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Samsung Q7CN/Q7C QLED 2018 TV Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Nov 16, 2018 at 09:09 am
Samsung Q7CN/Q7C QLED 2018 Picture
Test Methodology v1.4
8.3
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: no price info
7.5
Movies
8.4
TV Shows
8.3
Sports
8.8
Video Games
7.8
HDR Movies
8.6
HDR Gaming
8.7
PC Monitor
Type LED
Sub-Type
VA
Resolution 4k

The Samsung Q7CN is a 4k QLED TV with very good picture quality. It can get very bright and has excellent reflection handling that makes it suitable for a bright room. When in HDR, it can display rich colors with saturated highlights due to the very wide color gamut. It has low input lag and variable refresh rate support that make it a good choice for gaming. Although the TV has a high native contrast ratio, dark room performance is hurt by the not so effective local dimming. Unfortunately, the image deteriorates when viewed at an angle and only those sitting directly in-front will enjoy the best picture quality.

Our Verdict

8.3 Mixed Usage

The Q7CN is a great TV for mixed usage. It is a very good TV for watching TV shows as it can get very bright and a great TV for watching sports since it has a very fast response time and excellent motion handling. Watching movies is also a good experience although the poor local diming will not allow you to enjoy deep blacks in a dark room. Finally, it is an excellent TV for playing video games or for use as a PC monitor as it has a low input lag and great gaming features like FreeSync variable refresh rate support.

See our Mixed Usage recommendations
7.5 Movies

The Q7CN is a good TV for watching movies. Although you will not get the deepest blacks in a dark room, the TV has a very wide color gamut and excellent motion handling features like motion interpolation and 24p judder removal. It has decent out of the box color accuracy and you can always make it perfect with the help of a professional calibration. Upscaling of Blu-rays is excellent, and native 4k content looks perfect.

See our Movies recommendations
8.4 TV Shows

This a very good TV for watching TV shows. It can handle the reflections of a bright room well and at the same time, it can get bright enough to fight glare. Unfortunately, the viewing angles are not good and you will notice some image degradation if you are moving around doing house chores while watching your favorite TV show. However, the TV has good upscaling of cable content, and a good smart platform with many apps to help you find your favorite shows without much hassle.

See our TV Shows recommendations
8.3 Sports

The Samsung Q7CN is a very good TV for watching sports. If you place it in a bright room with many light sources, you will not have any problems as it can get very bright and at the same time, it can handle reflections very well. It has a very fast response time and fast action in sports like hockey look great with very little motion blur. Unfortunately, the image deteriorates if you are watching from the side so it is not a good option for a room with wide seating arrangements. Upscaling cable content looks good and due to the TVs good gray uniformity, the pitch will look uniform with hardly any shades or clouding.

See our Sports recommendations
8.8 Video Games

This is an excellent TV for playing video games. The Q7CN has a very low input lag even when it is interpolating low fps games, or even when it is engaged it a FreeSync mode. The response time is fast and you will hardly notice any motion blur. The TV has excellent 1080p upscaling for those older consoles and perfect native 4k display for the newer ones. It has a good native contrast ratio, but can't display deep blacks in a dark room due to the inefficient local dimming. You can instead place it in a bright room where it will fight glare and handle reflections very well, offering you an exciting gaming experience.

See our Video Games recommendations
7.8 HDR Movies

The Q7CN performs very well when you watch HDR movies. Although the blacks are not very deep in a dark room due to the inefficient local dimming, you will enjoy the rich colors and the bright highlights this TV offers you when displaying HDR content. It can get very bright, so most scenes will look close to what the creator intended. This is something that only a few TVs, from the ones we've tested, can deliver.

See our HDR Movies recommendations
8.6 HDR Gaming

This is an excellent TV for playing HDR games. It has a very low input lag when displaying HDR content and a fast response time to closely follow fast action scenes with minimal blur. Although dark room performance is not the best out there, the rich colors and the bright highlights this TV can display will make your HDR gaming experience a memorable one. This Q7CN also incorporates many nice goodies to further improve your HDR gaming experiences like support for black frame insertion or FreeSync.

