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Samsung Q8C/Q8 QLED 2017 TV REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
8.0
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: Not at the latest test bench
7.2
Movies
8.2
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.

Test Results
Design 9.5
Picture Quality 7.6
Motion 8.0
Inputs 8.6
Sound Quality 7.4
Smart Features 8.1
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.

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9.5

Design

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.

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"

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

7.6

Picture Quality

The Samsung Q8C LED TV has a good picture quality. When set in a dark environment, the high contrast ratio makes for a rich looking dark scene, where blacks look very deep and decently uniform. When set in a brighter setting, the SDR peak brightness could be better, but the fact that the Q8C can deal with reflection superbly makes up for it and still makes it watchable, even if a bright lamp or a sunny window is in the proximity. The gray screen uniformity is very good and dirty screen effect is not a problem here, so sports fans can watch football without even noticing it. On the other hand, since the viewing angle is poor, the Q8C won't be the best TV to invite all your friends to watch the big game, since those sitting off center will have a lesser picture quality. Finally, HDR movies look very good on the Q8C. The impressive wide color gamut results in rich and saturated color and thanks to the very good HDR peak brightness, highlights really pop and shine when compared with SDR content. The only drawback here is the poor local dimming, as it is not very effective at diminishing blooming and does not help to make highlights even more punchy than what they already are.

8.7 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

9.4 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 480p Input

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

8.0 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 1080p Input

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

9.5 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 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 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 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 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 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.

Pixels
8.0

Motion

Motion looks great on the Q8C. The panel has a very fast response time resulting in low motion blur, the TV can remove 24p judder from nearly any source, and motion interpolation can interpolate content to 120 fps for those who don't mind the soap opera effect. Unfortunately, the TV's backlight only dims using PWM, resulting in double image artifacts in content not shown at 120 fps.

9.2 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

8.6

Inputs

The Q8C QLED can properly display almost any content, including HDR. It also has excellent low input lag, which will please all but the most competitive gamers.

9.0 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 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.

Side Inputs

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

Rear Inputs

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

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 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.

7.4

Sound Quality

The Samsung Q8C sounds decent for a TV. It's not to say it would not benefit from an upgrade such as a sound bar, but most people will be satisfied with its audio capabilities.

7.4 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 Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80
:
0.177
Weighted THD @ Max
:
1.175
IMD @ 80
:
0.72 %
IMD @ Max
:
1.79 %

Decent distortion performance. The Q8C has relatively low THD at most volumes, and it remains reasonable even at higher levels.

8.1

Smart Features

Smart OS : Tizen
Version : 2017

The Samsung Q8C runs the 2017 Tizen smart platform, also known as Smart Hub. It's very easy to use but can take a little longer to navigate than some other platforms. The remote has few buttons, relying on the user navigating the Smart Hub to perform most tasks. The remote also has a great voice command feature that can perform many actions like changing between inputs and apps and directly changing settings. The Samsung app store has a lot of apps available for download, and apps run fairly smoothly. Unfortunately, there is an ad box in the home menu, which can be a little annoying.

8.0 Interface
Ease of Use
:
Easy
Smoothness
:
Average
Time Taken to Select YouTube
:
3 s
Time Taken to Change Backlight
:
7 s
Advanced Options
:
Many

The TV's interface is centered around the Smart Hub, through which you must pass to access the rest of the interface. This makes the TV easy to use and understand, but does add extra steps to some interactions which slows things down. This is alleviated somewhat by the second row of the Smart Hub, which has quick settings and suggested content, saving time during some common tasks. The interface has many nice animations but these often have frame drops and stutter, more than the 2016 Tizen platform.

0 Ad-Free
Ads
:
Yes
Opt-out
:
No
Suggested Content in Home
:
Yes
Opt-out of Suggested Content
:
No

The TV sometimes has ads on the Smart Hub bar, and they can't be disabled. The second row of the Smart Hub has suggested content when an app like Netflix is in focus, but this isn't very annoying as your eyes are usually on the first row.

8.5 Apps and Features
App Selection
:
Many
App Smoothness
:
Average
Cast Capable
:
Yes
USB Drive Playback
:
Yes
USB Drive HDR Playback
:
Yes
HDR in Netflix
:
Yes
HDR in Amazon Video
:
Yes
HDR in YouTube
:
Yes

The TV comes preinstalled with a few popular apps like Netflix and YouTube, and the Samsung app store offers a large selection of apps available for download.

8.5 Remote
Size
:
Small
Voice Control
:
Many Features
CEC Menu Control
:
Yes
Other Smart Features
:
Yes

The Q8C comes with a very nice metal unibody remote, like the Q7F and Q9F. Its great build quality and small size gives it a great in hand feel. It has few buttons, instead requiring the user to navigate the Smart Hub to do things like change inputs. This is alleviated somewhat by the remote's incredible voice command feature, which can perform many actions like directly changing settings, switching between inputs and apps, and entering text. The remote can also act as a universal remote for devices that don't support HDMI CEC, using Samsung's One Remote feature.

7.0 Remote App
Acts as the Remote
:
Yes
Directly Launches Apps and Inputs