Samsung Q8C/Q8 QLED 2017 TV Review

Reviewed Sep 18, 2017 at 09:13 am
Samsung Q8C/Q8 QLED 2017 Picture
Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
8.0
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: Not at the latest test bench
7.2
Movies
8.1
TV Shows
8.1
Sports
8.5
Video Games
7.4
HDR Movies
8.2
HDR Gaming
8.3
PC Monitor
This TV was replaced by the Samsung Q8FN/Q8/Q8F QLED 2018
Type LED
Sub-Type
VA
Resolution 4k

The Samsung Q8C is a versatile curved 4k LED TV with a great design and good build quality thanks to its brushed metal finish. It gets decently bright, and it can reproduce one of the widest color volumes we've tested, which is great for HDR. Unfortunately, its picture quality degrades at an angle, and its local dimming feature is sub-par.

Our Verdict

8.0 Mixed Usage

Very good TV for a mixed usage. The Samsung Q8C offers a versatile set of features and good overall picture quality, which makes it a good choice for most situations. It does have a narrow viewing angle, which makes it less suitable for wider living rooms.

See our Mixed Usage recommendations
7.2 Movies

Decent TV for watching movies in a dark room. Samsung's Q8C has a good contrast ratio which allows it to reproduce blacks well, but its local dimming performance is lackluster and stops it from properly reducing blooming in a darker environment.

See our Movies recommendations
8.1 TV Shows

Great TV for watching TV shows, the Q8C is one of the best TVs at handling reflections thanks to its very good screen coating. It also gets quite bright, so viewing in environments with lots of ambient light is not an issue.

See our TV Shows recommendations
8.1 Sports

Very good Sports watching TV. The Q8C handles motion well, and its better than average gray uniformity means grassy fields won't have a dirty, blotchy look. Unfortunately, its viewing angle could be better, so it doesn't offer the best picture quality when viewed from the sides.

See our Sports recommendations
8.5 Video Games

The Samsung Q8C is a great choice for playing video games. Its low input lag, great handling of motion and good picture quality make it a safe choice and overall great performer for a gaming TV.

See our Video Games recommendations
7.4 HDR Movies

Better than average HDR performance. The Q8C gets decently bright, and it displays one of the widest color gamuts we've measured making HDR content vibrant and very saturated. Unfortunately, its local dimming falls a bit short, so it doesn't have the most uniform blacks around.

See our HDR Movies recommendations
8.2 HDR Gaming

The Q8C provides a satisfactory HDR gaming experience thanks to its good HDR capabilities and input lag that remains low regardless of the type of input.

See our HDR Gaming recommendations
8.3 PC Monitor

Great PC monitor. The Q8 has support for all the essential resolutions, and its low input lag and response time means that mouse movement is responsive and intuitive. Its curved screen also helps enhance its viewing angle when sitting up close, where edges will sometimes darken on flat-screen TVs.

See our PC Monitor recommendations
  • 8.0 Mixed Usage
  • 7.2 Movies
  • 8.1 TV Shows
  • 8.1 Sports
  • 8.5 Video Games
  • 7.4 HDR Movies
  • 8.2 HDR Gaming
  • 8.3 PC Monitor
Pros
  • Very good color volume for HDR
  • Low input lag for gaming
  • Great handling of reflections
Cons
  • Picture quality degrades at an angle
  1. Update 3/30/2018: It was discovered that many 2017 Samsung TVs change their BFI frequency to 60 Hz when a lot of 60 Hz motion is detected on screen. The scores have been updated.
  2. Update 3/12/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2. Learn more about our versioned test bench system here.

Check Price

Test Results

Design
9.5
Design
Style
Curved Yes

The design of the Q8C is excellent. It looks very sleek and modern from the front, and the curved stand supports the TV well. The back also looks great, with a thin metal surface. Note that the OneConnect box and the TV require separate power cables, which may make installation a bit more difficult for some people.

Design
Stand

The stand of the Q8 feels solid and supports the TV very well. As with other TVs that have a central stand, it will wobble a bit if knocked but this isn't an issue.

Footprint of the 55" TV stand: 10.8" x 31.6"

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 400x400

The rear of the Q8C looks very good with a thin metal cover over the plastic rear. The cables to the One Connect box and the power can both be routed through the back of the stand, like the Q7F.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.35" (0.9 cm)

The borders of the Q8 are very thin and look good. The metal corners also feel high quality.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 3.54" (9.0 cm)

The TV appears a bit thicker from the side due to the curve. As a result, it may stick out a bit on a flat wall but this generally isn't an issue.

Design
Temperature
Maximum Temperature
91 °F (33 °C)
Average Temperature
86 °F (30 °C)

The TV stays fairly cool, though the OneConnect box can get warm to the touch, reaching a maximum temperature of 39 °C. This shouldn't be a problem during normal usage.