See our HDR Gaming recommendations
8.7 PC Monitor

The Q7CN is an excellent TV for use as a PC monitor. It has a very low input lag that allows it to respond immediately to your actions like moving the mouse around the screen. At the same time, the fast response time only leaves a small motion blur trail behind it. The TV can display crisp text as it supports chroma 4:4:4 and there is no risk of any permanent burn-in when you display the same OS interface for extended periods of time. Unfortunately, the edges of the screen might look slightly dark when you sit close to the TV as the viewing angles are poor and will cause uniformity issues.

See our PC Monitor recommendations
  • 8.3 Mixed Usage
  • 7.5 Movies
  • 8.4 TV Shows
  • 8.3 Sports
  • 8.8 Video Games
  • 7.8 HDR Movies
  • 8.6 HDR Gaming
  • 8.7 PC Monitor
Pros
  • Great gaming features including variable refresh rate support
  • Very wide color gamut
  • Can get very bright and easily overcome glare.
Cons
  • Image deteriorates when viewed at an angle
  1. Update 2/21/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  2. Update 2/28/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3. Learn more about our versioned test bench system here.

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Test Results

Design
9.5
Design
Style
Curved Yes

The design of the Samsung Q7CN is excellent. It is identical to its flat counterpart the Samsung Q7FN. Literally, the only difference in terms of design is the curved profile of the Q7CN, which is also reflected in the shape of its stand. All other aspects including the thin side look, the metallic tint of the stand and of the borders, and of course, the great build quality, are the same.

Design
Stand

The stand's base follows the curve of the screen. In all other aspects, it is identical to the stand of the Q7FN and supports the TV well. Just like all center stands, it cannot completely eliminate wobbling, but this should not be an issue.

Footprint of the 55" TV stand: 31.5" x 11.75"

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 200x200

The back of the Q7CN looks identical to the Q7FN. It is plastic with a matte finish and small horizontal grooves that span from one side to the other. One of the advantages of the One Connect box is that it eliminates the need for sophisticated cable management, as there is only one single cable that connects to the TV and that can be easily routed through the stand. This is especially helpful if you wish to place the TV far from the rest of your electronics (game console, AV Receiver, etc).

The size of the One Connect box is: 15.35'' x 5.12'' x 2.64''

Design
Borders
Borders 0.35" (0.9 cm)

The borders of the Q7CN are very thin. They have a metallic finish and look exactly the same as the Q7FN.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 3.25" (8.2 cm)

The Q7CN is a thin TV, just slightly thicker than its flat counterpart, and that's due to the curve. You can easily wall mount it and it will not protrude much.

8.0
Design
Build Quality

The Q7CN has a great build quality exactly like the Q7FN with no obvious gaps or loose ends. It is mostly plastic, with some metal parts, like the stand and the borders, that contribute to its solid feel.

Picture Quality
8.8
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
4971 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
5047 : 1

Excellent contrast ratio for the Q7CN. Surprisingly it is slightly lower than its flat version the Q7FN. Unfortunately, local dimming does not seem to add much to the contrast ratio.

1.8
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
Yes
Backlight
Edge

The local dimming performance is bad. Mainly due to the edge lit LED panel and due to the poor algorithm. This is a very similar performance to the Q7FN, the Q6FN, the NU8000 and many other Samsung models of 2017 and 2018 as you can see in the tooltip histogram next to the test name.

8.9
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
654 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
1047 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
2116 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
740 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
688 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
708 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
1032 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
687 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
739 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
687 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
706 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.021

The Q7CN has an excellent SDR peak brightness. Just like the Q7FN it does not reach the brightness of the Vizio P Series Quantum or the is Sony Z9F, but still is a great choice for a bright room. The brightness level is good in most window sizes but it is exceptionally high in darker scenes with small bright highlights. This behavior is similar to the Q7FN.

The menu option that controls the luminance on this Samsung Q7FN is called Backlight.

8.3
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
669 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
891 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
2128 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
783 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
749 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
730 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
880 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
697 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
776 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
747 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
726 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.012

Very good HDR peak brightness. Although we measured just slightly lower brightness than its flat counterpart the Q7FN, when the Q7CN displays HDR content, bright highlights in dark scenes appear remarkably well, and at times within the 1000-4000 cd/m² HDR target level.

