Having turned up to CES with a bunch of interesting TV concepts, Samsung has finally unveiled its flagship line-up for 2018. As expected, Samsung is continuing to pedal its QLED technology, despite rumours that it’s planning an OLED set, but these new TVs are supposedly smarter and look better than ever before.
The 2018 QLED line-up is made up of four distinct models – the Q9, Q8, Q7, and Q6. There will be a few options available within those models, including various different screen sizes, as well as both flat and curved versions. While we know that the Q9 will be the most expensive QLED TV, and the Q6 will be the cheapest, it’s unknown exactly how much each model will cost.
While these new TVs will still offer the QLED technology that consumers have become accustomed to, they introduce a few new additions that have never been seen on the range before. That includes support for the Bixby voice assistant, which comes at a time where Samsung places a greater focus on smart home functionality.
Samsung Q9 & Q8
The Samsung Q9 and Q8 will be the flagship models of the new line-up, with both featuring full-array local dimming. Samsung isn’t commenting on exactly how many zones each set boasts, but it did confirm that the Q9 will have more than the Q8. Full-array local dimming should result in deeper black levels and greater contrast, which is further boosted by the new ‘Q HDR EliteMax’ feature which will be present on the Q9. This technology should take the TV’s HDR to all-new levels, even though the other sets also support Samsung’s HDR10+ format.
The addition of full-array local dimming should hopefully bring Samsung’s QLED TVs closer to the quality of OLED. It’s not the only thing the company has done to achieve that feat, however. Samsung says it has improved viewing angles, antiglare filters, and added an algorithm to the TVs to address light leakage.
Samsung will be making its two flagship QLED models available in a variety of sizes. The Q9 will be available in 65, 75 and 88in, while the Q8 will be offered in 55, 65 and 75in. There will also be some sub-models, with a Q9SN model being made available with an 8K resolution and a ‘micro dimming’ precision light control system.
Samsung Q7 & Q6
Unlike the two flagship models, the lower-end QLED TVs only offer edge LED lighting. The major difference between the two models, however, is that the Q7 offers local dimming, whereas the Q6 offer ‘frame’ dimming.
It’s expected that both TVs will not be as bright as their flagship counterparts, with the Q6 boasting a peak brightness of around 1000 nits. It still gets HDR10+ and a 4K resolution, however.
The Q7 will be available in 75, 65 and 55in, while the Q6 will be available in the same sizes with the addition of 82 and 49in variants.
Bixby & Smart Home Control
Samsung’s entire 2018 QLED line-up will feature the Bixby voice assistant, which is the company’s answer to the Google Assistant, Alexa and Siri. Using Bixby on the TV, users will be able to search for content, change inputs and picture settings, and even control smart home devices. In order to communicate with the TVs, however, users will need to talk to their remote – which is a little weird in comparison to a standard smart speaker.
In addition to Bixby’s ability to control smart home devices, the QLED line-up can also act as a SmartThings hub. That means thermostats, lights, security cameras, appliances, and more can be connected directly to the TV for control through the SmartThings app or through other control systems.
While the line-up may have differing price points, Samsung is still keen to stress that each one with be aesthetically pleasing. That’s why it’s packed the sets with features such as ‘Ambient’ mode and an invisible connection.
Ambient mode is a signature feature of these new TVs, as it’s essentially a glorified screensaver. When the TV is turned off, it doesn’t need to be simply black, as the Ambient mode allows users to showcase important information instead. It’s like a lockscreen on a phone, where users can display anything from what’s playing on Spotify to the latest travel news in their area. Using a smartphone, Ambient mode can also have the TV mimic its surroundings, meaning it can blend into the décor to make it look like the TV isn’t even there.
The final feature that users will be interested in is the super-thin invisible cable connection that connects the TV to an external input box for HDMI inputs and power. The cable blends into the wall, meaning it’s easy to hide, although it will only be available on the Q9 and Q7.