Even before 4K video has become a mainstay in most homes, Samsung is redefining the future of television with their first 8K TV in the form of the gorgeous new Q900 QLED 8K TVs which comes in 75-inch, 82-inch and an absolutely massive 98-inch model for the Malaysia market. We had the chance to field test the 82-inch version which is functionally identical to its siblings in every way bar the size of its display.
Granted, there isn’t a ton of native 8K content out there much less what’s available here in Malaysia but it’s gradually making its way here which makes the Q900 QLED 8K TV somewhat of a desirable acquisition for those looking to get ahead of the tech curve. All well and good but what truly elevates the Q900 to new heights is just how it makes existing content be it 1080P, 4K UHD or whatnot look vastly better than anything we’ve ever seen before with its 8K AI Upscaling tech but we’ll go into that in more detail later.
Externally, the 82-inch Q900 QLED 8K TV is a minimalist’s dream that is almost akin to the obsidian monolith seen in Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey albeit placed sideways and a darned lot slimmer too. Whereas most other TVs bloat out the back with a preponderance of ports and what not, the Q900 is essentially one slim flat slab of glass throughout with minimal bezels on account of the fact that they’ve repositioned all the ports to an external One Connect box that also powers the whole affair via a slim, almost invisible cable that leads to the back of the TV and into the One Connect box.
The One Connect box comes with a ton of ports including a trio of USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity, four HDMI ports, a composite in (AV), a digital audio out and an Ethernet port. This arrangement makes setting it up and using it on a day to day basis a more pleasant experience as you don’t need to tangle with a veritable snake pit of wires nor do you have to reach around to the back of the TV all the time to swap devices out.
What makes the Q900 QLED 8K TV particularly interesting here is that it sports a unique light absorbent layer on the surface of the panel that significantly minimises reflections that Samsung has dubbed as Ultra Black Elite tech. In effect, if the TV is off, you can barely see your own reflection onscreen. Turn it on and the benefits are more tangible as the Ultra Black Elite layer cuts out annoying reflections and glare from overhead lighting, sunlight and whatnot, making it a vastly more pleasant experience to watch.
On paper, the 82-inch Q900 QLED 8K TV has a whopping 7,680 x 4,320 pixels resolution, which translates to about 33 million pixels onscreen. To give it a bit of perspective, that’s effectively what you get if you put four 4K TVs together and cobbled them into one larger panel but that understates what the Q900 is capable of or its technical sophistication.
With it comes down to brass tacks, the Q900 QLED 4K 8K TV brings in a number of features from last year’s QLED 4K TVs and refines them even further as well as offering even better image quality than ever before centered around their new Quantum 8K Processor chip that takes advantage of machine learning. This is achieved by loading a database gleaned from analysing millions of pictures so that it knows what a proper ‘image’ in a specific setting looks like in order to enhance image processing, enhance textures and clean up noise too.
Of particular note is that the new Q900 has about 4000 nits of peak brightness, even better viewing angles so everyone isn’t left out and about 480 micro dimming zones for precise and deep blacks in dimly lit movies and games.
Other notable features with the Q900 QLED 8K TV’s panel include the ability to display 100% of the DCI-P3 colour space which means colour reproduction is exactly what the director intended it to be, a 120Hz refresh rate as well as what they call Direct Full Array 16X for precise backlight control to offer enhanced image depth and FreeSync support to reduce screen tearing when you’re gaming.
In terms of mounting options, you’re able to rely on a bundled stand or you can optionally bolt it onto the wall via a provided wall mount with a minimum of fuss and drilling. Once that’s sorted out, the Q900 looks like a particularly imposing part of the living room though they’ve come up with a solution to make it look like a seamless part of the decor which we’ll cover shortly.
Q900 QLED 8K TV Features and Performance
A TV as large as the Samsung 82-inch Q900 QLED 8K TV predictably takes up a large chunk of space in any given room when mounted on a wall and if it’s turned off, it tends to look somewhat off-putting as a black slab of nothingness smack dab in the centre of your living room.
To address that conundrum, the Q900 has an Ambient Mode which was introduced in last year’s QLED 4K TV series that projects a live wallpaper of sorts on the whole display. Fortunately, the panel for Samsung’s QLED TVs are not subject to burn-in which makes it ideal to display the same image for extended periods of time which is what Ambient Mode is ideal for. By default you can select from a number of very neutral looking wallpapers, or create your own by taking a picture of your wall via your smartphone and then piping it over to the TV to mimic it. It’s a subtle, yet welcome feature that makes the Q900 a more integrated part of the decor.