7.6
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
3.147 %
50% DSE
0.172 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.786 %
5% DSE
0.109 %

Very good gray uniformity for this Q7CN. In line with most other 2018 Samsung models and better than more expensive models like Samsung Q8FN. There is a little clouding in the two sides of the screen and you might notice a few shades here and there when you are watching a sports field but nothing serious.

In the darker scenes the uniformity is even better with no noticeable clouding nor any dirty screen effect.

5.4
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Washout
22 °
Color Shift
18 °
Brightness Loss
34 °
Black Level Raise
24 °
Gamma Shift
18 °

The viewing angles of the Q7CN are just as bad as the ones found on most of the other VA panel TVs. Colors shift significantly and blacks intensify significantly at around 20 degrees. And at about 33 degrees off center, brightness level has already dropped by 50%. Unfortunately, Just like all curved TVs, when sitting off-axis, the curve of the screen does cause one side to be more accurate as it is angled towards you, while the other side is at a greater angle and the image is less accurate.

8.4
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
0.674 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
1.282 %

The black uniformity of the Q7CN is very good. When local dimming is disabled through the service menu, some backlight bleed is visible all over the screen. However, with local dimming on high, the black uniformity worsens. This happens because on edge-lit TVs like the Q7CN, the local dimming zones are vertical. Those vertical zones darken the edges, but the center remains grayish, so the overall image is less uniform.

9.2
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Glossy
Total Reflections
1.6 %
Indirect Reflections
0.5 %
Calculated Direct Reflections
1.1 %

The Samsung Q7CN has excellent reflection handling. Just like the Q7F, the glossy screen finish and the anti-reflection coating diffuse most of the reflections making the TV a good choice for a room with many light sources.

7.5
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
White Balance dE
3.51
Color dE
2.66
Gamma
2.27
Color Temperature
6205 K
Picture Mode
Movie
Color Temp Setting
Warm 2
Gamma Setting
BT.1886 +2, Brightness +2

Out of the box, the Q7CN has a decent overall accuracy when set to the 'Movie' picture mode. The white balance dE is high and most enthusiasts will notice the inaccuracies. The Color dE is quite low, better than the Q7FN and one of the best in this year's lineup. Looking at the gamma, we see that for the entire brightness range of stimulus the Q7CN is darker than our target and this results in darker scenes. The manufacturing calibration was not targeting a gamma of 2.2. Finally, the color temperature is pretty good, close to 6500K

Update 04/12/2019: This TV was incorrectly measured with Brightness +2, instead of at 0. This only has a small impact on the results (slightly dimmer dark scenes below about 30 IRE) and so we don't plan to retest it.

9.4
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
White Balance dE
0.28
Color dE
1.35
Gamma
2.20
Color Temperature
6611 K
White Balance Calibration
20 point
Color Calibration
Yes
Auto-Calibration Function
Yes

Excellent post calibration color accuracy for the Q7CN. Calibration was done in the 'Movie' Picture mode, and we used 100% window instead of the usual 18% so that local dimming would not interfere with our white balance measurements. Unfortunately, the color space management is not very responsive and as you can see most of the correction was due to the white balance correction which was also the most erroneous one. The white balance dE after calibration was too small to spot any inaccuracies. The color dE was not diminished much but it was already low so not many will be able to spot any color errors. Gamma was brought to the 2.2 target and followed our input stimulus well. The color temperature, however, became a little colder with an almost unnoticeable bluish tint.

See our recommended settings here.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

Upscaling of DVDs or other 480p content is good.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

720p content is displayed without any issues.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

Blu-rays and other 1080p content including non-4k console games are displayed well.

10
Picture Quality
4k Input

Native 4k content is displayed perfectly without any issues.

0
Picture Quality
8k Input
Picture Quality
Pixels

The pixel structure is identical to the Q7FN.

9.0
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
99.56 %
DCI P3 uv
99.39 %
Rec 2020 xy
76.77 %
Rec 2020 uv
83.72 %

Excellent wide color gamut. The TV lies at the top of the list along with the Q7FN. The Q7CN fully covers the DCI P3 color space and has the best coverage of the Rec.2020 color space we have measured so far. You can expect excellent HDR performance from this TV.

The EOTF follows the PQ curve perfectly until the TV's peak brightness where it rolls off without flattening. This results in less clipping of the bright scene highlights. The PC and Game EOTFs are not following the input stimulus as accurately. You might notice some scenes being brighter, whereas others being darker.

