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Samsung Q9F/Q9 QLED 2017 TV Review

Tested using Methodology v1.2
Reviewed Jun 15, 2017 at 09:04 am
Samsung Q9F/Q9 QLED 2017 Picture
7.9
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: Not at the latest test bench
7.2
Movies
8.1
TV Shows
8.0
Sports
8.5
Video Games
7.4
HDR Movies
8.2
HDR Gaming
8.1
PC Monitor
This TV was replaced by the Samsung Q9FN/Q9/Q9F QLED 2018
Type LED
Sub-Type
VA
Resolution 4k

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 screen isn't the most uniform.

Note that the Samsung Q9FN is a different 2018 model, despite the similar name.

Our Verdict

7.9 Mixed Usage

Great TV for a mixed usage. The Q9F has great picture quality and is a versatile TV. It will work well with all usages unless they require a wide viewing angle.

See our Mixed Usage recommendations
7.2 Movies

The Q9F does well with movies. Its blacks are decently deep and its local dimming is capable of turning black letterbox bars completely off. Unfortunately, the local dimming doesn't do much to help the rest of the picture.

See our Movies recommendations
8.1 TV Shows

The Q9F does very well with TV shows. Its picture quality is great, and it gets bright enough for every normal viewing environment. It also has one of the best finishes to combat reflections.

See our TV Shows recommendations
8.0 Sports

Good TV for watching sports. The Q9F produces very little motion blur, making fast movements on screen very crisp and clear. Its viewing angle could be better though, so it's not the best for wide living rooms.

See our Sports recommendations
8.5 Video Games

Great TV for video games. The Q9F's input lag is very low, and it produces an exceptionally low amount of motion blur for an LED TV. Games feel connected and responsive, and fast motion appears clear.

See our Video Games recommendations
7.4 HDR Movies

Great TV for HDR movies. The Q9F gets quite bright, and it can reproduce a very wide range of colors without issues with gradations in skies.

See our HDR Movies recommendations
8.2 HDR Gaming

Great TV for HDR gaming. The Q9F's input lag remains low, regardless of the input. Combined with its excellent HDR capabilities, it makes for a great HDR gaming experience.

See our HDR Gaming recommendations
8.1 PC Monitor

Decent PC monitor. While the Q9F's low input lag and motion blur are great for use with a computer, its narrow viewing angles cause it to be less suitable for use from up close.

See our PC Monitor recommendations
  • 7.9 Mixed Usage
  • 7.2 Movies
  • 8.1 TV Shows
  • 8.0 Sports
  • 8.5 Video Games
  • 7.4 HDR Movies
  • 8.2 HDR Gaming
  • 8.1 PC Monitor
Pros
  • Very wide color gamut
  • Low motion blur
  • Gets bright
Cons
  • Picture quality degrades at an angle
  • Sub-par uniformity
  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.
  3. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1.

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Test Results

Design
9.5
Design
Style
Curved No

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. 

Design
Stand

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"

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 400x400

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.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.43" (1.1 cm)

The borders have an average thickness, but look quite good.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 1.02" (2.6 cm)

The Q9 appears a bit thicker at the sides than most other Samsung's as it doesn't taper near the edges, but is actually one of the thinnest TVs we have tested. The design also looks great from the side.

Design
Temperature
Maximum Temperature
100 °F (38 °C)
Average Temperature
93 °F (34 °C)

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.

9.5
Design
Build Quality

The build quality of the Q9F is excellent. Compared to most other Samsung TVs, it really feels like a big step up which is worthy of their flagship TV. All of the parts are well made and feel high quality.

Picture Quality
8.8
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
5065 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
5105 : 1

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.

2.0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
Yes
Backlight
Edge

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.

8.1
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
367 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
562 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
1664 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
857 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
805 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
210 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
544 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
1101 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
853 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
797 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
208 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.090

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.

8.4
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
690 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
906 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
1410 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
1185 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
920 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
709 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
777 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
1204 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
1161 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
913 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
563 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.041

Great 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.

6.5
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
6.341 %
50% DSE
0.218 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.519 %
5% DSE
0.092 %

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.

4.3
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Shift
18 °
Brightness
36 °
Black Level
12 °

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.

6.5
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
1.691 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
1.666 %

The Q9 has an average overall black uniformity and it is very similar to the Q7F Uniformity. The only visible blooming on the native black uniformity 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. The black uniformity with local dimming is very similar to the native one.

