The Samsung Q8F / Q8 is a 2018 QLED TV with great picture quality, especially in a bright room due to the high peak brightness and excellent reflection handling. It performs very well for any usage with great motion handling, an excellent response time, and very low input lag. Unfortunately, the image loses accuracy when viewed at an angle and the gray uniformity is only decent.
The design of the Samsung 2018 Q8 is great. It has a very modern look with sleek lines and a nice finish. The legs are solid and wide set, but they might not fit on some tables. It includes the same excellent cable management system found in the NU8000. The TV does not include the OneConnect box found on the higher-end Q9FN. The connections are all side-facing but in the TV frame, so it is difficult to reach the connections when the TV is wall-mounted.
The stand is sleek and modern. The stand feels solid and well built. The legs are set far enough apart to put a soundbar directly in front of the screen, but they might not fit on some tables.
Footprint of the 55" TV Stand: 9.7" x 38.1"
The back of the Q8FN is nearly identical to the NU8000. It has the same cable management system which works exceptionally well for guiding all of the cables either through the legs or through the bottom of the TV when wall-mounted.
The inputs are all inset into the back of the TV and are difficult to reach if wall mounted.
The frame of the TV is thin, there is a very small gap between the edge of the frame and the first pixels, but it is not noticeable.
Very uniform thickness, the TV is thicker than the LG OLEDs but still quite thin. It sits flush to the wall when wall mounted.
Very uniform temperature, almost no difference across the entire TV. The top edge is warm to the touch, but not enough to cause any issues.
Excellent build quality. There are no gaps in the construction. It is mostly plastic but there are some metal parts. It feels well built and solid. The back panel has a lot of flex in the middle where the VESA mounts are located, and the corners of the bezel are slightly cracked but this should not cause any issues.
The 2018 Samsung Q8F QLED TV has great picture quality. It has an excellent native contrast ratio with really deep blacks, and the full array local dimming feature is able to boost the black levels for great dark room viewing. Real scene brightness is good, and small highlights stand out really well. HDR highlights are extremely bright and are able to surpass the 1000 cd/m² target for HDR content. Like all VA panels it has a narrow viewing angle, but it has excellent reflection handling which is great for a bright room. The color management system is not very effective, but with the proper settings colors are accurate for most people. The Q8FN has an excellent color gamut, and has the best color volume we have ever measured.
Excellent contrast ratio on the Samsung Q8F. It features a full array local dimming feature and is able to get very deep blacks. To measure the native contrast ratio without local dimming we had to disable it in the advanced service menu, as local dimming cannot be disabled in the standard menu.
Decent local dimming on the Q8FN, very similar to the Sony X900F. The Q8FN does not completely turn off zones that were far away from our test dot. The Q8FN has less visible blooming than the X900F, but the black levels are not as deep.
Update 01/08/2019: The Q8FN in Europe does not have a full array local dimming feature, but is instead edge-lit. Samsung has instead released the Q8DN, which has the same full array local dimming feature as the one we have tested.
Excellent peak brightness with SDR content. Highlights are very bright and stand out. The 2018 Q8FN is much brighter than last year's Q8C. Real scenes are not as bright as our test windows, but still bright enough for most rooms.
Very good brightness with HDR content. Small highlights are hitting the target 1000 cd/m² that HDR is mastered for. The screen brightness dips considerably with very bright scenes, but is still good for a bright room. Similar brightness to the LG C8, but with brighter highlights in very dark scenes, as shown by the small window tests.
Update 04/27/2018: The text has been edited for clarification.
Decent gray uniformity, but worse than last year's Q8. The sides of the Q8FN are darker than the rest of the screen, but this isn't as noticeable as when it is in the center. The center of the screen is not uniform, this will be noticeable when watching sports like hockey or football with large areas of uniform color in the center of the screen.
The Samsung Q8 has a poor viewing angle, the picture quality degrades when viewed off angle. Blacks turn gray and colors shift even with a small angle. This TV is not a good choice for a room with side seating or even with a large couch. These results are typical of VA-type panels. OLED panels like the LG C7 have much better viewing angles.
Great black uniformity. We disabled the local dimming feature in the hidden service menu to get an accurate test. Without local dimming there is some clouding visible around the cross, but dark room viewing should still be great for most people.
