming, making it a top choice for HDR. The Q9F does have better motion, but the Z9's blacks are more uniform. Most buyers will be better suited with the Sony Z9D.
The Q7F is the cheapest model from Samsung's "QLED" line of LCD TVs. It performs very similarly to the Q7F while being sold at a fraction of the price. The only big differences between the two are the design and the local dimming, which is only marginally better. If you're looking for the very wide color gamut found on the Q9F, save your money and go for the Q7F instead.