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 for the native black uniformity picture and 'High' for the black uniformity with local dimming. This is one of the reasons why the native black uniformity results is about the same as the one with local dimming.

9.3
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Glossy
Total Reflections
1.6 %
Indirect Reflections
0.4 %

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.

6.7
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
Picture Mode
Movie
White Balance dE
3.91
Color dE
3.08
Gamma
2.44
Color Temperature
5600 K

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.

9.3
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
Picture Mode
Movie
White Balance dE
0.33
Color dE
1.56
Gamma
2.20
Color Temperature
6479 K

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.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

Upscaling of low quality content such as DVDs is good. Some halo artifacts are visible along edges but the image isn't too soft.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

720p content such as cable is upscaled well. Details are preserved well and the image is clear.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

1080p sources such as Blu-rays look good once upscaled. The image remains sharp and detailed.

9.5
Picture Quality
4k Input

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.

8.7
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
98.21 %
DCI P3 uv
99.01 %
Rec 2020 xy
73.63 %
Rec 2020 uv
79.15 %

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.

8.0
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
88.4 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
51.9 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
72.5 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
43.1 %

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.

6.9
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
0.125 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
0.143 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
0.117 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
0.206 dE

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.

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 %

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.

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

The shape of the pixels is slightly different to the Q7F we reviewed (see here).

Motion
9.3
Motion
Response Time
80% Response Time
3.9 ms
100% Response Time
10.7 ms

The response time of the Samsung Q9F QLED TV is outstanding and results in only a short trail following moving objects. This is excellent for fast-paced content. The response time for this TV is very similar to the Q7F and the MU8000.

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

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. The Q9F uses PWM at 120Hz to dim the backlight, starting at 20/20 backlight setting. Lowering the setting shortens the duty cycle, while amplitude remains constant until very low backlight settings.

Update 03/30/2018: Scaled the 'Luminosity' axis of the plots; now the Flicker-Free plots and the new BFI plot have the same 'Luminosity' axis.

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

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.

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 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.

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

The X9F is decent at displaying 24p movies and 60p content without stutter. Due to the fast response time, the image won't appear completely smooth for long panning shots in movies though. This is because there is not much blur to smooth the transition between frames.

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 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.

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 Q9F doesn't have the ability to adjust it's refresh rate on the fly to match the input signal.

Inputs
9.1
Inputs
Input Lag
1080p @ 60Hz
21.3 ms
1080p @ 60Hz + HDR
21.3 ms
1080p @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
82.5 ms
1080p @ 120Hz
N/A
4k @ 60Hz
21.4 ms
4k @ 60Hz + HDR
22.0 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
21.3 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4 + 8 bit HDR
21.3 ms
4k @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
82.7 ms
4k With Interpolation
83.3 ms
4k @ 120 Hz
N/A
4k with Variable Refresh Rate
N/A
1080p with Variable Refresh Rate
N/A

Low input lag, which should please all but the most competitive gamers. Both Game mode and PC mode have equally low input lag, but 4:4:4 color is only properly displayed in PC mode. The PC mode input lag is an improvement over last year's KS8000 and KS9000.

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 @ 4:2:2 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.

Inputs
Side Inputs

The only inputs to the TV are located on the external OneConnect box.

Inputs
Rear Inputs

The OneConnect box requires a separate power cable and is much larger than the OneConnect mini found with 2016 models such as the KS8000.

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 the two automatically.

Sound Quality
6.5
Sound Quality
Frequency Response
Low-Frequency Extension
106.79 Hz
Std. Dev. @ 70
4.71 dB
Std. Dev. @ 80
4.14 dB
Std. Dev. @ Max
5.46 dB
Max
92.3 dB SPL
Dynamic Range Compression
6.11 dB

The Q9F's frequency response is sub par. It isn't particularly flat, and it suffers from a great amount of dynamic range compression at higher volumes. Strangely, the response changes depending on the volume even up to 80dB.

6.6
Sound Quality
Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80
1.028
Weighted THD @ Max
2.942
IMD @ 80
2.96 %
IMD @ Max
2.98 %

Poor distortion performance. While THD is acceptable at a lower volume, it steeply rises with the levels. Fortunately, it is free of aliasing artifacts.

Smart Features
8.0
Smart Features
Interface
Smart OS Tizen
Version 2017
Ease of Use