8.0
Design
Build Quality

The build quality of the Q8C is great. Almost all of the TV has brushed metal, including the rear covers. The stand feels very high quality and weighs quite a lot as a result.

Picture Quality
8.7
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
4761 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
4816 : 1

The Samsung Q8C has an excellent native contrast ratio. The contrast ratio is high enough so that blacks look very deep and this allows the Q8C to display dark scenes very well with a lot of details. This is particularly noticeable when the TV is set in a dark room.

When the local dimming is set to high (the maximum), the contrast ratio is almost the same. This is a good representation that the local dimming feature is poor on this TV.

1.8
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
Yes
Backlight
Edge

The Q8C's local dimming is almost identical in performance to the Q7F as it is not better or worse in any way. As we see in our test clip taken from our test video, vertical blooming is following the bright moving highlight and no matter where is the highlight, vertical blooming is always apparent. This is particularly noticeable in black letter box bars when watching a movie.

7.3
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
265 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
552 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
1299 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
617 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
414 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
130 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
388 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
690 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
613 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
414 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
129 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.097

Plot over time

Decent SDR peak brightness. While the TV can spike to incredible brightness for a short time, and even its sustained brightness is impressive for most windows, it severely dims bright scenes like our real scene test clip. This bright scene dimming behavior was also seen in the Q7F and Q9F, but not in other Samsung TVs like the MU8000.

7.6
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
531 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
817 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
1061 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
758 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
493 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
481 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
519 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
690 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
699 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
492 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
479 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.026

Plot over time

Good HDR peak brightness. The TV's local dimming helps it brighten highlights in dim scenes, as shown by our 10% window test. The TV's brightness is still decent in its worst case, when its local dimming is defeated by our 100% window test. However, other competing TVs like the Sony X930E are brighter overall.

7.8
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
2.967 %
50% DSE
0.162 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.759 %
5% DSE
0.106 %

The Q8C has a good gray uniformity. On our 50% gray test picture, the center of the screen looks very uniform which is good since dirty screen effect is not noticeable when watching sports like hockey or football. The screen is a bit warmer toward both the top and bottom and both sides look to be a bit darker, but once again the difference is not that big and overall this is a very good result. We did not notice any bright edges like on the 2016 KS8000, which is good.

When looking at our 5% gray uniformity test picture, the picture is very smooth without any visible uniformity issues and as such, nothing wrong can really be noticed here.

4.4
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Shift
14 °
Brightness
37 °
Black Level
14 °

Poor viewing angle, but fairly typical for a TV with a VA panel. Blacks turn gray and colors shift when the TV is viewed from even a small angle, while the brightness decreases at moderate angles. This TV is not a good fit for a room where people will be often viewing the TV from the side.

6.6
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
1.632 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
1.460 %

The Samsung Q8C black uniformity is below average. The fact that the local dimming can't be completely turned off here affects the uniformity test in a couple of ways. The first one being that we can't really show you how is the true native black uniformity since, at the minimum, the local dimming can only be set to low. Secondly, when set to low while displaying our test image, vertical blooming is visible in the middle where the cross is. Both sides are really black, thus affecting the whole screen evenness. Corners are usually where clouding happens most of the time on an LCD panel and in this case, we can't really show you if there is some near the corner, since the local dimming is turning off the backlight on both sides. We do notice some clouding below the white cross though, but it is very limited.

When the local dimming is set to maximum though, we see that the local dimming actually reduce the amount of blooming in the middle near the white cross and also, the faint clouding that was apparent when the local dimming was set to low, is now much less apparent, which is a bit better overall.

9.4
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Glossy
Total Reflections
1.3 %
Indirect Reflections
0.4 %

The reflection handling of the Q8C is excellent. Depending on your room setup the curve may result in result in magnified reflections or may avoid single light sources such as windows or lamps. The glossy finish results in more defined reflections but at very low intensity, reducing glare. There is some purple tint visible due to the anti-reflection coating. This is a great result even for a bright room.

7.1
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
Picture Mode
Movie
White Balance dE
3.84
Color dE
2.74
Gamma
2.43
Color Temperature
5967 K

Out of the box, when set to the 'Movie' picture mode, the Q8C has a decent overall accuracy. The white balance dE is high enough so that an avid enthusiast could notice the inaccuracy and the screen is a bit on the warm side. Looking at the gamma, we see that in the lower stimulus (dark), the Q8C is darker than our target and this may results in dark scenes in movies being too dark.

When it comes to the color accuracy, the color dE is actually not bad and with a dE of 2.74, it is still accurate enough that only people that are used to work with professional equipment may notice the inaccuracy. There should not be any problems color-wise if you use the Q8C out of the box without calibration.