If you find HDR content too dim, then you can set Contrast Enhancer to 'High' and this will raise the EOTF and brighten most HDR scenes.

8.4
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
92.6 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
52.3 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
76.3 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
43.1 %

Very good color volume for the Q7CN just a notch down from the Q7FN and the Q8FN. The TV displays well a wide spectrum of colors at various luminosity levels.

7.2
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
0.136 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
0.145 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
0.142 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
0.110 dE

The Q7CN has decent gradient performance. Some color banding is visible in almost all colors, but it is more apparent in the blue and the green shades.

10
Picture Quality
Temporary Image Retention
IR after 0 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 2 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 4 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 6 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 8 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 10 min recovery
0.00 %

There are no signs of temporary image retention on the 2018 Q7CN.

10
Picture Quality
Permanent Burn-In Risk
Permanent Burn-In Risk
No

We don't expect VA panels to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long term test appears immune.

Motion
9.0
Motion
Response Time
80% Response Time
3.9 ms
100% Response Time
13.5 ms

The Samsung Q7CN has an excellent response time. It has some overshooting in the 0-80%, 0-20%, and 20-80% transitions, which is very similar to the overshooting observed in the Q7FN. However, these are hardly noticeable in normal use. The fast response time leaves on a small blur trail in fast-moving content.

6.0
Motion
Flicker-Free
Flicker-Free
No
PWM Dimming Frequency
240 Hz

The Q7CN, just like its flat counterpart, the Q7FN, use PWM flicker to dim the backlight. Unfortunately, the frequency at which the backlight flickers is only 240Hz and this might bother some people.

The backlight does not always flicker at 240hz as explained here.

The left side of the screen has a slightly different strobe pulse timing than the right side; the left side flickers ~2 ms earlier than the right side. This was confirmed at 240 Hz, 120 Hz, and 60 Hz flicker frequencies. This results in motion looking slightly different on the left and right sides of the screen, with the difference being most noticeable with 120 Hz flicker, however, it will be very difficult to notice with normal content.

10
Motion
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Optional BFI
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps
60 Hz
60 Hz for 60 fps
Yes
120 Hz for 120 fps
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps in Game Mode
60 Hz

The Q7CN has an optional BFI feature that can help clear blur. To enable it you must first set Auto Motion Plus to 'Custom', and then enable LED Clear Motion. This makes the backlight flicker at 60Hz and that makes motion look crisper. However 60Hz flicker is noticeable and some people might be bothered.

The Q7CN's flicker frequency changes depending on the TV's settings, as we've seen with the other QLEDs like the Q7FN. When sent a 60 Hz signal the TV has the following flicker frequencies:

  • 240 Hz flicker in the 'Movie' picture mode
  • 120 Hz flicker when Auto Motion Plus is enabled
  • 120 Hz flicker in 'Game' mode
  • 60 Hz flicker when LED Clear Motion is enabled

Motion
Motion Interpolation
Motion Interpolation (30 fps)
Yes
Motion Interpolation (60 fps)
Yes

The Q7CN is capable of interpolating content all the way up to 120fps.

The TVs menu that controls motion interpolation is called Auto motion Plus. When enabled the TV flickers at 120 Hz as explained here.

7.4
Motion
Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
28.2 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
3.2 ms

The Q7CN has some stutter when it displays 24p content. This is due to the fast response time and in line with its flat counterpart the Q7FN. If you wish to remove stutter, you can enable motion interpolation.

10
Motion
24p Judder
Judder-Free 24p
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60p
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60i
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via Native Apps
Yes

This TV can remove judder from any source.

To remove 24p judder, you must from a Blu-ray, set Auto Motion Plus to 'Custom' with both sliders set to '0'.

Just like the Q7FN, the backlight changes depending on the motion processing options enabled as explained here.

8.2
Motion
Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
120 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
Yes
HDMI Forum VRR
Yes
FreeSync
Yes
G-SYNC Compatible
No
4k VRR Maximum
60 Hz
4k VRR Minimum
48 Hz
1080p VRR Maximum
120 Hz
1080p VRR Minimum
< 20 Hz
1440p VRR Maximum
120 Hz
1440p VRR Minimum
< 20 Hz
VRR Supported Connectors
HDMI

The Q7CN supports FreeSync. We successfully tested it on our Xbox One S and our Radeon RX 580 GPU, in 1080p, 1440p and 4k resolutions. In accordance with the rest of the 2018 Samsung TVs, the 4k VRR range is narrower than the 1080p one.