With local dimming on max there is less clouding around the cross. The full array local dimming is effective at turning off zones.
This is a significant improvement over the 2017 Q8F/C, as it was edge-lit and could not fully disable the dimming zones around the test cross, which causes lots of vertical blooming.
The 2018 Q8FN has excellent reflection handling. Reflections are well defined but at a much lower intensity, as such there is much less glare. The anti-reflection coating gives reflections a slight purple tint, but this isn't really noticeable. This TV is excellent even for a very bright room.
Sub-par color accuracy out of the box. The best settings pre-calibration are with the Movie picture mode. Even in this mode, the Gamma does not tracking our target, and both white balance and color dE are too high. The color temperature is too warm, colors are shifted with more of a red-yellowish tint.
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.
After calibrating on the Movie picture mode, with color temperature set to 'Warm1', white balance is corrected and the color temperature is much closer to our target. Gamma follows our target curve perfectly. The color space settings are not very useful and it was not possible to fully correct color accuracy, although it is good enough that most people won't notice.
You can see our recommended settings here.
Upscaling of DVDs or classic game consoles is good. Edges are smooth without any loss of detail.
720p content like from a cable box is scaled well on the Samsung Q8, there is no obvious over softening or upscaling artifacts.
Excellent wide color gamut. The Q8FN can display nearly 100% of the P3 color space, and has the highest Rec.2020 coverage we have ever seen, although it is very close to the 2017 Q9F.
The Movie mode follows the PQ curve almost perfectly until it rolls off at the TV's peak brightness. The Game EOTF curve also follows our input closely, which is good.
Update 04/26/2018: PC mode's EOTF also follows the target fairly well, although it is a little dimmer.
The Samsung Q8FN does a good job displaying our test gradient. There is some banding visible, especially in the darker colors.
Like most Samsung TVs, there is no temporary image retention on the Q8FN.
We don't expect VA panels to experience burn-in, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.
Great motion handling on the Samsung Q8FN. The backlight does flicker, but with normal viewing, it is at a high refresh rate and should not be noticeable. It has an excellent response time and supports 120 fps motion interpolation even in game mode. The backlight adjusts depending on the content played and options selected, so there are fewer motion duplications. It is very good at removing 24p judder, but wide-panning shots at 24fps stutter due to the excellent response time.
The Q8FN has an excellent response time with very little overshoot. The left and right sides of the chart do not line up due to the local dimming feature.
The Q8FN uses PWM to dim the backlight, and it flickers regardless of backlight setting, even at 100%. The flicker changes considerably depending on settings. Normally, it flickers at 480 Hz, which shouldn't be noticeable and creates little motion duplication. This is much better than last year's Q8C, and almost as good as Sony's X900F.
When in 'Game Mode', or if 'Auto Motion Plus' is enabled, the backlight changes to a 120 Hz flicker which is more noticeable. When we sent a 1080p 120 Hz signal, the backlight changed to 360 Hz.
Here is a plot of the different backlight settings.
The Samsung Q8FN has an optional BFI mode called 'LED Clear Motion' that adjusts the flicker depending on the content to help motion appear more clear.
BFI on the Q8FN is able to flicker at a variety of frequencies, as low as 60Hz to help fluidity of motion with 60 fps content. Similarly to the NU8000, it is also available in 'Game Mode'.
When in 'Game Mode', or if 'Auto Motion Plus' is enabled, the backlight changes to a 120 Hz flicker, and with a 1080p 120 Hz signal it changed to 360 Hz. You can see a plot of the results here.
The Samsung 2018 Q8FN has a 120Hz panel, and can interpolate lower frame rate content up to 120 Hz. This helps motion appear much smoother, but it can sometimes get it wrong and cause motion artifacts. In scenes with lots of motion the TV stops interpolating, preferring to maintain quality similar to the LG C8. This effect can look strange to many people and is also known as the 'Soap Opera Effect'.
Interpolation is activated by setting 'Auto Motion Plus' to 'Custom'. The 'Judder Reduction' can be adjusted for low frame rate content, and the 'Blur Reduction' slider can be adjusted to help clear up motion on 60 fps content.