9.3
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
Picture Mode
Movie
White Balance dE
0.28
Color dE
1.62
Gamma
2.22
Color Temperature
6501 K

After calibration, the Q8C is very accurate. Most of the issues of the white balance and the gamma were fixed, except for the lower stimulus. They are still a bit of target since it would have induced more issues if we would have put extreme values. But overall, this is a very acceptable result.

The color dE was almost halved to a more reasonable 1.62 value, and most of the colors are tracking a bit more closely their targets, which is great overall.

See our calibration settings here.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

Upscaling of DVDs or other 480p content is good. Edges are smoothed well without loss of detail.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

720p content such as cable looks good. The image is a bit less sharp than some other TVs, but remains detailed.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

1080p content such as Blu-rays look great. The image remains sharp and no issues can be seen.

9.5
Picture Quality
4k Input

With native 4k sources, some minor artifacts are visible from up close due to the pixel dimming algorithm. This is the same result as the Q7F and Q9F and occurs in images with low APL but some bright areas. This video of the sub-pixels of the Q7F with changing brightness show the effect.

8.6
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
96.80 %
DCI P3 uv
98.05 %
Rec 2020 xy
71.76 %
Rec 2020 uv
75.89 %

Excellent wide color gamut, wider than most high end TVs. Nearly the entire DCI P3 gamut is covered, and the Rec 2020 gamut is fairly well covered except for green and cyan, which is common for modern TVs. This color gamut is a little less than that of the Q7F and Q9F, but this is probably due to panel variation as all the QLEDs likely use the same quantum dot layer.

The TV's EOTF in the 'HDR Movie' picture mode follows the PQ curve very closely until it starts to roll off then clip at its peak brightness. Increasing the 'Gamma' setting to maximum makes the roll off less severe, as shown here. The EOTFs in Game and PC mode have much more roll off, and the maximum brightness of PC mode is less because local dimming is disabled.

7.9
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
87.6 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
48.9 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
70.9 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
39.6 %

Good color volume, mostly limited by color gamut. The TV's local dimming helps it show its wide color gamut at a range of brightnesses, though its local dimming isn't granular enough to dim the center of our 'black with white border' slide, resulting in a mediocre black point.

7.0
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
0.137 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
0.146 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
0.108 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
0.185 dE

Decent gradient handling on the Samsung Q8C. No 8-bit banding is visible and overall the gradient looks smooth. The only main issues that are visible are some color banding in the darker shade and a bit in the darker grayscale. We did not notice any real banding problems in movies though, so those little issues are not causing any real problems with normal content. Note that this is a very similar result as seen on most of Samsung lineup.

Update 04/23/2018: Gradient performance has been retested with the Test Bench 1.2 Update

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 %

Like most of the rest of Samsung TVs lineup, the Q8C doesn't suffer from image retention. This is good news for gamers out there since even a very define static image should not cause any short-term image retention, which can be annoying for some people.

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.

Picture Quality
Pixels
Motion
9.2
Motion
Response Time
80% Response Time
4.2 ms
100% Response Time
10.7 ms

Excellent response time. Only a very faint trail can be seen following moving objects, which is great when watching content with lots of fast motion. This response time is very similar to the Q7F and Q9F, but a little worse than OLED TVs like the LG C7.

These measurements were done with the TV in PC mode at 100% backlight to prevent backlight PWM from adding noise to the measurements. The photo though was taken at a lower backlight setting, and shows double image artifacts due to the backlight PWM.

4.0
Motion
Flicker-Free
Flicker-Free
No
PWM Dimming Frequency
120 Hz

The TV dims the backlight mostly through PWM at 120 Hz, though it does decrease the amplitude at lower brightness. In SDR Movie mode PWM is present even at maximum backlight in nearly all cases (except on a 10% window with local dimming on high). In PC mode however, there is no PWM at maximum backlight, as seen in this plot; PWM isn't activated until the backlight is at 13/20. Because PWM is nearly always present, motion will look less smooth on video not shown at 120 fps because double image artifacts will occur, as seen in the Motion Blur photo.

8.8
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
120 Hz

The TV has a Black Frame Insertion (BFI) feature called 'LED Clear Motion' that increases the amplitude of the PWM pulses, but unfortunately doesn't change the frequency of the PWM. This means that motion will be very smooth for video shown at 120 fps such as when using motion interpolation, but for video not at 120 Hz the double image artifacts will be worse, as seen in the BFI photo. 'LED Clear Motion' is not available in Game or PC mode.

Update 03/30/2018: It was discovered that many 2017 Samsung TVs change their BFI frequency to 60 Hz when a lot of 60 Hz motion is detected on screen. The score, photo and plots have been updated.