To activate it, enable the TV's Game mode and in the FreeSync settings choose the 'Ultimate' mode that has the widest range. If you experience problems with 'Ultimate', then go to the 'Basic' mode.

Inputs
9.5
Inputs
Input Lag
1080p @ 60 Hz
15.6 ms
1080p @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
71.9 ms
1440p @ 60 Hz
N/A
4k @ 60 Hz
15.7 ms
4k @ 60 Hz + 10 bit HDR
19.7 ms
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
15.7 ms
4k @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
55.3 ms
4k @ 60 Hz With Interpolation
21.6 ms
8k @ 60 Hz
N/A
1080p @ 120 Hz
9.3 ms
1440p @ 120 Hz
9.2 ms
4k @ 120 Hz
N/A
1080p with Variable Refresh Rate
6.1 ms
1440p with VRR
6.2 ms
4k with VRR
15.0 ms
8k with VRR
N/A
Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)
Yes

1440p @ 120 Hz: 9.2 ms

Excellent low input lag across all resolutions and refresh rates within Game Mode. The input lag outside of Game Mode is high, so if input lag is of essence make sure you are in Game Mode.

Just like the Q7FN and NU8000, the Q7CN's input lag is low even when interpolating lower frame rate games to 60 Hz or 120Hz using the game motion interpolation feature called Game Motion Plus. When interpolating up to 60Hz (With the Judder slider set to '10' and the Blur slider at '0', input lag is 21.6 ms.

The Q7CN supports the new Auto Low Latency Mode which switches the TV automatically to Game Mode when connected to a supported device (like the Xbox One or PS4) and a game is detected.

8.8
Inputs
Supported Resolutions
1080p @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
1080p @ 120 Hz
Yes (native support)
1440p @ 60 Hz
No
1440p @ 120 Hz
Yes (native support)
4k @ 60 Hz
Yes
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
4k @ 120 Hz
No
8k @ 30 Hz or 24 Hz
No
8k @ 60 Hz
No

The Q7CN supports most common resolutions with the exception of 1440p @ 60hz. However, it does support 1440p @120Hz just like the rest of 2018 Samsung QLEDs.

Chroma 4:4:4 for PC use is supported. However, it is necessary to enable HDMI UHD Color from the External Device Manager for the port used and the input label must be set to 'PC'. The Q7CN should automatically detect when a PC is connected and change the label accordingly.

Inputs
Input Photos

Just like the Q7FN all of the inputs for the Samsung Q7CN are on the separate One Connect box. On the side of the box are 3 USB 2.0 ports.

Inputs
Total Inputs
HDMI 4
USB 3
Digital Optical Audio Out 1
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm 0
Analog Audio Out RCA 0
Component In 0
Composite In 0
Tuner (Cable/Ant) 1
Ethernet 1
DisplayPort 0
IR In 0
SD/SDHC 0
Inputs
Inputs Specifications
HDR10
Yes
HDR10+
Yes
Dolby Vision
No
HLG
Yes
3D
No
HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth
Yes (HDMI 1,2,3,4)
HDMI 2.1
No
CEC Yes
HDCP 2.2 Yes (HDMI 1,2,3,4)
USB 3.0
No
Variable Analog Audio Out No
Wi-Fi Support Yes (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz)

For the audio return channel to work correctly, Anynet+ (HDMI-CEC) must be turned on.

Just like the rest of the Samsung TVs we have tested this year, DTS passthrough is not supported on the Audio Return Channel(ARC) or through optical.

Inputs
Audio Passthrough
ARC
Yes (HDMI 4)
eARC support
No
Dolby Atmos via TrueHD via eARC
No
DTS:X via DTS-HD MA via eARC
No
5.1 Dolby Digital via ARC
No
5.1 DTS via ARC
No
5.1 Dolby Digital via Optical
Yes
5.1 DTS via Optical
No
Sound Quality
6.8
Sound Quality
Frequency Response