The flicker changes to 120 Hz when 'Auto Motion Plus' is enabled as seen here
Each 24 fps frame is displayed for nearly half the cycle, which can make this type of content stutter, especially with wide panning shots. 60 fps content appears smooth and is a good improvement over the 2017 Q8.
The Q8FN is almost always judder-free, but when playing 24p content through a streaming device at 60i, it was inconsistent. This result is unexpected, although we have similar results with other Samsungs we have tested. We will retest this with each firmware update. This will not be an issue for most people.
The Samsung Q8FN does not support FreeSync from our Radeon RX 580 GPU. We tried multiple combinations of 'Game Mode', 'PC Mode' and different refresh rates but FreeSync was never detected as supported.
Update 05/23/2018: Firmware version 1103 has added Freesync support. We are currently testing it and will update the review shortly.
Update 06/08/2018: FreeSync has been tested and the score has been updated. FreeSync was supported from our Xbox One S and our Radeon RX 580 GPU, in 1080p, 1440p and 4k resolutions. FreeSync is activated by enabling the TV's Game mode and FreeSync settings; PC mode is not required. We tested in Ultimate mode because it has the widest range, and we only recommend Basic mode when you experience problems with Ultimate.
Excellent low input lag on the Samsung Q8FN QLED TV. Input lag is exceptionally low with 120 Hz content, similar to the NU8000, and better than the LG C8. It can display most resolutions without any issues, but chroma 4:4:4 is not supported in PC Mode with a 1440p@120Hz signal. Like other 2018 Samsung TVs, the Q8FN does not support DTS passthrough to an external receiver, but this shouldn't be an issue since most media supports both. The Q8FN supports auto low latency mode (Also known as auto game mode), and it works perfectly with an Xbox One S/X or Playstation 4.
1440p @ 120 Hz: 10.0 ms
Excellent low input lag across all input resolutions and refresh rates, as long as 'Game Mode' is activated. The 1080@120 Hz input lag is exceptionally low, which is great for Xbox One X gamers, as the Xbox One X will soon support 120Hz @ 1080p and at 1440p.
2018 Samsung TVs including the QLEDs and the NU8000 support 'Game Motion Plus', which interpolates lower frame rate games up to 120 Hz while in 'Game Mode'. This feature causes a small increase in input lag. When interpolating up to 60 Hz input lag is 20.8 ms, and when interpolating up to 120 Hz it is 26.6 ms. This is still low and most games should feel responsive.
The NU8000 and the Samsung 2018 QLEDs added support for Auto Game Mode. When it is enabled from the input menu, the TV will automatically switch to Game Mode when it detects a game being played on a console. We tested it on a PS4 and Xbox One S and it worked perfectly.
Update 06/08/2018: The input lag with VRR has been tested and added to the review.
Update 06/11/2018: 1440p @ 120 Hz performance has improved as of firmware version 1103. The 1440p @ 120 Hz input lag is now 10.0 ms, down from 25.0 ms.
Most common resolutions and refresh rates are supported without issue. Like the NU8000, the Q8FN does not support 1440p@60Hz, and in PC mode with a 1440p@120Hz signal the TV does not display chroma 4:4:4 properly, as colors appear washed out.
Unlike last year's Q8C and other 2017 Samsungs the Q8FN supports 120Hz input.
The Q8FN does not support DTS passthrough like the NU8000. This should not be an issue since most media provides both DTS and Dolby Digital sound streams.
The Samsung Q8F has an average sound quality. This TV gets decently loud, but it may not be loud enough for all scenarios, especially large and busy environments. It also produces a decent amount bass for a TV and has a well-balanced sound. However, compared to a good dedicated speaker setup, it lacks thump and rumble in the bass range and doesn't have a built-in room correction system.
The frequency response of of the Q8FN is below-average. Low-frequency extension (LFE) is at 76Hz, which is quite decent for a TV. This means that this TV will be able to produce some punch and kick, but no thump or rumble in the bass range. The response above the TV's LFE is decently flat and well-balanced, but because this TV doesn't have a room correction system, it wasn't able to remove the modes of our test room around 200Hz. The Max SPL of 85.5dB is above-average, but may not be enough for loud environments.