10
Motion
Motion Interpolation
Motion Interpolation (30 fps)
Yes
Motion Interpolation (60 fps)
Yes

The Q8C has a 120 Hz panel, and can interpolate lower frame rate content up to a full 120 fps. Motion interpolation (soap opera effect) is enabled by changing 'Auto Motion Plus' to 'Custom' and increasing the sliders. The 'Judder Reduction' slider affects lower frame rate content, while the 'Blur Reduction' slider affects 60 fps and higher content. Motion interpolation adds artifacts, so set the sliders to low values unless you really like motion interpolation.

6.9
Motion
Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
31.0 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
6.0 ms

The Samsung Q8C provides an okay experience watching movies and 60fps content. Those who are sensitive may notice some stutter for 24fps content as the pixel response is fairly abrupt, so the image is static for ~31ms each frame. 60 fps content appears smooth.

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

The Q8C can correctly display 24p movies at the right cadence playing from 24p, 60p, and 60i sources. This means that no matter from which source you are playing 24p movies, you should be able to have a judder free movies experience. This is particularly important for people who are sensitive to judder.

To be able to watch movies without judder and without adding soap opera effect, the 'Auto Motion Plus' option needs to be set to 'Custom' and both 'Blur Reduction' and 'Judder Reduction' must be set to 0. When set as such, the TV should display correctly the movies without judder and panning shot should look smooth.

0
Motion
Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
120 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
No
4k VRR Maximum
N/A
4k VRR Minimum
N/A
1080p VRR Maximum
N/A
1080p VRR Minimum
N/A
VRR Supported Connectors
N/A

The Q8C doesn't support any variable refresh rate features.

Inputs
9.0
Inputs
Input Lag
1080p @ 60Hz
23.6 ms
1080p @ 60Hz + HDR
23.6 ms
1080p @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
77.4 ms
1080p @ 120Hz
N/A
4k @ 60Hz
24.3 ms
4k @ 60Hz + HDR
20.1 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
20.7 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4 + 8 bit HDR
20.5 ms
4k @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
79.4 ms
4k With Interpolation
79.5 ms
4k @ 120 Hz
N/A
4k with Variable Refresh Rate
N/A
1080p with Variable Refresh Rate
N/A

Excellent low input lag, which will please all but the most competitive gamers. Both Game and PC mode have the same low input lag, but only PC mode shows 4:4:4 color properly. This input lag is very similar to all other 2017 Samsung TVs and the LG C7 OLED, better than nearly all Sony TVs, but a little worse than the TCL P607 and LG SJ8500.

6.7
Inputs
Supported Resolutions
1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
1080p @ 120Hz
No
1440p @ 60Hz
No
4k @ 30Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
4k @ 60Hz
Yes
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
4k @ 120Hz
No

Most common resolutions are supported. 4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 or 4:2:2 color are only supported when 'HDMI UHD color' is enabled for the port used. 4:4:4 color is only shown properly when the input's icon is set to 'PC' (aka PC mode). PC mode is not possible for some input refresh rates such as 24 Hz; the icon will still change to PC, but the settings that are normally disabled in PC mode are not disabled, and 4:4:4 color is not shown properly.

Inputs
Side Inputs

All of the inputs to the TV are located on the OneConnect Mini box.

Inputs
Rear Inputs

The OneConnect box contains all of the inputs to the TV but requires a separate power cable.

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
Dolby Vision
No
HLG
Yes
3D
No
5.1 Passthrough ARC Dolby Digital
Yes
5.1 Passthrough ARC DTS
Yes
5.1 Passthrough Optical Dolby Digital
Yes
5.1 Passthrough Optical DTS
Yes
HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth
Yes (HDMI 1,2,3,4)
HDMI 2.1 Full Bandwidth
No
ARC
Yes (HDMI 2)
USB 3.0
No
HDCP 2.2 Yes (HDMI 1,2,3,4)
CEC Yes
MHL No
Variable Analog Audio Out No
Wi-Fi Support Yes (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz)

Only one of Dolby Digital or DTS can be enabled at a time, the TV will not change between them automatically.

Sound Quality
7.4
Sound Quality
Frequency Response
Low-Frequency Extension
59.93 Hz
Std. Dev. @ 70
3.94 dB
Std. Dev. @ 80
3.72 dB
Std. Dev. @ Max
6.20 dB
Max
91.7 dB SPL
Dynamic Range Compression
3.87 dB

Decent frequency response. The Q8C follows our target decently well, and at 91.7 dB, it gets reasonably loud. Its frequency extension is better than average, helping it have a full sound. It does have a significant amount of dynamic range compression at higher volumes, and it lacks a room calibration feature which would help it sound even better.

7.4
Sound Quality
Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80
0.177
Weighted THD @ Max
1.175
IMD @ 80
0.72 %
IMD @ Max