Ambient Mode aside, the Q900’s menus and user interface are primarily built on their Tizen OS though this time around it has seen additional refinement and more capabilities added to its repertoire. For starters, it can act in conjunction with their SmartThings app as a nexus for all connected Samsung home devices ranging from your thermostat to your air conditioner so you can see their diagnostics and status at a glance. The TV also integrates their Bixby voice digital assistant so you can issue commands via your voice alone or if you’re holding the remote control via that instead.
The UI also offers easy pairing to stream and play content and has direct shortcuts to Amazon Prime, the obligatory YouTube and, of course, Netflix and Spotify. Unfortunately, none of these sources offer 8K content at this point in time but that’s not an issue at all on account of the hardware under the hood that can upscale existing content to near 8K resolution.
One of the biggest draws to the Q900 series QLED TVs is Samsung’s own 8K AI Upscaling algorithm that leverages on AI-powered machine learning to intelligently squelch noise, restore detail and sharpen text as well as images onscreen in order to dynamically upscale footage to near 8K resolution.
It was able to deftly tackle a variety of content from 720P and up all the way to 4K footage in a convincing manner indeed. Through some form of technological wizardry, they’ve managed to squelch and even improve on mere HD footage and upscale it with minimal artifacting, jags or noise, filling the entire screen with exquisitely beautiful imagery and detail. Native 4K footage upscaled to near 8K via the TV’s AI Upscaling algorithm was stunning indeed with exquisite colours and detail along with a sense of depth that mere words won’t do justice. The upscaling effect is uncannily accurate with consistent and gorgeous results and if there’s one killer feature on the Q900 QLED 8K TVs, it’s the 8K AI Upscaling tech that it offers crammed within its slim chassis.
The Q900 QLED 8K TV was also a dab hand at gaming too with a dedicated Game mode that automatically detects if a console is hooked up and ensures a low 13.5ms input lag on top of the aforementioned FreeSync. All of the Q900’s myriad capabilities were put to the fore when we played Shadow of the Tomb Raider via the Xbox One on the Q900’s display. Exquisitely deep blacks, rich skin tones and lush background details along with a beautiful sense of depth were brought to the fore and it even tackled the likes of a 900p game like Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and upscaled it to all of its glorious 82-inch expanse without any visually discernible pixelation.
The TV also supports HDR and HDR10+ standards though it lacks Dolby Vision support. It can even convert SDR to HDR via their HDR+ feature with some pretty impressive results too. Combined, all these features which makes replaying your entire library of Blurays and Netflix backlog a delightful experience indeed.
The provided built-in speakers on the TV were good as far as an integrated speaker array were concerned with a notable lack of punchy bass but if you’re looking for better audio, the Q900 works best in conjunction with their Q90R soundbar that we also had the pleasure to review.
In Malaysia, the Q900 QLED 8K TVs come in three sizes with the larger panels coming at commensurately breathtaking prices though our test unit was the middle of the bunch at 82-inches diagonal and a price tag shy of a good sedan at RM99,999. The larger 98-inch variant is about the price of a good pad out of town at RM299,999 though the smallest of the lot seems almost reasonable with its 75-inches costing about RM59,999.
What you’re looking at here is one of the most powerful and impressive TVs that money can buy and the level of technical wizardry crammed into it to serve up 8K video and upscale everything else to that lofty resolution is a breathtaking sight indeed. It’s also rather future proof on account of this and also lets you enjoy your existing content in a glorious new way. If you happen to have the space and the bank account for one, this is a representation of the future of television wrought of glass and metal that ought to be in your home today.
What we liked Impressive upscaling technology, outstanding colour reproduction. superb brightness and detail, easy connectivity
What we didn’t Not cheap
What we say Samsung’s QLED 8K TV sets new standards for what a TV can do with magnificent image quality and equally impressive upscaling tech that allows you to enjoy existing content in near-8K glory. If you have the means, the Q900 QLED 8K TV is a personification of the future made real that you can bring into your home today.
Display 82-inch 8K flat QLED panel, 7,640 x 4,320 pixels
Input USB x 3, HDMI x4, WiFi, Bluetooth, Ethernet
Size/Weight 1677.2 x 1024.9 x 337.5mm (With stand)/ 43.3kg
Review unit courtesy of Samsung Malaysia. Available for purchase at their official page here.